My homemade deli-style gluten free macaroni salad is tangy, flavorful, and always a hit at barbecues, potlucks, and parties. The best part is that this isn’t ordinary pasta! It’s made with gluten free elbows. I share all of my tips and tricks for al dente pasta.

A big bowl of gluten free macaroni salad.

You only need a few simple ingredients to make this yummy macaroni salad. This salad is egg-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! The Dijon mustard dressing is the real show-stopper! It is the perfect combination with fresh veggies and gluten free pasta noodles.

If you are getting ready for a picnic, you will want to make this delicious loaded baked potato salad to bring too! This recipe can easily be made vegan by using vegan mayo!

Why this is a great gluten free macaroni salad:

  • My gluten free macaroni salad is a popular side dish that is full of flavor.
  • I share several easy flavor variations, allowing you to customize this salad and make it your own.
  • Macaroni salad is a simple and easy recipe to prepare. I share tips and tricks so your gluten free pasta stays al dente! It can be made in advance, which makes it a great option for potlucks, barbecues, and picnics.
  • Macaroni salad is a classic dish many people love. My recipe is deli-style, which is a classic style pasta salad.

Reader Rave

Oh my goodness, I made this yesterday for today’s Fellowship dinner in a 9×13. I doubled the sauce to be creamier, and it was a big hit, and I didn’t have any left to bring home! They didn’t know it was gluten free noodles I used the spirals and I put thawed frozen sweet peas in, and I did the pickle relish! It was loved, and some came back for seconds!” Janese S., Facebook comment

Tips For Sucess:

Before I share all the delicious details of how to make my recipe, I want to take a moment to help you with gluten-free pasta.

  • Boil your pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions state. (Use 2 minutes if the pasta will sit for over two hours before eating it.)
  • Rinse your pasta in cold water immediately. Stir the pasta and continue the cold water rinse to cool the pasta. This will stop the cooking process and help prevent mushy pasta.
  • Store the pasta in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

For more tips, check out how Italian chefs recommend how you cook gluten free pasta to avoid it getting mushy.

A close up of gluten free deli style macaroni salad.

If you love salads as much as we do, you will want to check out my delicious gluten free salad recipes!

Ingredient Notes:

Photos of the macaroni salad ingredients.
  • Gluten Free Macaroni – I highly recommend you use Tinkyada or Jovial brands. These brands tend to hold up better to sitting in sauce over time.
  • Red Bell Pepper – You can also use green or yellow pepper.
  • Carrots
  • Onion – I recommend red onion.
  • Parsley – Flat leaf or curly leaf
  • Mayonnaise – Use dairy-free/egg-free if you are vegan.
  • Dijon Mustard – You can use other flavors, but Dijon will give the best results.
  • Honey – Use inexpensive honey. There is no need to use an expensive one.V
  • Vinegar – Use white vinegar.
  • Optional: I love adding sweet relish, but it is not required.

I’ve made this twice and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal. people didn’t even know it was gluten free. I added a bit of extra dressing as my pasta seemed to absorb it.”

Sue, Pinterest comment

Step-By-Step Directions:

A pot filled with boiling macaroni.

Step 1: The first step is to boil your macaroni per package instructions. Don’t forget my tip above about cooking it for a minute or two less!

Step 2: When the pasta is done, drain into a colander and then do a cold water rinse to cool it off.

The macaroni salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Step 3: Grab a cutting board and a sharp knife. Wash the vegetables and remove any stems. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and add them to a large mixing bowl.

Adding the veggie mixture to the cooked macaroni.

Step 4: Add the pasta, mayonnaise, vinegar, dijon, and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well and pour into an airtight container. Put it into the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.

Mixing the ingredients.

Mix-in Ideas:

If you want to add a few extra ingredients to the macaroni salad, feel free! Or eat it the way the recipe is written. Here are some fun ideas to try out:

  • Green Onions
  • Crumbled Bacon Pieces
  • Parmesan Cheese (If you tolerate dairy)
  • Chicken Breast – Add some chopped cooked chicken breast for some protein.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

What brand of gluten free macaroni is best?

I love using the Tinkyada and Jovial brands of macaroni in this recipe. They seem more hearty and don’t get mushy as easily as other brands.

Recipe FAQ:

What does gluten free pasta taste like?

Gluten free pasta can taste very similar to traditional pasta, depending on what it is made out of. The texture is a little different. Sometimes, you can make a gluten free macaroni salad or other pasta dish and serve it, and no one will even realize the difference. 

How do I store leftover macaroni salad?

Store leftover macaroni salad in the refrigerator. Keep it in an airtight container; it will last 2-3 days in the fridge. 

Don’t freeze the gluten free salad because the pasta and mayonnaise will not do well. If you notice that the macaroni salad has become mushy, watery, or dried out, it’s probably old and should be thrown out. 

Can you freeze macaroni salad with mayonnaise?

No, you shouldn’t freeze this pasta salad. It will not thaw out and is the same as freshly made macaroni salad.

A big bowl of deli style macaroni salad with a serving spoon and parsley.

Serve With:

This pasta salad is super versatile and goes with all kinds of foods. Here are some of my favorite recipes to pair it with:

Reader Raves:

Super yummy! Added some dried parsley on top.”

Jordan B., Pinterest comment

Literally EVERYTHING I wanted it to be! No kidding when they say it’s the best! Soooooo delicious!!”

Kati C., Pinterest comment

More Delicious Salad Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Include which flour blend you used. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A big bowl of deli style macaroni salad with a serving spoon and parsley.

Deli Style Macaroni Salad

Sandi Gaertner
A creamy classic gluten free deli-style macaroni salad recipe.
5 from 10 votes
an egg free allergen icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Gluten Free Pizza and Pasta Recipes, Gluten Free Salad Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 286 kcal


  • 12- ounce gluten free elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup celery finely diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup carrot grated
  • ½ cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley chopped

Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons sweet relish


  • Follow the directions of the packet for cooking your gluten free elbow macaroni in salted water, then drain well and allow it to cool.
  • Mix together the ingredients for the macaroni salad dressing while the pasta is cooking.
  • Chop the vegetables as directed and add to a large bowl with the cooled cooked macaroni.
  • Add the salad dressing and mix well to combine, chill salad before serving.



  1. Boil your pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions. (Use 2 minutes if the pasta will sit for over two hours before eating it.)
  2. Rinse your pasta in cold water immediately. Stir the pasta and continue the cold water rinse to cool the pasta. This will stop the cooking process and help prevent mushy pasta.
  3. Store the pasta in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. It will keep fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 669mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1387IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This recipe was updated from an old July 2020 post with more recipe details.

5 from 10 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    The best macaroni salad I have ever made. My husband took it to work every day and left me some. So delicious!

  2. Sandi, I have the oposite problem when making gluten free salads. Instead of turning mushy my pasta turns rock hard when stored over night! I’ve tried many methods but it always happens, any suggestions from you or other viewers? Thanks, Linda

    1. Hi Linda, that is interesting. What brand of gluten free pasta do you use? I am not sure which recipe(s) you have tried, I would be curious how wet the salad was, quantities of wet ingredients. Also, how do you store it in the refrigerator?

      1. Follow up about hard pasta. I have used several brands, tinkyada, barilla and others. I have made pasta salad with italian dressing with extra added, maccarone salad with mayo and eggs and others. Even my daughter who loves pasta salad said hers turns hard as well. I make mac and cheese, pasta with sauce, goulash with no problem, just the cold salads give me grief. I’ve tried making it extra wet, dressing it warm, hot cold, still same results. Maybe I should stick to hot foods, Thanks for your reply and any advice you might have, Linda

    2. i read that if your gluten free pasta is made from rice, it will be come hard no matter what you do. if you think of cold rice, it becomes the same way. maybe try a pasta made of a blend or other ingredients. hope it works out for you!

  3. Hello! You post says egg-free and the recipe includes mayonnaise- which traditionally has eggs. Do you use a homemade recipe for mayo to make it egg-free? I have been making/experimenting with egg-free mayo’s and have not found one I love yet. Would love a suggestion! Thank you!