Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

Whether you're looking for a side dish for a backyard barbecue or a Sunday supper, macaroni salad is a total classic. Nothing can beat the creamy texture and great flavor of this timeless dish. And even better, there are so many versions of pasta salad, making it customizable in endless ways.

A delicious take on this go-to dish? Enter: chicken macaroni salad. Incorporating chicken into the mix is a great way to add more protein to this dish. Meanwhile, plenty of veggies are added for incredible flavor and crunch. And food photographer Petar Marshall is walking you through just how to pull it off.

"This recipe is jam-packed with flavor thanks to red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard included in a punchy sauce, along with fresh dill," he says. "Plus, it can be prepped and ready in no time." Keep reading to find out how to make what just might become your new favorite side dish.

Gather the ingredients for chicken macaroni salad

Get started on making this chicken macaroni salad by grabbing all of your ingredients.

For this recipe, you'll need, elbow macaroni noodles, cooked chicken, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, black olives, one shallot, celery, fresh dill, fresh Italian parsley, cherry tomatoes, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Marshall suggests utilizing rotisserie chicken for this recipe for a quick and easy option. Otherwise, feel free to cook chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts and cut them into small pieces.

Cook and drain the macaroni noodles

Once all of your ingredients are gathered and ready, it's time to dive into prepping your pasta.

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil on the stove top. Cook the macaroni noodles until tender and done, then transfer them to a colander to drain. "Rinsing the noodles under cool water will help to chill them faster," says Marshall.

Once the noodles are rinsed, transfer them to a large bowl and place it in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Prepare the vegetables for the macaroni salad

While the noodles are cooking and chilling, use your time to chop all of the vegetables. "It's best to chop things small so they can integrate better into the finished salad," says Marshall. Chop the stalks of celery into small pieces, and drain and chop the olives. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half to make them smaller. Dice up the entire shallot, and finely chop the fresh dill and parsley. "The parsley and dill will be incorporated into the salad, as well as [be] used as a garnish," says Marshall.

Make the sauce for the macaroni salad

Once all of the vegetables and chicken are ready, there's just one more component to mix before assembling your macaroni salad. Make the sauce for your pasta salad by mixing everything together in a bowl. Add in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar and whisk thoroughly. 

"I love to use Maille Dijon mustard for this recipe, as it gives the salad a good kick," says Marshall. However, if you prefer a different brand or don't like too much spice, feel free to decrease the amount slightly.

Assemble and serve the chicken macaroni salad

With the noodles cooked and cooled, and the rest of your ingredients chopped and ready, it's time for assembly. First up, mix in the chopped celery and olives, along with the diced shallot. Stir in the chopped chicken as well. 

Next, stir in the prepared sauce until full incorporated and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, mix in the cherry tomatoes, fresh dill, and fresh parsley. Reserve a few cherry tomatoes and dill and parsley for garnish.

Thoroughly mix the macaroni salad until all ingredients are spread throughout. Garnish the top of the salad with the remaining cherry tomatoes and the chopped dill and parsley. 

Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
When you're looking for the perfect summer barbecue side dish, look no further than this tasty chicken macaroni salad recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of chicken macaroni salad
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 16-ounce bag elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 6-ounce can black olives, drained
  • 1 shallot
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove top. Cook the macaroni noodles until tender. Once cooked, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pour the noodles into a large bowl and set them in the fridge while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, start preparing the vegetables. Chop the celery and olives. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the shallot, fresh dill, and parsley.
  3. To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar.
  4. To mix the pasta salad, remove the noodles from the fridge. Mix in the celery, olives, and diced shallot.
  5. Mix in the chicken, and stir in the prepared sauce. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Mix in the cherry tomatoes, fresh dill, and parsley. Garnish with additional dill and parsley before serving.
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