chicken macaroni salad
Kanin at Pancit | Rice and Noodles/Pasta

Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

A holdover of American-Filipino fusion cooking of the 1950s, chicken macaroni salad is perhaps our most popular pasta salad.  Back in the days, no banquet table would be complete without it.  Perhaps because it is the most versatile salad—it may be served as a starter, as an entrée, or as a dessert (pang-alis umay).  The use of meat in the form of chicken or ham makes it a starter or main, but the addition of raisin and pineapple makes it a dessert.  Pasta in salad is definitely an American influence but definitely Pinoy if served as dessert.  

Chicken macaroni salad is not only a filling and colorful salad you can make ahead of time—in fact it is best served day after—it is also simple to make and quite economical too.  There are as many versions as there are cooks, and there is no exact measure of ingredients.  Just dump and mix whatever ingredients you fancy or have on hand—while chicken is what I usually use, you can substitute cooked ham, bologna, or turkey—et voila, your very own macaroni salad.

My version starts with a copycat KFC recipe—sometimes using celery, sometimes not—adding crushed pineapple and (optional) raisins for the Pinoy touch, and adjusting the seasoning to my taste.  As I have said, you can vary the ingredients but one thing you shouldn’t mess up with is the mayonnaise—use the best you can get (homemade is the ultimate, of course, if you’re up to it), but never substitute salad dressing.

chicken macaroni salad close up
chicken macaroni salad

Chicken Macaroni Salad

A holdover of American-Filipino fusion cooking of the 1950s, chicken macaroni salad is perhaps our most popular pasta salad.
Servings 6 pints


  • ½ k chicken boiled and shredded
  • 1 c cheese cubes
  • 2 cans 234 g eaccrushed pineapple (include syrup
  • 1 small carrot peeled and grated
  • ¼ c chopped shallots or sweet onion
  • 1 to 2 ribs celery sliced or coarsely chopped
  • {¼ c raisins}
  • 2 T sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles
  • 2 to 3 c mayonnaise
  • 1 t celery salt
  • {1 t sugar}
  • 400 g salad macaroni cooked al dente


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, cheese, crushed pineapple, carrot, shallots, celery, raisins, and pickle relish. Add 2 cups of the mayonnaise, along with the celery salt and sugar; toss well. Add macaroni and toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed, adding more mayonnaise if needed. Transfer to a bowl with cover and chill at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  • Take out of the fridge and taste a spoonful. Adjust to your taste by adding more mayonnaise, sugar, or salt. Put back in the fridge and chill for another 2 hours before serving.


* Serve with fried or roast chicken, barbecued pork or chicken, or something spicy. Or serve as a snack, with ice-cold Coke. A glass of chilled Zinfandel makes this salad go a long way.
* Variations: (i) Make the salad more interesting: use different pasta shapes and colors. (ii) Ham strips may be used instead of chicken. (iii) Add about a cup of boiled beets, peeled and cut into small cubes.


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