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.
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
Southern Potato Salad Recipe
- 5 poundsRusset potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut to 1/2-inch cubes
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 tablespoonsplus 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1dried bay leaf
- 5hard-boiled eggs
- 2medium stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 cupsweet relish
- 1 1/2 cupsMiracle Whip
- 1/3 cupyellow mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoonsgarlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoonsonion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoonscelery seed, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 teaspoonsfreshly ground black pepper
- Paprika, for garnish
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Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Baked potatoes, crispy bacon and sharp Cheddar are tossed in a tangy sour cream dressing to create the ultimate summery potato salad that tastes exactly like the loaded winter favorite. Bake and cool the potatoes the night before to make day-of prep even easier.
Get the Recipe: Loaded Baked Potato Salad
How To Make This Easy Potato Salad Even Easier:
- Cook your potatoes in the Instant Pot. I know not everyone has an Instant Pot, but its seriously so easy to cook potatoes in there and no watching the pot or boiling over. Simple add your diced potatoes to the Instant Pot with 1 ½ cups of water or chicken broth, and cook on Manual high for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool
- Buy pre-cooked, pre-peeled hard boiled eggs. Friends, these things are so awesome in a pinch. I actually hate making hard-boiled eggs, and will often buy these when I need a quick potato salad.
- Shell your eggs and bake. If you dont want to buy hard-boiled eggs, you can simple crack the eggs into silicone muffins cups or a small silicone pan, and bake until done. No need to stir! You want that nice yellow yolk in tact after baking.
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How To Avoid A Wet Potato Salad
Since the potatoes are boiled, theyre naturally water-logged. Theres a simple two step process to avoid all that excess water going into your potato salad.
The Best Potato Salad Ever Recipe
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Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
I can now make the perfect hard boiled eggs using my Instant Pot! The Instant Pot makes it so the eggshells come off very easily and the yolk is a perfect yellow.
I have tried every way out there to make perfect hard boiled eggs and this way is the best! It also makes the most delicious Egg Salad recipe and deviled eggs!
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.
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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 .
When Does Potato Salad Go Bad How To Store Leftovers
Since this Russet Potato Salad is mayonnaise based, you want to serve it over ice. I like serving my potato salad in an iced serving bowl. Theyre great at keeping the salad fresh and chilled.
Potato salad goes bad after 4 days in the refrigerator and, if not properly chilled while servings, can go bad in a matter of 30 minutes. Its very important to always keep your potato salad chilled no matter if its in the refrigerator or not.
Place any leftovers in an airtight food storage container to keep it in the refrigerator.
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How To Make The Best Potato Salad
Theres no need to be intimidated. Potato salad is very simple to make. With a few tricks, youll be making it like a pro in no time. While were on the subject of potatoes, you should know that we love them around here! Here are a few more favorite recipes: Our go-to mashed potatoes, these easy baked sweet potato fries, and our smoky roasted fingerling potatoes with a dipping sauce inspired by this recipe!
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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Expert Tips For Potato Salad
- Boiling the Potatoes: Typically potatoes are boiled in plain salted water. In this recipe, some vinegar and sugar are added to the water and this infuses a mild sour and sweet taste into the potatoes. Not sweet like sweet potatoes, but rather just a hint of sweetness. The sourness is also faint and not pronounced.
- Do not overcook the Potatoes: While boiling potatoes, first make sure you have chopped or diced them evenly. Usually, chopped potatoes take about 15 to 20 minutes on a medium flame to cook until tender. Use a fork or a knife to check if they are cooked well and be sure not to overdo the cooking. This will result in a mushy or pasty salad.
- Scaling the Recipe: You can easily double or triple the recipe. Use the recipe card below to scale the ingredients.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate the leftover salad and it will stays good for 1 to 2 days. While serving, You can serve the salad chilled or can warm it in an oven.
How To Make Homemade Russet Potato Salad
What I love about this recipe is that you dont need fancy kitchen tools. You can make this salad using a giant bowl and basic kitchen utensils. Follow a basic hard-boiled egg recipe or purchase eggs that are already hard-boiled if you want a shortcut!
I like to boil the potatoes and hard-boil the eggs the day before I make the potato salad. All of the ingredients will be completely chilled when you put the salad together. Then you can refrigerate the salad until serving.
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The Rest Of The Ingredients
Now we have perfectly cooked and seasoned potatoes and a creamy dressing, its time to add some extra ingredients.
Potato salad is a personal process, and there are lots of opinions out there as to what makes it perfect or the best. The recipe below is our version it includes everything we love, but remember that its your potato salad, so add what you like!
Celery and Pickles The celery adds a lovely crunch and our house isnt stable without dill pickles in the refrigerator so adding them is a no-brainer for us. If you dont like pickles in potato salad leave them out .
Red Onion I love the sweetness and crunch of red onion in this. To make sure that the onion doesnt overpower the salad with raw onion flavor, I deflame the onions. Its a simple process, simply add cool water to chopped onion and set aside for 10 minutes. The time in the water takes the raw edge off the onion.
Hard-Boiled Eggs Maybe its how we were brought up or what were used to but, potato salad without eggs is missing something. Hard-boiled eggs add texture and extra creaminess.
Fresh Herbs The most common herbs are parsley and chives, but dill, cilantro, and tarragon all work well. In our recipe below, we use both dill and parsley. Experiment for yourself to see what you love. Add a tablespoon at a time then taste. Also, remember dill and tarragon are a little stronger than other herbs so add accordingly.
Whats In Potato Salad
I spent many a summer afternoon making and taste testing this salad alongside my amazing mama, just like she did with hers. In fact, Ive made it so many times I dont even need the recipe. You know a recipe is that good when you know it by heart.
Heres the ingredients youll need for this classic potato salad:
- Yukon gold potatoes
- white vinegar
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
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How To Make Perfect Potato Salad
The Best Potato Salad Recipe Ever
My moms potato salad is better than your moms potato salad.
There, I said it and Im not taking it back! *wink*
Seriously though, my mother has magical abilities in the art of potato salad making. My mom makes traditional mustard, pickle, and hard-boiled egg potato salad. Its simple, but I have never made or tasted another potato salad better than her version And Im not the only person to think so.
Over the years Ive watched countless relatives and friends swoon over her classic potato salad.
The problem is, when you ask her for the recipe she has a hard time sharing it, because she doesnt actually have a recipe written down. She makes it by feel.
Its taken years of watching, assisting her, and asking questions to come up with what I consider to be her recipe.
Want to know moms secrets?
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The Best Potato Salad Dressing:
Adding sour cream to the mayo makes it lighter and so creamy. Dont be afraid of adding mustard. It is not potent in this recipe at all, but makes the salad next-level delicious. You might recognize this potato salad dressing as the same sandwich spread that we developed for our favorite Bakery sandwich.
Cooks Tip: The Vidalia Chop Wizard makes it quick and easy to uniformly dice boiled potatoes and eggs .
Make-Ahead Tip: Once this salad is mixed with dressing and salt, it is best enjoyed right away or refrigerated up to 6 hours. You can prep your other ingredients ahead of time and stir in the dressing just before serving.
Garnish with chives and freshly cracked black pepper to pretty it up.
If you make this recipe, Id love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Creamy, dreamy and delicious! Everything about this potato salad is good! Its definitely worth discovering and I hope you love it as much as we do!!
Is there a special side dish that always shows up at your holiday table? Id love to hear about your holiday traditions in a comment below!
My Favorite Roasted Potato Salad
Roasted Potato Salad is next level potato salad. The potatoes are roasted prior to combining all the ingredients and what you get is flavor-loaded goodness in every single bite. Once you try this roasted version, regular ole potato salad will pale in comparison! Looking for more great potluck options? Try my Bacon Chicken Bites or Macaroni Salad!
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Classic Russet Potato Salad Recipe
When I think of a summertime BBQ, I cant imagine it without potato salad as a side dish. I always look forward to our patriotic holidays because our family makes potato salad. This Russet Potato Salad recipe is my Grandmothers and it took me years to publish because she always went by taste, instead of hardcore measurements. I finally completed enough trial-and-error to share her AMAZING potato salad recipe with my readers. Youre going to love this for summer events!
I love the versatility of potato salad because its a great side dish for so many main courses. I serve my potato salad with BBQ Chicken, hamburgers and even bratwurst. Our friends and family have come to expect this salad when I get invited to events too. It makes a huge portion, so its great for feeding a crowd.
There are so many different variations of potato salads. I like to think of this as the classic all-American version. Chopped pickles, hard-boiled eggs, mayo and mustard bring the potatoes to life.
Russet potatoes are great for salad because they dont maintain their shape. As you cut your potatoes, starches will come off to blend the ingredients together. I like the slightly blended, but still chunky, consistency to this Russet Potato Salad.
Looking for more great summer side dish recipes? Here are some family favorites: