Spicy Macaroni Salad

Hiya! As we head into the last weekend in August, I thought you might be looking for something a little different to serve at all the end-of-summer bbq’s, picnics and get togethers and yep, you guessed it, that something is this Spicy Macaroni Salad. Whatever your feeling on this classic side is, wipe the slate clean and make way for something entirely new!


People have kind of a love/hate thing for macaroni salad. Too often it’s overly heavy on the mayo, mushy and kinda tasteless—at least that’s always been my experience. So in all my years of cooking, I’ve never been tempted to make my own. Silly me!

Because this homemade tangy version is just super delicious!

A real crowd pleaser!

And easy to whip up too!


And while there is some mayo involved, you don’t really notice it. What you will notice are those crisp fresh veggies, zingy kick due to a generous pinch of pepper flakes and wild rice as you go back for seconds and maybe even thirds!

Did she say wild rice? Yup, she did and you’re going to adore the chewiness and flavor it adds. Don’t even think of leaving it out!

Or of ending this summer on a blah note. Nope, we’re going out on a bang and it’s spicy macaroni salad all the way! More end-of-season ideas to come…


Spicy Macaroni Salad

Makes 10-12 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour but most of this is hands-free


  • Kosher salt

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup wild rice

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 garlic clove, grated

  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

  • Pinch of sugar

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 large carrots, shredded

  • 1/2 cup minced chives

  • 8 ounces macaroni

The Recipe

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes and the wild rice. Stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook the rice for another 40-50 minutes, until the water evaporates and the rice is fully and softened. Check this a couple of times during the process. If the water seems to be evaporating too quickly, lower the heat and add a little more water. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, garlic, red wine vinegar, sugar, red pepper, carrot and chives and set aside.

3. Cook the macaroni al dente, according to the package directions and drain well.

4. Add the rice and macaroni to the bowl with the mayo dressing and toss well. Add a generous pinch of salt and toss again. Serve immediately or cover and chill. You can definitely make this a day ahead—just give it a big stir to meld everything together before serving.


Note: Recipe adapted from The Home Cook by Alex Guaranschelli. I tinkered with spices and subbed in carrots for the fennel.

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