Instant Pot Macaroni Salad is made with macaroni pasta that you cook quickly in the Instant Pot, then mixed with crunchy vegetables, cheese, and a creamy dressing to make a perfect summer salad in a flash.
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Macaroni salad is a fantastic side dish that is easy to make and incredibly delicious. It’s the salad you find on just about every table during the summer because everyone loves the contrast of fresh veggies, pasta, and creamy dressing.
This recipe is made even easier by cooking the pasta in an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot cooks the pasta in record time, so you can have a delicious macaroni salad in less than 20 minutes. Make a larger batch to take to a picnic or BBQ, and it’s a win win.
Ingredients You Need
- Macaroni Pasta: feel free to use another type of pasta, but macaroni shapes is the classic pasta to use in this recipe.
- Peas: Fresh peas give a nice texture and fresh flavor to the salad. The color also brightens it up. Be sure to use fresh peas or uncooked frozen peas. Already cooked peas are too soggy.
- Bell Pepper: Any color of bell pepper works. It adds a beautiful color to the salad and a bright taste.
- Celery: Add a little crunch with fresh celery.
- Eggs: You can cook the eggs at the same time as the pasta in the Instant Pot, saving even more time.
- Cheddar Cheese: Use any cheddar from mild to vintage that you like to eat. It can be yellow or white – or both for more color. About 1/2 of an 8 ounce block of cheese.
- Creamy dressing: Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper make up the dressing for this salad.
- Green onion: Green onion adds a nice bright garnish to the salad and makes it fresh and aromatic if you cut them onto the top of the salad right before it’s served.
How to Make Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
Pour macaroni into the Instant Pot and then add the water. It will take 2 cups, but if there is still some dry pasta above the water, add a little more so it’s covered.
Place the trivet on top of the noodles. Set the 2 eggs on the trivet. They will cook at the same time as the pasta, so you can save a step. Use this ingenious cooking method to cook the potatoes and eggs to make Instant Pot potato salad.
Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press the Pressure cook or Manual button and set the cook time to 5 minutes. It will take about 5 minutes to come up to pressure. Once the time is up, allow a 5-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure.
Open the lid. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Remove the trivet and set it aside.
Drain the pasta and run it under cold water for 2-3 minutes, until cooled. This will keep the pasta from continuing to cook, which will make it soggy and overcooked. Allow it to cool and drain completely.
If your inner pot is still wet, dry it out with a paper towel. Transfer the pasta back into the dry inner pot.
Peel and cube the eggs, then add the egg, peas, bell pepper, celery, and cheese to the inner pot. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine. Taste it to make sure the seasoning suits you. You might need to add a bit more salt.
The salad is ready to be consumed now, but it’s best to refrigerate the salad until well chilled before serving. Garnish with green onion.
Substitutions & Variations
- Spice it up: Add red pepper flakes to the pasta or add some chopped jalapeno pepper or spicy pepperoni.
- Change the dressing: Most dressings work in this recipe, so experiment and see what you enjoy. Italian dressing or Caesar dressing are good store-bought alternatives to making your own.
- International: Add olives and mozzarella, or add in some black beans and corn for a Mexican pasta salad. Similar to this tasty salad.
- Add a protein: Try adding small bay shrimp or grilled chicken to bulk this salad up.
Questions About the Recipe
Can I make this recipe without an Instant Pot?
Of course! Instead of making the pasta in an Instant Pot, make it on the stove instead. Follow the cooking instructions on the packaging. You don’t need an Instant Pot to make this macaroni salad, but it does cut down on the time to cook the pasta and it’s very convenient if you don’t have a stove top to cook on.
How long can I store the instant pot pasta salad?
Store the pasta salad in an airtight container, then place it in the fridge for about 4 days. It can also be frozen for later. Use within one month.
Tips for the Best Outcome
- Instant Pot macaroni salad tastes good the day of, but it tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to marinade together.
- Don’t use fresh pasta in this recipe, dried works best.
- You might want to add a bit more mayonnaise the next day to loosen the dressing back up and revive the salad.
Why Use An Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
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Easy Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot
- 8 ounces dry macaroni
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup peas frozen or thawed
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup celery halved and sliced
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese cubed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 green onion chopped
- Pour macaroni into the Instant Pot. Pour in the water.
- Place the trivet on top of the noodles. Set the 2 eggs on the trivet.
- Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press the Pressure cook or Manual button and set the cook time to 5 minutes. Allow a 5-minute natural pressure release, then release remaining pressure.
- Open the lid. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Remove the trivet.
- Drain the pasta and run it under cold water for 2-3 minutes, until cooled. Allow it to cool and drain completely.
- Transfer the pasta back into the dry inner pot.
- Peel and cube the eggs.
- Add the egg, peas, bell pepper, celery, and cheese to the pot.
- Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl until smooth and then add it to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate the salad until well chilled before serving. Garnish with green onion.
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.