Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad
Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad

Oh em gee, you guys, have I been craving a retro picnic macaroni salad. I mean the whole full meal deal here guys, white noodles, chunks of cheese, eggs, peas, green onions and more. The classic BBQ salad that graced every table since the 1960’s.

I finally dug around in my recipe box where I have written down my grandma’s recipes and came up with this one. Where it’s from, I have no idea but this is seriously the best macaroni salad ever. There isn’t a store bought salad that can compare to this beauty.

Let’s get in real close and take a look, shall we? Oh baby. The only thing that would make this more retro is ham chunks and I fully encourage you to put ham chunks in it! I used bacon, which is utterly fabulous IF you make sure to let this salad sit for a few hours.

However, chunks of ham? Oh yah. That’s how it’s originally made!

Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad from @kitchenmagpie

I was kind of clapping my hands with glee making this salad. Sometimes it is so much darn fun to get into the older classics.

You guys.

For the first time EVER on this website – and most likely not the last- I used a dry powder Ranch Dressing packet!

Man, what glorious fun I had making this! Bread and butter pickles….Ranch powder… frozen peas…these things amuse me!

Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad from @kitchenmagpie

Now a warning: this is a large and in charge recipe. This is definitely from the days when you were feeding 12-14 people at a picnic. This makes a LOT of salad, we are talking a large Tupperware bowl full! The LARGE bowl that I make bread in! If you are making it for your family, then halve the recipe.

What makes this salad so epic is that you can add whatever you want. Want more eggs? Use 6! Want more bacon? Add it in! This is a base that you can tweak to your liking. I was trying to stay a little healthier so I only used half a pound of bacon in mine, but feel free to use the entire pound, it will make it better!

Also make sure to use the curled Tortiglioni pasta, it’s so much better than elbow pasta for this! It also goes by riccioli pasta, but whatever name it is, it’s a hollow twisted tube pasta and nothing beats it for this salad!

Prepare thyselves for more classic recipes. I’m bringing back the oldies!

Any classic suggestions you’d like to see on here? Porcupine meatballs (oh man, my mom made those ALL THE TIME), meatloaf? Think of something you haven’t eaten for years, I’ll find my mom’s recipe for it!

Happy retro eating! Love you more than the 70’s!



How to make a fabulous Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad! This is the best macaroni salad I've ever made, just like the 1970's versions, with a couple small updates! #picnic #salad #macaroni #vintage

Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
How to make a fabulous Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad! This is the best macaroni salad I've ever made, just like the 1970's versions, with a couple small updates! Delish!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: macaroni salad
Servings: 16
Calories: 299 kcal
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1-500 gram box Tortiglioni/Rocoli pasta twisted hollow tube pasta like curls!
  • 1 1/4 cups old cheddar cheese cubed small
  • 1 cup bread and butter pickles chopped small
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 10 green onion stems chopped
  • 1 lb cooked cooled bacon chopped or 1 cup diced ham cubes
  • 3 -6 eggs hard boiled and chopped depends how eggy you like it!
  • Dressing:br]
  • 1 package dry Ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise I use Hellmann's
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box for "firm" pasta. Drain, run under cool water until cold, drain again and place in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the salad in the large bowl.
  3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta and other ingredients; stir to cover the salad entirely with the dressing.
  5. Refrigerate until serving. This salad is best if left a few hours in the fridge or even overnight so that the flavors can meld together.
Nutrition Facts
Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 299 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 38%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 651mg 27%
Potassium 148mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 5g
Protein 8g 16%
Vitamin A 8.4%
Vitamin C 10.6%
Calcium 11.8%
Iron 3.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Hey guys, I'm Karlynn! Welcome to The Kitchen Magpie, my website full of family friendly recipes, cocktails & homesteading tales of chickens & cows from the family farm! Make sure to check out my bestselling cookbook, Flapper Pie & a Blue Prairie Sky ,stay tuned for info on my second cookbook!


  1. The Kitchen Magpie Reply

    I made soooooooo much. You guys didn;t eat nearly enough! Karami took the leftovers for her whole office tomorrow!

  2. Michael Suzanne Merrills Reply

    My favourite 🙂 already made it twice this summer!

  3. Betty Jo Hamilton Grant Reply

    looks good all put together,love macaroni salad.

  4. Sarah Schultz Reply

    Making pulled pork sandwiches for supper….this would be great with it, thanks!

  5. The Kitchen Magpie Reply

    Not one that I have tried…I know I saw one in a book recently but whew, which one….

  6. Barb Overton Reply

    Do you have a retro recipe for Tomato soup cake? Had allspice, cinnamon and raisins in it, I think. I tried a recipe I found that was for a loaf cake, but it wasn’t very good. The one my Mom made was a square cake, 8 x 8, or 9 x 9, and it had a white icing too.

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