Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad is one of my favorite pasta dish and it is common to find in gatherings and potlucks.
Cooked elbow macaroni is combined with shredded chicken, ham, cheese, carrots, onion, pineapple, pimiento, sweet relish, raisins, condense milk and mayonnaise.
It is best when chilled and serve as a snack or side dish.
Celery, red and green pepper can be added too.
Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad is a staple during Christmas time but it is served through out the year.
Tips to Make Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Cook elbow macaroni al dente. Bring salted water to boil before adding macaroni. Stir it occasionally so it doesn’t clump. Cook for about 8 minutes in high heat or follow the packaging instructions until soften. Take a piece and try it. Don’t overcook. It should be chewy and not mushy.
- Add a generous amount of salt in water when boiling elbow macaroni.
- Boil and simmer chicken in onion seasoned with salt until tender. When cool, dice or shred. If you like, you can make this in advance and refrigerate.
- Dice ham, carrots, red onion, cheese into equally-sized pieces.
- Add fresh carrots, parboiled or parboiled and blanched whichever you prefer.
To parboil, add whole carrots in boiling water with or without salt for about 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness or parboil diced carrots for 2 to 3 minutes until tender crisp. Drain water.
Note: You can even add whole carrot while boiling chicken. Remove when tender crisp and dice.
To blanch, after parboiling submerge carrots in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process and to retain its vibrant color. Drain water.
- Drain pineapple tidbits. Discard or keep the juice.
- Add raisins as is. If you prefer plump raisins, boil about 1 ½ cups water in microwave, submerge raisins for 5 minutes. Drain water.
- I use regular mayonnaise but you can substitute with low fat mayo.
- In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients in any order. Cover bowl with lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
It is best chilled and it gives it enough time for ingredients to meld.
Note: I don’t care for something very sweet. This salad has a subtle sweetness to it.
If you like it sweeter, once you have mixed all the ingredients, taste and see if you need to add more condensed milk.
Other ingredients to add to the mixture
Red or green pepper or both, diced – I prefer to use bottled diced pimiento, if I have it.
Chicken - any part of chicken will do but remove the skin. Rotisserie chicken will work as well.
Pimiento - use green or red bell pepper instead.
Onion - yellow or red onion.
Mayonnaise - I used regular mayo but you can always use light mayonnaise.
It is common for most to make extra servings of this delicious macaroni salad. In fact, Filipino Chicken Macaroni salad taste much better after a day when ingredients has melded.
It is creamier with chewy macaroni in a perfect balance of sweetness.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 to 4 days. Don’t leave it for long in room temperature.
Freezing is not recommended.
Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe
- ½ pound skinless chicken breast boiled and shredded or cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small yellow onion quartered
- 5 cups water
- 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 cups water
- ½ pound ham cubed
- 1 medium sized yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- 1 (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits 2 cups, drain juice
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish drain juice
- ¾ cup raisins
- 1 cup cheddar cheese diced or shredded
- ¼ cup pimiento (optional) drained and diced
- ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 – 2 ½ cups mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium pot over high heat, add water, onion, chicken and salt. Bring to a boil and remove scum that floats on top. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and simmer chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken to cool. Cut into small cubes and set aside.
- While cooking chicken, prepare the other ingredients. Peel and dice onion, carrots and pimiento. Cut ham and cheese into small cubes. Set aside.Note: Carrots can be added fresh. If you like it tender crisp, parboil carrots in boiling water then quickly submerge in ice cold water. Drain water. See notes below or blog for tips.
- In a large pot, boil 6 to 8 cups of water over high heat and add 1 ½ teaspoons salt. In a rolling boil, add elbow macaroni. Stir occasionally until cooked about 8 minutes. Bite into one to check for firmness. Cook al dente meaning chewy and firm. Don’t overcook or it will get mushy. Follow the packing instructions for cooking time. In the sink, pour pasta over a sieve or colander and drain water completely. Transfer in a large bowl and cool.
- Mix all the ingredients with macaroni, in any order.
- Add the mayonnaise, condensed milk, chicken, ham, pineapple, carrots, onion, sweet relish, pimiento, raisins, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently.
- Taste and tweak the recipe to suit your taste.
- Cover with lid and refrigerate for at least 3 hours for ingredients to meld.
- Serve as a snack or side dish. Enjoy!
- Making this macaroni salad requires quite a bit of dicing. To save you time, use shredded cheese, diced pimiento and diced ham. Carrots are sold julienne but not diced.
- You can use other parts of chicken. Remove skin. Also, you can use red onion instead of yellow onion.
- I used regular mayonnaise but you can substitute with light mayo.
- Carrots can be added fresh, parboiled or parboiled and blanched. Blanch or submerge quickly in ice cold water to stop the cooking process and keep carrots vibrant.
- Another time saver, boil carrots with chicken. Boil whole carrot for 3 to 4 minutes and dice or place diced carrots in a strainer and parboil for 2 minutes whichever you prefer. Carrot should be tender crisp and not too soft.
- Save chicken broth to use for soup. You can also save the pineapple juice.
- No time to boil chicken, get a rotisserie chicken instead.
- Store leftover in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 to 4 days. Don’t leave in room temperature for long hours for food safety. Freezing is not recommended.