This delicious chicken macaroni salad with mayonnaise and vegetables is the perfect dish for summer. Serve it as a light entree, or add it to your buffet for garden parties or picnics. This delicious salad is easy to make ahead of time, in less than 20 minutes.
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love This Recipe
This chicken macaroni salad is absolutely perfect for easy meals. Pasta salads are most popular in the summer, but this recipe is so good I make it during winter as well.
It's easy to make, contains plenty of vegetables, and you can easily customize the recipe to suit your dietary requirements or preferences. If you love this salad, you might also want to check out my cranberry chicken salad or grape and chicken salad.
🥘 Ingredients Needed
For a complete list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Chicken - I use chicken breasts, but chicken thighs also work well.
- Mayonnaise - Makes the creamy base of the salad.
- Celery - Gives great crunch!
- Carrot - Adds flavor, texture and color.
- Onion - Adds a little kick of flavor. Red or white onions both work well.
- Mustard - Dijon mustard tastes amazing in this dish.
- Parsley - A pop of color, and adds to the flavor.
- Macaroni - The perfect size of pasta for salads.
- Bell peppers - Use your favorite color!
Please note: This is an overview of the instructions. You'll find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Boil the macaroni in water following the package instructions.
- Boil the chicken, and shred the meat.
- Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl.
Make sure to chill the macaroni! If you add warm macaroni to a mayonnaise based salad, the heat can cause the mayonnaise to separate. Make sure that you allow the macaroni to cool down completely before you add it to the remaining vegetables.
If you accidentally add some pasta water, or your vegetables are a little juicy, your macaroni salad could end up a little runny. If this happens, you can store the salad in the refrigerator for a while, which will cause the macaroni to absorb the liquid.
Yes! You can replace the macaroni in this recipe with any short types of pasta, like penne, fusilli or rotini. The texture of the salad will be slightly different, but still taste great.
Absolutely! Feel free to make this recipe the day before, and store it in the refrigerator overnight.
🧊 Storing Leftover Chicken Macaroni Salad
Store any leftover macaroni and chicken salad in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 2 days. The salad should be served cold, and not be reheated.
Avoid storing the salad in direct heat or at room temperature for extended periods of time. I recommend that you serve it, and then immediately place it in your refrigerator, instead of leaving it out on the table while you eat. This can significantly extend the lifetime of the salad.
💭 Helpful Tips
- Use rotisserie chicken, leftover shredded chicken, or simply buy shredded chicken at the store to save time. You can even use canned chicken.
- Rinse the cooked macaroni under cold water to cool it down quickly.
- The chicken macaroni salad is even better if you can leave it to rest in a refrigerator for a few hours. Make it in the morning, or the night before you are serving it.
- This salad should be served cold.
- Use light mayonnaise, or substitute Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise for a lighter version.
- Use whole grain macaroni for a more filling salad.
- Add any diced vegetables or other fillings that you like. Raisins, hard boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, canned pineapple chunks or olives are great options.
- Substitute canned tuna for the chicken if you prefer.
🍞 Suggested Side Dishes
I love to serve this chicken macaroni salad as a light meal paired with some delicious bread, or with some BBQ dishes. Here are some of my favorite recipes to pair it with.
🥗 Related Recipes
Here are a few more ideas for your backyard BBQ!
Chicken Macaroni Salad
Love this recipe? Awesome! Please give it a 5 star ⭐ rating below! And if you make this, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram. You can find me at DizzyBusyandHungry or #dizzybusyandhungry!
📋 Recipe Card
Chicken Macaroni Salad
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 1 pound macaroni
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup red onion
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Boil macaroni in water according to the package instructions. This typically takes around 5-10 minutes depending on which type of pasta you use. Drain off any excess water, and leave the macaroni to cool down completely.
- Meanwhile, boil your chicken in water on the stove for around 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through. Use two forks to shred the meat. Leave the chicken to cool down.
- Combine diced onion, celery, carrots, and peppers in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, chilled cooked macaroni and shredded chicken. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Leave the salad to rest in a sealed container in a refrigerator, or serve immediately.
- One batch serves 3-4 as an entree, or 8-10 as a side dish.
- You can also buy shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken, or make shredded chicken using your preferred method.