Potato-Mac Salad

If you've ever been to a Hawaiian luau or enjoyed Hawaiian plate lunch, you understand Potato-Mac Salad. If not, it could be a hard sell. But with the right accompaniments--Kalua Pig, Korean Ribs, Chicken Longrice, Poke, all recipes you can find on this site--you'll warm to it. Honest.

Macaroni Salad with Olives

Whenever I’ve had potato salad in Hawaii it has included macaroni. It is often what is served with plate lunch and if you attend a luau, expect to find it. It almost always comes with steamed white rice alongside. It’s one of those things that is clearly not extraordinary on its own and it certainly won’t get a restaurant that serves it an extra star. But it has that indescribable taste of place, an authenticity that will evoke Hawaii with the first mouthful if you’ve ever eaten it on, say, Hawaii island, with the sound of the sea and swaying palms in the distance and a few guys in Hawaiian shirts playing ukulele nearby.

  • Serves 10 to 12


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 large (about 2 1/2 pounds) potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 onion, cut into small dice
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into small dice
  • 1 cup California black olives, chopped
  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 3 cups Best Foods mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • Black pepper in a mill


  1. Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water, add a tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Add the pasta, stir until the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the pasta is tender. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cool water and set aside to cool.

  3. Meanwhile, put the diced potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water by two inches, add a tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a bamboo skewer; do not overcook.

  5. Drain, rinse and spread on a baking sheet to cool thoroughly.

  6. To finish the salad, toss the macaroni and potatoes together in a large salad bowl. Add the onion, celery and olives and toss again. Add the eggs and the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.

  7. The salad should be very moist; if it seems dry, add more mayonnaise. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes before serving.

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