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Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Dive into a bowl of tangy delight with this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad recipe! This creamy and flavorful dish is loaded with tender pasta spirals, crunchy diced pickles, crisp celery, zesty red onion, and a creamy dressing infused with pickle brine. It’s a refreshing twist on classic pasta salad that’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, or a quick weekday lunch.

dill pickle pasta salad in a white bowl with pickle spears
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Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Pickle Lovers Unite: The most obvious reason is this dish is perfect for pickle lovers. If you’re the type who’s always reaching for everyone’s leftover pickles, this is the salad for you!
  • Tangy Flavor: Pickles add a tangy and slightly acidic flavor to the pasta salad, which contrasts well with the creaminess of the dressing and the starchiness of the pasta.
  • Texture: Pickles add a crunchy texture to the salad.
  • Refreshing: The briny and refreshing taste of the salad feels light and refreshing, making it a suitable option for picnics, barbecues, or as a side dish.
  • Easy to Customize: This dish can be easily customized to suit personal taste. You can use different types of pickles (such as dill, bread and butter, or spicy pickles), vary the types of pasta or add other ingredients like flavored cheese, vegetables, or proteins.
  • Quick and Easy: This salad is a quick and easy dish to prepare, making it convenient for busy weeknights or as a last-minute addition to potlucks and gatherings.
grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, and diced celery in separate glass bowls
mayo and plain Greek yogurt in separate glass bowls
spices and mustard in separate white bowls

What Type of Pasta to Use

The best pasta for pasta salad is usually short and can hold its shape and texture when mixed with other ingredients. My favorites to use are rotini and elbow (macaroni). Here are more options:

  • Rotini: This is what I use. It’s spiral-shaped and great for holding onto mayo and dressings.
  • Penne: Tube-shaped
  • Farfalle: Bow-tie shaped
  • Orzo: Rice-shaped pasta
  • Fusilli: Corkscrew shaped (Trader Joe’s has a great one!)

Be sure to read the instructions printed on the pasta and cook it accordingly. This will ensure it’s perfect.

cooked rotini pasta in a glass bowl

What Type of Pickles to Use

  • Dill Pickles: Dill pickles are a classic choice. They have a tangy flavor with a hint of dill herb, which adds a savory and slightly sour note to the salad.
  • Bread and Butter Pickles: Bread and butter pickles offer a sweeter flavor profile compared to dill pickles. They’re made with a sweet and tangy brine, often containing spices like mustard seeds and turmeric.
  • Sweet Pickles: Sweet pickles, also known as gherkins, are another option if you prefer a sweeter flavor in your salad. They have a milder taste compared to dill pickles and can provide a pleasant contrast to the savory and tangy elements in the dish.
  • Spicy Pickles: If you enjoy a bit of heat in your pasta salad, you can use spicy pickles or pickled jalapeños. These pickles add a kick of spice and extra flavor to the salad, which can be appealing to those who like a bit of heat.
pickle juice and pickles in separate glass bowls

How to Make Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Cook the pasta in accordance with the instructions on the package.
  2. Rinse the pasta in cold water and dry completely.
  3. Add the pasta to your serving bowl along with mayo, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), sweetener or sugar, spices, pickle juice, mustard, cheese, pickles, onions, and celery. Stir to combine.
  4. Chill the salad.
a collage of 4 photos with mayo, cheese, celery, pickles, and pasta in a glass bowl

Vegetables and Additional Substitution Ideas

dill pickle pasta salad in a white bowl

How to Substitute Mayo

This recipe uses a combination of mayo and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. I like this combo because I favor plain Greek yogurt because it’s high in protein. It’s an easy way to make this a high protein side dish. If you don’t like mayo, that works in your favor because you can go all in with the sour cream or Greek yogurt. Here are additional substitutions:

  • Avocado: Mashed avocado can provide a creamy texture and a unique flavor. Use ripe avocado and adjust the quantity to your liking.
  • Olive Oil: For a lighter option, you can use extra virgin olive oil. It won’t give the same creaminess, but it adds a delicious flavor. Consider adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for acidity.
  • Pesto Sauce: If you’re looking to add flavor and a different twist, consider using pesto sauce. It’s made with ingredients like basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Hummus: Hummus can be a surprising and flavorful substitute. Choose a plain or garlic-flavored hummus to add creaminess and a hint of Mediterranean flavor.
  • Yogurt-based Dressing: There are many pre-made yogurt-based dressings available in stores that can be used as a mayo substitute. Look for options with flavors that complement your pasta salad.
dill pickle pasta salad in a white bowl

How Long Can The Salad Sit Out

It can sit out 1-2 hours. It takes about 2 hours for bacteria to start to grow to dangerous levels. In warm temperatures, that time shrinks. You can read the Food Safety Guidance from the FDA here. If you’re serving pasta salad at an event or picnic, consider keeping it chilled in an insulated cooler with ice packs to maintain a safe temperature.

Can You Make it Ahead/How Long it Will Last in the Fridge

If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the salad can last for about 3-4 days. However, the quality will likely start to decline after the first day as the pasta becomes softer.

If you know you want to make it ahead or eat leftovers, consider keeping the mayo/dressing separate until you’re ready to serve. Toss the salad with the mayo/dressing just before eating to maintain the best texture.

dill pickle pasta salad in a white bowl

How to Keep it Creamy

If preparing the salad in advance, add the ingredients for the dressing just before serving to prevent the pasta from absorbing too much moisture and becoming dry. This will help maintain the creamy consistency of the salad.

If the salad seems dry after refrigeration, add a little more mayo and/or sour cream (plain Greek yogurt) and gently toss to coat. Avoid adding too much dressing at once to prevent the salad from becoming overly wet.

Can You Freeze It?

You can freeze it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In general, mayo, yogurt, and sour cream do not freeze well and usually develops ice crystals.

dill pickle pasta salad in a white bowl

Pair With These Recipes

Baked BBQ Chicken
Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sliders
Slow Cooker Crockpot Brisket
Smoked Turkey Legs
Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

More Salad Recipes

Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Seafood Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Crab
Salmon Pasta Salad
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Dive into a bowl of tangy delight with this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad recipe! This creamy and flavorful dish is loaded with tender pasta spirals, crunchy diced pickles, crisp celery, zesty red onion, and a creamy dressing infused with pickle brine. It's a refreshing twist on classic pasta salad that's perfect for potlucks, picnics, or a quick weekday lunch.
Save this recipe here.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword dill pickle macaroni salad, dill pickle pasta salad, pickle pasta salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 219kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz rotini pasta
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 celery stalk Diced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pickles
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Homemade Dressing

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in accordance with the instructions on the package.
    8 oz rotini pasta
  • Rinse the pasta in cold water and dry completely.
  • Combine all of the ingredients for the homemade dressing in a large serving dish.
    1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup pickle juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1-2 teaspoons sweetener or sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chives, salt and pepper to taste
  • Add the cooked pasta and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Taste the salad repeatedly and adjust the spices as necessary. If it needs more pickle flavor, add additional pickle juice and/or pickles.
    1/4 cup diced onions, 1 celery stalk, 1/2-3/4 cup pickles, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Serve warm or chill for an hour. A few hours is optimal.

Notes

Mayo and sour cream (plain Greek yogurt) can be used interchangeably. You can omit the mayo completely and use sour cream or Greek yogurt. Or you can omit the sour cream and use only mayo.
You can use any type of pasta you wish.
I like to dice half of the pickles into smaller bits and keep the other half at their original size. Feel free to dice them all if you wish.
You can substitute any of the vegetables for your favorite veggies.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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