Pasta Salad with Spam

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This is hands down one of the best salad recipes on my website. Pasta Salad made with elbow macaroni, fresh vegetables, baby peas, and Spam, topped with a dressing made of mayonnaise, dill pickle juice, and black pepper. It may sound too simple to be epic – but I promise that everyone will keep coming back for more!
This Pasta Salad with Spam has been on my blog since 2013. I have made it many times, and I finally got around to taking some new photos and adding some relevant content to the post so that I could re-share it with you today, in time for Memorial Weekend. Trust me, this is the Pasta Salad that your cookout is waiting for. 

Pasta Salad with Spam

Okay, so I am going to preface this blog post with this – If you have followed me and cooked/baked from my recipes, chances are you might have made my Banana Bread (it’s truly the last banana bread recipe that you will ever need) or this recipe for Grandma Davis’ Sugar Cookies.  
The first time that I tried this recipe was when my family attended the graduation party of my friend, Tonja’s son. My kids were each on their second helping of this pasta salad and “Mmm-ing” with every bite. When I asked Tonja what was in it, she giggled and told me the two “secret ingredients.”
She then told me it was Grandma Davis’ recipe and I was sold. Seriously, folks, this woman knows her stuff.

Secret Ingredient Pasta Salad

Please don’t let the main secret ingredient detour you from making this wonderful salad. It is so good!  Here are the two things that her family claims make this salad what it is: Dill Pickle Juice and Spam.  Tonja told me that her Grandma uses her own homemade pickle juice, but that the type of dill pickle juice doesn’t change the flavor as much as leaving out the Spam.  She has tried it with ham and it “just isn’t the same.”
I ate Spam as a kid, but up until I made this salad for the first time back in 2013, I had never purchased a can of it myself. 

What is Spam?

SPAM is salty processed canned pork introduced in 1937 by Hormel Foods Corporation. Spam’s basic ingredients are pork shoulder and ham, chopped and pressed into a can. It gained popularity during World War II. It’s really popular in Hawaii, which makes sense to me since my mom always served Spam with pineapple. 

Ingredients in Pasta Salad with Spam

You will find the exact measurements and instructions at the bottom of this post in the printable recipe card. 

For the Dressing:

  • mayonnaise – full fat or light both work. 
  • dill pickle juice – makes the dressing so good!
  • milk – (optional) to thin the sauce, I have never felt it needed it.
  • black pepper – you won’t need salt.

For the Salad:

  • frozen peas – fresh would work if you have them.
  • cucumber – I like to leave the skins on mine, but you can peel them if you like. 
  • red onion 
  • Roma tomato – diced
  • Spam – diced
  • American cheese – (optional) I never add it.
  • elbow macaroni – cooked al dente and rinsed in cold water and drained.

How to Make Pasta Salad with Spam

Boil pasta, drain, and place in a large bowl.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayo, pickle juice, and black pepper.

Set aside.

Add the chopped veggies and Spam to the top of the pasta. Toss together.

Top with the dressing and stir to coat. 

I like to make this salad a day ahead so the flavors can develop!

Store in the fridge. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Love it? Pin it!

Don’t forget where you found this great recipe! Pin it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest before you go!

Close up of macaroni salad with text "Mom's Macaroni Salad"

More Recipes to Love

My family loves the ingredients in this pasta salad. If you want to try another great Pasta Salad recipe with Spam, try this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad!
Are Pasta Salads your jam? My Mom’s Macaroni Salad recipe is incredible, as are this BLT Pasta Salad and this Anti Pasto Pasta Salad.
Don’t toss the dill pickle juice, use it for making dressing. Dill Pickles are my favorite! Have you tried my Dill Pickle Dip or my Dill Pickle Cheese Ball recipes? Yum!
I hope that you love this salad as much as we do!
M. logo An Affair from the Heart
overhead of pasta salad with spam in a clear bowl
4.61 from 23 votes
Print Recipe

Pasta Salad

This is hands down one of the best salad recipes on my website. Pasta Salad made with elbow macaroni, fresh vegetables, baby peas, and Spam, topped with a dressing made of mayonnaise, dill pickle juice, and black pepper. It may sound too simple to be epic – but I promise that everyone will keep coming back for more!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Additional Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 17 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookout side dishes, dill pickle, Grandma's recipe, macaroni, old fashioned, pasta salad, Spam
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 245kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 15 ounces of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
  • milk to thin sauce optional, I didn’t use it
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces frozen peas about 1 cup
  • 1 cucumber diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • red onion chopped, to taste (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 can Spam diced
  • cubed American cheese optional, I didn’t use it
  • 1 1 pound package of small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained


  • Whisk together mayo, pickle juice and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Boil pasta until it's al dente, rinse in cold water and put it in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop all of the veggies and Spam, cheese if you desire.
  • Toss pasta and chopped ingredients in a large bowl, cover with dressing and stir to coat.
  • Refrigerate for 8 hours before eating.


I don't ever feel like I need the milk in the dressing and I typically don't add the cheese.
This salad tastes its best when it sits for 8 hours before eating. Subbing ham for the Spam will change the taste considerably.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 361mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g
This recipe was originally posted on June 3, 2013. It has been updated to improve user experience and re-shared on May 21, 2023.

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    1. Has anyone added salt to this and liked it with salt? Asking because I added salt and it became a little salty but I added more mayo. Hoping it comes out good enough.

    2. Spam is pretty slaty all on its own – that is why I typically don’t salt the recipe at all. Sometimes if I feel a recipe gets too salty I will add a bit of sugar. I hope it turns out okay for you!

  1. Sour cream is great with this and a bit of dijon mustard. Substitute sour cream for up to half of the mayo part, but not too much as the tarter taste gets overpowering. Stir some in and taste until the mx is right for you. I also put sliced black olives in mine. If I salt, I use garlic salt.

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