This is a fun twist on a classic recipe! It is a fast and easy Cheesy Macaroni Salad that will save you time and money and is ready to eat in under 20 minutes.
I have a super easy macaroni salad recipe for you guys. It’s not necessarily a traditional version, but when a recipe has ranch dressing and cheese in it, throwing tradition out the window is perfectly fine in my book.
I came up with this recipe on a lazy weeknight. Dinnertime was rolling around and I hadn’t defrosted anything yet (story of my life – it’s as if I’m somehow shocked that dinner happens every day. This is why I freezer cook, people), so I threw this together and was pleasantly surprised by how great it came out.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
- Cheap to make: One of the reasons I love to make pasta is that it’s seriously so inexpensive. There is no need to buy a bunch of expensive fancy ingredients!
- Only Eight Ingredients: I am a huge fan of recipes that don’t require a lot.
- Only 20 Minutes: You can spend your evening or day working on together things because this dish only takes a few minutes!
Hellmann’s Mayonnaise – Don’t be fooled into using Miracle Whip! For the true mayo taste, nothing beats this. Seriously, don’t even try! 😀
Ranch Dressing – I don’t know about you, but a little ranch dressing goes well with just about everything! Heck, I even dip French Fries in it. It adds an amazing flavor to this dish as well!
Step One: Boil pasta in salted water and drain. Follow the directions on the package. It’s called macaroni salad, but as you can see, I’m a rebel and did not use macaroni. Hardcore, I know. Use any kind of small pasta that you have on hand.
Step Two: While the pasta is boiling, chop the pepper and onion and transfer into a large bowl. Add lemon juice, stir and let it sit while the pasta cooks.
Step Three: Transfer the drained pasta into the bowl containing the onion and pepper and stir together. I recommend using a white or sweet onion as the Spanish onions seem to take over the flavor of the salad more than I liked.
Step Four: Add the mayo, ranch, and butter (if you’re using it) and combine. Once incorporated, stir in the cheese. Add a pinch of salt, if needed, and combine. This is what it looks like when it’s all mixed up:
I let it sit for two minutes just so the cheese can melt ever-so-slightly, and serve while still warm. It’s also tasty chilled.
💡 Expert Tips
Wasn’t that easy? You can get the hardest part – chopping the veggies – out of the way before your water comes to a boil. So, this is an easy and fast recipe. It’s perfectly versatile too. Toss in some garlic salt or Adobo if you like a stronger taste or use whatever peppers/onions you have on hand.
Side note: Almost nothing in my kitchen is safe from Adobo. I add it to everything.
👩🍳 Recipe FAQs
Yes, any small pasta will work great. We enjoy macaroni and almost always have it on hand. Penne, rigatoni, or anything else would be fine.
Keep the macaroni salad in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last up to four days in the fridge and makes lovely leftovers.
If you notice the macaroni salad seems dry, add some extra mayo. This usually happens when the pasta doesn’t get cooked long enough. But don’t overcook it, or it becomes mushy, so you should test a piece as you are cooking it.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Easy Cheesy Macaroni Salad
- 8 oz Pasta macaroni is what I had on hand
- ⅓ cup Mayonnaise Hellmann's is my fave!
- 2 tbsp Ranch Dressing
- ⅓ cup Red Bell Pepper chopped
- ⅓ cup White Onion chopped
- ½ cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- ½ tbsp Butter melted, optional
- Boil the pasta in salted water and drain.
- While the pasta is boiling, chop the pepper and onions. Add the lemon juice.
- Add the pasta to the onions and peppers and mix together thoroughly.
- Add the mayonaisse, ranch dressing and butter (optional) and mix together.
- Add in the cheese and a pinch of salt.