Bacon Balsamic Macaroni Salad

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Crisp bacon pieces strewn throughout this delectable, creamy bacon balsamic macaroni salad; loaded with crunchy celery, bright red grape tomatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and topped with a mouthwatering and tangy creamy balsamic ranch dressing.

Bacon! People go nuts with bacon! Why is that? Perhaps it’s the crispy, salty nature of a slice of bacon, or the heavenly aroma wafting up to your bedroom tickling your nose and beckoning you to come downstairs on a sleepy Saturday morning, whatever it is, it works!

If you adore bacon, like we do, try this delicious Bacon Minestrone Soup or Best Ever Cowboy Baked Beans that are topped with, you guessed it BACON!

white porcelain bowl of bacon balsamic macaroni salad with red tomatoes, green onions and crisp celery and bacon | thefreshcooky.com

I’m not a huge pork fan and yet I L.O.V.E. crispy bacon! Can’t be limp or under-cooked, no siree, has to be cooked crisp and crunchy! Heck, I know several vegetarians who say they have one exception; BACON!! That cracks me up!

Bowl of creamy balsamic ranch bacon macaroni salad with fresh tarragon on side.

This recipe is from my dear friend, fellow blogger and cookbook author, Eliza! When she posted this recipe from her latest cookbook, Bacon, Beans and Beer I knew I had to try it.

I’m not a big fan of your standard over mayo’d up macaroni salad — this is quite the opposite, lighter and fresher and in case I didn’t mention it — it has BACON!


Gather your simple ingredients. Hollywood Safflower Mayo just happens to be the mayo I grew up on, I’ve never been satisfied with other mayos, give it a try! I find it at our local grocery store in the natural section.

Basic ingredients for balsamic dressing, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, ranch dressing ready to measure. thefreshcooky.com

Add several teaspoons of salt to your boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse well with cold water.

While your pasta is cooking; chop your celery, green onions and halve your grape tomatoes (or a large tomato, chopped). Hold off on the bacon and and cheese, you’ll add those after it’s chilled out a few hours.

Class bowl filled with crisp celery, bright red cherry tomatoes, slivers of green onions atop fresh cooked elbow macaroni | thefreshcooky.com

Grab a small mixing bowl, combine your dressing ingredients and gently whisk until combined and smooth.

balsamic dressing mixture with a whisk in a glass bowl ready to whip into a lovely, creamy balsamic dressing | thefreshcooky.com

Pour it over your pasta and veggies…

Pouring creamy balsamic ranch vinaigrette onto macaroni salad.

…mix gently coating everything.

Gigantic spoon of creamy balsamic pasta salad.

Now, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or even overnight. Time is your friend with this dish.

While your pasta salad is hanging out, cook your bacon — I love using my cast iron griddle.

Frying up crisp bacon close up.

Just before serving add your cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and if desired chop a little fresh tarragon and mix to combine.

Garnish with fresh chopped onions and a sprig of tarragon if desired. I think tarragon is a highly undervalued herb; highly aromatic, sporting a taste somewhat similar and yet so different than anise. Try it on your cooked carrots sometime…be still my pulsating palate!

bowl of bacon balsamic macaroni salad with bits of crisp bacon, crisp green onion slices, elbow macaronis covered in a creamy balsamic dressing. thefreshcooky.com

This dish tastes even better the second day! It’s delicious and pairs perfectly with Hanneman’s Flank Steak or Summertime Kebab’s.

This amazing recipe has been slightly adapted from my friend Eliza’s Bacon, Beans and Beer Cookbook!

Sharing on Weekend Potluck!

Try these other Summertime recipes:

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Bacon Balsamic Macaroni Salad

Author: Kathleen Pope
4.80 from 5 votes
Crisp bacon pieces strewn throughout this delectable, creamy bacon balsamic macaroni salad that is loaded with crunchy celery, bright red grape tomatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and topped with a mouthwatering creamy balsamic ranch dressing.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Salads and Dressings
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -12 servings
Calories 742 kcal


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved (sub. with 1 large tomato, chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (reserve a few as a garnish)
  • 1-2 teaspoons tarragon, fresh, finely chopped (optional) (1/2- 1 tsp dried may be substituted)


  • 1 cup mayonnaise, good quality, I love Chosen Foods Avocado mayo
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing, prepared
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground


  • 1 lb bacon, crisp cooked, crumbled
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Garnish with a few chopped green onions and a sprig of fresh tarragon, if desired


  • Cook macaroni according to package instructions, be sure to add a couple teaspoons of salt to the boiling water.
  • While pasta is boiling, chop your tomatoes, celery, and green onions. Once the pasta is done, drain in a colander and rinse well under COLD water. Place cooked and drained pasta in a large bowl, mix in chopped tomatoes, onions, and celery.


  • In a small mixing bowl combine your mayonnaise, ranch dressing, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk well until combined and smooth. Pour dressing over pasta and stir gently to coat.
  • Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, up to overnight (or longer if needed). When ready to serve, add your crumbled crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and optional fresh or dried tarragon. Stir to combine. Garnish with sprig of tarragon (or basil) and a few chopped green onions.
  • Tastes delicious after a couple of days as well. Keep covered and refrigerated, lasts up to 5-7 days in the fridge.

✱ Kathleen’s Tips

This recipe slightly adapted from the original at Happy Simple Living.


Serving: 1 serving Calories: 742 kcal Carbohydrates: 47 g Protein: 19 g Fat: 53 g Saturated Fat: 14 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 19 g Monounsaturated Fat: 16 g Trans Fat: 0.1 g Cholesterol: 65 mg Sodium: 963 mg Potassium: 423 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 4 g Vitamin A: 733 IU Vitamin C: 9 mg Calcium: 132 mg Iron: 1 mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 5 stars
    Macaroni salad is one of my favorite summertime sharing sides, but we haven’t gotten to share with friends and family this summer. However, we’ve made this macaroni salad and OH BOY, is it perfect!