Total Time
2hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs

Another Cook's Illustrated tested recipe, however I've added my own personal touch. They recommend the sweet, smoky flavor of Texas Best or Bull's-Eye barbecue sauce, but feel free to substitute your favorite. As the salad sits, it can become dry; just before serving, stir in a few tablespoons of warm water to bring back its creamy texture. Time indicated includes recommended cooling time.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain once more, briefly, so that pasta is still moist; transfer to large bowl.
  3. Stir in bell peppers, celery, scallions, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, and let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in mayonnaise and barbecue sauce and let sit until salad is no longer watery, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve. (The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Check seasonings before serving.).


Most Helpful

We loved this! Thanks for sharing this delicious keeper recipe.

Lucky in Bayview March 18, 2015

Great "stand by" recipe. This is a fantastic salad as is but even better to add whatever you have on hand to make it just a little different. I have grilled the peppers and substituted scallion with grilled vidallia onion. I've added pineapple tidbits or mandarin orange segments and leftover grilled chicken, sometimes chopped crispy bacon, nuts and even raisins add a new twist. This is a keeper!

cracker cook November 13, 2009

This isn't your Mama's pasta salad!! What a unique twist to a classic! I halved the recipe, and added maybe 6 pimento stuffed olives that were minced. I served this alongside beef hot dogs and it was devored! I am grilling chicken tonight and cannot wait to add some leftovers to it for a more "main dish" salad. I garnished it with chopped cilantro for color. This will be my pasta salad to bring to BBQ's from now on.

Michelle S. August 24, 2009

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