If you're looking for a new twist on classic macaroni salad, look no further than the Filipino version! This dish is made with smoked ham and mayonnaise and sweetened with the addition of condensed milk which gives this macaroni salad recipe a smoother and creamier texture.
While this macaroni salad pairs well with summer dishes like my grilled beef on a stick or Huli Huli Chicken, you can make this easy macaroni salad recipe any time of year. And with the addition of ham, it's also perfect as a main dish!
This macaroni salad is a classic dish in the Philippines and is often served on special occasions because it yields a lot. It's made with elbow macaroni, mayonnaise, condensed milk, and veggies like carrots, bell pepper, and onions. Peas would also make a great addition for a pop of color, however, my son has an aversion to it. LOL!! So I just skip it altogether so he wouldn't have to pick them out.
- Elbow Macaroni - in order to achieve the right texture for your macaroni salad you have to cook the pasta al dente. This allows the ingredient's delicious flavors to adhere to the pasta.
- Mayonnaise - any will do.
- Condensed Milk - this is the (not-so) secret (anymore) recipe.
- Smoked Ham - the salty flavor of the ham perfectly complements the sweetness of the condensed milk, creating a perfect balance of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.
- Granny Smith - I like to use this for the added crunch and tart flavor giving this salad a well-rounded flavor.
- Sweet Relish
- Crushed Pineapple
- Cheddar Cheese
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper
- Salt + Pepper - to taste
See the recipe card below for ingredients for Filipino Macaroni Salad.
Don't forget the secret ingredient that makes this Macaroni Salad truly authentic - condensed milk! Sure you can use sugar or honey, however, the condensed milk gives the macaroni salad its creamy texture. I've tried this recipe with sugar and unless you mix it first with mayonnaise, to help dissolve it, you will feel that grainy texture in your mouth.
How To Make
If you want to impress your friends and family at your next potluck or party, whip up this tasty Filipino macaroni salad with ham. It's so easy to make but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.
- Cook the macaroni salad according to package instructions.
- Drain but do not rinse the pasta. Let the macaroni cool and place it in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, blend the mayonnaise and condensed milk together.
- Once the macaroni is cool, add the rest of the ingredients along with the mayo and condensed milk mixture to the large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
TIP: Once you have all the ingredients in a large bowl, do not overmix this dish, as it may break the macaroni pasta.
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Yes, you can make Filipino Macaroni Salad using a different type of pasta other than elbow macaroni. A small tubular-shaped pasta will work, however, macaroni also known as elbow pasta makes for an authentic Filipino Macaroni salad.
This summertime favorite can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. The key is to store it in a tightly sealed container. It can be frozen for up to three months for optimal flavor and texture.
Filipino Macaroni salad is an ideal dish to make for large gatherings and is therefore perfect to make ahead of time. Place in a large bowl with a tight lid or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. This macaroni salad will keep in the fridge for up to four days.
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What Pairs Well With Macaroni Salad
Upgrade Your Summer BBQs with this delicious Filipino-Style macaroni salad with ham. Check out what to eat with macaroni salad.
- 4 cups Elbow Macaroni Pasta uncooked
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Condensed Milk
- ½ cup Onion diced
- 8 oz. Smoked Ham diced
- 1 fresh Granny Smith unpeeled and diced
- ½ cup Sweet Relish drained
- ½ cup Crushed Pineapple drained
- 4 oz. Cheddar Cheese sharp or mild
- ¼ cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper drained
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- Cook macaroni pasta according to package instructions.
- Drain but do not rinse. Let cool in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, blend mayonnaise and condensed milk together.
- Once the pasta is cool, add all the ingredients to the large bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
- Don't overcook the pasta. Follow the package instructions precisely.
- Don't rinse the pasta once it's been drained.
- Let pasta cool in the mixing bowl before adding all the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix gently and thoroughly to be sure all the flavors are blended.
- Soak the onion in cold water for a few minutes to get rid of the bitter taste.
- You can substitute sugar for condensed milk using a 1:1 ratio.
- This macaroni salad pairs perfectly well with my Huli-Huli Chicken recipe.