How To Boil The Potatoes
Boil your potatoes whole, skin on, in a pot of unsalted water. Not only does this approach require the least amount of effort, but it also yields the best potato salad texture.
Thats because you want to limit the amount of water the potatoes absorb during the boiling process. Water absorbed into the potato will eventually release once everything cools down. This can lead to one of the most common potato salad issues: a watery salad.
So leave the potatoes whole, skins on, and skip the salt for now .
Potatoes should boil for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. You will know the potatoes are done when the outside skin starts to split and they are easily pierced with a fork.
When you think theyre done, remove the largest potato and cut it in half with a knife. If center is still hard, put it back in the water and continue boiling. Dont dump your water until youre confident all the potatoes are cooked through.
Err on the side of overcooking: for potato salad, slightly overdone potatoes are vastly preferable than slightly underdone potatoes.
Easy Creamy Potato Salad
Easy Creamy Potato Salad – My dads recipe that Ive been eating for over 30 years! Perfect to go with any party table alongside all the other delicious appetizers!
Its one of those recipes that Ive never been sure whether to write about. Its so simple, and its not even made with posh ingredients like crème fraiche, lemon zest and Greek yogurt.
Nope, this is the potato salad from my childhood. My dads version that I go back to all the time.
Its one of those recipes that you test for seasoning, and then cant help but scoff 3 more spoonfuls before youre ready to share it with everyone else.
More Easy Side Dishes
- Here is my favorite way to make coleslaw. With a generous amount of acidity from apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard.
- Our broccoli salad with bacon has cranberries, red onion, and a zesty dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
- I love crunchy salads. This vinegar-based cucumber salad is addictive.
- This pasta salad with orzo is full of goodness. Theres a simple lemon vinaigrette, cucumber, olives, artichokes, tomato, and fresh herbs. Or take a look at our easy pasta salad with mozzarella and parmesan .
Recipe updated, originally posted May 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. The recipe video has also been updated. To watch the original video , watch it on YouTube Adam and Joanne
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Potato Salad Recipe Variations:
There are so many ways to customize this potato salad recipe, so feel free to experiment and see what you love most! For example, you could
- Add bacon: I will always be down for a potato salad with bacon stirred in.
- Add fresh herbs: Feel free to also mix any fresh herbs you might love chives, dill, parsley, basil, thyme, etc. into this potato salad.
- Add extra pickles: If you really love pickles, feel free to add in extra pickle juice and/or any other pickles you love!
- Omit the pickle relish: If you dont love pickles, just omit them entirely.
- Omit the mayo: If mayos not your fave, feel free to use full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Use different potatoes: Everyone has a different opinion about the best potatoes for potato salad! I say use whichever you love Yukon Golds, Russets, red potatoes all will work here. 🙂
- Use baked potatoes: Happen to have leftover baked potatoes on hand? Chop them up and add them in to make this a baked potato salad!
- Use different vinegar: If you dont love apple cider vinegar, feel free to swap in white vinegar or red wine vinegar instead.
- Use different mustard: If you dont love Dijon mustard, feel free to swap in regular yellow mustard or your favorite spicy mustard instead.
- Make it vegan: Just swap in your favorite vegan mayo to make this a vegan potato salad recipe.
A Simple Potato Salad Recipe Everyone Will Love
I know that everyone has their own variation on potato salad, and what makes a potato salad authentic differs for everyone.
Some people add celery , while others go for dill pickles or chopped onions to get a crunchy texture. Ive known people to add pickle juice, bacon bits, creme fraiche, and thats just for starters!
And you can absolutely do that if thats your thing.
But I wanted to show you a plain and simple recipe that you can take and make your own as you wish. No bells and whistles, unless you want to put them in there. Because were not big fans of recipe rules around here!
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The Best Potatoes To Use
Small, waxy, and thin-skinned potatoes are best for potato salad. Small yellow, white or red potatoes are perfect . They are quick-cooking, and since they are already small, theres no need to chop them before cooking them.
Leave the potatoes whole. Whole cooked potatoes maintain more of their flavor and natural sweetness. Were also partial to the texture of potatoes when they are cooked whole compared to chopped.
If you dont have small, waxy potatoes available, other potatoes will work in their place the texture will be slightly different. We try not to use russet potatoes since they tend to fall apart. If thats all you have, dont worry. Chop them before cooking they are much larger and take a long time when cooked whole.
How To Cook Potatoes For Potato Salad
One of the biggest potato salad controversies is do you cut potatoes before boiling for potato salad? My mom says, no.
My mom cooks her potatoes whole with the skin on. I follow her lead, or will quarter them before cooking. The other method to cooking the potatoes is peeling and cutting the potatoes before cooking as suggested in the comments below. But, my mom says that method allows the potatoes to absorb more water, and so I do what mama says.
To cook the potatoes, add them to cold water and bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat, rather than adding the potatoes to hot, boiling water. Boil the potatoes until fork tender and the skin just begins to crack, about 20-25 minutes.
Another cooking method a reader suggests is steaming the potatoes in 1 inch of water for 30 minutes, which works too. Just be sure to watch you dont boil your water away and burn the pan.
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Mexican Street Corn Potato Salad
Use waxy red, purple and white potatoes for this tangy, creamy potato salad, which tastes just like elote, or Mexican street corn.
1-1/2 pounds tri-colored potatoes, cut in half
1 gallon cold water
4 ears sweet corn on the cob
1-1/4 cup Mexican crema
1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
1-1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro
10 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
What Our Readers Are Saying
If you dont believe that our recipe helps you achieve the best homemade potato salad, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.
Ive made this so many times!! Always so yummy and a big hit with even the pickiest eaters!! Pam
Best potato salad ever!! Melinda
Excellent. Tastes delicious! Its so much better than the potato salad purchased at the store. LouAnn
I LOVED this potato salad! Paula
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Should Potatoes Be Peeled
The pros for leaving the skin on your potatoes are manifold theyll give texture, an earthy flavour and added fibre to your salad, as well as saving you effort. But it all depends on your potato choice new potatoes are great for eating unpeeled as their skin is smooth and subtle, but larger, floury potatoes have heavier skin that sometimes requires scrubbing, so these are best peeled.
Likewise, the skin of sweet potatoes is thick and chewy in parts. Whatever your preference, remember that leaving the skin on any kind of potato wont do you any harm.
Verdict? Unpeeled to give the salad another dimension.
How To Cook The Potatoes
We simmer potatoes whole in salted water when making potato salad. Here are our top tips for doing it:
Salt the cooking water. Its important to add a generous amount of salt to the cooking water. By salting the water, the flavor of the potatoes comes out. They wont taste salty, only like excellent potatoes.
Simmer, dont boil. When it comes to cooking potatoes for potato salad, theres no need to boil. When you do they violently bash against each other. Instead, bring the water with potatoes to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. The potatoes cook just as quickly.
Potatoes are cooked when you can push a fork through the center. When they are done, drain the potatoes and add them to an ice bath, which stops them from cooking. After 2 to 3 minutes they are cool enough to handle.
While I love using skin-on potatoes for mashed potatoes, I like to remove the peel from the potatoes for this. Since I use small potatoes, peeling them before cooking would be a frustrating task. Instead, I cook my potatoes with the peel on, let them cool, and then peel. Since the potatoes are cooked, the peel comes off easily .
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Can I Peel The Potatoes Before Cooking
Mom always cooked the potatoes with the peels, then pulled off some of the peels after cooking. This allows you to leave some potato skins in the salad, if you like, for extra texture. Also, it elements the need for a vegetable peeler because the skins will pull right off after the potatoes are fully cooked.
However, if you do not want to incorporate any of the potato skins into the salad, you can peel them beforehand. Its a matter of personal preference.
Are Boiled Or Roasted Potatoes Better
Boiling is the quicker and simpler option, but roasting allows you to introduce flavour from the beginning. Ingredients added during roasting will lend a helping hand to amp up your dressing go for cloves of garlic, rosemary, lemon, anchovies or pancetta. Plus, less of the flavour will leach from the potatoes, and the crispy edges provide a satisfying chew.
If you prefer boiling, try adding garlic cloves to your water. By the time the potatoes are cooked, the insides of the garlic will be soft enough to mush into a paste, which can then be added to mayonnaise or dressing. Its not as intense as you may think the flavour of boiled garlic is mellow and sweet.
Verdict? Both wed boil our potatoes to start with, then finish them in the oven.
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How To Make Potato Salad
There’s more than one formula for a great potato salad. There are creamy potato salads, vinegar-based potato salads, warm potato salads, cold potato salads, and a world of add-ins to flavor up the mix. And then there are the potatoes: Russets, reds, Yukon Golds. We’ll take you through the different styles of potato salads, show you how to cook the potatoes, and suggest top recipes to try.
Try this recipe for Best Classic Potato Salad from Nicole Mcmom, and watch the video above to get all her tips for how she makes her favorite potato salad.
Why You’re Going To Love This Recipe
I grew up having potato salad as a side dish at every bbq. The one my mother made was made with mint and quite yummy, but the main ingredient was storebought potato salad dressing, something which I don’t use. Instead, using mayonnaise you have more control over the contents of the potato salad.
My kids like this, although in all honesty, Master 8 would never admit it. He put up such a show of hating it this week, but then stole half the portion I was eating as leftovers! Here’s why you’ll love it too:
- quick and easy to make
- 5 ingredients- so nothing difficult!
- perfect flavours for a bbq
- the kids can make it
- make it in advance- you can prep it the night before, meaning you look like the host with the most when the guests turn up
- travels well for when you have to bring something to a bbq
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The Best Potato Salad Dressing
Mayonnaise: The creamy fattiness you get from mayonnaise is a hallmark of a good potato salad dressing. Use your favorite store-bought mayonnaise or make your own.
Yellow Mustard: This is no time to be pretentious with your mustard. Yes, a nice whole grain Dijon mustard will a more refined flavor. But the color and classic Americana taste that you want in potato salad is best found in a bottle of yellow mustard.
Relish: The pickley, tangy flavor of your favorite store-bought relish will add a really nice dimension to the dressing.
Seasonings: In this dressing we lean on some of the classicsgarlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. This is also when we are going to add the salt, which should stay mostly suspended in the dressing and penetrate into the potatoes too much.
Mix all of your dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, taste for salt, and then fold into your potatoes.
What Type Of Potato Is Best For Potato Salad
We use white potatoes, or Yukon Golds, in our familys recipe. Because they have a thinner skin, theyre easy to peel after boiling and taste creamier, a little sweeter, and hold their shape well after cooking. Avoid using starchier potatoes like russets that too easily turn to mush in salads like this.
Also remember to choose potatoes of the same size for the most consistent cooking.
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Recipe Tips And Variations
- Make ahead: Make up to three days in advance and store covered in the refrigerator.
- Shelf life: Potato salad should not sit out at room temperature longer than 2 hours. According to the USDA, If the potato salad was held in excess of 41°F for over two hours, then discard. Its better to be safe than sorry.
- Mix-ins: Make this potato salad your own by adding cooked bacon, fresh chives or other herbs, minced pickles or relish, peas, capers, or slivered radishes.
Which Potatoes Are Best For Salad
Waxy or floury that is the question.
- Waxy potatoes in heritage varieties such as pink fir apple have an attractive nutty flavour and firm bite, though they can be quite expensive.
- Floury potatoes are more likely to break down and fray when tossed during the dressing process, but if this is your desired effect, go with it.
- Alternatively, you could veer leftfield and choose sweet potatoes instead, but be mindful of matching dressing and additions accordingly.
Verdict: Waxy, red-skinned or new potatoes for more traditional potato salads, but sweet potatoes work harder in the flavour stakes.
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The Secret To The Best Cucumber Salad
The secret to this cucumber salad recipe is salting the cucumbers. The salt makes the cucumbers taste better and removes excess water, diluting the dressing.
You see, cucumbers are made mostly of water. So by salting them, we draw out excess water before tossing the cucumbers with the dressing. Weve done this in other recipes remember our mayonnaise-free coleslaw salad and this creamy cucumber salad made with Greek yogurt?
Salting the cucumbers makes the dressing tasty, not watered down. It also makes the cucumbers taste more like cucumbers. It intensifies their flavor. The salting process takes about 30 minutes and is well worth it.
Heres how we do it: Slice cucumbers into thin coins we use our mandoline slicer, but a knife works, too. Toss the cucumber coins with salt, then let them sit in a colander we set ours in the sink for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, rinse the cucumbers with cold water. Rinsing removes any excess salt so the salad wont be too salty. Finally, squeeze them dry by adding them to a clean dishcloth and squeezing.
When you have salted, rinsed, and squeezed cucumbers, its time to make the salad. The dressing is simple and made with vinegar, mustard, and a little sugar for balance.
To finish, add a handful of sliced red onion. Easy! You can enjoy the salad straight away, but it does get better after an hour in the fridge.
This Easy Potato Salad Recipe Is The Only One You’ll Ever Need Here’s How To Make It
Few things rival the classic potato salad when its made right. But sadly, most homemade versions can be lackluster. The process seems easy enough, so whats the issue?
Truth is, when crafted at home, there are many ways potato salad can go sideways. Hiccups run the gamut from over- or under-cooked potatoes to under-seasoning. These missteps lead to potato salads that are mushy or too firm, bland or oilynot what you want when making Americas favorite spring and summer side dish.
The best and easiest potato salad you’ll ever make starts with buttery-soft potatoes that are laced with a satiny mayo dressing and studded with smoky bacon, crunchy celery, fresh green onions and sweet pimentos.
It’s a completely foolproof recipe I know you’ll keep coming back to.
Follow my suggestions below to create the perfect potato salad every time.
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