Hands down the best Vegan Macaroni Salad, made with all the classic ingredients and tossed in a simple creamy sauce. This picnic-perfect dish is sure to be a hit at every potluck!

large bowl with vegan macaroni salad, a spoon and blue towel in background

Macaroni salad is a must have at any cookout, barbecue or potluck, and today I’m going to share with you the absolute BEST vegan version. It’s incredibly creamy and flavorful, and is sure to be a hit at your next get-together!

Just like my Best Vegan Potato Salad, this Vegan Macaroni Salad is a classic summer dish that no one would guess is vegan.

It’s also ridiculously easy to make in less than 30 minutes. Chill for another 30 minutes (or longer, perfect for make ahead!) and you’re good to go.

super close up photo of vegan macaroni salad with red peppers, dill and noodles

Ingredients needed

In my perfect vegan macaroni salad, the main ingredients are:

  • Elbow noodles – Feel free to use gluten free if needed.
  • Celery
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion – May leave it out if you aren’t a fan.
  • Fresh dill – This is such a yummy addition, but you can leave it out if needed, or use parsley instead.
  • Sweet pickles – Or sweet pickle relish.
  • Easy creamy dressing – Vegan mayo, sweet pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard and garlic powder.
bowl with noodles, red peppers, onion, dill, pickles and celery

How to make vegan macaroni salad

First, cook the noodles. Drain and rinse with cold water, then add to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and stir gently, so the noodles don’t stick together.

Finely chop all the vegetables and add to the bowl with the noodles. Make the simple dressing in a medium bowl by whisking the ingredients together, then pour into the bowl with the noodles and vegetables.

glass bowl with noodles and other veggies about to be mixed up

Toss until everything is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can mingle together. Stir once more before serving.

noodles in creamy sauce being stirred together in a bowl

How long will macaroni salad keep?

Macaroni salad will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, in a covered container. It’s the perfect make ahead potluck dish!

Serving suggestions for vegan macaroni salad

Looking to have a backyard cookout with all vegan options? Try any of the following recipes:

showing half a large bowl filled with macaroni salad on wood backboard

More potluck perfect vegan salads

white bowl filled with macaroni salad and blue towel background
4.95 stars (17 ratings)

The Best Vegan Macaroni Salad

Hands down the best Vegan Macaroni Salad, made with all the classic ingredients and tossed in a simple creamy sauce. This picnic-perfect dish is sure to be a hit at every potluck!
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Chilling time: 30 mins
Total: 53 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 ounces macaroni noodles
  • 2 ribs celery, minced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet pickles (or sweet pickle relish)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill

Creamy Dressing

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (yellow or dijon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • few shakes black pepper
  • tiny pinch garlic powder

Instructions 

  • Prepare the macaroni noodles according to package instructions, then immediately rinse well with cold water. Add the drained noodles to a large bowl and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and stir, so the noodles don't all stick together.
  • Finely chop the celery, red bell pepper, red onion, dill, sweet pickles and add them to the bowl with the noodles.
  • Make the dressing: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over your macaroni salad ingredients and toss until everything is well coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes if you can to allow the flavors to meld together. It will keep for 4-5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Stir before serving and enjoy!

Notes

  1. I used regular macaroni noodles, but you can make this gluten free if needed by using gluten free pasta. 
  2. Feel free to leave out any vegetables you don’t like, such as the celery, red onion or red bell pepper. 
  3. Instead of apple cider vinegar, you may use red wine vinegar. Or lemon juice if you can’t have vinegar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 8 servings | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was first published June 2019 and has been updated with an improved recipe that is easier and tastier!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

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Comments

  1. I’m in love with this recipe it’s my first time trying and I love 🙂 I’m happy I came across this recipe since I’m allergic to eggs and have to use vegan mayo. Thanks so much, found my new snack 🙂

    1. Hi Gianna. How great to read that you love the recipe! I’m glad you found the recipe as well! Thank you for your terrific feedback!

  2. Okay this may be a ridiculous question but I’ve already started making this and I have some black olives I need to use up .. would it be a terrible idea with all the other flavors going on here? I love them but .. concerned haha. Thanks ! 

  3. This was my first time making this and it was absolutely delicious. I made it for a bbq and even non vegans liked it. I used dried dill weed instead of fresh because that was all I had. I also used a sweet relish that didn’t have much juice to spare so I had to add more relish, it came out perfect. Chilling it before serving makes all the difference! I plan to make this for all family gatherings since I can’t have Macaroni and Cheese. Thank you so much Nora!

    1. You are so welcome! I’m so happy your salad was delicious! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review! Enjoy all your future macaroni salads!

  4. You did it again, Nora!  This is excellent!   I made it for tonight, but I keep stealing a bite because I can’t stay out of it!  I halved the onion and soaked it in the vinegar to cut the bite.

    1. Hi Cath. I’m glad you loved the macaroni salad! I love this one a well! Thank you for your great feedback!

    1. I’m thrilled you loved it and it will be your go to recipe! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback!

  5. This is a favorite recipe in my household! I found this recipe a couple years ago and it has been my go-to macaroni salad recipe ever since. I take it to gatherings with me and have people ask me specifically to bring it. I always make it using veganaise mayo, most often the Soy Free one but also the original, and dijon. It is quick and easy. The best part is that my non-vegan family and friends ask specifically for it. WIN-WIN!

  6. My husband had ribfest for his friends but since I was making all the side dishes, I made them vegan so I could eat them. Everyone loved this macaroni salad. Made totally as is, no subs, and turned out creamy and delicious.

    1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback, Kaylynn! I’m glad the macaroni salad was a hit at the gathering!

  7. This is the first macaroni salad that I’ve had since going vegan two years ago, and it did not disappoint. I served it at my family’s 4th of July party alongside your BBQ tempeh ribs and baked beans. The sauce didn’t thicken – I used plant mayo instead of cashews – but it was still full of flavor. I will definitely make this again!

    1. Hi Kristi. Thanks for using my recipes at your 4th of July party! I’m thrilled that everyone loved the salad! I appreciate you taking your time to share your review and comments!

  8. Nora,
    Another fantastic recipe! I had a box of organic brown rice macaroni noodles just sitting around waiting to be used for something. Came across your recipe and decided to try it. Made it exactly how you have it posted. Wow! Delicious! Thank you! By the way I love your vegan queso blanco recipe too! One of my favorites! 

    1. Hi David. Thanks for your sharing your wonderful review and comments! I’m glad you enjoyed the macaroni salad – as well as the queso blanco! Happy cooking!

  9. The BEST vegan pasta salad I have ever put in my face. I used gluten free noodles and vegan mayo – it was better than I imagined it would be. I love the fresh dill! I am also a little embarrassed to say this is the first time I have tried sweet pickles and I love them in here. The perfect combination of sweet, savory, and tangy. 

  10. Absolutely delicious! Made it without dill since I didn’t have any. The relish just adds to the flavor, so don’t skip it!

  11. Very good macaroni salad, you wouldn’t know the difference between this and a non-vegan batch. For a standard size box of macaroni (375 grams), I’d recommend doubling the sauce mixture to make it creamier if you’re using the vegan mayo version. I will definitely be making it again!

  12. This looks absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to try it. One question, what do you call sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish? In Uk sweet pickle is something completely different. Thanks for all the great recipes ?

    1. Thank you! Interesting, I didn’t realize that. Sweet pickle relish is basically chopped up small sweet pickles, also sometimes called bread and butter pickles. Dill pickle relish or dill pickles are not sweet, and really fine to use as well, I just prefer the sweeter ones in this recipe. Hope that helps!

  13. This is the perfect macaroni salad. Not even joking. I hated.. haaaated macaroni salad as a kid/teen. Maybe its my testebuds changing or this is even more the bomb.com. but i love it so much! It will be made with every picnic/bbq outing I can get it into. Even my twin toddlers loved it and my mom who is very picky, more so than toddlers. She asked for me to leave some with her so she could have it for lunch the next day. My mom doesn’t eat anything she don’t like. Trust me. Haha. Thank you for helping my family add this wonderful salad to our home.

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