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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (L&L BBQ Copycat)

This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a magnificent side dish for all the cookouts and picnics. This is reminiscent of the famous L&L Hawaiian BBQ mac salad. Make it completely ahead of time. 

hawaiian macaroni salad in a white dish.

Macaroni Salad, Island Style

I grew up near the sandy beaches of So. Cal. Being on the West Coast near the ocean and year-round sunshine means a thriving Hawaiian culture, evidenced through surf and food.

I can’t speak to the surf, since the most adventurous I ever got on the waves was via boogie board. But food? That I can gab for days about. Hawaiian food joints were all around me, and simply adored it.

Anything from mom-and-pops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants to Hawaiian fast food joints, combination plates of teriyaki chicken or steak teriyaki beef abound. Lunch Plates = Swoon.

The side dishes are just as decadent.  It doesn’t get better than the refreshing crispness of  chopped Asian chicken salad and the huge flavors of this creamy macaroni salad.

Macaroni Salad in serving dish

Make-Ahead Mac Salad for Your Next Gathering

I’m not even a mac salad type of gal, but this one is ridiculously flavorful. If you’re on the fence about macaroni salad, give this super easy recipe a try for your next cookout or picnic.

This Hawaiian macaroni salad requires only a handful of ingredients and is amazing the flavors are allowed to meld together overnight; it’s the perfect side dish for any picnic or backyard cookout.

To make a batch of mac salad ahead of time, cook up your macaroni until it’s nice and tender. Drain and rinse in cold water to halt the cooking. Be sure it’s well drained so no excess water interferes with the dish.

Then pile on the shredded carrots, minced onions, green onions, and spices. Real mayo for creaminess. It’s that easy. Mix it all together and chill in a covered container until you’re ready to serve. Again, letting your mac salad chill overnight results in fabulous flavors.

Ingredients for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Plan Your Menu (Make-Ahead Recipes)

This creamy, easy macaroni salad is superb alongside your favorite BBQ meats and veggies.

Here’s a simple cookout menu that spotlights prep-ahead recipes so you can actually relax and enjoy your meal with friends and family.

Appetizer4-Ingredient Crock Pot Buffalo Meatballs are not only unbelievably easy, but they can be prepared ahead of time and won’t crowd up your grill space. The slow cooker also frees up your stovetop and oven and keeps your kitchen cool.

Main Dish: No need to choose between beef or chicken, with these two delicious options. This Hawaiian BBQ Grilled Chicken Recipe can be marinated ahead of time (up to 2 days ahead) and is budget friendly. Our 30-Minute Steak Teriyaki is simple, quick, and boasts huge flavors.

Side Dish: this macaroni salad, recipe card below

Drinks: You’ll love this make-ahead Hawaiian Mai Tai for the adults. Kids adore this 4-Ingredient Orange Julius Recipe that takes only 5 minutes to whip up, and can be chilled until ready to serve (older kids can easily make these on their own.)

Dessert: This easy One Bowl Yum-Yum Cake is ultra moist and fits the tropical theme. It’s shocking how tender and tasty this cake is, given that it needs no oil nor butter. Feel free to find for your favorite sweet treat to serve up (or ask someone else to bring!)

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with Chopped Parsley

Try this Easy, Delicious Potato Salad, too:

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with Chopped Parsley

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (L&L BBQ Copycat)

4.80 from 75 ratings
This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is so good, it’s addictive. Easy to make, feeds a crowd, and tastes awesome. Don’t be surprised when people go back for seconds and thirds of this mac salad.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Amy Dong


  • ½ lb dry elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 2 TB shredded carrots
  • 1 cup real, whole mayo
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Optional: freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  • Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil. Cook macaroni until tender, according to package instructions. Drain, rinse thoroughly with cold water; be sure to drain well.
  • Combine remaining ingredients with the cold, cooked macaroni. Toss to combine well. Chill 2-3 hours or overnight. Toss again right before serving.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4.3g | Fat: 21.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11.6mg | Sodium: 353.9mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 2.7g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Stovetop

A BBQ party isn’t complete without all the awesome sides! Here are some faves:

  1. Southwestern Barley Salad. Light yet packed with flavor. The lime and cilantro really shine, while barley adds a toothsome satisfaction.
  1. Hawaiian Salmon Poke. Not really a side, but an extremely popular appetizer (or light dinner) in Hawaii. Nutritious and delicious.
Hawaiian Salmon Poke 3
  1. Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. A deliciously tangy, slightly sweet, and zippy potato salad that adds tasty interest to your table.
  1. Caprese Pasta Salad. As delicious as it is pretty. Perfect spring/summer side dish or light lunch.
Caprese Pasta Salad
4.80 from 75 votes (55 ratings without comment)

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Jenny
    • 4 stars

    I’ll probably end up adding more Mayo or maybe some celery to make it less salty.. or I’m gonna mix it with white rice later for Hawaiian bbq anyway.. otherwise it’s a good easy recipe! I just wish I eyeballed my salt to taste instead lol

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Jenny! Be sure to use kosher salt vs. table salt, as kosher salt is much less salty by volume.

    • Jen
    • 5 stars

    A year ago we moved to a state that doesn’t have a Hawaiian BBQ Restaurant. We’ve been craving L&L so bad! This weekend I embarked on creating my own copycat versions of their food.
    Their Mac salad was sooo good!
    I don’t recall the Colo locations using green onion, like this recipe calls for, however, that being said, this was excellent. My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it only lasted a couple of days. It was the perfect accompaniment to our Hawaiian BBQ feast! The recipe is a keeper for sure. No need to look any further. Thank you so much!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, we’re SO happy you all loved this, Jen! 🙂

        • Jen
        • 5 stars

        I’ve now made this 5 times in about 5 weeks . We love it! The reason I’m on this page today is to share the recipe with a friend that loved it yesterday at the church BBQ
        Side note – I also use Kosher salt and find the proportions to be perfect. Kosher salt has definitely improved my cooking!

        • Amy Dong

        Aww, that makes me super happy to hear, Jen! 🙂

    • Jan

    This looks good. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m going to.
    Stupid question. Why is it called Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
    I mean no disrespect but it looks like “regular” macaroni salad.
    Just wondering.

      • Amy Dong

      Great question, Jan. In Hawaii, this type of macaroni salad is extremely popular. It tastes different from classic macaroni salad, and is often served on a “plate lunch” with a protein like teriyaki chicken. Enjoy!

        • Jan

        I think you can probably disregard my first reply.
        As I looked at the ingredients again, I believe it’s the mayo. That’s the only difference I see.
        I could be wrong.

        • Caroline

        I was born and raised in Hawaii, and one thing I think is done with the Mac Salad is use a tiny bit of minced real or imitation crab meat; or a tiny bit of tuna, like traces. So you wouldn’t notice it, but it’s in the mix, enhancing flavah. :). I think many also lightly sprinkle a combo of the salt, white pepper in a bit of vinegar onto the noodkes when they are newly drained and still hot… so a layer of flavor gets incorporated into the noodle.

    • Dennise
    • 5 stars

    @chewoutloud I have made this twice in the last two weeks. The first time, I made a lb of Mac noodles and found your recipe. It was super simple and easy, I love the easy 1x, 2x, 3x option and ingredients update! My husband practically finished it on his own in a few days. My almost 3 yr old loved it. We were out for 2 days and I made another batch after telling the neighbors how good it was and offering to drop some off. Now, it’s overnight in the fridge, I can’t wait to see how it turned out again! We have dinner guests and there won’t be leftovers this time (another 2x batch)

      • Amy Dong

      That’s SO great to hear, Dennise! 🙂 🙂

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