For a hassle-free way to make creamy and delicious macaroni salad, look no further than this Instant Pot Macaroni Salad recipe. Utilizing your pressure cooker, you can achieve perfectly cooked and tender noodles minutes, eliminating the need for constant supervision or stove monitoring. This recipe yields a creamy and flavorful salad that's perfect for any occasion.
Macaroni salad is a much-loved side dish for a good reason.
This macaroni salad in the Instant Pot is super easy and perfect for those days when you've got a million things going on.
The pressure cooker does all the heavy lifting, and you are free to do things outside of the kitchen while the pasta cooks.
All you will need are simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
Follow along, and I'll teach you how easy it is to make pressure cooker macaroni salad! Whether you're making it for a party or potluck or simply want to enjoy some delicious macaroni salad at home, this Instant Pot pasta salad is sure to please.
Let's get started!
- Pasta: I prefer elbow macaroni in this recipe, but you could substitute another short pasta. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time if necessary.
- Mayonnaise: Use your favorite brand of mayo, or use veganaise if you want to make a vegan Instant Pot Macaroni salad.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This provides the tangy flavor that sets this classic macaroni salad apart. You could use white vinegar if you prefer.
- Pickle Relish: Adds a delicious crunch and subtle sweetness to the dish.
- Yellow Mustard: Adds a little more zip and depth of flavor. Dijon mustard also works well.
- Sugar: A touch of sweetness helps balance out all of the flavors in the dish.
- Hot Sauce: Optional but highly recommended - it gives the salad a spicy kick.
- Salt and Black Pepper: To taste.
- Vegetables: I like to use grated carrots, diced celery, and halved grape or cherry tomatoes. You could also add cubed red bell pepper or chopped green onion to this pasta salad recipe.
- Cheese: Grated cheddar cheese is a classic choice, but you could substitute your favorite kind of cheese. Omit or use dairy-free cheese to make this vegan.
Step by Step
For the full recipe with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Tips & Tricks
- Cook your macaroni al dente (firm to the bite) to ensure it maintains its shape and texture when mixed with other ingredients.
- Rinse your macaroni under cold water after cooking to remove excess starch and prevent it from sticking together.
- Don't overcook your macaroni or let it sit in hot water after cooking, as this can cause it to become mushy.
- Add salt to the pot of water before boiling your macaroni to enhance its flavor.
- Mix your dressing separately before adding it to the macaroni to ensure that it's evenly distributed throughout the dish.
- Let your macaroni salad chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Play with the add-ins! Try adding diced olives, red onion, or hard boiled eggs to mix things up.
How do you keep macaroni salad from absorbing all of the dressing?
The trick is to make sure the noodles are cooled before you add the dressing. The mayonnaise will thicken and become creamier once it hits a cold surface.
How long does macaroni salad last?
Once prepared, macaroni salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To keep it fresh, store it in an airtight container.
Can I make this vegan?
Yes, just use veganaise instead of regular mayonnaise and omit or substitute the cheese with your favorite dairy-free option.
Is there a way to make macaroni salad without mayo?
Yes, you can make it with Greek yogurt. Just replace the mayonnaise with the same amount of plain Greek yogurt and you’re good to go!
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- Instant Pot
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Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
- Instant Pot
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise or veganaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- ½ cup diced celery
- 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
- Pour 2 cups of water into your Instant Pot and add the macaroni noodles. Salt well.
- Close the lid, and make sure it is set to sealing. Set your Instant Pot to HIGH Manual Pressure for 3 minutes.
- When the time is up, do a quick release. Carefully remove the lid.
- Drain the pasta and rinse well with cold water. Return the pasta to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, pickle relish, mustard, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the carrots, tomatoes, celery, and cheese. Stir in half of the pasta salad dressing into the pasta and veggies.
- Refrigerate the pasta salad and remaining dressing for at least an hour. Just before serving, toss the pasta with the remaining dressing.