Your Pasta Salad Will Be Instantly More Flavorful With One Extra Step

Pasta salad is an easy, filling dish that comes together with pretty much anything you have in the pantry – even a bit of pickle juice. It's often mayonnaise-based or vinegar-based, and enhanced with any seasonings, vegetables, or meat and cheese. While the flavors matter most, you also want to make sure your pasta salad toppings are properly distributed — and if you're looking for a way to get every flavor in each bite, the trick is simple: chop small, and use small pasta.


When pasta salad contains large chunks of ingredients, it's impossible to get a forkful of every ingredient. But by using a smaller pasta type, such as macaroni or ditalini, and finely chopping your ingredients, those flavors that you worked so hard to pair together are able to be experienced in every mouthful. Plus, there are a few other pasta salad tips and tricks for securing your dish as the best one at the party.

Get the most flavor from your pasta salad

Everything in your salad should be extra bite-sized to avoid guests having to take massive mouthfuls just to get more ingredients at once — for example, rather than using rigatoni paired with whole cherry tomatoes and whole olives, shrink the pasta type and slice the tomatoes and olives into quarters. If cooking up some bacon adds a hint of savory to the dish, crumble it, rather than chopping, to ensure it makes its way into every bite.


Once you finely chop your ingredients, there are other ways to take this dish up a notch. The starch molecules in pasta absorb liquid as the pasta sits, so never add all of your dressing to the dish at once unless you plan to serve it immediately — otherwise, the pasta salad will be dry later. Add half of the dressing to the pasta salad, so the dish can take in the flavors, then add the remaining half just before serving to ensure the salad isn't too dry.

Finally, you don't want to serve the salad when it's too cold to comfortably bite. It should be chilled (perhaps on a sheet pan), but not freezing. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to take that cold edge off.