Calling all pickle lovers for this incredible dill pickle pasta salad recipe! This pasta salad is creamy, tangy, dilly and has chunks of cheddar cheese with chopped dill pickles! The perfect side salad to make ahead of time and bring to any party or gathering--you're gonna love it, and your friends and family will too!
Why you will love this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Pickle Heaven! This dill pickle salad is everything you want in a creamy cold pasta salad. Add chopped dill pickles, fresh chopped dill, and use pickle juice in the sauce. All the other ingredients are accessories for the ultimate pasta salad.
Make Ahead of Time. Pasta salad is always best if you let it sit in the fridge and chill to let the flavors combine together. Make sure you allow yourself a minimum of 2 hours to let your salad get nice and cold.
Healthy. Make it low-carb and keto by using crisp, tender cauliflower florets instead of macaroni pasta. You can also substitute with chickpea pasta or protein pasta if you want to keep the noodles but want a healthier alternative.
Pickle Pasta Salad Ingredients
Here's what you'll need to make Dill Pickle Pasta Salad:
- Elbow Macaroni: you can use any brand you prefer. Additionally, if you prefer to use chickpea pasta, gluten-free, or protein pasta, feel free to substitute for this recipe.
- Dill Pickles: again, you can use any brand you love!
- Dill Pickle Juice: reserve some juice from your pickles to add to your sauce in this recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese: you can use any sharpness level of cheddar cheese if you would like to as well. I have used mild to sharp cheddar cheese, and all are delicious.
- Yellow Onion: substitute with a different kind if you prefer.
- Fresh Dill: fresh dill is really the way to go in this salad. I have made it fresh and without, and it makes a huge difference using fresh!
- Mayonnaise: use full fat, reduced fat, or alternative if preferred.
- Sour Cream: you can substitute with plain Greek yogurt if you want to increase the protein and reduce fats.
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
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Dill Pasta Salad Variations
Use an alternative for elbow noodles in this recipe. Cauliflower florets would make this recipe low-carb and keto-friendly. You can also use protein pasta, gluten-free pasta, or your favorite alternative.
Use a different style of noodle instead of the elbow macaroni, such as shells, bowtie, or penne.
Use red, white, or sweet onion instead of yellow onion.
Use a different kind of cheese, such as a Colby jack cheese, pepper jack, or dill Havarti cheese.
Use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in this recipe. Use a keto version to lower the sugar and carbs in the recipe while increasing protein.
Add shredded rotisserie chicken to the salad to make it a meal.
Add sweetened or unsweetened cranberries to the salad to add another texture and flavor.
Add some extra protein by adding your favorite nuts to the salad as well. I would highly suggest pistachios, slivered almonds, or toasted walnuts.
How to Make Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Here are the step-by-step instructions for making this sauce:
1. Cook macaroni according to the package until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large bowl, add all ingredients. Stir until well combined.
3. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Adjust salt and pepper to taste after it's had time to chill.
How to Serve Dill Pickle Macaroni Salad
Garnish with fresh dill, chopped green onion, or add crumbled bacon over the top.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve as a side to your favorite grilled favorites such as burgers and grilled chicken or brats.
How to Store Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Store this pasta salad in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
The onions and pickles in the salad may release water over time but the noodles usually absorb the extra liquid. It is normal for this to happen.
Pickle Pasta Salad FAQs
Yes, unless the recipe specifically calls for warm pasta, you should always rinse with cold water after its done to stop the cooking process then chill before adding to pasta salad.
Make sure you use the right kind of noodles for the type of salad you are making. Try to keep all the sizes of your ingredients to be the same size. Season your salad at each step of making it to prevent under-seasoning. Try to cook your noodles al dente to prevent undercooking or overcooking them (both can ruin your pasta salad). Rinse your pasta in cold water after it is done cooking to stop the cooking process and rinse off the starch to prevent your noodles from sticking together.
Yes! Rinsing the pasta not only stops the pasta from cooking to prevent overcooking and becoming mushy, but it also rinses the starch off of the noodles to prevent them from sticking together.
Dill Pickle Macaroni Salad
- 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 cup chopped dill pickles
- 8 ounces cubed cheddar cheese
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- (optional:) 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
- Cook macaroni according to package until it is al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- In a large bowl add all of the ingredients. Stir until well combined.
- Cover and refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Use a yellow, orange, or red bell pepper; Use any favorite cheese, but a sharper cheddar, smoked gouda, and swiss cheese have the most flavor impact.
- TIPS: Adjust any ingredient to your taste preferences. This is a very adaptable recipe. Allow the flavors to blend for at least 2 hours before serving. Adjust creaminess with more mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste after the flavors blend.
- MAKE IT LOW CARB & KETO: Substitute bite sized chilled, crisp tender cooked cauliflower florets for the pasta. Cauliflower will not soak up excess liquid like pasta will. Stir well before serving and adjust seasoning and mayonnaise if needed.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Garnish with fresh chopped dill.
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