Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is traditional and simple. It is creamy, a bit sweet and a little tangy; a must have for any Hawaiian plate lunch.
A traditional Hawaiian plate lunch has three components; rice, meat and macaroni salad. Hawaiian macaroni salad is not your regular macaroni salad with a lot of additions, like my Instant Pot Best Macaroni Salad Recipe. A true and authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad is very simple with only a few ingredients. It is very creamy, a bit sweet and a bit tangy from the vinegar.
King’s Hawaiian Restaurant in California has the most delicious potato macaroni salad. As I wanted to keep this Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad very simple in the video, I did not use potatoes. However, I will show them as an option in the recipe card below. Try this salad both ways and see which you prefer.
Just like my awesome Instant Pot Potato Salad, everyone has their own version they feel is best. I will show you how I make my Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, which is the most common in Hawaii and then you are on your own.
It is best to prepare Instant Pot Macaroni Salad the day before you place to serve it. Or if you need the salad for dinner, then prepare the salad first thing in the morning. You just need to make sure there is time to chill the hot macaroni with the dressing.
Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad makes a wonderful side dish to Instant Pot BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, as well as to my incredible Instant Pot Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. Great for picnics and pot lucks. With only a few ingredients, you can whip up a delicious side dish in minutes.
Instant Pot Cranberry Spice Couscous is another dish that makes a wonderful side dish to any type of meal.
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Why this Recipe Works
When cooking macaroni and pasta using a Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, there is no need to watch the pot to make sure water does not boil over. You also don’t have to strain out the water.
But, the best part is that the vinegar can be added to the cooking water and absorb right into the macaroni, rather than adding it in with the Hawaiian macaroni dressing.
Anyone remember Prisoner: Cell Block H, or watch Wentworth? What do you reckon I think every time I say “vinegar?” Speaking of vinegar, my Low Carb Avocado Chicken Salad is wonderful with a delicious vinegar dressing.
Traditionally, the elbow macaroni are slightly over cooked so that they absorb the vinegar and flavors better. Using the pressure cooker to cook the macaroni in vinegar water, adds a lovely layer of flavor. By adding the full amount of water to cook the pasta and the vinegar, the pot will take a few seconds longer to come to pressure, which means the macaroni will cook a bit more.
Normally, pasta and macaroni are best when served al dente, like for instance my Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese [Instant Pot]. For traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad the macaroni is slightly overcooked. The macaroni firms up as it chills and if made al dente, it would be too brittle.
The key to the success of any Hawaiian macaroni salad is the dressing.
Best Mayonnaise for Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
- Using a good quality mayonnaise truly makes a difference in a good Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
- While any type of mayonnaise is fine to use, we prefer to use Duke’s Mayonnaise or Hellmann’s / Best Foods mayonnaise as they are high quality products.
It is actually very similar to the dressing my dad’s second wife used to make for regular garden salads. She would use lemon juice in place of the vinegar.
Normally, pasta and macaroni is best when served al dente, like for instance my Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese [Instant Pot]. For traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad the macaroni is slightly overcooked. The macaroni firms up as it chills and if made al dente, it would be too brittle.
Do I Eat Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Hot or Cold?
- Hawaiian Macaroni is best consumed chilled.
- It’s really not that great tasting when hot, so if you do taste this salad hot, try to reserve judgment until the salad is cooled.
I’ll show you the traditional way to make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, but remember, just because anything is labeled traditional does not mean you cannot alter the recipe, so if you want to add something else into the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad like celery, peppers or scallions, just do it. Personally, I like the simple Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with potatoes best.
Will Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Thicken?
- Definitely and absolutely.
- As the macaroni cools, the dressing will absorb nicely and the texture will be nice and soft.
- All the ingredients will clump together similar to a potato salad and not loose like a regular macaroni salad.
Can I Make Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Dairy Free?
- You can use your favorite dairy free milk, I don’t see why not.
- The ingredient amount and process would be the same.
- The taste would be considerably different, but if you are already used to dairy free products, I don’t imagine this would be an issue for you.
Rich, creamy and delicious. Enjoy your “plate lunch.”
Watch the video below as I walk you through every step and detail of this recipe. I’ve given you a ton of information above, but sometimes a live visual of the process helps so you can follow along. I have my own cooking show on my YouTube Channel, so be sure to check it out and subscribe!
Watch my video and then scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe card.
Tips and Tricks to Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
- Vinegar is added to the cooking water.
- Use high quality mayonnaise.
- Slightly overcooked macaroni. Al dente does not belong in Hawaiian macaroni salad.
- Simplicity for this recipe is best.
As you see, the liquidy dressing has fully absorbed into the macaroni. Each bite is just a little piece of creamy heaven.
Pro tip: If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of milk or water to thin out the dressing.
More Instant Pot Macaroni Recipes to Make:
- Instant Pot Jalapeño Macaroni Ham and Cheese
- Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni / Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
- Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese [Instant Pot]
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
There are many more macaroni and pasta recipes on this website and I am sure you are going to love them!
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
- J.A. Henckels Classic 8 inch Chef’s Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Culina Stackable (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Rösle Stainless Steel Flat Whisk– a MUST have, probably my most used utensil
- di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas Set
- Alton Brown Salt Box
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Here is the handy printable recipe:
Instant Pot Hawaiian Macaroni SaladPrint Pin SaveSaved! Rate
- 1 medium Potato peeled and diced
- 1 Hard Boiled Egg smashed
- Add macaroni (and potatoes if using), vinegar, water and salt to pressure cooker cooking pot.
- Lock on lid and close pressure valve. Cook at high pressure (most pressure cookers default to high pressure) for 2 minutes.
- When beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then quickly release the rest of the pressure by toggling the pressure valve back and forth, so that you don't spew liquid everywhere.
- Remove the lid, turn off the pressure cooker and give the macaroni a good mix. There should be a little liquid left in the pot, which will absorb into the macaroni.
- Stir in carrots and mix until combined evenly throughout the macaroni.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, milk, sugar and pepper, until smooth.
- Mix in smashed egg (if using) and combine well.
- Pour dressing over macaroni and mix through.
- Pour macaroni to a container and place in the refrigerator until it is chilled.