From picnics and graduation parties to weekend cookouts and the upcoming Father’s Day holiday, summer’s all about leisurely get-togethers, and for those you need simple, tried-and-true dishes you’re sure will feed a crowd. Burgers, hot dogs and barbecue are go-to main dishes, but when the focus is on traditional sides, macaroni salad reigns supreme. This easy-to-fix favorite is a crowd-pleasing classic, and it can be prepared ahead of time and served when guests arrive. Check out Food Network’s top-five macaroni salad recipes below to find next-level renditions from Rachael, Guy, the Neelys and more Food Network chefs, then browse more side dish selections ideal for grilling season.
5. Bacon and Egg Macaroni Salad — Rachael starts with balsamic vinaigrette-topped macaroni and adds crisp bacon, hard-boiled eggs and pimentos for welcome texture and added flavor.
4. Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham — Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, this go-to picnic favorite features a classic ingredient combo — peas and ham — and the flavors are combined with a tangy mustard-sour cream topping.
3. Mac-Daddi-Roni Salad — Guy’s easy-to-do side dish boasts a creamy garlic-mayonnaise dressing, plus a duo of peppers as well as carrots and celery for subtle crunch. He recommends refrigerating the dish for an hour before serving so the tastes can marry.
2. American Macaroni Salad — A five-star recipe with nearly 300 user reviews, Food Network Kitchen’s quick-fix recipe is surprisingly healthy; the secret is using just a bit of mayonnaise and sour cream, and letting the naturally bold vinegar, dry mustard and fresh vegetables add plenty of flavor to this big-batch salad.
1. Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad (pictured above) — Follow the Neelys’ lead and beef up everyday macaroni salad with chopped ham steak, creamy hard-boiled eggs and sweet shallots, then toss with a relish-laced dressing. Click the play button on the video below to watch this salad come together.