Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad

Posted on Dec 28 2016 - 11:04am by Barry C. Parsons

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad – a recipe for those who miss the discontinued boxed macaroni salad mix from Kraft. This recipe replicates the garlic and herb flavours and adds a little fresh red pepper too.

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad

This copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad recipe was one that I decided to develop because of some chatter from folks on Facebook. They were lamenting the fact that they could no longer find the Kraft brand Macaroni Salad boxed mix on their supermarket shelves. The box came with the uncooked dry macaroni pasta and a little packet of seasoning mix that was stirred into mayonnaise or jarred salad dressing like Miracle Whip.

This particular macaroni salad was a bit of a contentious one in our clan during family get togethers. My sister Brenda loved it and served it often when inviting us over for Christmas leftovers. I always preferred our standard family recipe which I always made for a Traditional Newfoundland Cold Plate after many holiday occasions throughout the year.

For the most part, I am a from-scratch kind of cook and rarely use any kind of boxed mixes for anything. Still, looking at a couple of discussion forums and even on The Kraft Facebook Page, it is clear that many folks did indeed love it.  With that in mind, I set myself the challenge to replicate the garlic herb flavours in the salad from memory…and I think I came pretty close to the flavour that I recall.

The flavour that I remember was an intense, garlic-herb, ranch dressing sort of taste. The garlic flavour in the dry seasoning packet was obviously powdered garlic and I think that was what divided most opinion on this pasta salad. I’ve started with a base amount for this recipe but you can always adjust it to your taste. For a bit of a mellower garlic flavour, I’d suggest making the salad dressing a day ahead of time using very finely minced fresh garlic. The day of sitting in the fridge can let the garlic flavour mellow and meld with the other flavours nicely. Come to think of it, if you have the time, that’s not a bad idea to try if you are using garlic powder too.

Looking at the photos online of the Kraft Macaroni Salad box, there appear to be red flecks in the mix as well. Since there is no real spicy heat in the salad that I recall, I don’t believe them to be chilli flakes but perhaps dried pimento or red pepper. I’ve added fresh diced red pepper to the recipe for a little added sweetness, colour and texture. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way, if you are wondering about that delicious looking baked ham in the background, you can find the incredibly simple recipe and instructions for Dijon & Brown Sugar Glazed Ham here.

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad

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You’ll fond lots of other great ideas like this by browsing the photo gallery in our Side Dishes Category.

Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad
Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
18 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Copycat Kraft Macaroni Salad - a recipe for those who miss the discontinued boxed macaroni salad mix from Kraft. This recipe replicates the garlic and herb flavours and adds a little fresh red pepper too.
Course: Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: North American
Servings: 8 or more servings
Author: Barry C. Parsons
  • 3 cups uncooked macaroni
  • 1 cup salad dressing (See Recipe Notes)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp powdered garlic (or 2 cloves very finely minced garlic)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 cup red pepper finely diced
  1. Cook the macaroni in salted water for about 12 minutes or until just al dente. You don't want to overcook the macaroni because your salad will be too mushy. The macaroni will continue to absorb moisture from the salad dressing, so a tiny bit underdone would be far preferable to overdone.
  2. Rinse the cooked macaroni in a colander and allow to drain well for several minutes.
  3. While the macaroni is draining, add all the other ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together well.
  4. Transfer the drained macaroni to the large mixing bowl with the dressing and mix well until all of the macaroni pieces are well coated.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

SALAD DRESSING: Most potato and pasta salads call for salad dressing which is the jarred, spoonable type dressing, like Kraft Miracle Whip which looks much like mayonnaise. If you want to make a substitute using mayonnaise, simply mix together 1 cup mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 rounded tablespoon of white sugar and a dash of paprika. Stir well and let stand for 5 minutes before stirring again and using in the recipe.

7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ashley December 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to trying this! In Alberta you can still get the Kraft green box at Safeway. Safeway recently was bought out by Sobey so maybe Sobey will start to carry it? Just a thought!

    • Barry C. Parsons January 9, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Kraft have said they are discontinuing it. Eventually nobody will be carrying it when supplies run out.

  2. Brenda January 1, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Did you ever try crushing the garlic cloves and adding to the pasta water? Yum. For some pasta salad recipes, I drop half a lemon into the water as well! The idea is fun to play with.

  3. Kim January 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to try this! I heard you can buy a bottle of Clubhouse Signature spice, not sure which one, that is exactly like the spice pouch in the Kraft salad! I just bought the garlic & herb almost same ingredients as your recipe! Will let you know how it tastes!!

  4. just me March 2, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    . i added bacon bits/chopped green peppers/ green or red onions/cucumbers/cheese cut in cubes (i used marble)/chopped boiled eggs. /chopped celery. i didn’t use apple cider vinegar as the spices are enough and used helmans mayonaise!

    i also add chicken when i have left overs.

    it’s really a meal in one bowl. great for summer or side dish.

  5. Carol March 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I made this salad for a potluck. I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand so I used 1 Tbl of lemon juice. Enjoyed it very much. Will make again, definitely a keeper.

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