How To Cook The Best Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

Families love celebrating the yuletide season. Undoubtedly, Christmas is the most awaited and most beautiful time of the year. The lovely once in every year event is a helpful way of gathering families to open new gifts together. Apart from opening new gifts, the season’s main highlight indulges in unique and delicious food recipes.

In a typical Christmas celebration dining set-up, Filipino families will never forget to have ham and queso de bola. These are the stars of the dining table, alongside the Lechon. However, we never turn a blind eye on the recipes and treats placed on the side, for they are known to be the silent assassins that make our stomachs full and turn us sleepy after Noche Buena.     

Among the many recipes, Chicken Macaroni Salad is traditionally anticipated during the Christmas season for Noche Buena. You may remember your mom or grandma letting you help in the kitchen and teaching you how to cook the recipe that can be stocked up for weeks and even for a year (because technically, the following week after Christmas is a brand new year already). One can also remember a relative known for its special macaroni salad as a default contribution for reunions and gatherings. 

It is just exciting how delicious food can help lighten up your mood. It might be impossible to crave macaroni without having a nostalgic back dive to all the happy memories. It can be attributed to the media, as most advertisements featuring this delectable dish associate it with the holidays. So it is almost automatic that this version of the dish completes the feast and is a staple for celebration. 

(Photo Credits to: Spicy Southern Kitchen)

The macaroni salad was not excused from the wave of food commercialization as you can buy a cup of serving from several convenience stores. Without a doubt, these recipes / packed food are not as satisfying when and tested against the homemade version. So in case, homesickness kicks in, or if you can’t wait until Christmas to have a delicious bowlful of macaroni delight, we have crafted this dish for you to test and count on to make yourself one regardless of the occasion!

What Is A Chicken Macaroni Salad

It is one of the famous Christmas recipes. It is usually made using the elbow macaroni, and chicken breast is used as it contains little to no fat and can be served cold without the grease. It is called a salad because it is a cold dish with a mix of fruits, raw vegetables, and dressing. Other recipes make it more delicious by adding zest and mustard on it.  

(Photo Credits to: Ang Sarap)

Different families have various recipes and distinct ways of creating their macaroni salad with broilers as if it is an heirloom. There is no strict rule in preparing the dish, as there are also some international recipes that replace the meat with ham, tuna, or even tofu and replace the fruits with other citrus and root crops. However, we guarantee that the macaroni salad recipe is the basic but one of the most delectable.

Variations Of Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

Taking some wise words from Williman Cowper, “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” The dish opens itself to several variations that are suitable for different seasons and gastronomic preferences. Browse our different takes on this salad recipe and give it a go!

With Peas, Mangoes, and Peaches

Adding peas in your macaroni salad will make it more filling, and at the same time, healthier! If you plan on giving away the dish to elderly relatives, this recipe is a great idea! These small but terrible greens are low in calories but are a great source of protein; they also contain high dietary fibers, vitamin A, iron, folate, and vitamin C.

A macaroni salad variant with peas is also known as Summer Chicken Macaroni Salad (as coined by Taste from Home) only that it is added with mangoes and peaches and dressed with yogurt. This seemingly new recipe is typically enjoyed during a summer picnic or swimming snack, as its refreshing taste can beat the summer heat. 

Pasta Salad With Condensed Milk

Meanwhile, this second style is one of the recipes suited for those with a sweet tooth. It might sound weird for non-Filipino readers as they would not imagine how a mix of broilers, macaroni, and condensed milk would make a delectable combination, but it won’t hurt to try! 

Kids most love this borderline dessert and appetizer variant! Just taking a spoonful will instantly give them a sugar rush! It is usually served chilled, so make sure to produce a generous amount of the condensed and cream mixture to soak up the macaroni.

Chicken Salad With Pineapple

In case you need a reminder on how to whip up the classic favorite served by your family during holidays, here’s the recipe of the usual yet extraordinary macaroni with broilers and pineapple. 

The primary procedure for cooking the elbow macaroni and preparing the chicken breast is similar to the previous version. Once you’re already done with cooking the macaroni and shredding the meat, combine the ingredients in a huge bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, add the carrots, pineapple bits, cheese, and mayonnaise and mix them thoroughly. It will take a couple of mins of refrigeration before you can enjoy it.

With Mustard, Relish, and Apple Cider Vinegar

This is one of the recipes that is met with much unfamiliarity. While it may be true that mustard, zest, and apple cider vinegar may not familiar and maybe new to many Filipinos, the addition of the three new ingredients opens us to the inevitable that will surely spice up our recipe.  

To achieve this, you will need to have uncooked macaroni, mayonnaise, mustard, zest, apple cider vinegar, shredded chicken breasts. You will also need iced hard-boiled eggs, diced celery ribs, chopped red onions, and sliced red bell pepper. 

The first thing you need to do is to simmer the macaroni until that stick-to-the-tooth texture is achieved. It may take a couple of minutes. Afterward, drain the macaroni. In a large bowl, combine and mix the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, zest, and mustard altogether. After mixing, put the breast part, sliced hard-boiled eggs, celery,red pepper, and red onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Afterward, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.   

With Cheddar Cheese and Marble Potatoes Recipe

This is known to be one of the most sophisticated macaroni recipes. Your macaroni would be far better if it were to be complemented by the grated cheddar cheese’s creaminess alongside the presence of potato marbles. Their addition is not only complemented sophistication or poshness, but they also complement the elbow macaroni and the entire recipe.   

To do this recipe, you will need to have shredded chicken breasts, carrots, mayonnaise, grated cheddar cheese, and elbow macaroni, marble potatoes, minced sage, minced rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

The first thing to do is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Dress the marble potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the dressed potatoes on a baking tray and roast for about ⅓ hour until they’re golden and soft to touch. While doing this, cook the macaroni until it reaches that al dente texture. Once the al dente texture is achieved, drain the macaroni. 

When the marble potatoes are roasted, and the macaroni is cooked, mix the carrots, chicken, and the marble potatoes with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. You may put condensed milk to the recipe to add a little bit of sweetness to the dish. You may also opt to bacon tidbits to add crunchiness to it.          

Troubleshooting the Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

If you’re anxious about messing up your recipe, follow these kitchen-smart troubleshooting guides that we have picked up!

  • Use the right size and shape of macaroni – as the cut of the food affects its taste and make or break recipes, the same goes for macaroni. It opens to the fact that macaroni’s right shape is determined by the kind of sauce or spices that you will mix it with. In this case, macaroni’s ideal type to use for macaroni with broilers is the elbow macaroni. 
  • Do not overcook or undercook the macaroni – The more it is left boiling, the softer and mushier it gets while it cools; it gets chewy and hard. Follow the cooking duration as stated in the package and take one macaroni 5 minutes before the end of the cooking duration and bite on it to test the softness. It would help if you got that lovely “al dente,” or “stick to the tooth” texture. All food recipes require proper timing. 
  • Season the macaroni enough – If you’re afraid of making the salad salty, season it little by little and taste it after every trial until your target taste is achieved. This may not be new to hear, but cold dishes require more seasoning, make sure to flavor it well to avoid having a bland macaroni. Food recipes also need proper estimation. 
  • Dress the salad while it’s still warm – Season it early to be more flavorful as warm elbow macaroni will absorb the dressing and other spices when still hot. You may take a half cup of mayo (or other dressing counterparts in your chosen recipe), blend it in the freshly cooked macaroni, and then add the remaining when tossed with other ingredients.

Trivia: Benefits of Chicken Macaroni Salad Ingredients

For the body-conscious, the macaroni opens to a new form of guilt. To prevent you from taking the body-conscious to guilt-trip from enjoying your macaroni, we will share with you some nutritional benefits from the primary contents that make up this irresistible treat! 

  • Elbow macaroni salad – recipes that use elbow macaroni must know that it’s a source of carbohydrates. It isn’t new that you need to fuel up on energy, especially if you consume this dish during the holiday season, to keep you from being drained with all the happenings!
  • Mayonnaise – mayo is known as a fat-rich dressing, but please do not fret as these fats are mostly unsaturated fat, a healthy type of fat. And guess what, this may be a new fact for you, but it is also a Vitamin E source.
  • Cheddar Cheese – the presence of cheddar cheese in your recipe does not only add to the dish’s aesthetic quality. It also provides nutrients since its consumption can give the human body protein and calcium. Recipes must, as much as possible, use cheddar cheese since it alleviates the risk of dental caries. 
  • Condensed Milk – recipes with condensed milk give off extra calories, proteins, calcium, and phosphorus. Undoubtedly, condensed milk helps you develop strong bones while enjoying a bowl of macaroni.   
  • Carrots – carrot consumption opens you to overwhelming nutritional benefits, so I’ll skip the adjectives and get on with its valuable contents. It is rich in beta carotene (which your body converts into Vitamin A), fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots can help in weight loss, linked to lower cholesterol levels, and improved eyesight. What’s not to love about recipes with carrots?  
  • Potatoes – the addition of potatoes on your dish is a boon for your overall health. They are a helpful source of Vitamin C, Potassium, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, Vitamin B6, and Iron. Recipes must continuously use potatoes since it’s fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free.     
  • Chicken Breast – this lean cut is a protein source and low in calories, so it can help you attain better body composition. Recipes with chicken breasts can help you get vitamin B, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc. 
  • Pineapple – this tropical superstar is packed with fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, copper, thiamin, folate, potassium, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and iron; fights cancer risk; ease digestion; boosts immunity; can help speed up surgery or injury recovery. What’s not to love about recipes with pineapple? 
  • Peas – this green is a source of iron, Vitamin C, and lutein. Also, recipes with peas on it are beneficial since it can alleviate the risk of heart problems and indigestion. Peas can also aid you in your body goals as the vegetable’s high fiber content and its low-fat and low-calorie quality help in weight loss.    
  • Mustard – though mustard’s appearance on your dish is new and unusual, its presence in various recipes opens you to a plethora of nutritional values. Mustard adds iron, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus to your meals.
  • Relish – this piece does not fail to enhance the taste of numerous recipes. Zest is a source of Vitamin A. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin K. It’s known for being low in terms of Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – little do others know that this liquid provides numerous health benefits. It aids weight loss and as well as helps lower blood sugar levels. The polyphenols chemical in apple cider vinegar prevents cell damage that can lead to severe diseases like cancer. 

This is just an excellent reason for you to enjoy a bowlful of macaroni! You may even add green and red bell pepper, mustard, and zest to complement the taste. However, please be reminded that one serving is equivalent to 771 kcal (based on the macaroni with broilers and pineapple recipe), so you should know the calorie intake that your body can burn. Nevertheless, you might need more energy if you keep up with your relatives during the feast, so yes, you can munch on an extra macaroni. 

Tips: Elbow macaroni

It is common to make a salad with broiler recipes with elbow macaroni as the primary content due to its distinct characteristics, unlike other pasta types. 

  • Elbow macaroni has the most suitable shape – the shape of this dish ideally soaks up the dressing as it seeps through the tiny curved hole. Meanwhile, its small size is almost the same as the other ingredient cut, and it is ideal as it can fit in a spoon scoop and other tasty components, making that one big bite so delish!
  • Affordability – In the Philippines, recipes that use elbow macaroni are cheaper than other kinds of pasta.
  • Availability – pasta salad with broiler recipes are almost omnipresent as you can find it basically anywhere, from convenience stores, groceries, and even in the nearest sari-sari store.
  • Other versions – You may opt for a wheat-based elbow macaroni if you like to lighten up the dish. You can also replace the dressing with low fat and low-calorie equivalents.

Best Served With

If ever you’re in charge of the Food Committee and you run out of ideas for the food to pair with macaroni, we got your back!

  • Fried Chicken – aside from the fact that this all-time fave is a veteran part of the feast, it is sumptuous to be served with macaroni as the fried chicken well complements’ saltiness and fat, the light, sweet, and creamy salad. Most restaurants have developed this pairing and have unique recipes for it.
  • Pancit Canton Guisado – this stir-fry noodle dish’s saltiness can be balanced by the macaroni’s sweetness with condensed milk. Recipes like this are perfect for an afternoon party or during a picnic!    
  • Lumpiang Shanghai – this is one of the Filipino recipes that are excellent tandem with macaroni. Grab one bite of lumpia and then take a spoonful of the mac, what a delight!
  • Buffalo wings – pairing macaroni with these flamin’ hot wings is a good idea, especially if you’re going on a movie marathon or watching the Superbowl. 
  • Breaded pork Chop – This excellent piece of protein companion with the macaroni is ideal for a packed lunch to take with you to work or school. Recipes like this one need to be complemented with cola! 
  • Barbecue – macaroni’s flavor with mustard and apple cider vinegar is much better when complemented with any barbecue. Recipes like this one are suitable to be enjoyed in your backyard! 
  • T-Bone Steak – the tenderness of the meat of this stake couldn’t get any better with the presence of macaroni. To add spices to the dining experience, this must be consumed with a wine of your choice! 
  • Hamburger/ Cheeseburger – this snack fits perfectly with a cold macaroni salad. Who would say no to the combination of meatiness/cheesiness and the coldness of the salad?  
  • Garlic bread – The nutty taste of garlic bread opens you to the creaminess and sweet yet salty aftertaste of the macaroni. Undeniably, recipes with garlic bread tend to look a bit posh.
  • Hamon de bola – Together with the pasta salad, Hamon de bola pairing will spell C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S! The recipes of sweet and savory ham will complement the light and creamy taste of the macaroni. 
  • Mango Graham Fridge Cake – Dessert recipes like icebox dessert cake will also provide an excellent bonding experience. It is made with layers of ladyfingers or graham crackers, whipped cream, condensed milk, and diced mangoes. You can serve this together with the mac salad whenever you feel like you deserve some treat!


Chicken macaroni salad is straightforward and such a delight to make. From the preparation of ingredients to the very moment of having this treat is a bliss! Who knows, now that you can make it your own, you can start a macaroni business whenever the season hits, and you can even prepare it in a jar as a gift. 

So the next time you crave for macaroni salad, you can already make it by yourself! If you are a homemaker or a person far away from home, this article will be the new guide that opens you the doors on how to cook macaroni– a family-favorite dish that resembles a hug in every bite. Finally, let us share this secret with you: for a more enjoyable macaroni experience, please share it with the people around you!

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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5 from 2 votes

Superb Chicken Salad Recipe

Make yourself ready for a good time by making this delectable treat. Here are the easy-to-follow steps in achieving that heaven-sent macaroni.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Pasta Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 771kcal
Cost $5-$20


  • 1 lb Macaroni
  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 pc Carrot small size, diced
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple bits
  • 1/2 cup Chicken breast
  • 5 cups Water


  • In a pot, boil water with salt.
  • Add the macaroni and keep stirring for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • In another pot, boil the chicken breast for 20 minutes or until it gets tender. After boiling, chop the chicken into strips and let it cool. Set aside.
  • Get the macaroni, sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Add the chicken strips, carrots, pineapple bits, and mayonnaise. Stir it well.
  • Transfer into a large bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 96g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 893mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

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