Easy Potato Salad Variations
While classic potato salad sticks with the tried and true cast of characters, Ive also seen potato salad recipes with red onions, bell peppers, artichokes, 4 oz. jar of Kalamata olives, peas, avocados, dill, celery seed, even curry powder.
Every homemade potato salad recipe boasting these ingredients claims to be the best potato salad so it comes down to personal preference. If you keep the basic technique and ratios Ive outlined in the recipe, you can have fun experimenting with all sorts of add-ins. Please let me know what other ingredients and topping you love!
Gluten Free Potato Salad: the ranch seasoning mix and all other ingredients except mayonnaise are gluten free. Mayonnaise sometimes contains gluten so you will need to check the packaging.
Dairy Free Potato Salad: If you are looking for dairy free, you can swap out the sour cream for additional mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is dairy free but not vegan as it is made with egg yolks, vinegar and seasonings.
Can I Make Potato Salad Ahead Of Time
Yes, and PLEASE do, chilling your salad will only make it more flavorful! You can make the Potato salad 1 or 2 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I often make my potato salad the night before serving for best results. Store the bacon separately or cook it up right before you serve to keep it crispy.
Alternatively, you can cook the potatoes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge, and then make the dressing. Potatoes, however, will turn brown and start to oxidize once cut, so add lemon juice or white wine vinegar to the boiling water before draining.
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A classic recipe for the BEST Potato Salad featuring hard boiled eggs and a creamy zesty dressing. This easy to make recipe is the perfect side dish for any gathering!
- 4 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- cup white onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks green onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard or spicy brown mustard
- 3 Tbsp dill relish
- 1/2 tsp paprika, optional
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What Is Potato Salad Made Of
There are many iterations of potato salad, including ones with creamy dressing or tangy dressing. Below, we outline the common ingredients most potato salads share.
- Potatoes: waxy or starchy potatoes
- Dressing: creamy or oil-and-vinegar
- Acid: a splash of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar intensifies the flavors of the potato salad
- Crunchy vegetables: celery and onion are the most common
- Protein: hard cooked eggs and ham or bacon are popular, but not necessary add-ins
- Extra flavors: mustards, herbs and spices and hot peppers are frequently used
- Salt and pepper: potatoes are starchy, so you need salt in the cooking water and in the salad
Ingredients For The Best Potato Salad Recipe
Here are some of the ingredients that take this from a good potato salad to the BEST potato salad recipe!
- Red potatoes: I swap the typical waxy potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes for red potatoes .
- Green onion: In comparison to red onions, green onions have a milder flavor. You can use the white part for a stronger flavor, and the green ends for garnish!
- White wine vinegar: The creamy dressing is made of a combination of mayo and white vinegarno yellow mustard, Miracle Whip, or pickle juice here!
- Sweet pickles: I love swapping dill pickles for sweet pickles to add a different, sweeter flavor.
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Ingredients For The Best Potato Salad:
Potato Salad Ingredients:
Russet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, white onion, and green onion. The hard boiled eggs really add something special to potato salads. The yolks add to the creaminess and richness, and the whites bring nice texture and make it more substantial.
If youd like, you can add chopped cooked bacon , chives, fresh dill, bell peppers, celery seed, and 3 stalks of chopped celery. You can also replace the white onion with red onions and red potatoes or yukon gold potatoes for the russet potatoes.
For the Dressing:
Mayonnaise, rice vinegar, whole grain mustard , dill relish, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika make up the ingredients for the creamy dressing.
I use avocado oil mayonnaise, but choose your favorite mayo. You can also add some sour cream or Ranch dressing if you love it for some added creaminess. In addition, is a great addition for some herby flavor.
If you love the flavor of olive oil, consider replacing some of the mayonnaise with olive oil.
Use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar if youd like. If you have dill pickles on hand, you can chop them finely and use them to replace the dill relish.
Sweet pickle relish or sweet pickles can be used instead of dill, but note that the potato salad will have a slight sweetness to it.
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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Best Potato Salad Recipe
We cant give you the best potato salad recipe, thats a Rib Line Appiano family secret, but we can share a really delicious one with you. Its a traditional mustard, pickle, and hard-boiled egg potato salad but still absolutely delicious.
- Yukon Gold potatoes or Klondike Goldust potatoes or use Russets
- Mayonnaise your favorite brand
- Yellow mustard or 1 part yellow + 1 part dijon
- Apple cider vinegar
- Hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- Celery stalks diced
- Fresh chopped dill
- Salt and pepper
1. The trick to producing the best potato salad is to use starchy potatoes and cook them until they are soft enough to be partially mashed once combined. This gives the dish a rustic, thick, and sumptuous feel. Yukon Gold or Klondike Goldust potatoes are my favorites. If you like, you can use Russet potatoes. If you use young potatoes, the dressing will be excessively soupy since they maintain their shape too well.
To guarantee consistent cooking, start the potatoes in cold water and bring them to a boil. Make careful to salt the boiling water so that the potatoes absorb the salty flavor.
Drain the water and peel the potatoes once they have softened. If you want more texture, you can leave some of the skins on.
When the potatoes are soft, chop them to save time on peeling and chopping.
2. Next, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl. As a basis, use your favorite mayonnaise.
If you choose, you can use any mayonnaise or even Miracle Whip.
Creamy Potato Salad Dressing
Theres a few different ways you can make the dressing, but heres how I construct mine:
- Base The bulk of the dressing is mayonnaise, but I also like to add some sour cream for some extra creaminess!
- Acidity This helps liven up the dressing. Here I use lemon juice, and whilst its not technically acidity I like a dollop of dijon mustard for some background heat.
- Herbs I love adding chives and parsley, both gotta be fresh!
- Seasoning Keep it simple with salt, white pepper and sugar. I highly recommend using white pepper over black, it offers more of a classic flavour and a gentle hit of heat.
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The Best Potato Salad Recipe
In our family, we cant imagine a family barbecue, picnic, or game day buffet without this rich and creamy homestyle Potato Salad as a side dish. Now, I know that everyone says their mom makes the best potato salad, but in this case its totally true! Once you try this recipe, youll never go back to that nasty store bought stuff again.
Prepping And Cooking Potatoes
To peel or not to peel? If you’d like to add a little extra color and texture to your salad, leave the skins on. Just be sure to scrub them thoroughly with a vegetable brush before you cook them. Once you’ve either scrubbed or peeled your potatoes, cut them into bite-size chunks, place them in a large pot, and cover them with water. Use a large enough pot to allow for several inches of head room to accommodate the boiling, starchy water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then generously salt the water. Reduce the heat if necessary to keep the pot at a gentle boil.
How long to boil potatoes for potato salad? Depending on your definition of “bite-size,” the potatoes will take between 8 and 15 minutes to cook. As soon as they’re tender enough to cut through easily, drain them and let them sit in the strainer for a bit to let the steam evaporate excess moisture. Remember that the residual heat will continue cooking the potatoes a little bit even after they’ve been drained.
Hot or not?
Beyond boiling. Boiling’s not the only way to cook potatoes for potato salad. Try some of these other methods:
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How To Make Southern Potato Salad
Southern potato salad is pretty similar to classic American potato salad, with the addition of chopped sweet pickles or pickle relish, giving it a sweet-tart flavor and a bright yellow color. Simply follow the instructions for making classic American potato salad, then add relish or chopped sweet pickle relish to taste.
What Are The Best Potatoes For Potato Salad
In order to make the BEST Potato Salad, you need to choose the right potatoes for the job. Potatoes based on texture can be categorized into 3 groups:
- Waxy: These thin-skinned potatoes have the least amount of starch and retain their shape well when boiled. Thin skins also mean that peeling is optional if youre short on time or like a more rustic salad. Examples are red, new, or fingerling potatoes. The down side of waxy potatoes is they do not hold flavor of dressings or vinaigrette well.
- In-Between: Also known as all-purpose potatoes, these potatoes have more starch than waxy potatoes, but will generally work well in most potato dishes, including potato salad. White and Yukon Golds are the most popular potatoes in this group, and are reliable in-between potatoes to always have around. These potatoes hold both their textures flavors from dressings well.
- Starchy: For potato salad, youll want to stay away from starchy, thick-skinned potatoes like russets, which will fall apart during the cooking process. Russet Potatoes are better for mashed potatoes.
For the Best Potato Salad recipe, use in-between potatoes. I prefer either white or Yukon gold potatoes. They boast a delicious buttery flavor, are a little sweet, hold their shape after cooking while still imparting a creaminess all without becoming mushy. They also absorb the dressing better than waxy potatoes resulting in tastier potatoes through and through.
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My Top Potato Salad Tip
Now for my top tip when it comes to making potato salad:
As soon as the potatoes are finished cooking, drain them and spread them onto a large baking sheet. Immediately drizzle them with apple cider vinegar and sprinkle them with several big pinches of salt.
The potatoes will soak up tons of flavor while theyre hot, so adding some extra salt and a nice amount of vinegar will make them super tangy and delicious. No bland potatoes here!
Let the potatoes soak up the vinegar and salt for a few minutes, then give them a taste. You can always add more vinegar or salt if you want!
After the potatoes are perfectly seasoned and have cooled, you can add them to the dressing along with the eggs and dill.
The Best Potatoes For Potato Salad
Are you using the right kind?
Raw potatoes close up on a wooden table
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
Surprise, all kinds of potatoes can be used for potato salad. Which variety you use depends a which kind of potato salad you’re making. Below, we walk you through when to use each type of potato, plus how to boil each. And for a complete guide to making potato salad, check out our story How to Make Potato Salad.
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How To Make Potato Salad:
Heres how to make the best potato salad recipe its so easy!
Should Potato Salad Be Hot Or Cold
Here, things start to get divisive do you cool your potatoes completely, or dress them warm and serve immediately?
- If you are creating a warm potato salad, make sure you add the vinaigrette when the potatoes have just come out of the pan, to make sure it absorbs well.
- Cooled potatoes are more suited to creamy dressings and good for catering for big numbers as they can be left to go cold overnight.
Verdict? It depends on whether youre going for a creamy dressing or a vinaigrette.
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When To Use Waxy Potatoes For Potato Salad
Waxy potatoes such as red potatoes, fingerling potatoes and new potatoes, have less starch than other potatoes. This means you can cut them before cooking and gently simmer them in salted water and they wont fall apart. Many potato salads call for potatoes to be sliced before cookingGerman Potato Salad and the potato portion of a classic Salad Nicoise are two examples.
Gather The Ingredients For This Creamy Dill Potato Salad
Ready to make one of the best potato salads on the planet? If so, you will need to gather all of the necessary ingredients to throw it together. Start with about two pounds of potatoes. Next, grab some mayonnaise and a small onion. You will also need Dijon mustard and a little bit of olive oil. Moving down the list, purchase a clove of garlic, lemon juice, and dill to add a fresh element to the salad. The last two items you need are pretty standard salt and pepper.
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Southern Macaroni Salad Ingredients
So, whats the secret to a crave-worthy macaroni salad recipe?
It takes the right blend of ingredients to create a salty, slightly-sweet bite that is balanced in spice and tang.
Along with the traditional mayo-based dressing and elbow macaroni, I like to add:
- Roasted Red Peppers Slightly acidic, with a smoky-sweet taste.
- Sweet Pickle Relish For a tangy-sweet flavor
- Scallions The perfect amount of onion taste
- Cooked Bacon Salty, bacon-y goodness goes well with anything.
- Garlic Who doesnt love garlic? It enhances any dish.
- Hot Sauce Choose your favorite kind!
- Kale Let me explain
Soak Raw Onions Before Adding Them To Your Potato Salad:
If you like the flavor of onions, but could do without the harsh bite that some onions produce, this simple step will make all the difference in your potato salad.
Dice your onions and then let them soak in water for at least 10 minutes. Then drain and remove any excess moisture on the surface by patting them dry.
This will make the flavor much more mellow and be more palatable for those who dont like the strong taste of onions. As a side note you can even use this trick when serving onions with your burgers all summer long.
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Add Diced Pickles To Your Recipe:
I had never heard of putting pickles in potato salad until I was looking for a way to eliminate the sugar when I was trying to recreate my favorite Amish Country Potato Salad. I wanted to replicate that sweet and creamy taste without adding in white sugar and surprisingly diced pickle spears were the answer!
Just like the pickle juice, you can adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding in sweet pickles instead of dill pickles. However, I typically use our own Homemade Dill Pickles in my potato salad, as some Sweet Pickles can be too sweet for my liking.
Now that you know the 5 keys to making the best potato salad, lets look at an actual recipe that puts these tips and tricks to use.
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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