Chicken Macaroni Salad

This easy to make, veggie-loaded Chicken Macaroni Salad is creamy, quick, and makes a perfect lunch or a light dinner. In 25 minutes you can sit down to a big bowl or have a side dish prepared for later.

Chicken Macaroni Salad |

This recipe was originally published on August 27, 2014, and was republished in February 2023 to add better quality photos, re-test the recipe, and add more helpful tips.

Pasta salad is one of my go-to meals. It’s easy to make, has all the veggies of a green salad, but with the addition of noodles to make it filling and satisfying.

I’ve shared options like seafood pasta salad and broccoli, cheddar, cranberry pasta salad that are so good. But, this particular chicken macaroni salad has become one of the most popular recipes on the blog over the years. It has tender chicken, an array of colorful vegetables, and a creamy mayonnaise dressing that’s simple and delicious.

Plus it’s a great recipe to really make your own. If you’d prefer more or less of a particular ingredient, you can easily adjust it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It can be a light meal or a make-ahead side for dinner, potlucks, and more.
  • You only need 25 minutes to make it, start to finish.
  • The ingredients can be adjusted and customized to you and your family’s tastes.


The ingredients for this recipe work together to create layers of texture, color, and flavor, from salty to crunchy to crisp. But the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it completely your own. I’ve shared my suggestions for substitutions if you don’t have something below.

Ingredients of chicken macaroni salad
  • Elbow macaroni – This is traditional but not a rule. You can use any pasta, but I recommend one like bowties or penne that are about the same size as the other ingredients.
  • Chicken – You can cook this fresh for the recipe, or use leftover chicken.
  • Scallions – Chives also work.
  • Red Bell Pepper – Orange or yellow are great alternatives as well.
  • Celery – Something light and crisp like jicama, radish, or cucumber would work instead.
  • Black Olives – I’d recommend green olives or capers if you need to swap these out.
  • Carrots
  • Dill pickles

The creamy dressing is a simple but flavorful combination of mayonnaise, milk, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Prepared dressing in a small bowl


Start by cooking your noodles according to the package instructions. Make sure you salt the water beforehand to season the pasta as it cooks. When it’s done, drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside.

Mixing elbow macaroni with dressing

Cook the chicken if needed. Then whisk together the mayo, vinegar, milk, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper for the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour it over the rinsed noodles and toss it to combine.

Ingredients of pasta salad in a bowl

Add the chicken and veggies to that. Stir it all together until everything is lightly coated in the dressing and dispersed throughout the pasta.

How to make chicken macaroni salad

Serving and Storage

When it’s done, feel free to serve yourself a bowl right then and there. But it can also be stored for up to 3 days before serving. It makes this chicken macaroni salad perfect for those potlucks, barbeques, or busy weeknight dinners.

Chicken pasta salad in a bowl

Keep it well wrapped or in a container with a lid, and serve cold when ready.

No matter if you enjoy it alongside a light and fresh salad, homemade bread, or one of my delicious soup recipes, this pasta salad is a fabulous, flavorful dish to enjoy.

I hope you’ll check out some of my other pasta recipes on the blog while you’re here!

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Pasta + chicken + a bunch of veggies and you get this delicious, comforting, and filling salad! A perfect lunch or a light weeknight dinner!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 511kcal
Author: Yummy Addiction

Recipe Video


For the salad:

  • 2 cups (8 oz. or 225g) dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup diced dill pickles
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped black olives

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste


  • In a large pot of boiling lightly salted water, cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth.
  • Place cooled macaroni in a large mixing bowl, pour dressing and toss. Stir in chicken, carrots, chives, pickles, bell pepper, celery and olives (you can always add more of any ingredient if you feel it’s needed). Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!


Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.8g | Protein: 14.5g | Fat: 30.1g | Cholesterol: 39.4mg | Sodium: 406.2mg | Sugar: 5.5g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 20.6mg
Course: lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad, pasta salad
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 511 Calories from Fat 271
% Daily Value*
Fat 30.1g46%
Cholesterol 39.4mg13%
Sodium 406.2mg18%
Carbohydrates 44.8g15%
Sugar 5.5g6%
Protein 14.5g29%
Vitamin A 600IU12%
Vitamin C 20.6mg25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  • Katie
    January 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I knew this looked good…. and boy did it taste good. Both hubby and I loved it. thanks.5 stars

    • Jovita
      January 18, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you for reporting back, Katie! I am thrilled you and your hubby loved it!

  • Ad Pi
    September 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Tried this and it’s really yummy! Big thanks for sharing your recipe…5 stars

    • Jovita
      September 27, 2016 at 8:58 am

      You are always welcome! 🙂

  • Karly
    January 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Throwing away that plain old ham and cheese I was gonna have for lunch, because HOLY COW does this look a million times better! Love a good macaroni salad!

    • Jovita
      January 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      I am happy you liked it, Karly!

  • Priyanka @Flavor Quotient
    January 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I am definitely gonna love this! It looks so fresh and yum! Chicken and macaroni – these two words are enough to take me in! Plus your salad looks stunning!5 stars

    • Jovita
      January 23, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much for the comment! This salad is really super delicious 😉

  • Elizabeth
    June 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Now this is my kind of dinner idea! Carbs and loads of protein, you can’t go wrong here! 🙂5 stars

    • Jovita
      June 18, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      That’s right!

  • Geoffrey @ Spoonabilities
    June 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Looks so delicious! I havent had Macaroni Salad in a long time, and never thought to add chicken to it. I love pickles too, but Carlos doesnt so will have to make two batches 🙂
    Great video too!!!5 stars

    • Jovita
      June 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Geoffrey! I know some people who are not fans of pickles. They don’t understand what they are missing in their lives 😉

  • Erica Julson
    June 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Haha I totally relate to the pasta salad night when you’re too busy/exhausted to do much else! 🙂

    • Jovita
      June 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      It’s the easiest way if you use rotisserie chicken 😉 And really delicious too!

  • Emily
    June 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    This looks so delicious, I eat so many pasta salads in the Summer so this is definitely on my list!5 stars

    • Jovita
      June 18, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Let me know how you liked it if you will give it a try, Emily!

  • Roxana
    June 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    This is so mouth watering delicious. Great comfort food.5 stars

    • Jovita
      June 18, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      It really is super delicious, Roxana. Be sure to give it a try!

  • Bonnie Hariton
    April 12, 2020 at 4:57 am

    This chicken macaroni salad looks delicious and tastes delicious also. Definitely a salad I will make again. Thank you!5 stars

    • Jovita
      April 27, 2020 at 8:26 am

      I am glad you liked it, Bonnie! 🙂

  • Lana
    May 22, 2020 at 12:56 am

    It says sugar, but the video looks like brown sugar. I made it with white sugar. It was delicious!5 stars

  • Agatha
    December 30, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Trying this for New Years, still following this recipe hehe.5 stars

  • Shayna
    February 11, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    I made this tonight for my boyfriend’s lunch tomorrow. I really like the flavor of the dressing, it’s tangy and sweet! A great mix of crunchy veggies too, I didn’t have any olives but I will buy some for next time! Thanks for the recipe 🙂5 stars


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