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Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad

Folks, I made the best macaroni salad ever. It is creamy, it has a tangy bite and it is loaded with bacon and sharp cheese. Incredible!
The preparation of the noodles is what sets this macaroni salad apart. The noodles are boiled, drained (not rinsed!) and while still warm, gently tossed with apple cider vinegar. Letting the noodles absorb that tangy apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes before adding the creamy sauce gives this dish a nice bite to it. Enjoy!

My Favorite Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni Salad
Makes about 10-12 servings


  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. sugar (alt. you could use brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 black pepper
  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (no substitutes)
  • 1/3 cup diced orange bell pepper (or whatever color is your favorite)
  • 2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup small cubed sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 pkg bacon, cut very small, cooked until very crisp, drain on paper towels
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion


  1. Whisk together milk, mayo, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Boil the pasta for about 13-15 minutes, until the elbow macaroni is soft then drain water off. Return to the warm pot and drizzle with the apple cider vinegar while the pasta is still hot. (Do not rinse the macaroni with water after boiling or the ACV wont adhere). Stir gently so all the noodles are coated. 
  3. Let the pasta cool for 10 minutes and then coat with the dressing. Allow to then sit and cool while you cook the bacon and prep the veggies. Let the bacon cool before adding it to the macaroni salad.
  4. Once cooled add the diced bell pepper, celery, red onion, cheese and cooled bacon. Stir gently to coat completely. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed. Chill before serving.
Recipe by Jam Hands. Adapted from Adventures in all things food.

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  1. I use Italian salad dressing on my warm macaroni when I am making an Italian style pasta salad. I have even tossed it on the still warm potatoes for a pop of flavor for a potato salad.

  2. Totally intrigued by these recipe because 1) you added apple cider vinegar to the noodles and 2) bacon and cheese! This reminds me of a stuffed potato in a pasta salad form!

  3. Looks really good, Ali! I like the idea of the pasta soaking up the dressing.
    It's getting to be macaroni salad time! Thank you for sharing.