BLT Macaroni Salad Recipe

Introduction to BLT Macaroni Salad

The BLT, an acronym for Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, is a classic sandwich that has delighted taste buds for decades. Its origins trace back to early 20th-century America, where it gained popularity as a simple yet delicious combination of flavors. Over time, culinary enthusiasts began experimenting with these core ingredients, leading to the creation of the BLT Macaroni Salad. This dish combines the beloved flavors of the traditional BLT sandwich with the hearty, comforting texture of macaroni pasta, creating a versatile salad that’s perfect for any occasion. Its popularity has soared in recent years, with many appreciating its blend of savory, crunchy, and creamy elements. The BLT Macaroni Salad has become a staple at picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings, celebrated for its ability to bring a classic taste to a refreshing, easy-to-serve dish.

Ingredients Overview

The foundation of a BLT Macaroni Salad lies in four key ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, and macaroni. Each component plays a crucial role in creating the dish’s signature taste and texture:

  • Bacon: Adds a smoky, savory depth that contrasts beautifully with the salad’s fresher elements.
  • Lettuce: Typically iceberg or romaine, it introduces a crisp, refreshing crunch.
  • Tomato: Offers a juicy, slightly tangy flavor that balances the richness of the bacon.
  • Macaroni: Serves as the base, providing a satisfying chew and helping to bind the salad together.

For those looking to customize their BLT Macaroni Salad, there are numerous optional ingredients that can add complexity and cater to personal preferences. Avocado lends creaminess, shredded cheese introduces a hint of sharpness, and a sprinkle of chives or green onions can add a mild, oniony bite. The versatility of this salad means it can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and flavor profiles, making it a beloved choice for diverse palates.

Health and Nutrition

While the BLT Macaroni Salad is undeniably delicious, it’s also possible to make it with health in mind. The traditional ingredients, while flavorful, can be high in calories and fat. However, with a few adjustments, the salad can be transformed into a healthier version without sacrificing taste. Opting for whole wheat macaroni introduces more fiber to the dish, while using turkey bacon or even a plant-based bacon alternative can significantly reduce the fat content. Additionally, incorporating a larger proportion of lettuce and tomatoes increases the salad’s vitamin, mineral, and fiber content, enhancing its nutritional profile.

For those concerned about the creamy dressing typically used in macaroni salads, there are healthier alternatives. A yogurt-based dressing or a light vinaigrette can provide the desired creaminess or tanginess without the added calories of traditional mayonnaise. By making these simple swaps, the BLT Macaroni Salad can be a flavorful yet healthier option that still satisfies those classic BLT cravings.

Preparing BLT Macaroni Salad

Creating a delicious BLT Macaroni Salad is a simple process that combines the classic flavors of bacon, lettuce, and tomato with the hearty texture of macaroni. Follow these steps to prepare a salad that will be a hit at any gathering.

Preparation of Ingredients

  • Bacon: Start by cooking the bacon until it’s crispy. You can bake it in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or fry it in a pan over medium heat. Once cooked, let it cool on a paper towel before chopping it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Lettuce: Choose crisp lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg. Wash and dry the leaves thoroughly, then chop them into bite-sized pieces. The lettuce will add a fresh, crunchy texture to the salad.
  • Tomato: Opt for ripe but firm tomatoes. Dice them into small pieces after removing the seeds to prevent the salad from becoming too watery.
  • Macaroni: Use elbow macaroni or any small pasta shape you prefer. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente, usually about 7-8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta down quickly.

Cooking Macaroni to Perfection

The key to perfect macaroni for a salad is to cook it until it’s just al dente. This means the pasta should be tender but still firm to the bite. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and may not hold up well when mixed with the dressing and other ingredients.

Mixing the Perfect Dressing

For the dressing, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (or a healthier alternative like Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of garlic powder for extra flavor

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Combine the cooked and cooled macaroni, chopped bacon, lettuce, and tomato in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until everything is well coated. Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Variations of BLT Macaroni Salad

The BLT Macaroni Salad is versatile, and with a few adjustments, you can create a version that fits your dietary needs or personal taste preferences.

Vegan and Vegetarian Versions

For a vegan or vegetarian BLT Macaroni Salad, substitute the bacon with a plant-based bacon alternative or smoked tofu. Use a vegan mayonnaise for the dressing, and consider adding avocado for extra creaminess and a boost of healthy fats.

Gluten-Free Adaptations

To make this salad gluten-free, simply use a gluten-free pasta made from rice, corn, or a blend of gluten-free grains. Ensure that the bacon and any other added ingredients are also gluten-free.

Creative Twists and International Variations

  • Mediterranean BLT Salad: Add olives, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of oregano to the salad for a Mediterranean twist.
  • Spicy BLT Salad: Incorporate jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce into the dressing for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  • Asian Fusion BLT Salad: Use a sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing, and add a touch of soy sauce for an Asian-inspired version.

These variations on the classic BLT Macaroni Salad allow you to enjoy this delicious dish in new and exciting ways, catering to various tastes and dietary requirements.

Serving Suggestions

BLT Macaroni Salad is best served chilled, making it a refreshing choice for warm weather gatherings. To elevate the presentation, consider serving it in a large, clear bowl or individual cups for a touch of elegance. Garnish with extra chopped bacon, a sprinkle of paprika, or fresh herbs like parsley or basil to add color and flavor. This salad pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, such as chicken or steak, and complements other picnic staples like corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, and fresh fruit. For a complete meal, serve alongside a crusty baguette or garlic bread.

Storage and Leftovers

To store BLT Macaroni Salad, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The salad is best enjoyed within the first 24 hours, as the lettuce can wilt and the pasta may absorb the dressing over time. To refresh leftovers, consider adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or a dollop of mayonnaise to revive the creamy texture. You can also add fresh lettuce or other vegetables to bring back the salad’s crunch and vibrancy.


  • How can I make my BLT Macaroni Salad more flavorful? Enhance the flavor by adding fresh herbs, such as basil or chives, or by incorporating ingredients like capers, sun-dried tomatoes, or a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Adjusting the dressing with extra mustard, honey, or a splash of lemon juice can also add depth.
  • Can I prepare BLT Macaroni Salad ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the salad a day in advance. However, for the best texture, add the lettuce and any other fresh vegetables just before serving to prevent them from wilting or becoming soggy.
  • What are some common mistakes to avoid when making BLT Macaroni Salad? Avoid overcooking the pasta, as it should be al dente to maintain its texture in the salad. Be cautious not to overdress the salad; start with a smaller amount of dressing and add more as needed. Finally, ensure the bacon is crispy and the vegetables are fresh for the best flavor and texture.

BLT Macaroni Salad Recipe

This BLT Macaroni Salad recipe combines the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich with the hearty comfort of macaroni pasta, creating a perfect dish for any gathering. With crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and a creamy dressing, this salad is a crowd-pleaser that's both refreshing and satisfying.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Knife and cutting board


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a lighter version
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish


  • Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to create the dressing.
  • Add the cooled macaroni to the bowl with the dressing. Add the crumbled bacon, chopped lettuce, and halved cherry tomatoes. Toss until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing.
  • Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
  • Before serving, toss the salad again and garnish with fresh basil or parsley if desired.


  • For a healthier version, substitute the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt and use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon.
  • To make this salad ahead of time, prepare the dressing and cook the pasta and bacon. Store separately and combine with fresh lettuce and tomatoes just before serving to maintain freshness and texture.
  • Feel free to add additional ingredients like avocado, hard-boiled eggs, or shredded cheese to customize the salad to your liking.
Keyword BLT Macaroni Salad, BLT Pasta, Pasta Salad, Picnic Salad, Summer Salad