This Macaroni Dill Salad is the perfect pasta salad for summer. It’s made with tender macaroni noodles in a creamy mayonnaise and sour cream dressing. This salad takes just 10 minutes to prepare and is packed with crunchy veggies, fresh flavors, and just a hint of spice!
Macaroni salad is a classic recipe. Add a little dill and radish to it and you have brought it to a whole other dimension. It’s seriously tasty!
The creamy mayo and sour cream dressing envelopes the tender macaroni noodles and all that creaminess is broken up perfectly with the crunch and zip of fresh radishes, green pepper, and dill. It’s peppery and fresh and a hit at every single potluck or BBQ!
You can enjoy a bowl of this for a light lunch or serve it as a side dish for your favorite burger or steak.
Why You’ll Love Macaroni Dill Salad
- Simple ingredients. You need just macaroni noodles, a five-ingredient dressing, two fresh veggies, and a few spices!
- Quick and easy. The total hands-on time required for this recipe is a quick 10 minutes.
- Perfect flavor. You get rich and creamy, salty, savory, spicy…who knew just a few ingredients could create something so yummy?
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
- Macaroni Noodles: I use classic macaroni noodles, but feel free to swap them out for another small pasta shape.
- Mayonnaise and Sour Cream: The base for our creamy dressing.
- Dill: Use fresh dill for the best zip of flavor.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds a kick of spice to the dressing.
- Garlic: I recommend fresh garlic for the best flavor, but if all you have is pre-minced that will work too.
- Veggies: I love to use radishes and green peppers to add some crunchy freshness to this recipe. Be sure to chop them small and evenly in size so they mix well with the pasta.
- Seasonings: We’re keeping our spices simple with a little bit of cayenne, salt, and pepper.
You’ll find the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post with the measurements and instructions.
Take a peek at what’s in this Macaroni Dill Salad.
- Macaroni noodles
- Sour Cream
- Fresh dill
- Dijon mustard
- Green pepper
- Cayenne pepper
How to Make Macaroni Dill Salad
This easy pasta salad recipe takes a quick 10 minutes to prep!
- Step 1: Boil the macaroni noodles according to package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Step 2: In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, Dijon mustard, and garlic.
- Step 3: Add in the cooked macaroni, radishes, green pepper, and seasonings, then cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
This post contains affiliate links.
What to Serve with Macaroni Dill Salad
This macaroni salad makes the perfect summer-y side dish next to all your favorite entrees! Here are just a few ideas:
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cook the pasta al dente. Ever so slightly undercooking the pasta allows it to hold its shape and structure under the dressing. If it’s overcooked or mushy, it will be too chewy and gummy.
- Let the pasta cool. If the pasta is still warm when you add the dressing, the mayonnaise and sour cream will just become melty and runny.
- Rinse it! Rinsing the pasta with cold water after boiling it stops the cooking process and removes excess starch that can cause the pasta salad to be gummy.
- Let it chill. I recommend assembling the pasta salad, then letting it chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before serving it. It’s better cold and the resting time gives the dressing time to really soak into the noodles and veggies.
- If you’re making the pasta salad further ahead of time, try adding just half of the dressing, then adding the rest just before serving. This will ensure that it’s extra fresh and creamy!
Variations and Substitutions
- Add other veggies. I love the simple, fresh, and crunchy combination of radishes and green pepper, but feel free to bulk it up with chopped red onion, celery, mushrooms, broccoli florets, cucumber, or even peas.
- Add a protein. Make this easy side dish into more of a meal by adding shredded chicken or turkey, hard-boiled egg, or even chickpeas!
- Give it a salty kick. Love a salty, briny kick of flavor? Try adding sliced olives or capers.
- Use another pasta shape. Any small pasta shape will work!
- Make it cheesy. Add a sprinkle of fresh crumbled feta cheese or a handful of cheddar cheese.
Leftover macaroni salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It is best served cold, so enjoy the leftovers straight out of the fridge!
Can I Freeze It?
No. I definitely do not recommend freezing this salad. Pasta in general doesn’t hold up well in the freezer. Additionally, the creamy dressing can separate and become watery when thawed.
Why Does My Macaroni Salad Taste Bland?
You didn’t salt it well enough!
We’re adding a lot of great flavors to this pasta salad, but the salt really enhances everything to make those flavors pop! Don’t skip it.
What Are the Five Mistakes to Avoid When Making Pasta Salad?
- Using the wrong pasta shape. The key to a great pasta salad is a small pasta shape. The smaller noodles incorporate much better with the other ingredients, so you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
- Under or overcooking the pasta. Undercooked pasta is never a good thing and over-cooked pasta can quickly become mushy in a salad dressing. Be sure you’re cooking your noodles exactly according to the package instructions for the best results.
- Not rinsing the pasta. Rinsing the noodles with cold water after boiling them stops the cooking process and also removes the excess starch. Skipping this step can result in a gummy texture.
- Not seasoning well enough. Seasonings are everything in a pasta salad. For this recipe, we’re keeping it simple with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, but the combination adds so much. Don’t skimp!
- Making it too far ahead of time. The pasta salad is delicious after it sits for a couple of hours, but if it sits too long, the noodles will start to soak up the dressing and it won’t be nearly as creamy.
Pasta Salad Recipes
- Tortellini Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
- Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Creamy Curried Chicken Pasta Salad
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Ramen Noodle Salad
Macaroni Dill Salad
- 2 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup radish chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions. Drain. Rinse noodles in cold water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, Dijon mustard and garlic. Add macaroni, radishes and green pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add cayenne, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Cover salad and chill in fridge for at least two hours before serving.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.