Creamy Cajun macaroni salad gives pasta salad a zesty makeover. With a little kick from a Cajun spice blend, this creamy cold noodle dish isn’t your regular deli side dish. It packs so much flavor, you will want to make this for every picnic!
Memorial Day weekend is upon us.
And while Memorial Day weekend and summer in general may look a little different this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy classic summer food outside.
And this creamy Cajun macaroni salad is the pasta salad you will want to make all summer long.
What is Cajun Macaroni Salad?
This Cajun macaroni salad recipe is a variation on traditional creamy pasta salad.
Instead of just tossing pasta with onions, celery and mayo the way traditional pasta salads do, this recipe adds a little zest and flair thanks to a blend of spices and seasonings to make it feel like you’re enjoying this dish in New Orleans.
This pasta salad uses Cajun seasoning and smoked paprika for so much flavor.
Plus the dressing isn’t just mayo.
It’s a combo of mayo, yellow mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a little dash of hot sauce.
Is this pasta salad spicy?
I wouldn’t describe this Cajun macaroni salad as spicy.
It’s definitely packed full of flavor though, but the creamy mayo based dressing mellows out any spice.
If you are concerned about the heat level in this dish, you could omit the cayenne pepper and the hot sauce.
How to Make Cajun Macaroni Salad
Making this macaroni salad is very easy!
To do it, cook your rotini according to the package directions.
When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and run it under cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch.
Once it’s cool, leave it in the colander to let it drain completely.
Meanwhile, mix together the seasoning, salt and pepper, mustard, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and hot sauce in a large bowl until it’s smooth.
Toss it with the noodles, chopped onion and celery. Then serve the salad immediately.
Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Tips and Tricks
This recipe is pretty easy, but these tips and tricks will make sure it comes out perfectly each time.
- Use full fat mayonnaise for best results. Avoid mayonnaise dressing or reduced fat mayo.
- Can’t find rotini? Feel free to substitute in another medium pasta like penne or even elbow macaroni.
- Taste the dressing after it’s whisked together to make sure it doesn’t need more salt and pepper.
Other Picnic Salads You Might Love
This Cajun macaroni salad is the perfect way to add flavor to a traditional creamy macaroni salad. Make it as a side dish the next time you barbecue!
Looking for other picnic salad recipes? Try these:
- Summertime Tortellini & Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Aunt Gert’s Sweet Macaroni Salad
- Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
If you’ve tried this CREAMY CAJUN MACARONI SALAD, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
Creamy Cajun Macaroni Salad
- 1 lb rotini pasta
- 1 cup chopped vidilia onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- seasoned salt to taste
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- chopped fresh parsley leaves optional, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Stir in the pasta, and cook according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta in a large strainer, and run it under cold water (gently stirring) to stop all of the pasta from continued cooking. Continue until all the pasta's cooled to the touch. Set it aside to drain completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, except for the celery and onions. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture's too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Season the sauce as needed with additional salt & pepper. Add the pasta, onion, and celery to the pot and toss gently to coat.
- Serve the macaroni salad immediately, garnished with fresh parsley- if desired.