We're bringing mac back this summer: 5 best macaroni salad recipes

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By Food Network

Memorable because of the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing and mix-ins like hard-boiled eggs, smoky ham and crunchy celery, macaroni salad is a popular summer potluck pick, and many recipes can be made with just a few pantry staples and served in under 30 minutes. Browse below for twists on the traditional recipes, like the Neelys', which adds pimento peppers, and one that uses mild cheddar cheese. Bring one of these macaroni salads to your next backyard get-together and you might notice that it's finished before the meat even comes off the grill.

Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad — For a true "down-home" side dish, try the Neelys' take on macaroni salad (pictured above). They combine the classic ingredients, like freshly hard-boiled eggs, ham steak and mayonnaise, with pimento peppers for a Southern kick and pickle relish for a bit of unexpected sweetness. You'll have to be patient to dig into this creamy salad, because the Neelys suggest refrigerating it for two hours, which allows the flavors to fully meld.

American Macaroni Salad — Fresh ingredients are the best way to balance out the richness of creamy ingredients like mayonnaise and sour cream in macaroni salad. Food Network Kitchen uses flat-leaf parsley for brightness, plus a dash of cider vinegar for tanginess in the dressing. Stir up these ingredients with the cooked pasta for a dish that's ready in just 30 minutes.

Macaroni Salad – Macaroni and cheese have proven themselves the perfect match for one another, and in this recipe they remain a delicious duo. Combine mild cheddar cheese with cooled pasta for a decadent twist on macaroni salad. Celery seed, carrots and onions are added to the mayonnaise-based dressing for additional color and texture.

Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham – Fresh dill, ham and baby peas elevate this macaroni salad with heartiness and bright flavor. Food Network Kitchen also suggests tossing the cooked pasta with milk, explaining, "Adding just a couple tablespoons mellowed the dressing and gave the salad a wonderful old-fashioned quality without being goopy or heavy."

More from Food Network:
Packable summer picnic desserts
99 amazing summer side dishes
Sweet + savory slab pies

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