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flat bowl of southern macaroni salad with ham and cheese and silver serving spoon

Southern Macaroni Salad with Ham

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x


Creamy, tangy classic pasta salad is perfect for summer with tons of fresh herbs and chunks of ham and sharp cheddar. 


  • 16 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta, cooked to al dente and rinsed under water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound thick cut sweet ham, diced
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Whisk to combine, and taste: adjust to make the dressing creamier, tangier, or saltier, to your preference.
  2. To the dressing, add the cooked pasta, ham, cheese, onions, and fresh herbs. Stir to coat, and taste again, add salt and pepper to your preference. Enjoy!


The salad may seem a bit goopy at the beginning, but it will absorb the dressing as it sits and become slightly less creamy. If you make this the day before, you may need to make a bit more dressing and pour it over the salad right before serving.

The herbs are optional here; you can skip them or sub any other fresh herbs you like.

To prep this but still make it fresh: stir together the dressing and store it in a container in the fridge. Chop the ham, cheese, onions, and herbs and store them separately as well. When you'd like to make the macaroni salad, cook the pasta, toss everything together, and serve!

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: macaroni salad, pasta salad, southern macaroni salad, creamy macaroni salad, macaroni salad with ham and cheese