Everyday Eats & Sweets / Recipes

Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad with Pickled Beets

Hawaiian macaroni salad with pickled beets

This post is in partnership with Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. All thoughts and words are my own.

Over the summer, I was invited to the headquarters of Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products, to learn the history of the iconic jars and to tour the test kitchen, where a team rigorously develops and tests hundreds of canning and preserving recipes for the brand’s site and books.

Part of my role as a Fresh Preserving ambassador is to share the joys of home canning and teach essential preserving skills, and you may have watched the Facebook Live episode that I filmed a few months ago where we made bread-and-butter pickled beets.

But on top of canning techniques, one of my most-asked questions is… How do I use this stuff?!

Pickled beets

We shared an “extension” recipe for a Roasted Potato and Pickled Beet Salad that used those Bread-and-Butter Pickled Beets (one of my favorite potato salads to date!) and today, I have another extension recipe that will surely make it into your picnic/potluck/barbecue rotation.

I take a classic Hawaiian macaroni salad, toss it with the bread-and-butter pickling brine to add a subtle tang, and amp it up with pickled beets for a surprising burst of flavor in every bite.

Hawaiian mac salad

Though there are many variations of Hawaiian mac salads — some with carrots but no celery, some with added peas or hard-boiled eggs — the things that set them apart from traditional macaroni salads are the plump, overcooked noodles (to soak up the vinegary brine and creamy dressing), the runnier consistency of the mayo (which is thinned with milk), and the finely grated, almost liquidy onions (that blend into the salad for a subtle layer of flavor).

The resulting mac salad is far from mushy once all is said and done. After it’s been chilled, the macaroni firms up nicely but is full of all the fantastic flavor from the pickling liquid, mayo dressing, and onion juice. The carrot and celery add crunch while the beets add silkiness and sweetness. To finish off the presentation, I like to top the salad with a handful of sliced green onions.

Hawaiian mac salads are what you’d find on a Hawaiian mixed plate (with a heaping of kalua pork and a scoop of white rice), but they also make excellent side dishes to burgers and sandwiches, or grilled meats and skewers. They travel well and can be made a day or two ahead to take to your next gathering.

You’ll need a jar of these Bread-and-Butter Pickled Beets to begin, and the rest is easy!

Bread-and-butter pickled beets

Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad with Pickled Beets

Makes 12 servings


For the Salad

1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
1/3 cup brine from Bread-and-Butter Pickled Beets
1/2 cup finely diced Bread-and-Butter Pickled Beets, drained
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup grated onion
Sliced green onions, for garnishing

For the Dressing

2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni. Slightly overcook the pasta until the macaroni is fat and soft, about 5 minutes longer than the package directions.

Slightly overcooked macaroni noodles soak up tons of flavor

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Drain the macaroni and return to the pot. Pour the brine over the warm macaroni and toss until absorbed. Transfer the macaroni to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour in the dressing and gently toss to coat. Fold in the pickled beets, carrot, celery, and onion until well combined. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Carrots and pickled beets in a mac salad

Hawaiian mac salad with pickled beets, carrots, celery, and onions

Brought to you by Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products, for whom I’m a paid ambassador. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Garden Betty.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • carly
    February 21, 2019 at 3:45 am

    I live in Hawaii and I’ve never had the opportunity to taste test this recipe. Sounds very interesting.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      June 10, 2019 at 1:28 am

      It’s one of my favorites. 🙂 Try it!

  • Sam Smith
    March 3, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Will try this next weekend.

  • Silly Little Sheep
    December 22, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    That sounds like an interesting mix of flavoura. We make something similar with potatoes, carrits, peas and mayo and eat it with fried fish. I am going to make one soon, as some cnsider it a traditional Christmas eve dinner dish.


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