Pickle lovers – this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad is for you! Tender pasta, creamy sauce, tangy pickles and chunks of cheese make for one tasty salad. It will be the star of any potluck!
A CROWD PLEASING PASTA SALAD
Last year I was in charge of feeding over 500 youth and leaders for four days out in the middle of a desert. This dill pickle salad was on the menu one day, and I made it at least five times before I perfected the recipe.
Not only is it cool and refreshing on a hot day, it is packed with flavor. And it can be prepped a few days in advance, so it is perfect for parties and other gatherings.
It ended up being a huge hit with both the teens and the adults! Since then, I’ve made it often for my family. I absolutely love it!
HOW TO MAKE DILL PICKLE PASTA SALAD
- PASTA – Cook the pasta in salted boiling water just until al dente. Different pastas have varying cooking times, so follow the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- DRESSING – While the pasta is cooking, whip up the dressing and chop your other ingredients. For the dressing, simply whisk together the mayo, pickle juice, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, and cayenne pepper. Chill until ready to use.
- CHOP – Finely dice the pickles and cut the cheddar into small cubes (about 1/4″ size).
- ASSEMBLE – In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, dressing, pickles, cheese, and sliced olives. Stir until everything is well coated with the dressing.
- SERVE – Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately, or chill for several hours, or overnight.
- Don’t overcook your pasta! It will absorb more sauce as it chills, so if your noodles are too soft, they will become a soggy mess and may even fall apart. I cook mine until they are just barely tender.
- For best flavor, salt the boiling water. I usually use 1-2 teaspoons of salt for 2-3 quarts of water. It makes a huge difference in the taste of your noodles. This is true for any recipe!
- Take the time to cut the cheese into very small cubes. This ensures that every bite has a bit of cheese, but that the cheese doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients.
Can I make this dill pickle salad ahead of time?
Absolutely! It tastes fantastic the next day. As it chills, the pasta will absorb some of the sauce, so you may need to add additional mayo or milk, so your salad isn’t too dry.
I have even prepped the ingredients several days ahead of time. You can cook the pasta and store it in the fridge in a ziplock bag. Chop the cheese and pickles and place them in bowls or ziplock bags. You can make the dressing several days in advance.
When ready to serve, just combine all of the ingredients.
I don’t recommend freezing pasta salad, the noodles tend to disintegrate as it thaws, and the mayonnaise can separate.
- This dill pickle macaroni salad really is versatile, so you can add or subtract any of the ingredients and seasonings.
- Elbow macaroni is traditional, but I’ve also made it with small shells as well as rotini pasta. Any small pasta will work well.
- Feel free to use any type of cheese that can be cubed. Colby jack cheese, monterey jack, or even pepper jack would be tasty.
- You can substitute sour cream or greek yogurt for the milk, but the sauce will be thicker.
- Need a dairy free salad? Simply omit the cheese and use additional mayonnaise in place of the milk.
- Of course fresh dill is always a bonus if you have access to it. You will need to double the amount.
This salad is a perfect side dish to just about any meat or other main dish, but it is also hearty enough that it makes a great light dinner or lunch.
What to serve with dill pickle salad?
- It goes great with chicken gumbo sloppy joes or burgers.
- My kids all agree that it’s tasty with homemade pigs in a blanket and fresh fruit.
- For a tasty picnic, serve it alongside a chicken caesar wrap.
- You can’t go wrong with this chicken breast marinade recipe, or simple broiled tilapia.
- Add some sliced watermelon or cheesecake fruit salad for a refreshing lunch or dinner.
- Make the meal extra special by serving some blueberry lemonade.
- Looking for dessert? How about homemade peach ice cream?
DILL PICKLE PASTA SALAD RECIPE
- 1/2 pound dry pasta (about 2 cups of elbow macaroni)
- 3/4 cup diced dill pickles (1-2 large pickles)
- 3/4 cup finely cubed cheddar cheese (3-4 ounces)
- 2.5 oz can sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp pickle juice
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dry dill
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until barely al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. For the dressing, whisk together the mayo, pickle juice, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, and cayenne. Chill.
- Dice the pickles. Cut the cheese into small cubes (about 1/4"). Drain the olives.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the cooled pasta, pickles, cheese, sliced olives, and dressing. Stir until all the ingredients are well coated with dressing.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. You can serve immediately, or chill for an hour, or up to 24 hours.
Make sure you don't overcook your pasta!
Leftovers will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. As the pasta absorbs the dressing, you may need to add more milk or mayo.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 440mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
One serving is 1/2 cup. If serving as a main dish, you will need at least a cup per person.
If you’ve never tried pasta salad with dill pickles, you are in for a treat! After just one bite, this became one of my favorites. I hope you will love it too!