Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Next to the Oregon State University campus is a little Hawaiian restaurant called Local Boyz.  The food they do is wonderful.  Beef ribs with crunchy edges in a sweet and savory sauce, juicy pulled chicken and flavorful steak strips all served up with big scoops of white rice and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  It’s a tiny place, always bursting with students and locals.  We often have to get our food to go because we can’t find a table.  My memories there are mostly with my husband.  It’s the restaurant where Jonathan taught me to use chop sticks long before we started dating.

Now we live 500 miles away from Local Boyz, as do many people I know who have great college memories of it.  We have tried other Hawaiian type grills but nobody has food as good.  The mac salad is never anything like what Local Boyz served.  Since I can’t drive 500 miles for lunch I simply had to figure out how to make it.  Jonathan and I worked together over many, many, many batches to find the perfect balance of milk, mayonnaise, garlic and pepper.  The final result is astounding!  We make a lot of Korean BBQ around here and this is the perfect side dish.  I also take it to cookouts on a regular basis and somebody is always asking for the recipe.

If you are planning on attending a 4th of July BBQ today this is the perfect dish to bring along no matter what is on the grill.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  Have a very safe and happy 4th!!!

This is one of my more popular posts. You might also enjoy my popular post for 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Frosting.



Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8 cups
  • 2¾ cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 2½ cups good quality mayo (can use light mayo)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup minced sweet onion
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender, 10-13 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine all the other ingredients.
  3. When pasta is tender, run it under cold water until cool. Drain it well, tossing a few times to get all the water out of the elbows.
  4. Add pasta to the mayonnaise mixture and toss until pasta is thoroughly coated.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
  6. The pasta will have absorbed some of the mayonnaise and will look strange. Stir and it will look creamy again. Taste for salt and adjust if desired.
This salad ge's stronger every day it sits. The garlic and onion flavors can develop a lot! I like to eat it the first and second days but after a week it is no longer "nice."

Hawaiian Macaroni SaladThis post is participating in the Weekend Potluck!

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22 thoughts on “Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

  1. Hi!

    I am a corvallis, oregon visitor and i am just very happy to find this page! I love local boys and whenever i am in corvallis, i go there for lunch ir dinner. It is truly amazing.

    Thank you for postibg this! I an going to try this today!!


  2. I just made this today, and I have to say it is as close to Local Boyz of all the mac salad recipes I’ve tried to make. Thanks for your many trial and errors. This salad was fantastic.

    • Welcome to my home town! It really is a beautiful place to live. If you are on the hunt for great food I would also recommend the French Bakery, Le Patisserie on Circle Blvd. The make a pretty amazing pastry. We find they sell out early but whenever we visit Corvallis we make a special trip for the cream cheese filled pastries. For Chinese King Tin on 9th street is amazing and our favorite tacos / burritos are found at La Roca also on 9th st. Happy eating!

      • Thank you! I have tried King Tin, and did not like it. I still haven’t found a chinese place I like here yet..But I lived in Ohio all my life, so I knew where to find the good ones! I love french pastery, so will def try out the bakery.

  3. I’m kinda a cooking novice, but before you combine the mixture with the pasta what should the consistency be of the mixture? Runny? Thick?

    • I’m so glad you are experimenting in the kitchen! That is how I learned to cook. Sometimes the stuff I made was a disaster but over time I had fewer disasters and more awesome meals! Before you combine the sauce and pasta it will be very runny. The pasta will soak up some of the sauce and the final results will be magic. Enjoy!

  4. So excited to find this! We moved in August to Pennsylvania from the West Coast and we miss Hawaiian the most and Mexican second. While we’ve been able to find some “eh” Mexican places (though most people have never heard of tostadas or the movie Nacho Libre!!!) there isn’t a single Hawaiian place to be found. 🙁 My husband is an OS alum and we bleed black and orange. We had to give up our season football tickets with the move (more tears) and EVERY football game we would go to King Tin, absolutely our favorite Chinese food. We would always say, “You know it is authentic by the clientele and when they bring out whole fish with the heads still on to them.” 😉 Before we moved we had a softball game in Portland and we took a “detour” to Corvallis for one last King Tin trip before heading back to western Washington. We also ate Hawaiian one last time in Portland.

    • It can be so hard after a move to miss all of your favorite places! My husband and I are both OSU alums and we still have family in town so we get to go back a lot. King Tin has been a favorite of both of ours since we were kids! We had our wedding rehearsal dinner there and always visit when we are in town! Sometimes I even ask family to pick up food and bring it to us in Boise!!! They know us well there and laugh at our 500 mile take out! I will never forget the first time my husband ordered the whole sweet and sour fish! It was a real experience. I hope you find some great new places to eat and fun new recipes! I guess that is always the up side of moving 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for posting your recipe! I adore Corvallis, we lived there years ago and how I miss Local Boyz Mac Salad. I am curious…. Miracle Whip or Best Foods? LOL The debate of the century and a HUGE debate still in our household…

    • I use Best Foods – I’m not a big Miracle Whip person in general 🙂 Seems to be a very personal choice in all that I know! Good luck…

    • I use whatever I have in the kitchen. Generally 2%. I think this salad is not too picky and you could probably get away with any fat level except maybe skim? I have not tried it with skim so no promises.

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