Some ingredients commonly found in homemade macaroni salad include elbow macaroni, mayonaise, celery and seasonings, such as salt and pepper. Other ingredients include onion, sugar, bell peppers, cheese, vinegar and mustard.
The most important ingredients in a homemade macaroni salad recipe are the elbow macaroni and the mayonnaise, as they make up the majority of the dish. Using a different type of pasta can take the dish in a different direction based on the chef's personal preference and desired outcome. For example, if she wants to make a dish that feels similar to traditional macaroni salad, she can use a penne or rotini, which are both small. Alternately, she can use a completely different style of pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine, to make the dish feel different and new.
Other ways to add a unique flair to the dish are to include different meats or vegetables. For example, food blogger and cooking show host Ree Drummond's recipe for homemade macaroni salad includes several different vegetables, such as bell peppers, white onions, black olives, green onions and pickles. The items the chef chooses to add should all be complementary, which means avoiding adding excessively salty ingredients along with excessively sweet or sour ingredients.