This Classic Creamy Pasta Salad is so simple and delicious. Creamy pasta mixed with crispy diced vegetables, you’ll love the textures and flavors of this classic side dish.
Classic Creamy Pasta Salad
From backyard barbecues to summer dinners, pasta salad is a staple. There’s just something about the taste of creamy, flavorful pasta mixed with finely diced veggies. The textures and flavors of this Classic Creamy Pasta Salad are simple, but really delicious. It’s also an easy to make side dish that you can put together fast and serve, or store it overnight as meal prep. If you love cold salads, you’ll love our pesto pasta salad (VIDEO) and Italian pasta salad (VIDEO). You can take it along to potlucks and parties, too. However you serve your creamy pasta salad, it’s sure to be a favorite.
What makes this cold pasta salad so delicious?
This classic pasta salad has a creamy dressing that is made from mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. It’s thick and smooth and full of flavor. Mixed with cooked elbow macaroni, it’s also combined with diced red onion, celery, and red bell pepper. These crispy elements are such a delicious contrast to the creamy pasta dressing.
What else can I add in?
- Meat- diced chicken or turkey
- More veggies- olives, tomatoes, etc.
- Cheese- feta, mozzarella, etc.
- Spices- cumin, cayenne, etc.
How to make the best pasta salad
- Make the dressing. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Dice the vegetables. Dice the pepper, onion, and celery either by hand or with a vegetable chopper.
- Cook the pasta. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions or al dente. Then, drain it in a colander and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Combine. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, vegetables, and dressing. Mix thoroughly, adding more salt if desired. Serve chilled.
Should you rinse pasta for cold salad?
Yes, you should rinse your pasta after cooking. Once you’ve drained out the cooking water, you want to rinse your pasta with cold water because this will get rid of any remaining hot water, as well as cool the pasta. This stops the cooking process so the pasta stays al dente.
Can you make it the day before?
Yes, this pasta salad can be made ahead of time. You can make this dish the night before and leave it wrapped in the refrigerator overnight.
How to keep it from drying out
If you are worried about the pasta salad drying out, you can do a couple of things. You could toss the elbow macaroni in a little oil before adding the dressing to slow absorption. You can also add a little more dressing to account for what might be absorbed.
How to store it
Store this creamy pasta salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container, or in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed right down against the noodles to keep air out. Toss and serve when you’re ready. It will last for 3-4 days.
What should I serve it with?
- BBQ wings
- Air fryer chicken thighs
- Grilled chicken kabobs
- Grilled cedar plank salmon
- Air fryer salmon
- Baked buffalo wings
More DELICIOUS pasta recipes
Pasta salad is so delicious, but there are so many great ways to use pasta. You can make a spicy variation like this cajun chicken pasta, blackened chicken alfredo, or cajun shrimp pasta. Or you might like this flavorful creamy chicken scampi. Easy mac and cheese is also perfect, especially with kids.
Classic Creamy Pasta Salad
Pasta and vegetables
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup red onion (about a quarter of a large onion￼￼)
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 red bell pepper
Make the dressing
- Start off by making the creamy salad dressing. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. ￼
Chop the veggies
Combine everything with the cooked pasta
- Then add the pasta, chopped vegetables, and creamy dressing into a large bowl and toss to combine. Here you can add additional salt according to your liking. ￼Serve chilled.