Our Best Potato Salad

Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style salad is creamy and classic: maybe even better than…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style salad is creamy and classic: maybe even better than Grandma’s.

Potato Salad

There are loads of ways to make a good potato salad: German or French, loaded with dill or tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. But the type that holds our hearts is the American classic: just like Grandma’s or the grocery store deli counter! Here’s our best potato salad made the American way: creamy, tangy and sweet, and loaded with crunchy onions and pickles. It’s that pale yellow color that betrays the combination of mustard and mayo, and is destined for stardom at your next cookout or picnic. Prepare yourself in advance for the question: Can you bring that potato salad again?

Ingredients for the best potato salad recipe

Here’s how to make potato salad: the American way! Gather up your bottles of mayo, mustard and pickle relish for this one. This retro-style festival of condiments really does make for the best pop of flavor. We’ve made some updates to the classic recipe, adding Greek yogurt to stand in for a little mayo and fresh dill for an herbaceous pop. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Yukon gold potatoes: the variety here is important! Also called gold potatoes, they have a lightly sweet flavor and keep their shape when boiled. Do not substitute red skinned or russet potatoes!
  • White wine vinegar
  • Celery stalks
  • Green onions
  • Red onion
  • Fresh dill
  • Sweet pickle relish (or dill pickles)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Yellow mustard and Dijon mustard
  • Celery seed
Potato salad

How to make potato salad

The trickiest part of how to make potato salad? Boiling the potatoes! There are several variations on the best way to do so. Critics argue over whether to peel and chop before or after boiling. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Quarter the Yukon gold potatoes, then place in a pot of cold water. Leave the skins on: they’ll come off easily later.
  • Boil the potatoes 8 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and rinse them under cold water.
  • Pop off the skins with your fingers, then chop into smaller pieces. When they’re cool enough to touch, the skins come off easily after boiling. Another trick? Sprinkle them with vinegar and salt before mixing (read more below).
  • Mix the potatoes with the sauce and vegetables. Chop the veggies, mix the sauce, and add it all together. Go to the recipe below for quantities.
  • Chill 2 hours. This salad tastes great right away, but it’s best when it’s cold. If possible, refrigerate it for 2 hours before serving.

Tips and ingredient notes

The basic method is simple, but it does take a bit of time to prepare this potato salad. But don’t worry: it’s absolutely worth the effort in the end! Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Sprinkle the potatoes with vinegar and salt, and let stand for 5 minutes before dressing. This trick from Julia Child is also part of our French Potato Salad recipe. It infuses the potatoes with tangy flavor before dressing them, which amplifies the flavor of the dish.
  • Use sweet pickle relish for a classic flavor, or dill pickles for more savory notes. Sweet pickle relish adds just the right sweetness to the overall mixture. But chopped dill pickles work too: they intensify the savory notes.
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream pair perfectly with mayo. Many salads use only mayo in the dressing. Adding Greek yogurt or sour cream in combination with it lightens the flavor. Greek yogurt also makes less calories and adds a slight tang.
  • Dijon mustard adds complexity. Yellow mustard is key to this classic recipe, but we love it with a little Dijon mustard in combination. We regularly stock both in our fridge. If you don’t, using 100% yellow mustard works too.
Potato salad

Storage info

This recipe just gets better over time! You can make a batch and store it in the refrigerator for days. Here are best practices when it comes to storage:

  • How long does potato salad last refrigerated? Up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better over time.
  • How long does potato salad last outside? Up to 1 hour. If serving outdoors, you can leave it unrefrigerated up to 1 hour, then return it to an ice-packed cooler.
  • How long does potato salad last at room temperature? Up to 2 hours. But try to minimize the time sitting at room temperature if possible.
  • Can you freeze potato salad? Freezing is not recommended because of the mayonnaise. Mayo doesn’t freeze well and can separate after freezing, and the potatoes can become discolored. Celery also doesn’t freeze well. The best way to extend the life is keeping it in the refrigerator.

Potato salad variations

Want to try another spin on this classic recipe? Here are a few variations that can compete with this tasty recipe:

This best potato salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, go to Vegan Potato Salad.

Print
Potato Salad

The Best Potato Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Description

Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style salad is creamy and classic: maybe even better than Grandma’s.


Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes*
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced (both white and green portions)
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish (or chopped dill pickles)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard (or 2 yellow and 1 tablespoon Dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes: Quarter the potatoes, keeping the skins on. Place them in a large saucepan filled with cold water. Bring it to a boil and cook for 8 to 15 minutes until tender when pricked with a fork. Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold water. Allow to cool slightly, then peel the skins off with your fingers and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the white wine vinegar and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Mix and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the salad: Slice the celery stalks in half lengthwise, then thinly slice them. Thinly slice the green onions. Mince the red onion. Chop the dill.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt or sour cream, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, celery seed, 1 tablespoon of the white wine vinegar, ¾ of the teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Add the potatoes, celery, green onion, red onion, and sweet pickle relish and stir until fully combined. For best results, chill 2 hours before serving. Stores 5 days refrigerated.

Notes

*The variety here is important: use Yukon gold or gold potatoes for best results.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Potato salad, potato salad recipe

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People take their potato salad very seriously here in the south. I learned that quickly after moving to southern Louisiana twenty years ago (omg, how has it been that long??). I was never a fan of potato salad in my youth but it quickly became my favorite after eating it made the southern way—with mayo […]

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Originally posted 3/12/2010 updated 6/23/2021

front view of a bowl full of southern style potato salad

What is “Southern Style” Potato Salad?

Southern Style Potato Salad has a creamy and tangy dressing that has both mayonnaise and mustard, plus plenty of texture from the finely diced celery and sweet relish. I do like my potato salad with slightly less dressing, rather than super heavy or goopy, so if you like yours more “wet” you may want to make more dressing.

What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Potato Salad?

Waxy potato varieties, like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, are best for potato salad because they hold their shape and don’t break down quite as easily as russet, which are great for mashed potatoes. Waxy varieties also tend to have a creamier texture, rather than mealy, so they’re extra luscious in this potato salad.

Substitutions

Potato salad is pretty flexible and every family has their own special way of making it. In general, here are a few items that are pretty easy to substitute without straying too far from the souther style potato salad roots:

  • Red onion in place of the green onion
  • Apple cider vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar
  • Lawry’s or other seasoning salt in place of the Tony’s Chachere’s
  • Dill relish in place of sweet relish
  • Creole mustard in place of yellow mustard

How Long Does it Stay Good?

Potato salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. If you can not finish a full 8-cup batch within that amount of time, consider making a half batch instead. Simply change the number of servings in the recipe below and all the ingredient amounts will adjust accordingly.

What to Serve with Potato Salad

Potato salad is a potluck and summer BBQ classic! You really can’t beat the creamy combination of potato salad with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. This week I ate my potato salad along side my BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken and Three Bean Salad, but it would also make a great side dish for Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin, hamburgers or Black Bean Burgers, or Blackened Salmon with Zucchini.

potato salad on a plate with bbq chicken and three bean salad

overhead view of a a bowl full of potato salad with celery, relish and eggs on the sides

Southern Style Potato Salad

This classic Southern Style Potato Salad uses both mustard and mayonnaise for a super flavorful dressing that is rich, tangy, and creamy.
Total Cost $5.56 recipe / $0.70 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 297kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes $3.49
  • 1 tsp. salt $0.03
  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp sweet relish $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning* $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 green onions $0.22
  • 2 ribs celery (1 cup chopped) $0.32

Instructions

  • Peel, wash, and chop your potatoes into one inch cubes. Briefly rinse the cubed potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove excess starch. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt to the water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they are tender (about ten minutes). Pierce the potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender, then drain in a colander. Briefly rinse with cool water to cool the potatoes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, cook the eggs. Place the eggs in a small pot and cover them with cold water, then bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Let them boil for one minute before turning off the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes, then carefully pour out the hot water and run cool water into the pot to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel and dice the eggs.
  • While the potatoes and eggs are cooking, make the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, relish, red wine vinegar, Tony’s (or seasoning salt), and freshly cracked pepper.
  • Finely dice the celery, and slice the green onions.
  • Add the cooked, cooled, and drained potatoes to a large bowl along with the diced celery, sliced green onion, diced eggs, and dressing. Stir until everything is combined and coated in the dressing. If you prefer a softer, less chunky potato salad, mash the potatoes slightly.
  • Taste and adjust the mustard or seasoning to your liking, then serve.

Notes

*Or your favorite seasoning salt

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 583mg | Fiber: 4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

overhead view of a a bowl full of potato salad with celery, relish and eggs on the sides

How to Make Creamy Southern Potato Salad – Step By Step Photos

Peeled and diced potatoes in a colander
Peel and cube 3 lbs. of potatoes. Rinse the potatoes briefly with cool water to remove excess starch. This will help prevent your potato salad from getting dry and gluey.

Cooked potatoes in a pot

Add the cubed potatoes to a large pot and cover with cool water. Add 1 tsp salt to the water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they’re tender (about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes). Use a fork to pierce one of the larger pieces to test the doneness and make sure they are fully tender. There’s nothing worse than hard potatoes in your potato salad! Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander and rinse again briefly with cool water to cool the potatoes and rinse away excess starch. Let them drain well.

Eggs in a pot with water

While the potatoes are boiling, cook the eggs. Add your eggs to a small pot (I cooked extra just to have on hand) and cover with cool water. Bring the pot up to a boil and then let the eggs boil for one minute before turning off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water with a lid on top and the heat turned off for 15 minutes, then carefully pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process. Once cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and dice them.

potato salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

Make the dressing for the potato salad by combining 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp mustard, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sweet relish, 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s or your favorite seasoning salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Whisk the ingredients together, taste, and add more seasoning salt if desired. Remember, you want the dressing to be heavily seasoned because the flavor will be less pronounced once mixed with the potatoes.

bottle of tony chachere's seasoning

This is the Tony Chachere’s seasoning that I use in my potato salad dressing. If you don’t have access to this, you can use any sort of basic seasoning salt, like Lawry’s

Diced celery and sliced green onion on a cutting board

You can also finely dice 2 ribs of celery and slice 2 green onions while waiting for the potatoes and eggs to cook.

Potatoes, eggs, green onion, and celery in a bowl

Place the cooled potatoes in a large bowl along with the diced celery, sliced green onion, and diced eggs. 

Dressing being poured into the bowl with the potato salad ingredients

Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and then stir until everything is combined and coated in the dressing. To make the Southern Style Potato Salad slightly less chunky, mash the potatoes as you stir.

Finished potato salad in a bowl with a spatula

Taste the potato salad and adjust the mustard or seasoning to your liking.

Finished potato salad in a serving bowl with ingredients on the sides

The post Southern Style Potato Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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