Filipino-style Macaroni Salad loaded with chicken, ham, cheese, pineapple and sweet relish is a must for any party or celebration. It’s hearty, delicious, and a sure crowd favorite!
Like spaghetti, Filipino-style macaroni salad is one of the dishes we adapted from the west and gave our own Pinoy twist. Bursting with tropical flavors, it’s the perfect fit for our Filipino tastes!
This Filipino macaroni recipe was first published in September 2013 but I am bringing it back in the spotlight with a new video and cooking tips because, well, Christmas is almost here! No Filipino party or gathering is complete without chicken macaroni and if I may say so myself, this version of mine is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite.
A delicious hodgepodge of hearty pasta, shredded chicken, ham and cheese cubes, crushed pineapples, plump raisins, and chopped eggs, your guests will be lining up for
seconds thirds! Good thing this macaroni salad can be easily doubled (or tripled) and can be prepped in advance for less-stress entertaining!
Tips on How to Make Filipino-style Macaroni Salad:
- Macaroni is the highlight of the show here so make sure it’s cooked right. As pasta tends to turn chewy when it cools, you might want to cook it a minute more than package directions but don’t overcook where it gets mushy. It’s tossed with an overwhelming amount of mixed ins and you want the pasta firm enough to hold up.
- My favorite trick in this recipe is poaching the chicken and not “boiling” it to death. This gentle method of cooking ensures your chicken pieces are moist and succulent instead of dry and stringy. You can use a combination of dark and white meat if you like.
- Like poaching the chicken, blanching the carrots is another step that makes a difference. By parboiling in hot water and then immediately shocking them in iced water, the carrots are vibrant and tender-crisp.
- Do not skip the condensed milk! Trust me on this, that half a cup adds creaminess and the touch of sweetness counterbalances the savory flavors of the dish.
- The pasta salad will be a little loose when first combined but it will thicken beautifully after an hour or so in the fridge. I know everyone will be excited to dig in but give it a little time to cool completely and meld.
- Although you can prep the salad in advance, I don’t recommend making it or keeping the leftovers for more than 3 days due to food safety. With mayo, eggs and other protein-rich ingredients, it will spoil quicker than most foods.
Watch the Video:
Filipino-style Macaroni Salad loaded with chicken, ham, cheese, pineapple and sweet relish is a must for any party or celebration. It's hearty, delicious, and a sure crowd favorite!
- 16 ounces uncooked medium elbow macaroni
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 cup ham, cubed
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 14 ounces crushed pineapple
- 1 cup Eden or Velveeta Cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- salt and pepper to taste
In a pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for about 8 to 9 minutes or until firm to bite. Drain well.
In a pot, add chicken meat and enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top. Lower heat, cover, and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Drain from the liquid, allow to completely cool and shred. Set aside.
In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add diced carrots and cook for about 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove from water and plunge into an ice bath until completely cool. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine macaroni, chicken, carrots, ham, eggs, crushed pineapple including packing juice, cheese, sweet pickle relish, raisins, onions, mayonnaise, and sweetened condensed milk. Gently stir together until evenly distributed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to cool completely and to allow flavors to meld.