This Lemon and Dill Macaroni Salad With Mackerel is a welcomed change from the classic and it’s the perfect summer side.

Bamboo serving bowl full of macaroni salad garnished with fresh dill, and a can of lemon mackerel on the side.

This post is sponsored by King Oscar | Thank you for supporting the brands I trust.

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Macaroni Salad!

There’s definitely a nostalgic attachment to macaroni salad in the summertime. Cookouts passing out burgers and grilled veggies just aren’t complete without a creamy bowl of this good stuff. I grew up on a pretty basic (but delicious!) version, which included a simple mix of mayo, scallions, and tuna. I didn’t want to stray too far from the macaroni salad I grew up on with my adaptation, but I did want to zhuzh things up. And so this Lemon and Dill Macaroni Salad with Mackerel was born.

King Oscar’s Mackerel Fillets: The Perfect Addition.

The chunks of tuna were always my favorite part in my mom’s macaroni salad. However in my version, I’ve swapped the tuna for King Oscar’s Skinless and Boneless Mackerel Fillets With Lemon. These fillets offer up even meatier pieces than tuna and they’re packed in pure olive oil infused with lemon, which makes them perfect for a lemon and dill macaroni salad. If you’ve never had mackerel but enjoy tuna, don’t fret; I guarantee you’ll move the fork away from your mouth liking mackerel even more after trying King Oscar’s.

Close up of bowl of lemon and dill macaroni salad.

Easy Peasy Ingredients.

Macaroni salad doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. This recipe brings simple and accessible ingredients together to make a creamy, refreshing, and flavorful side for your summer mains. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Short pasta—I like to use elbow macaroni since it feels like the classic shape for macaroni salad. But you could use ditalini, gemelli, shells, or rotini.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Kosher dill pickles
  • Pickle brine
  • Lemon
  • Celery
  • Scallions
  • Fresh dill
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Can of King Oscar lemon mackerel, celery stalks, dry macaroni, salt, fresh dill, pickles, and jar of mayo.

Opened tin of King Oscar Mackerel fillets in olive oil.

How to Make Macaroni Salad With Mackerel.

It’s just as easy breezy as the classic macaroni salad, folks. Cook your noodles, chop your veggies, whip up your creamy dressing, and toss, toss, toss. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Cook your macaroni as per the directions on the packaging. When it’s ready, drain and rinse under cool water.
  2. While the pasta cooks, get your dressing together. Dump the mayo into a small mixing bowl and add the chopped pickles and celery, pickle brine, lemon juice, fresh dill, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Stir it until it’s well blended.
  3. Transfer the macaroni to a large serving bowl. Add the dressing, the mackerel, and the sliced scallions to the bowl, and toss to coat the noodles.
  4. Add some extra chopped fresh dill over the salad for garnish.
  5. Pop it in the fridge and let it sit for a few hours so the flavors can mingle.
  6. Serve as a summer side or enjoy it as lunch!

Left: Photo of macaroni, mayo dressing, and scallions in a bowl; Right: Hands mixing macaroni and ingredients in bowl together.

Bamboo serving bowl full of macaroni salad garnished with fresh dill, and a can of lemon mackerel on the side.

Useful Tools for This Recipe:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. Always let your macaroni salad sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. It’ll be much more flavorful that way.
  2. If you can’t find King Oscar’s mackerel fillets with lemon, you can use their fillets in olive oil. Their brisling sardines with lemon would also work very well!
  3. Macaroni is the prefered noodle, but you can use any short pasta shape, like ditalini, gemelli, shells, or rotini.
  4. If you don’t have access to fresh dill, swap it out and use dry dill instead.

Bamboo serving bowl full of macaroni salad.

Have You Made This Recipe?

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This Macaroni Salad Is a Great Side for These Mains:

Bamboo serving bowl full of macaroni salad garnished with fresh dill, and a can of lemon mackerel on the side.

Get the Recipe:

Lemon and Dill Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni, Or you can use another small pasta shape, like ditalini, shells, or rotini.
  • 3 tins King Oscar Mackerel in Olive Oil with Lemon, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp pickle brine
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook your macaroni according to the directions on the package. When ready, drain and rinse the pasta under cool water.
  • While the pasta boils, prepare the dressing. Place the mayo into a small mixing bowl and add the chopped pickles and celery, pickle brine, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt, and cracked black pepper, then mix it until it's well blended.
  • Transfer the cooled macaroni to a large serving bowl. Add the creamy dressing, the mackerel, and the sliced scallions to the bowl, then using two large serving spoons, toss to coat the noodles.
  • Garnish the salad with some extra fresh dill. Refrigerate for a few hours so the flavors can mingle. Serve as a summer side or enjoy it as lunch!