A plate of Hawaiian mac salad.

Hawaiian Mac Salad Is More Than Your Standard Side Dish

Hawaiian mac salad is mild, creamy, simple, and made up of affordable pantry staples that many people already have on hand.

With Hawaiian mac salad, the noodles must be overcooked to be puffy and soft. The mayonnaise must be Best Foods brand, with Hellmann's as the only acceptable alternative.

Overcooking lets the noodles absorb the dressing fully and transforms this side dish from cold noodles with sauce into something creamy and cohesive.

Cooked macaroni pasta is combined with mayonnaise, salt, ground black pepper, and sometimes milk or vinegar. This is where cooks make mac salad their own.

Cubed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and spaghetti noodle pieces can be added. Grated white or yellow onion, chopped green onion, or grated carrot can also be incorporated.

Stir in apple cider vinegar for acid or a touch of white sugar for sweetness. Locals feel strongly about getting this recipe right, but some variation is permissible.