This recipe is pure nostalgia!  It's my Grandma Pat's macaroni salad.  We call it the "yellow bowl" macaroni salad because Grandma, still to this day, uses an old gigantic yellow Tupperware bowl to make this salad.  She used it because our family is HUGE and we really did need 26 cups worth of macaroni salad on hand for any family gathering, but now it's become synonymous with her iconic macaroni salad.

The secret ingredient to this recipe (besides 70's plastic) is the olive brine.  We've served this macaroni salad at countless barbecues over the years, and many folks have commented on a subtle flavor they can't quite pick out.  Grandma just splashes some in at the end to taste, but we like to pour it over the warm noodles to kickstart the flavor absorption. The intensity of the olive brine flavor seems to vary from brand to brand, so the measurement below is a good starting point.  Taste the noodles and add a little more if you don't pickup a hint of green olive.

It's worth noting that Grandma never measures anything when making this salad, yet it always tastes the exact same every time she makes.  A little of this, a little of that....boom, perfect macaroni salad!  We spent an afternoon with her to measure each ingredient as she worked her magic, and this is what we came away with.


  • 2 lbs elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup green olive brine (liquid from the jar)
  • 2 cups Miracle Whip
  • 4 tsp yellow mustard
  • 8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced green olives with pimentos, drained
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickle spears (approx. 4 spears)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 8 oz block of Colby cheese, chopped


  1. Boil the macaroni in salted water until tender.  Drain through a colander and remove as much water as possible.
  2. While still warm, transfer the noodles to a large (yellow) mixing bowl and pour the olive brine over the noodles.  Stir to distribute the brine as much as possible, then set aside to cool.  
  3. While the noodles are cooling, chop the remaining ingredients.
  4. Once the noodles are cool, stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
  5. Taste and add a splash of olive juice or pickle juice as needed.
  6. For best results refrigerate overnight before serving.