macaroni picnic salad

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This is sort of a combination of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Pea Salad and Minnesota Macaroni Picnic Salad. I decided to mix it up…and ended up with the best macaroni salad I’ve ever had. If I do say so myself. And I do πŸ˜‰

~ macaroni picnic salad ~

1-16 oz. package elbow macaroni

Β 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small

1 cup bread and butter pickles, chopped

1- 12 oz. package frozen peas, thawed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

6 green onions + green tops, chopped

2 stalk celery, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1 lb bacon, fried, cooled, blotted and chopped

5 eggs, hard boiled and chopped


1 package dry Ranch salad dressing mix

1 cup real mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup sweet pickle juice

2 Tablespoons mustard

2 teaspoons Tony Cachare’s Creole seasoning

generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Allow to cool. Boil , chop and cool eggs at the same time. Combine all salad ingredients. Combine all dressing ingredients. Mix together. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.



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  89 comments for “macaroni picnic salad

  1. Sandy
    July 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    My mom takes out the bacon & eggs and puts in small cubes of ham. Her regular at family reunion picnics.
    My mother-in-law made her salad like yours without the bacon and I make with the bacon and no eggs.

    • Melissa
      July 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Sandy πŸ™‚ I bet these versions are awesome too! thanks for visiting! xo

      • James MacGillivray
        August 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

        I use Heinz mayo. No matter how long the salad sits it doesnt get watery. Found this out on making cole slaw.

        • Laurie
          September 26, 2014 at 11:24 pm

          Thanks, James, for that tip – good to know.

  2. Valerie
    July 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    What could we substitute for the (Tony Cachare’s) “Creole seasoning”..

    • Melissa
      July 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Valerie! Well, if you like spicy, then I would substitute a little Lawry’s seasoned salt mixed with cayenne pepper to taste. If you’re not a fan of spicy…then just Lawry’s πŸ™‚

  3. Charlotte Harris
    July 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Love this salad

    • Melissa
      July 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks Charlotte! enjoy πŸ˜‰

  4. Valerie
    July 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you Melissa, I will try the seasoning salt….and no not a big fan of spicy. πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      July 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      you’re welcome Sweetie. enjoy πŸ™‚

  5. Beverly Rossi
    July 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Making next week for a pool party in Goodyear, Arizona. Can’t wait. It looks awesome!

    • Melissa
      July 7, 2012 at 5:22 am

      Enjoy, and thanks so much for visiting! πŸ™‚

  6. Beverly Rossi
    July 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Thank yoiu La Belle Cuisine. You have truly spiced up my life and allowed me to spice up others lives.

    • Melissa
      May 29, 2014 at 10:09 am

      XOXO, Beverley!

  7. July 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    This salad looks great Melissa! Since I never see your posts on FB anymore, I added you to GFC so I don’t miss anything πŸ™‚ Have a great day!!

    • Melissa
      July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Thanks Sheena! πŸ˜‰ you have a great day too!

  8. Rachel
    July 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I made this macaroni picnic salad this morning and I cannot rave enough about how DELICIOUS it is!!! That dressing is AMAZING!!! The only thing I changed was I used the Season All instead of the Creole Seasoning (I didn’t have any) and it was seriously sooo good! This is by far the best macaroni salad I’ve ever had! So unique and SO GOOD! The dressing alone is so so so so good! πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      July 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Rachel! so pleased you like it! I always make a big batch and people just keep eating it til it’s gone πŸ˜‰ I even like it for breakfast! bacon and eggs, so it counts! hee hee. xoxo

    • Sharlene Pulver
      April 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Where can I find the Season All. What part of the store


      • Melissa
        April 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm

        Hi Sharlene,
        You find it down the spice aisle πŸ™‚

  9. Beverley
    January 28, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Oh I think I will be making this whether we picnic or not πŸ™‚ A big batch it will be too so we can spend a couple of days munching through it xoxo

    • Melissa
      January 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      one of my absolute favorites! enjoy, and thanks so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  10. Barbara Sullivan
    May 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    This sounds so good. I’m gonna make it over Memorial Day Wk-end. Thanks!! Barb

    • Melissa
      May 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Enjoy, Barb! xo πŸ™‚

  11. mary
    May 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    this looks really delicious!I am definetely going to make this!:-)

    • Melissa
      May 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Yay! Enjoy, Mary πŸ™‚

  12. Beverley
    June 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Oh yes please!! What a glorious recipe and the dressing looks so yummy.

    • Melissa
      June 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Hi there Beverley! So happy you like the recipe πŸ™‚ enjoy, and thanks for visiting me! xo

  13. mona fields
    July 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Is the “mustard” the dry version or prepared mustard?

    • Melissa
      July 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Mona! πŸ™‚ I use prepared mustard. Thanks for stopping by…enjoy! XO

  14. Michelle
    May 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    What kind of mustard? What is prepared mustard?

    • Melissa
      May 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Michelle!
      Prepared mustard is just the already bottled stuff in the yellow squeeze bottle… Plochman’s and French’s are common brands of prepared mustard.

  15. May 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I wonder if it would taste good with Dill Pickles and dill pickle juice since no one in the family likes Bread n Butter and sweet pickles. I think i will try it that way and also put the cheese cubes on the side.

    • Melissa
      May 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Hi Jolene! I’ve made this with dill pickles before and it turned out great πŸ™‚ thanks for stopping by. Great question! ~M

  16. shirley
    June 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    My mom always made her macaroni salad with chicken and good..

    • Melissa
      June 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      sounds fabulous, Shirley! πŸ™‚

  17. Denise
    July 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Hi Melissa! Sounds lovely but some of the ingredients I have never heard of, being in the UK. Can you explain or give a UK alternative to bread & butter pickles, Tony Cachare’s Creole seasoning and dry Ranch salad dressing mix, please?
    Would like to make this to share on my Cousins Hen Party week-end.

    • Melissa
      July 11, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Hi Denise! πŸ™‚

      Bread and Butter Pickles… a sort of spicy, sweet pickle (not gherkins.)

      Creole seasoning: salt with cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and other spices…

      Dry Ranch Dressing is just onion powder, dry buttermilk, a little dry parsley and possibly garlic powder.

      Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  18. Beverly foster
    July 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

    My husband loves macaroni salad. Will definitely try this. Thanks

    • Melissa
      July 11, 2014 at 6:45 am

      Yay! Enjoy, Beverley! πŸ™‚

  19. Kathy
    July 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Melissa, How would this salad be with shrimp?

    • Melissa
      July 11, 2014 at 6:45 am

      I’ve never tried it with shrimp, but I bet it would be yummy if everyone who will be eating it likes shrimp πŸ™‚ Enjoy! Thanks for visiting!

  20. BLANCA
    July 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’m trying this tomorrow …wish me luck…I also need a good egg salad recipe. .my son has never had an egg salad sandwich

  21. July 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    This is so different and I cant wait to try it with this creole spice!!

    • Melissa
      July 11, 2014 at 6:47 am

      Enjoy, Kathleen! Thank you for visiting! πŸ™‚

  22. July 10, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Looks yummy !! I’m making this for a birthday party this weekend ,, can’t wait to taste it ,, Thanks !! πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      July 11, 2014 at 6:47 am

      My pleasure, Beverley! Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by. XO ~M

  23. Sig Williams
    July 24, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for that fabulous recipe. Now I know what to bring to a wedding potluck. Then I am bringing your layered salad in a cake pan to another potluck. Love your site. Keep it up.

    • Melissa
      July 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Wow! thanks so much for the awesome, encouraging message, Sig! πŸ™‚ I appreciate readers like you. I’m so happy you’re enjoying my blog and recipes.


  24. Julie M.
    July 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

    This sounds really good, can the dressing be used for chicken salad also?

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Sure, Julie! That dressing is delicious and very versatile πŸ™‚ enjoy!

  25. Mary
    August 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    i would like to join your site so I can received more of your great recipes

  26. Pat A.
    August 25, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Are the frozen peas crunchy? I’m not a real big fan of frozen peas not cooked. Would it be okay to cook them first or use canned ones?

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

      they’re not really crunchy, Pat… just fresh and sweet. Much like fresh peas. You can certainly substitute them with peas that you prefer, or leave them out all together. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  27. Brandon
    August 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Is the dressing a fixed up ranch dressing.

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Hi Brandon,
      You mix the dry ranch mix with the other ingredients indicated in the dressing recipe. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  28. Jeanne
    August 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Your recopes are fantastic! Keep them coming.

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Aw! Thanks, Jeanne! You made my day! XO πŸ™‚

  29. Yaimeli
    August 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    We dont use bacon. I use chicken and pineapples and apple all in squares. Makes it a bit sweet. We also use all the other ingredients you use including the harxboiled eggs. We make it for every birthday and family reunion and t goes extremely fast. Its delicious!

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing, Yaimeli! πŸ™‚

  30. Patricia G
    August 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    How much does this make and serve? looks like enough for an army!

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

      It makes a lot, Patricia! πŸ™‚ I’ve honestly never taken the time to measure the finished amount… but cut the recipe in half if you’re only serving a small group πŸ™‚ Whenever we have leftovers they disappear pretty quickly!

  31. Kathleen Ward
    August 29, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I am going to make this salad this week. Thanks.

    • Kathleen Ward
      September 1, 2014 at 6:16 am

      I made this salad yesterday. I was enjoyed by all. None left.

      • Melissa
        September 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

        Yay! I’m so happy you all enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

      My pleasure, Kathleen! Enjoy πŸ˜‰

  32. Marni
    August 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you so so much for this recipe, I am definitely going to try it! I hope you have an awesome Labor day!

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thanks, Marni! I think you’ll love this recipe! XOXO ~M πŸ™‚

  33. Debbie Miner
    August 31, 2014 at 10:08 am

    This looks delicious. I plan on making it next weekend for a gathering. What is the number of servings with this recipe?

    • Melissa
      October 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Hi Debbie! This makes about 12+ servings. It’s a LOT πŸ™‚ Enjoy! ~M

  34. Candi
    September 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Oh my gosh was this delicious! The best part is the longer it sets in the refrigerator the better it gets!

    • Melissa
      October 4, 2014 at 9:10 am

      I agree, Candi! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! XO ~M

  35. kathleen ward
    September 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    This was the best macaroni salad I ever made. It will be the only one I will ever make again.

    • Melissa
      October 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Wow! That is high praise! Thanks for trying my recipe, Kathleen. I’m so happy you like it and that it will have a permanent place in your recipe files πŸ˜‰ xoxoxo ~M

  36. miles tarucan barrameda
    February 5, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Thanks for sharing his recipe i love macaroni salad madam

  37. lorraine
    March 30, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    This salad has been around for many, many years I used to make it for cook outs. I used shrimp in place of bacon and cheese. A huge hit. Thanks I had forgotten all about how good it is will be on our summer cook outs this year.

  38. Cindy
    June 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Hi – I’m from Canada and haven’t heard of Tony Cachare’s Creole seasoning. Can you tell me what it might be similar to that is more common? This looks like a bit of a twist on my traditional mac salad – and looks like it’s definitely worth a try.

    Thanks very much. BTW – will be trying your oven roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & garlic this week.

    • Melissa
      June 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Hi there, Cindy! Are you familiar with Lawry’s seasoned salt? A good substitute for the Tony’s would be to add a little cayenne pepper to the Lawry’s… otherwise, just mix: salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste πŸ™‚ Hope that helps! XO ~M

      • Cindy
        June 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        Thank you Melissa – yes I can get Lawry’s here so will try your suggestion…… C

        • Melissa
          June 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm

          Yay! Enjoy πŸ™‚

  39. Jody
    February 4, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I first printed this recipe out in August, 2011 for a large End of Summer Hurrah. EVERYONE loved it….I made it X4!!!
    Since then, I have served it at many family gatherings and it’s always warmly received and quickly consumed.
    As Minnesotans, we’ve all had the buffet version of the Minnesota Macaroni/Pea salad. While it is near and dear to our hearts, it is rarely tasty. You took a beloved tradition and made it awesome. In my family it is known by your originally posted name…the Macaroni Picnic Salad of Awesomeness! Most sincerely and deeply, Thank you!!! (Yes, I’m making it for a super bowl party) πŸ™‚

    • Melissa
      February 5, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Hi Jody! I’m so happy you love this recipe as much as I do! Thanks so much for stopping by to comment and to let me know! XOXO ~M

  40. Karen119
    December 27, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    You lost me at the last ingredient. No way am I using hard boiled eggs in any salad I make. My mother in law believed in peeling the peppers. She said it was the skin on the peppers that caused them to repeat.

    • Melissa
      December 28, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Well, you certainly didn’t have to leave a comment if you don’t like the looks of a recipe without ever trying it. This little recipe has been shared and pinned thousands of times. Lots of people obviously disagree with you. I don’t usually even bother commenting when someone leaves a negative comment. Have a wonderful day, Karen!

      • MISHA
        July 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Is there a way to substitute the pickles and pickle juice with something else? We are allergic to pickles but I fear leaving them out would kill the recipe…
        If you have any ideas to help us enjoy your recipe, we would be grateful.
        Thank you so much for posting! Looks amazingly delicious

        • Melissa
          July 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          Hello, Misha! I’m not sure what a good substitute for pickles would be. You could add white vinegar in place of the pickle juice though πŸ™‚

  41. Robin
    June 30, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I am going to make this salad for the 4th. Can’t wait to try it, it looks delicious.

    • Melissa
      July 6, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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