A Filipino Macaroni Salad is perfect for sharing, whether during the Holidays, family gatherings, or potlucks. Creamy, bursting with tropical flavors, and just the right amount of sweetness, is the perfect fit for our tastes.
This sweet and savory Pinoy Salad is one of Filipino’s favorite desserts. It has all kinds of flavors and balance ingredients of carbs, proteins, and fats. When I live in the Philippines, we make this during festivals and family gatherings, and I bring it to picnics a lot, especially if I don’t feel like slaving myself in the kitchen to make a special dessert. Of course, it is always present during Christmas and New Year’s Eve too!
You Will love this
- A crowd-pleaser and the perfect dessert to bring to any occasion because it is easy to transport anywhere.
- There’s no cooking skill needed! All you need to do is cook the macaroni pasta and combine all the ingredients in one container! It’s the easiest dessert that yields one of the best dishes.
- Simple, quick, and delicious. An easy dessert that comes together in less than 20 minutes.
- If you like this Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad, don’t forget to check out my Chicken Macaroni Soup, Maja Blanca Recipe, Puto Cheese Recipe, and Ube Halaya Recipe.
To make the best Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad, we need the following:
- Macaroni – You can use your favorite brand of elbow macaroni. Simply follow the instructions on how to cook this at the back of the package. 2 cups of uncooked is equivalent to 4 cups of cooked noodles.
- Mayonnaise – To achieve your desired creaminess, you can add more or reduce the mayonnaise portion.
- Chicken – To balance the savory side of the dish (and add a little protein!) Shredded or sliced in bite sizes chicken is ideal. I used chicken from the can since it is already cooked and shredded, all I need is a can opener.
- Sweet Pickle Relish – Additional sweetener.
- Carrots – Adds color, nutrients, and texture. There’s no need to cook it as long as you chop it as tiny as possible.
- Pineapple – Adds perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of sourness for a tropical vibe. I love to use an in-can pineapple for more convenience, but of course, fresh pineapple is great!
- Onion – I love adding just a little bit of finely chopped onion. You can skip it if you are not a fan of onion in your macaroni salad.
- Raisins – Raisins are dried grapes but are sweeter. Dried fruits such as raisins are better sweeteners than sugar.
- Cheese – I like to use sharp or mild cheddar cheese as it adds creaminess. Be sure to dice it into small cubes as possible.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste.
Add your favorite ingredients. This dessert is fail-proof, and one thing I love the most about making my own is I can decide what goes in it. For flavor and color, feel free to experiment with other add-ins, such as boiled eggs, chopped bell peppers, or celery. Do you want sweeter? Add some sugar or condensed milk!
How to make Macaroni Salad
Whether you are a beginner cook, you can make this delicious dessert as it is easy and simple.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, boil enough water with a sprinkle of salt. Add macaroni and cook according to the package directions for about 5-8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with water, this will prevent the pasta from sticking together and stop the cooking process. Be sure not to undercook or overcook the pasta. Allow it to cool completely.
- Prepare all the ingredients. You will need a knife and a chopping board to chop most of the ingredients. Grab a large bowl and combine all the ingredients. I like a roomy container to mix all my ingredients easier. Mix everything until the mayonnaise is well blended. Don’t forget to taste and adjust your seasoning with some salt and black pepper accordingly.
- Let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour or longer. Ideally, you eat it cold, but I enjoy eating it at room temperature.
What to serve with Filipino Macaroni Salad
This popular Pinoy dessert macaroni salad can be eaten on its own. It can also be enjoyed as a mid-day snack, dessert, or side dish. Consider serving this with:
Questions and Answers
While macaroni pasta has an Italian origin, the Filipino style is similar to the Hawaiian-style macaroni salad in that it’s sweeter and full of island flavors and ingredients such as pineapples and mayonnaise. During the American occupation in the early 20th century, this classic macaroni deli salad became popular in the Philippines.
Be sure to add enough mayonnaise and properly mix it with all the other ingredients until well blended.
While this chicken macaroni salad may not be as healthy as a leafy green salad, it is not an unhealthy choice either. You can make your homemade mayonnaise using olive oil, egg, and lemon juice for a healthier mayonnaise. You can also use avocado as a mayonnaise substitute. Skip condensed milk since this salad/dessert is already sweetened with tropical and dried fruits. Add more crunchy textured veggies such as celery and bell pepper.
Make-ahead and Storage Tips
Make-ahead: Make this ahead by preparing and combining all the ingredients except mayonnaise. Transfer them to air-tight ingredients and store them in the refrigerator.
Storage: Store in an air-tight container with a lid for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can freeze this in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Freezing and thawing may change the texture a little bit, but it won’t affect the taste. I freeze them all the time whenever I make a huge batch.
Filipino Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni 4 cups cooked
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 1 pound cooked chicken shredded
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 1½ cups pineapple sliced in dice-bite size
- ¼ cup onion finely chopped
- ½ cup cheddar cheese sliced in dice
- ⅓ cup sweet pickled relish
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a saucepan over medium heat, boil enough water with a sprinkle of salt. Add macaroni and cook according to the package directions for about 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with water, this will prevent the pasta from sticking together. Allow it to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix everything until the mayonnaise is well incorporated. Taste and adjust your seasoning with salt and black pepper accordingly.
- Refrigerate for an hour or longer. Serve and enjoy!