Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad Recipe: Delight Your Taste Buds

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Hawaiian cuisine is renowned for its unique blend of flavors, and one dish that perfectly embodies this is the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad.

This delightful recipe brings together the essence of the islands, combining creamy textures with a burst of tangy goodness.

Whether you’re hosting a barbecue or craving a taste of Hawaii, this macaroni salad is sure to transport your palate to a tropical paradise.

The Allure of Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, drawing inspiration from the diverse cultures that have shaped the islands over the years.

At the heart of this culinary mosaic lies the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad, a dish that encapsulates the essence of Hawaii in every mouthful.

Let’s delve into the allure of this delightful macaroni salad and discover what makes it a standout in the world of Hawaiian fare.

Origins and Tradition:

The term “Ono” in Hawaiian means delicious, and this macaroni salad lives up to its name.

Originating from the tradition of Ono Hawaiian BBQ, the dish brings together the warmth of comfort food with the tropical flair that defines Hawaiian cooking.

It is more than just a salad; it’s a culinary journey through the diverse flavors of the Pacific.

Unique Flavor Profile:

What sets the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad apart is its unique flavor profile.

The combination of creamy mayonnaise, sweet brown sugar, tangy apple cider vinegar, and zesty Dijon mustard creates a dressing that is both rich and tantalizing.

Each ingredient plays a crucial role in harmonizing the sweet and savory notes, resulting in a taste that is distinctly Hawaiian.

Embodying the Spirit of Hawaii:

Hawaii is not just a place; it’s a state of mind. The Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad embodies the spirit of the islands with its laid-back charm and tropical ingredients.

The salad reflects the diversity of Hawaii’s culinary heritage, blending influences from Native Hawaiian, Asian, and Western cuisines into a single, delectable dish.

Comfort in Simplicity:

One of the most alluring aspects of this macaroni salad is its simplicity. The straightforward preparation process allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through.

Boiling the elbow macaroni, whisking together the dressing, and combining them with fresh vegetables create a dish that is not only visually appealing but also a testament to the beauty of uncomplicated recipes.

A Taste of Paradise:

Serving the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad is like taking a bite out of paradise.

The crunch of grated carrot, the crispness of diced onion and celery, and the subtle heat from green onions all contribute to a symphony of textures and flavors.

It’s a taste of the sun-soaked beaches, swaying palm trees, and the aloha spirit that defines Hawaii.

Here is the recipe –

ono hawaiian bbq macaroni salad

Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad Recipe

Karina Kari
This Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad recipe captures the essence of Hawaiian cuisine with a delightful combination of creamy textures and tangy flavors. The macaroni is dressed in a rich and sweet dressing, complemented by the crunch of fresh vegetables. Whether served at a barbecue or as a side to your favorite Hawaiian dishes, this macaroni salad is sure to transport you to the tropical flavors of the islands.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 3
Calories 1.1 kcal


  • 1 Large pot for boiling macaroni
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Grater


  • 2 Cup Elbow macaroni
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ Cup Whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • ½ Teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black pepper
  • ¼ Cup Grated carrot
  • ¼ Cup Finely diced yellow onion
  • ¼ Cup Finely diced celery
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely chopped green onions


  • Cook Macaroni: Boil the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Prepare Dressing: In a mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, whole milk, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper until the dressing is smooth and well combined.
  • Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, grated carrot, diced onion, diced celery, and chopped green onions.
  • Add Dressing: Pour the prepared dressing over the macaroni mixture. Gently toss until the macaroni and vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Chill: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the macaroni salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the salad to chill.
  • Serve: Once chilled, give the macaroni salad a final toss and serve. Garnish with additional green onions if desired.


  • Make-Ahead: This macaroni salad can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. In fact, allowing it to chill for at least 30 minutes enhances the flavors.
  • Customization: Feel free to customize the salad by adding other ingredients like pineapple chunks, ham, or shredded chicken for added protein.
  • Consistency: Adjust the consistency of the dressing by adding more milk if you prefer a lighter texture or more mayonnaise for a creamier finish.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The flavors tend to meld even more, making it even tastier the next day.
  • Accompaniments: Serve this macaroni salad alongside grilled meats, seafood, or as a refreshing side dish at picnics and gatherings. It pairs exceptionally well with traditional Hawaiian barbecue dishes.
  • Note on Calories: The calorie count is an approximation and may vary based on specific brands and ingredient variations. Adjust quantities to meet dietary preferences.
Keyword Macaroni Salad, Ono Hawaiian BBQ, Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad, Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad Recipe

Versatility and Serving Suggestions

The Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad is not just a standalone dish but a versatile side that can elevate various meals.

Here are some suggestions on how to serve and customize this delightful salad:

Complement to Grilled Meats:

Pair the macaroni salad with grilled meats such as BBQ chicken, teriyaki beef. The creamy and slightly sweet notes of the salad provide a perfect contrast to the smoky flavors of grilled proteins.

Seafood Harmony:

Serve alongside seafood dishes like grilled shrimp, fish tacos, or poke bowls. The refreshing crunch of vegetables in the macaroni salad complements the delicate flavors of seafood, creating a balanced and satisfying combination.

Tropical Luau Spread:

Include the macaroni salad as part of a Hawaiian-inspired luau feast. Combine it with traditional dishes like poi, lomi lomi salmon, and haupia for an authentic and festive Hawaiian meal.

Picnic or Potluck Favorite:

Pack the macaroni salad for picnics or potlucks. Its chilled and portable nature makes it an ideal dish for outdoor gatherings, providing a taste of Hawaii wherever you go.

Creative Additions:

Customize the salad by adding extra ingredients such as pineapple chunks, diced ham, or shredded coconut for a tropical twist.

These additions not only enhance the flavor but also add layers of texture to the dish.

BBQ Side Staple:

Serve the macaroni salad as a staple side dish at barbecues or summer cookouts. Its creamy texture and unique flavor profile make it a crowd-pleaser that can complement a variety of grilled dishes.

Light Lunch Option:

Enjoy the macaroni salad as a light and refreshing lunch on its own. The balanced combination of carbohydrates, vegetables, and creamy dressing makes it a satisfying standalone meal.

Meal Prep Classic:

Incorporate the macaroni salad into your weekly meal prep routine. Prepare it in advance and portion it into containers for a convenient and delicious side dish throughout the week.

Remember, the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad is a canvas for creativity, allowing you to tailor it to your preferences and the occasion.

Whether it’s a casual family dinner or a festive Hawaiian-themed gathering, this versatile macaroni salad is sure to be a hit on any table.

Can I make this macaroni salad ahead of time for a party?

Absolutely! Making the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad ahead of time is a convenient and practical approach, especially when preparing for a party or gathering.

Here are some tips to ensure the salad stays fresh and delicious:

Chilling Time: The flavors of the macaroni salad meld and intensify when allowed to chill in the refrigerator.

Prepare the salad at least a few hours before the party, or even the night before, to allow it to reach its full potential.

Storage: Store the macaroni salad in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing any odors from the refrigerator. This also helps maintain the salad’s freshness and prevents it from drying out.

Final Toss Before Serving: Just before serving, give the macaroni salad a final toss. This ensures that the dressing is evenly distributed, and the vegetables are well-mixed, providing a consistent flavor experience for your guests.

Adjust Consistency if Needed: If the salad seems a bit dry after chilling, you can adjust the consistency by adding a small amount of mayonnaise or milk and gently tossing until it reaches the desired creaminess.

Garnish Fresh Ingredients: If your recipe includes ingredients like green onions for garnish, consider adding them just before serving to maintain their freshness and vibrant color.

Transportation: If you need to transport the macaroni salad to a different location, use a well-sealed container and keep it chilled in a cooler or insulated bag to maintain its freshness.

By preparing the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad ahead of time, you not only save time on the day of the event but also allow the flavors to develop, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive dish for your guests to enjoy.

How long does the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad stay fresh in the refrigerator?

The Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad can typically stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days when stored properly.

Here are some tips to ensure the salad maintains its flavor and texture during storage:

Airtight Container: Transfer the macaroni salad to an airtight container to prevent exposure to air, which can cause the salad to dry out and absorb unwanted odors from the refrigerator.

Refrigeration: Store the macaroni salad in the refrigerator at a consistent temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. This helps slow down bacterial growth and preserves the freshness of the ingredients.

Avoid Freezing: While some dishes freeze well, macaroni salads with creamy dressings may not maintain their texture after freezing and thawing. It’s best to enjoy this salad fresh from the refrigerator.

Final Toss Before Serving: If the macaroni salad appears a bit dry after refrigeration, you can add a small amount of mayonnaise or milk and give it a gentle toss just before serving to refresh the creaminess.

Check Vegetables: Crisp vegetables like celery and green onions may lose some of their crunch over time.

If you’re preparing the salad ahead for an event, consider adding these ingredients just before serving for optimal freshness.

Always use your judgment when assessing the freshness of leftovers. If the macaroni salad develops an off smell, unusual color, or if the texture significantly changes, it’s a sign that it may no longer be suitable for consumption.

Is it possible to make the Ono Hawaiian BBQ macaroni salad vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, it’s entirely possible to make the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad vegan or vegetarian by making a few simple substitutions.

Here’s a guide on how to create a plant-based version of this delightful salad:

Vegan/Vegetarian Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad:


Choose a vegan-friendly pasta, typically made without eggs. Many common pasta brands offer vegan options.


Opt for a vegan mayonnaise substitute, readily available in most grocery stores. There are various plant-based mayonnaise brands made from ingredients like soy, aquafaba, or other non-dairy alternatives.


Replace dairy milk with a non-dairy alternative such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk.

Brown Sugar:

Ensure your brown sugar is vegan-friendly, as some brands may use bone char in the refining process. Organic or unrefined brown sugar is often vegan.

Dijon Mustard:

Check the label to ensure the Dijon mustard is vegan. Most Dijon mustards are plant-based, but it’s always good to confirm.

Grated Carrot, Yellow Onion, Celery, Green Onions:

These vegetable components remain the same in the vegan version, as they are inherently plant-based.

By making these simple substitutions, you can create a vegan or vegetarian Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad that maintains the creamy, savory, and slightly sweet flavors of the original recipe.

It’s a delicious way to accommodate different dietary preferences while still enjoying the tropical flavors of Hawaiian cuisine.

Can I substitute regular macaroni with another pasta shape?

Certainly! Substituting regular macaroni with another pasta shape is a flexible option, allowing you to experiment with different textures and appearances in your Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad.

Here are a few pasta shape alternatives you can consider:

  1. Rotini: The corkscrew shape of rotini allows the dressing to cling to the pasta, creating a delightful blend of flavors in each bite.
  2. Penne: The tube-like shape of penne pasta offers a slightly different mouthfeel, and the ridges can capture the dressing, enhancing the overall taste.
  3. Bowtie (Farfalle): Bowtie pasta adds a touch of elegance to the salad while providing a substantial base for the creamy dressing and vegetables.
  4. Fusilli: The spiral or helix shape of fusilli holds the dressing well and offers a unique visual appeal to the macaroni salad.
  5. Shells: Conchiglie or shell-shaped pasta can cradle the dressing and ingredients, creating a satisfying and visually interesting dish.
  6. Cavatappi: This corkscrew-shaped pasta is excellent for capturing the flavors of the dressing, making each bite flavorful and enjoyable.


In the realm of Hawaiian cuisine, the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad stands out as a true gem. Its simplicity, combined with the vibrant flavors, makes it a must-try for anyone looking to embark on a culinary journey to the Pacific islands.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most delightful dishes are born from the simplest ingredients.

So, bring a taste of Hawaii to your table and let the Ono Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad transport you to a world of tropical bliss.

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