We have researched and compiled the best ingredients and techniques to create the best Macaroni Salad Recipe. There are quite literally thousands of macaroni salad recipes. Most of these are quite similar. However, after this research and testing of recipes, I believe our Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe can be crowned the best Macaroni Salad. Jump Right to the Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe.
The featured image, a variation of Macaroni Salad, comes to us from Heather Hull, live from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at the time of writing the article.
For some background and detail on how we came to our conclusions as well as some input and direction on your own path toward Mac Salad greatness, read on! You may not be the best guest at the picnic dropping truth bombs on Aunt Mable about how boring her Mac Salad is, but at least you can rest easy knowing your opinion will be an informed one. Plus, I think it is time for Macaroni Salad to get a face lift. Well, not necessarily the salad itself, but the idea of it, the preparation of it, and the enjoyment of it!
Macaroni Salad was never a passion of mine. I love, champion, and promote foods like PA Dutch Red Beet Eggs. Amish Ham Loaf, and Probiotic Pickles including Sauerkraut. I always thought Classic Macaroni Salad was one of the most mundane picnic foods available. Yet, here I am, after recent cravings and now hours of research, writing a Mac Salad Recipe and article. As mundane as it may be, Macaroni Salad is absolutely ubiquitous!
A simple Google Search for Macaroni Salad produced almost 100,000,000 results! There are tons of variations out there. Sweet macaroni salad, Southern macaroni salad, Old fashioned macaroni salad, Macaroni salad with peas, Macaroni salad with eggs, Hellman’s macaroni salad, Grandma’s macaroni salad, and Macaroni salad with tuna are all popular searches. This extreme wide variety of something I had rarely given more than a quick thought is starting to get me excited. What can I learn?
Where is Macaroni Salad most popular in the United States? West Virginia! I believe the ubiquity of this picnic dish has a lot to do with the economic impact Mac Salad has on one’s wallet, or the lack thereof. It is pretty inexpensive to make! It is also quite easy and can often be made with items on hand. Is there anything more to it?
We know Macaroni Salad is a summer picnic staple. Can we prove it?
Macaroni Salad Serving Bowl
I can’t write an article about Macaroni Salad and not mention a large serving bowl with a lid!
Regional Macaroni Salad
Armed with the popularity of Macaroni Salad, I wanted to dig in a bit deeper and look for trends and interesting picnic food lore. If there is one clear take away, and I hate to be the barer of bad news, no matter how much you love Macaroni Salad, it is, as stated above, mundane at best. I mean, look at the Wikipedia article for Macaroni Salad, there is barely anything going on!
But wait… What’s this?
There is a very popular regional variation called Hawaiian Mac Salad! The Honolulu Star-Bulletin offers some insight into the history of this regional creation.
I have also known of a variation attributed to the Amish.
Hawaiian Mac Salad
This is not a recipe for Hawaiian Mac Salad. If you are seeking that out, Cook’s Country has a very sought after recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
We are in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, we are after the secret to Amish Macaroni Salad!
What makes an Amish recipe?
In Pennsylvania, the Amish moniker can get added to a lot of things, especially food. What makes a food Amish? What makes a Macaroni Salad Amish? Honestly, I believe that the “Amish” title has been hijacked along the way and many recipes simply miss the point. I think there is some sort of cultural ideal that a home cook, chef, or commercial operation is trying to conjure when using a name like “Amish” in a dish. Based upon my research and belief I would say that the primary reason something can be called “Amish” is actually the lack of direction and guidance in a recipe! That’s no different if talking about Amish Macaroni Salad, Ham Loaf, or Red Beet Eggs.
Less is more with Amish Recipes
Yes, you heard me, these recipes are most notable due to their lack of direction! The Amish lifestyle is one of an agrarian nature. If there is one thing an Amish kitchen has it is an abundance of produce. Or, more accurately, an ever changing variety of produce can be found throughout the year in an Amish kitchen. For this reason, and the cat is now out of the bag, Amish Macaroni Salad, and many Amish or “Pennsylvania Dutch” recipes are “what you make them!” This is why many Amish Macaroni Salad recipes are different, yet not necessarily incorrect.
I think this will become clear when we look at the inspiration for this Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe.
Macaroni Salad Dressing
In all the research, it is clear that the dressing is what really makes Macaroni Salad. However, many recipes, regardless of region are quite similar. Macaroni Salad Recipes use a dressing that is primarily mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. There are only slight differences in the dressing recipes. Some will add mustard, others add sour cream, and mine, uses sweetened condensed milk. You will find consistency of the dressing being a clear difference, yet the components are nearly the same. So, if we want to stand out, the dressing must be great.
With the dressing being ever so important, there is a technique in this Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe that can steal the show. The dressing here starts off with a rudimentary home kitchen Béarnaise sauce!
Traditional Amish Macaroni Salad
Although it is said that many Amish recipes aren’t written down, I was in luck. When I recently had a craving for Macaroni Salad, the first thing I did was ask my mom for her recipe. This one goes back two generations in my family, and possibly more. Although, the use of a brand name for “sweetened condensed milk” could date the recipe.
One thing clearly stands out. This recipe is all about the dressing. What about vegetables, Spices , and additions? Well, that’s what makes this Amish! We get to use what we have on hand, and we get to experiment. And, that is absolutely the saving grace for me when it comes to Macaroni Salad, it may be generally mundane, but there are so many options for us to make it fun and interesting.
However, I am not going to leave you in the lurch. I am not going to send you away without satisfaction. What I have is a tried and true combination of ingredients, beyond the dressing, that will make and amazing macaroni salad.
Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe
Amish Macaroni Salad
Amish Macaroni Salad is often different from other styles because there is egg included. The sweet and sour dressing is also a very specific difference. The chosen vegetables are not a deciding factor but the variation and openness of the recipe is. On the farm you chop up what’s available! The choice of celery seed and paprika is more of a personal preference after many tests.
- 1 lb Macaroni Dry
- 2 Eggs Raw
- 4 Eggs Hard Boiled
- 2 tbsp Vinegar Apple Cider
- 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 pt Miracle Whip
- 1 tsp Celery seed
- 1 tsp Paprika Plus an extra pinch to garnish
- 1 tsp Parsley Fresh or dried as garnish
- 1 cup Carrots Diced
- 1 cup Celery Diced
Cook the pasta per the instructions on the box.
Hard boil 4 eggs, cool, peel, and chop. Set aside.
Craft a rudimentary Bearnaise sauce by slowly heating 2 eggs with 2 table spoons of vinegar
Slowly heat the egg while stirring frequently. Don't "cook" the egg, but raise the temperature to a food safe level.
Remove from the heat and stir in the condensed milk, Miracle Whip, Celery Seed, and Paprika.
Dice 1 cup of Carrots and 1 cup of Celery.
Marvel at your knife skills and take a sip of wine.
Mix the diced vegetables into the dressing.
Thoroughly mix the dressing and egg into the cooked pasta.
Garnish with a tsp of parsley and pinch of paprika.
Cool in the fridge for a few hours up to overnight before serving.
Be careful on the timing when cooking the pasta. You could end up with a lump of pasta sticking together if it sits untended. One option is to fully drain the cooked pasta and toss it in some olive oil to prevent it from sticking. You can then place in the refrigerator to cool. Otherwise, you may want to cook the pasta as the final step.
When mixing the dressing and pasta by hand, be careful not to damage your pasta. As in. stir it gently! The dressing is think.
You will want to serve this cold and extra time to rest and have the flavors mingle produces a better result. Making this a day in advance is ideal.
What is extremely fun about this recipe is there are many variations. For instance, adding or substituting available fresh vegetables per your taste is absolutely viable. Green or Red pepper is very common. Broccoli can be a great option too! Onion is viable, but I would definitely test that on a small batch first, it can be quite powerful.
I enjoy Macaroni Salad and I was hoping to elevate the dish to new heights with anecdotes, facts, and evidence of its cultural significance. I can’t say I have achieved that. Although Macaroni Salad is hugely popular, as it turns out, it is mostly simple and boring. However, the take away I offer you is this: Find a dressing you love, perfect it, and experiment with the rest.