Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad

This Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad is the perfect summer pasta salad.  It’s loaded with peppers, celery, onions, chunks of cheddar cheese and elbow noodles, all covered in a tangy sour cream dressing.  Simple, quick and so delicious!

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When I think about summer foods and dishes served up with BBQ meats, I immediately think of pasta salads.  Pasta salads are the quintessential summer side dish.  I love the flexibility of the ingredients you can add to them, I love that they’re easy and quick to make, and you can’t beat the fact that most people happily eat them.  I know whenever there is a pasta salad on the table my family is guaranteed to eat it.

Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad {A Pretty Life}

This Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad is a simple as they get.  The ingredients are readily available, and are often on hand, making it a great last minute side dish.  And like I always try to promote, this dish can be tailored to your tastebuds.  Add broccoli if you like, or some cubes of cooked ham, or grape tomatoes.  Experiment and enjoy!

Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad {A Pretty Life}

Tonight I’m serving this with grilled chicken, but it would be great with hamburgers, kabobs or any BBQ meat that you like.  This recipe would also be great for potlucks or you could pre-make it and take it along on camping trips or picnics.

Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad {A Pretty Life}

And have we talked about this bowl yet?  We must.  I mean look at it…it’s turquoise and white and adorable!  I bought a set of 3 of these bowls from my friend Erin, and when I saw them I nearly fainted.  Ok, not really, but I did do a little happy dance.  They are vintage Pyrex and are in perfect condition…I love them.  And they’re perfect for this pasta salad…

Now on to this simple and delicious recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!



Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad


This Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad is the perfect summer pasta salad.  It’s loaded with peppers, celery, onions, chunks of cheddar cheese and elbow noodles, all covered in a tangy sour cream dressing.




  • 4 cups of cooked elbow noodles
  • 1 bell pepper cut into small chunks
  • 2 celery sticks cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1/23/4 cup cheddar cheese chunks

Salad dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper


  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions. Cool and rinse with cold water.
  2. Blend together the mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, vinegar, sugar and salt & pepper.
  3. In a serving bowl, combine the noodles and chopped vegetables, then toss with the dressing.
  4. Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (1 hour or more is best).
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from the Talk About Good Cookbook

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Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad {A Pretty Life}

More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes:

Have a delicious day!


Creamy Cheddar Macaroni Salad
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  • Reply Carlee @cookingwithcarlee May 17, 2015 at 7:12 AM

    Your pasta salad looks so pretty! I do love the versatility of pasta salads.

  • Reply Audra @ Renewed Projects May 17, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    Macaroni salad is one of my summer favorites. I’ve never thought about putting sour cream in it…will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Lisa @ Fun Money Mom May 19, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    I love pasta salad and this looks delicious! It will be perfect for when we have friends over this summer! Thanks so much for linking up with #ShareTheWealthSunday!


  • Reply Debbie Caraballo May 21, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    Hi, love this pasta salad! So colorful, and lots of great flavors. I own the Talk About Good cookbooks, 1 and 2, if it’s the same one you’re talking about. Love them! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Kim @ The Baking ChocolaTess May 22, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    Love pasta salad and this one looks like a winner in my book! Pinning! Visiting from Home Matters Linky Party! Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Reply jessica knott (Swanky Recipes) May 22, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    This would make a great addition to summer backyard BBQ’s. Love how creamy it looks, pinned!

  • Reply Melissa Vera May 24, 2015 at 7:42 PM

    This salad looks scrumptious. Thank you for linking up on the #HomeMattersParty this week. Looking forward to seeing what you link up with next week.

  • Reply Tammy @ creativekkids May 25, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    I love summertime salads! Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I am finally getting around to pinning your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  • Reply Tammay Ragan June 2, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    I have to try this salad. It looks yummy! Plus I love the bowl its pictured in! My late Mother has the same set of bowls which I used last week when I visited my Father. She bought them when I was a child. Thanks for the picture!

  • Reply Suz February 23, 2016 at 6:29 PM

    This macaroni salad looks really good! It’s a must make for this summer! I want to also tell you how much I love those bowls! They are beautiful, I love vintage Pyrex. Might just have to search to find where I can buy a set! Thank you!

  • Reply Marissa May 5, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    When do you add the mustard?!? Thanks!

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife May 5, 2016 at 8:31 PM

      Hi Marissa! Mix it in at the same time as the mayonnaise! Sorry about that…I’ve fixed the recipe now! 🙂

  • Reply Krystan July 1, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    About how many does this feed? Thanks in advance!

  • Reply Vanessa August 31, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    I just made this and it tastes awesome! I love adding another great salad recipe to my memory bank 🙂

  • Reply Sharon Thompson February 6, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    Love the old school bowl. My grandmother had those same bowls years ago (30+). Thanks for the yummy looking recipe. I plan on making it tonight. It might as well be summer in Dallas…it is 80 today.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife February 7, 2017 at 12:41 PM

      It’s my favourite bowl too, I just love the pattern! Enjoy your summer weather…we’re digging out of a giant snowstorm!!

  • Reply Michelle March 9, 2017 at 2:04 PM

    This salad looks delicious! And that bowl..instantly brought back memories. My mother had this very same one! Seeing it made me smile:)

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife March 11, 2017 at 7:12 PM

      Thank you Michelle! And it makes me very happy to know that seeing this bowl in my post made you smile! 🙂

  • Reply cheryl mcc May 11, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    love the pasta salad,but I tried it with miracle whip and skipped the mayo and sour cream

  • Reply CarsonWyler July 15, 2017 at 4:41 PM

    What do you mean by “2 tbsp cup chopped red onion” in the ingredients list?

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife July 16, 2017 at 5:06 PM

      Hi Carson! Sorry, that should read 2 tbsp chopped red onion. I’ve corrected the recipe!

  • Reply Mark June 1, 2018 at 8:28 AM

    This salad is wonderful. I’ve been looking for something just like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Mark June 1, 2018 at 8:33 AM

    I forgot to give it a 5 star rating. Tastes even better than the deli style offerings in my area.

    • Reply Jo-Anna Rooney June 7, 2018 at 1:53 PM

      Thank you so much Mark! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Happy Summer to you

    • Reply jennifer September 10, 2018 at 12:36 PM

      I agree❗️

  • Reply Donna goodman June 17, 2018 at 11:05 AM

    My husband picked this out for his Father’s Day cookout. It is delicious! Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Reply Nohemi July 14, 2018 at 10:57 PM

    Made this but substituted sweet peas for the bell pepper. It is delicious!! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply Carrie February 5, 2019 at 8:01 PM

      I love that idea! Thank you

  • Reply Caron Norton July 21, 2018 at 9:21 PM

    Does the recipe call for distilled white vinegar? Can another vinegar be substituted?

  • Reply jennifer September 10, 2018 at 12:39 PM

    I really enjoyed making this, I used your recipe as a guideline to make my own! very good 👌🏽

  • Reply Natali July 3, 2019 at 5:40 PM

    Hi Jo-Anna,
    I made this for a gathering last summer and got lots of compliments on it. Can I make it the night before or would it not hold? Thank you for your awesome blog!

    • Reply Jo-Anna Rooney July 4, 2019 at 7:14 PM

      Hi Natali! You can definitely make it the night before. Just make sure to give it a good stirring before you serve it. Sometimes I will even keep a little bit of the dressing back and stir it in before I serve it.

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