Before summer officially says goodbye, I wanted to share my favorite summer side dish recipe. This family recipe brings back so many good memories, and I can’t wait for the first warm day each year because I know that means Macaroni Salad season is here again!
This is not just any old picnic macaroni salad; this is my Nana’s recipe. There are a few dishes of Nana’s that I make, and I feel her love with every bite. I’ve always just made this recipe “to taste,” and when it was just right, my taste buds knew it! Since I wanted to share this recipe with you, I carefully measured everything and wrote it down.
Me & Nana at my Wedding
If I were to take a poll on who actually loves macaroni salad, I think most people would vote no. Noodles slathered in mayonnaise-based sauce are usually passed over at potlucks, and with good reason! Most of these just aren’t that good. But you’ve never tasted this one! In fact, I’ve searched the internet for a similar recipe and cannot find one.
I love how the ingredients are so simple but they make up one of my all-time favorite foods. What makes this one different is the dressing! It uses Miracle Whip, and we add sugar until the tangy taste has disappeared. Then, we’ll thin it down with some milk. When the boiled eggs are incorporated, the yolks become part of the dressing adding a really unique flavor. Let’s not forget the finely diced onions and egg whites sprinkled throughout that give each spoonful a little bit different taste and texture than the last. I love the sweet taste of the dressing with the savory hints of egg and the spicy bite of the onion all married together in one cold, delicious Macaroni Salad.
Me & Nana "Singing in the Rain" in probably 1989
It gives me great pride to be able to share a recipe made famous in our family by the best Nana in the world. Feeding our bellies was one of the many ways she loved us whether it was apple cake, goulash, chicken and noodles, cherry cheesecake, egg sandwiches, heart-shaped meatloaves, late-night peanut butter toast, or this macaroni salad that she always stored in a round, plastic gallon ice cream container. Today is her third birthday in Heaven, and I love and miss her deeply.
Nana’s Macaroni Salad Recipe
Start out by hard boiling your eggs and cooking your macaroni. You’ll want to cook the macaroni to al dente so it will be able to soak up the dressing.
Drain the macaroni and cool slightly. You don’t want to wait too long to add the dressing to the noodles, or they’ll dry out.
Whisk together the Miracle Whip, milk, and sugar. This is a lot of dressing, but don’t worry because you probably won’t use all of it.
Choose a large bowl and add the cooked macaroni, onions, eggs, and about half of the dressing. Mix with a large rubber spatula until completely combined. The mixture may look a little heavy on the dressing, but the macaroni will soak up quite a bit of it. Allow to chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Save the unused dressing in a container in the fridge. Each time you serve Nana’s Macaroni Salad, be sure to stir it and add more dressing if it becomes too dry.
Enjoy! If you give this a try, please send me a picture and let me know how you liked it!