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Every plate lunch in Hawaii includes a scoop of Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad. It’s very basic, but that’s what makes it so good.

In Hawaii the plate lunch is their most popular dish. Yes, the poke bowl is a close competitor, but every road side stand, food truck, and hole-in-the-wall restaurant offers a plate lunch.

Classically your ‘plate’ will include a protein, then they add two scoops of white rice and a generous serving of this macaroni salad.

It’s a carb lovers dream!

Jump to Recipe

Elbow macaroni, finely shredded carrot, a little shredded white onion, and thinly sliced green onion all tossed in a mayonnaise dressing.

This Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad is Simply Delicious. It’s creamy, simple and satisfying!

The dressing is where the flavor builds by combining mayonnaise with milk, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt & pepper.

It’s ever so slightly sweet with a gentle tang. It’s just really good macaroni salad that pairs perfectly with our Kalua Pork Meatball Sliders!

I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite Hawaii pictures to get you in the mood :).

  • A killer hike in Waimea Canyon State Park.
  • Wailua Falls – made famous in the opening scene of Fantasy Island
  • Hawaiian Gold Tree
  • The view from the top of Diamond Head State Park
  • Nā Pali Coast (from a helicopter)

Are there recipes that remind you of a favorite vacation that you’d like to see us recreate? I’d love for you to comment below. Your feedback is so important to me (and keeps the recipe love fresh).

Don’t forget to follow us @LemonyThyme on Instagram and Facebook! And check out our latest TikTok videos and Pinterest boards too!

All my best,
xo Libby

Every plate lunch in Hawaii includes a scoop of Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad. It's very basic, but that's what makes it so good.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Libby with Lemony Thyme
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is simple and satisfying with a delicious mayonnaise dressing. You can easily double this recipe.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 4


For the Salad Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Macaroni Salad

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup carrot finely grated
  • 1 Tablespoon onion grated
  • 2 scallion thinly sliced


For the Salad Dressing

  • Whisk together dressing ingredients. Makes 2 cups.

For the Macaroni Salad

  • Prepare the pasta accoring to package instructions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature. Toss cooked macaroni with shredded carrot, onion, and green onion. Pour 1 1/2 cups of dressing over pasta mixture and stir to fully coat. Reserve 1/2 cup of dressing to add just before serving as pasta will absorb some as it sits.