BBQ Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad ~ Your favorite picnic salad just got a huge makeover with bbq sauce, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
I was heading to big bbq to celebrate one of my favorite people turning 12 years old. And to the surprise of no one, I can’t ever attend a gathering without bringing something to eat. Without a doubt the salad was a hit, but bacon and cheese with bbq sauce, well what’s not to love?
All the prep work can be completed in the time it takes the pasta to cook, making this a relatively easy dish to prepare. The longer the salad gets to sit before serving the more intense and bold the flavors become.
BBQ Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad
- 1 lb . elbow macaroni
- 4-6 bacon slices; thick cut , cubed, and cooked
- 6 oz . cheddar cheese; grated
- 2 green bell peppers; seeded and finely chopped
- 1 rib celery , finely chopped
- 4 green onions; thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots; grated
- 1 tbsp . butter
- 2 tbsp . apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp . paprika
- 1/2 tsp . chili powder
- 1/2 tsp . granulated garlic
- 1 cup Miracle Whip (or mayo, if that’s how you roll)
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp . cilantro; chopped
Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the bacon, the veggies, and grate the cheese.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, paprika, chili powder, and granulated garlic together.
In another bowl, mix the BBQ sauce and the Miracle Whip (mayo).
Once the pasta is done, drain it, and rinse it with cold water.
Shake it well; making sure no water is clinging to it or in it, then add it to a large mixing bowl.
Coat the warm pasta with the butter; this will prevent the noodles from sticking together.
Add the carrots, green onions, bell peppers, and bacon to the still slightly warm pasta. Toss well.
Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Pour the seasoned-vinegar mixture over the pasta and mix it well.
Allow it to stand for another 3-5 minutes.
Mix in the cheddar cheese, a small amount at a time, until it is all well mixed in.
Slowly fold in the BBQ sauce/Miracle Whip blend until the entire salad is evenly coated.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cilantro in or use as garnish.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.