Barbecue Macaroni Salad Recipe, How to make Creamy Pasta Salad | Easy Pasta Recipes

This is the best, classic, old-fashioned, creamy macaroni salad with crispy vegetables dressed in a simple and creamy but still light mayonnaise & sauce dressing for any picnic, potluck, or party.

Pasta is my all time favourite for breakfast. It easy to whip up and filling for the morning & evening dose. Though I have tried different types of pastas. This is an easy, delicious, and satisfying vegetarian pasta recipe.

This creamy macaroni salad is everything those others were not. First off, it’s homemade—toss the box! It’s simple but well-seasoned. It’s dressed just right with a tangy but light mayo dressing. And the pasta is neither clumpy nor starchy, but smooth and satisfying with every bite.


Cooking the macaroni correctly is essential to a good mac salad. Overcook it and you’ll end up with mushy bites that won’t stand up to the mixing with the vegetables.

The macaroni salad trick I learned from one of the food program..that  is to rinse the pasta after cooking and drain it really well so there’s no residual water lurking in the pasta. Rinsing the pasta under cold water stops the cooking time and removes some of the starches created from cooking. 


As the pasta cools, toss it a bit with a spoon so it stays loose and doesn’t clump together. Allow for at least an hour before serving for the best and flavorful taste. And always remember to taste again before serving to decide if more salt and oregano seasoning needs to be added.

You can try n number of pasta recipes from my blog like 

baked mac and cheese with tomato sauce
veg macaroni-pasta in tomato sauce  
vegetable shell pasta in tomato sauce 
penne pasta in white sauce 
fusilli pasta in tomato sauce  

I use the classic short macaroni pasta in this salad, but you can use a shell or elbow pasta will work equally as well. Be sure to rinse the pasta under cold water and drain well to remove any excess water so your salad doesn't become soupy.

Ingredients :

Boiled and cooked Macaroni Pasta - 2 cups
Mayonnaise (any of your choice) - 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
Green Capsicum - 1 small
Red onions - 1/2 medium [diced and soaked in cold water until needed (see Recipe Note)]
Red bell pepper - 1 small
Barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade - 1/2 to 1/4 cup
White vinegar - 1 tbsp
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Oregano - 1/2 tsp
Diced Celery - 3 to 4 stalks
Salt to taste

Preparation Method:

Cooking the macaroni pasta:

It’s the same method for any pasta.

1. Heat water in a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Add salt & oil to season the pasta.

2. Add the pasta and let it cook it for 8-10 minutes (you can check it if you suspect it is done by taking one out with a fork – the pasta shells should be soft enough to pinch and cut open but not mushy or mash-able).

3. Turn off the heat & drain pasta well in a bowl. Place the drained pasta in the running cold water to stop the cooking process. You could add a few drops of oil and toss-up the pasta if you feel it might stick together.

For Pasta Salad

1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, shredded chicken, drained red onions, pepper, and celery. Toss with the remaining dressing until evenly coated.

2. Taste the salad and add salt, pepper, more mayo, more barbecue sauce, or a splash of cider vinegar to suit your taste.

3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. This salad will keep unrefrigerated for 4 hours, or up to a week refrigerated.


Recipe Notes

** Soaking the red onion in cold water removes some if its bite and makes it more pleasant when served raw in a cold salad like this. Soaking for 15 minutes is ideal, but even a short soak will help.

** If the salad has been refrigerated for more than a few hours, it may lose its creaminess. Toss it with a little mayo or barbecue sauce until creamy again.

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  1. This is super delicious and a perfect treat for kids or adults on cheat day .. ha ha. Its been ages I made a macaroni salad and this post is now tempting me to try some. The addition of barbeque sauce really elevates the flavour along with mayo.

  2. I am so intrigued with barbecue sauce, it brings that smoky flavours to regular macaroni salad. Great for alfresco dining.

  3. I have never tried macaroni with BBQ sauce, sounds delicious. I am sure it will be a super hit in our family. I will try this recipe soon.

  4. I am sure macaroni with BBQ sauce would be lip-smacking. Looks itself is very tempting and inviting. Innovative idea must say.

  5. The salad looks so inviting. I love macaroni dishes and will make it soon after the Navratras are over.

  6. Wow barbecue flavoured macaroni salad that sounds yummy, can imaghe smokey flavours from the barbecue sauce taking the salad to an another level, lovely share.

  7. Adding barbeque sauce is a brilliant idea!! I am sure it gives it a lovely smoking flavor too! Beautiful share!

  8. Delicious combo and lovely colour. I have to try this asap.

  9. Macaroni is favorite of kids. Adding barbeque sauce is a good idea. I am sure it gives it a lovely smoky flavor. Lovely share!

  10. Additiomn of barbeque sauce must have given a good and unique taste to pasta. I am sure my children will like it Jolly.

  11. Macaroni is my son favourite dish. Your version looks absolutely delicious and tempting.

  12. Macaroni salad looks very inviting ! I will try this for my son. Thanks for the share Jolly.

  13. Macaroni with BBQ sauce seems much lip-smacking. Innovative idea I must say Jolly :) Super yum spread !!!

  14. I am totally in for this recipe that looks easy, simple and so delicious. Thanks for the share :)

  15. Simple and delicious. A salad dressed up with a smoky sauce is too good to pass. Wonderful share.

  16. Salad can’t look better than this. Barbeque flavor given to a salad, what an interesting recipe!! Wonderful share.

  17. Perfect smoky flavors , the pasta salad looks colorful and vibrant!! Simple and delicious 😋