Mac Salad From Aloha Kitchen

Mac Salad From Aloha Kitchen

This delicious Mac Salad is from the gorgeous Aloha Kitchen, a cookbook by Alana Kysar with recipes from Hawai’i. It’s perfect for summer cookouts or picnics.

hawaiian mac salad on pink platter surrounded by cookout sides

I can’t remember the last time I got such bad FOMO from reading a cookbook! Alana’s photos of Hawaii in Aloha Kitchen seriously make me want to drop everything I’m doing and jump on a flight across the country to these gorgeous islands. Hawaii is one of the few states I’ve haven’t been to (YET), but reading her book made me immediately feel a connection to it.

I haven’t made too many recipes from it yet, but this mac salad is already on repeat in my kitchen. What makes this simple macaroni salad different from other mac salads I’ve had before is that it’s incredibly tangy from the pickle juice (which is so addicting) — the mayo + pickle combo definitely reminds me of the best part of a deviled egg. In addition to the tang, it also has shredded carrots in it, which adds just a touch of sweetness in the most delicious way.

Just a head’s up for my veg-friends — there is a lot of meat in this book. I have a feeling I’ll be sticking to a few really awesome recipes (this Hawaiian mac salad, several of the desserts, etc) and then leaving this book out on my coffee table for it to be more of a beautiful addition to my home than something I’ll be keeping in my kitchen for daily use. However, if you do eat meat, then this book could become a classic for you! The recipes are definitely unique and do a fantastic job at telling the stories of Hawaii and its food.

Now what are you waiting for? It’s summer and this Hawaiian-style mac salad is the perfect excuse to host a grill out or have a picnic in the park. I bet these veggie sloppy joes would go perfect with this mac salad.

elbow macaroni meant for mac salad

What’s Needed for Mac Salad?

All you need to make this Hawaiian mac salad recipe is:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Grated yellow onion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sweet pickle juice
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Black pepper
  • Shredded carrot
Aloha Kitchen cookbook

How to Make Mac Salad

This simple macaroni salad couldn’t be easier to make. Here are the basic steps for making Hawaiian-style mac salad at home:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, then set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, fold in the grated onion, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, pickle relish, pickle juice, and a dash of pepper.
  3. When ready to serve, stir in the remaining mayo and the shredded carrots.

Can You Prep Mac Salad in Advance?

Yes, mac salad can be made up to 24 hours before you plan on serving it. It actually tastes best after it’s been chilled, as it gives the flavors time to come together.

Can You Freeze Macaroni Salad?

No, this Hawaiian mac salad doesn’t freeze well. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat the entire salad within a couple days, I recommend halving the recipe.

hawaiian style mac salad on pink serving platter

Tips for Making Mac Salad

Because this is mac salad, I used elbow macaroni. However, you’re welcome to use another short, sturdy pasta if that’s all you have on hand.

Real, full-fat mayo is best in this simple macaroni salad. But if you prefer light mayo or Miracle Whip, you’re likely fine to use them instead.

If your Hawaiian mac salad looks a little dry, simply stir in extra mayo. Add a tablespoon at a time until the salad reaches your desired consistency.

What to Serve with Mac Salad:

Mac Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
19 mins

This delicious Mac Salad is from the gorgeous Aloha Kitchen, a cookbook with recipes from Hawai'i. It's perfect for summer cookouts or picnics!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac salad
Servings: 4
  • 8 oz dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp grated yellow onion
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle juice
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot
  1. Cook the macaroni, salting the water with 2 Tbsp kosher salt, according to instructions on package until tender. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside for 10 minutes to let cool.

  2. Once cooled, fold in onions, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, pickle relish, pickle juice, and a dash of pepper and toss until well coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

  3. When ready to serve, stir in 1/2 cup mayonnaise and the shredded carrot. Taste and add more mayonnaise if it looks dry or more salt if it needs it. Serve chilled.



  • Sharon
    August 25, 2020

    Hi Shelley. I live in New Zealand and was wondering if you could clarify pickle / pickle juice.
    Thanks very much

    • Shellywest
      September 1, 2020

      Hey Sharon – sorry for the confusion! Pickle juice for this recipe should be the pickling liquid you would find in a can of pickled cucumbers. Hopefully that helps!

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