The Secret to Amazing Macaroni Salad: SUGAR!

I’ve had many different kinds of Macaroni Salad in my lifetime from macaroni salad that is too dried out to macaroni salad with too much mayonnaise that makes my stomach hurt. The only Macaroni Salad I have ever loved is my mom’s macaroni salad!  She shared her top secret with me, and now I’m here to share it with you!!!  The secret ingredient to a fabulous macaroni salad is SUGAR!

The sugar sweetens it up a bit so you don’t have the harsh taste of the mayonnaise by itself. Here is the way I adapted my mom’s original recipe to make my own salad! I think I put in a little less mayonnaise than she does, but feel free to experiment with it and see what you like.  Another tip I would give is to make this salad the night before serving, so the ingredients can blend together and the sugar and salt can really dissolve in.
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (1 pound)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup diced celery (this come out to be about 4 stalks)
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion/Vidalia Onion (it will be approximately a half of a large onion)
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (Yes, a quarter cup!!  It sounds like a lot of sugar, but this is what makes the salad!!!!)
  • Scoop your mayonnaise into a bowl.  Add in your 1/2 teaspoon salt and your 1/4 cup of sugar.  Stir until well blended and then set aside for later.
  • Place a pot of water on the stove to boil.  Add a little salt and some vegetable oil to the water.
  • Bring the pot to a boil and then add in your noodles.  Boil until the noodles are cooked thoroughly.
  • Strain your noodles and then run cold water over the noodles to cool them.  Pour them into a mixing bowl once cooled.
  • Dice up your celery and onions very small and then add to the noodles.  Give it a quick mix with your hands.
  • Add in your parsley flakes and mix again.  If the salad looks like it need a little more color, add in a little more parsley.
  • Next, add in your mayonnaise/salt/sugar mixture and stir until evenly distributed throughout the salad.  
  • Store overnight in the refrigerator and give another stir before serving.
We had a surprise work bridal shower today for a girl I work with, Kristin!  I brought this macaroni salad in to share with everyone at the shower.  It is great for a crowd because it makes quite a lot!  I filled an entire 13×9 disposable foil cake pan with this macaroni salad. It was definitely a hit!

xoxo, Food Marriage


  1. Sounds Yummy! I’m going to try this today for an Independence Day Potluck.


  1. […] chose this recipe to work with because it uses sugar.  I know from my experience with making my Macaroni Salad Recipe that sugar definitely improves the taste of salads made with mayonnaise by sweetening up! I […]