Kewpie Mayo Is The Foundational Ingredient For Incredible Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is one of those crowd-pleasing staples that seems to have a reserved spot at every potluck, BBQ, or warm-weathered picnic. While its appearance is consistent, it may not always receive the warmest welcome. Is this because its repetitive flavor is just plain tedious? Perhaps! If you want your macaroni salad to avoid a "Groundhog Day" type of flavor profile, consider substituting ordinary mayonnaise with the gloriously delicious Kewpie variety.

The most notable difference with Kewpie mayonnaise is the inclusion of MSG, which is the essential element contributing to the tangy creaminess this mayo imparts. The stigma surrounding MSG is finally being buried, and with this comes the chance for your macaroni salad's flavor to boldly shine with umami.

Another characteristic intrinsic to Kewpie is that it tends to be made with only egg yolks and is generally formed of a complex blend of rice and apple vinegar. Adding sweetness, richness, and glorious tang, Kewpie's fabulously unique flavor is a testament to the genius of these ingredients uniting. Its slightly yellowy hue coats the pasta straws as effortlessly and as satisfying as butter melted on warm toast. Once folded through with crunchy fresh vegetables, it is simply divine and a serious upgrade from the usual mayonnaise your salad is subjected to.

Across the mayo-verse

While you could take the brash approach of throwing Kewpie mayonnaise all over your macaroni salad ingredients, the best flavors will ultimately be developed with more time and consideration. First up, it's best to ensure any vegetables that are added to the salad are drained appropriately or have had excess moisture squeezed out of them. A watery mayonnaise dressing will do nothing for the appearance or taste of your macaroni salad.

Another handy tip is to let the macaroni cool entirely before coating it in the mayonnaise. The hot pasta could potentially split the mayonnaise, which would ruin the taste, texture, and visual appeal of the salad. After going to the effort of sourcing Japanese mayonnaise and cooking your pasta, being impatient at the end is just not worthwhile.

Like all mayonnaise varieties, Kewpie mayo has specific requirements for its storage. Once open, it's recommended to store it in the refrigerator and use it within one month. Keeping this mayo in the refrigerator will preserve the best taste and texture. If you want the most incredible macaroni salad each time, make sure you're storing your mayonnaise appropriately.

Kewpie mayo and beyond

Kewpie mayo introduces intriguing umami notes that are tangy, rich, and deeply savory. If "more, more, more" is your response to this, you can always lean heavier into the umami side by pairing it with other Japanese-inspired ingredients. Seasoning the cooked macaroni pasta in rice vinegar, sugar, and olive oil while it cools allows some subtle tangy nuances to take root while ensuring the pasta remains moist.

Kewpie mayonnaise can also be paired with soy sauce or Japanese shoyu for enforced umami-ness, ponzu for faint citrussy notes, or Japanese karashi mustard for warmth and spice. Just be aware that these ingredients all present quite robust flavor profiles, and you do not want a macaroni salad that tastes like a fight in your mouth. The mayonnaise is ultimately the star of the show, and any additional ingredients should enhance it, not overshadow it. 

The next time you plan for a large gathering, consider replacing the usual mayonnaise. Kewpie doesn't just upgrade your macaroni salad; it catapults it into the future.