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
How To Make Potato Salad
Theres 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. Well 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.
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.
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Steak And Potato Salad With Tomato Vinaigrette
This is almost equal parts steak and potatoes, but no ones going to complain about that. In another twist, the small new potatoes for this salad and baked rather than boiled, and everything is tossed in a tangy tomato-based vinaigrette. Celery leaves and parsley lend a fresh lift. Get our Steak and Potato Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette recipe.
With some similar flavor notes but none of the beef, this tangy, smoky, crunchy, creamy vegan potato salad recipe from Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse of Smith & Daughters is vibrant in every way. The dressing is based on ajvar, a roasted red pepper dip or relish from the Balkans that you can find in Middle Easter markets or online. They call for kipler or fingerling potatoes, but this lively combo of ingredients will taste great with any variety you like. Get the Tangy Vegan Potato Salad recipe.
What Is The Most Flavorful Potato
Yukon Gold may be the most popular type of variety for its great taste and use in a wide variety of different dishes, but a variety like the popular sweet potato Jewel Yam or a type you can harvest earlier in the season may be more ideal for you. Think about the flavors and dishes you and your family enjoy the most.
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S To Follow For The Best Potatoes For Potato Salad Martha Stewart
How To Buy And Store Potatoes For Potato Salad
Now that you know what kind of potatoes to get, here are things to keep in mind when buying and storing them.
- Choose small potatoes for the best flavor, and try to find ones that are all about the same size if you like to boil your potatoes whole so that they all cook evenly in the same amount of time.
- Dont choose potatoes that have have sprouted, are wrinkly and seem dried out, or have lots of blemishes. Stay away from any potatoes that have a greenish tone to them- theyve been exposed to too much light and will taste bitter.
- Once you get the potatoes home, make sure theyre completely dry, then store them in a brown paper bag in a cool, dark, place for up to a few weeks.
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How To Cook Potatoes For The Best Potato Salad
Its hard to beat potato salad. Its hearty, comforting and pairs perfectly with burgers, chicken and other great grilled recipes. But it can be hard to get the consistency of potatoes just right when cooking them for potato salad they can easily get mushy or fall apart. Next time you want to bring this classic dish to a cookout, try this reliable method.
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First, you need to choose the best potatoes for potato salad. There are strong feelings about this and in the end it all depends on how you prefer the final texture. Generally, waxy potatoes such as Yukon gold, red or new potatoes are preferred since they hold their shape well and don’t get mushy.
However, there is a strong camp in favor of spud varieties like Idaho and russet since they do a great job at absorbing flavors, which can lead to a more robust potato salad.
Whichever type of potato you choose, it’s all about how you cook them.
After cutting the potatoes into even pieces, place them into a large pot of cold water. This prevents the outside of the potato from cooking too quickly.
Once youve filled the pot with water and the potatoes, generously add salt a secret every home cook should know and bring the water to a boil.
Youll want to make sure the potatoes dont get too soft, because when it comes time to dress the salad, they will get mushy and likely fall apart. Think al dente like when you’re cooking the perfect pasta.
How To Choose The Best Potatoes For Potato Salad
There are more than 4,000 varieties of potato out there , and more than 200 available in the U.S. Thankfully, there are only three main categories of potato, which makes choosing the right ones a bit easier:
- Waxy: These potatoes that have minimal starch, and therefore retain their shape when boiled. Their thin skin makes them a breeze to use for potato salad, since peeling them is optional. Theyre also smoother and less grainy and mealy on the inside than starchy potatoes. When used in potato salad, they stay tender yet firm and make a less fluffy salad than starchy potatoes.
- In-between: While they have more starch than waxy potatoes, they can still hold their own in potato salad. Also called all-purpose potatoes, in-between varieties make a great substitute for waxy potatoes because of their medium moisture and starch content.
- Starchy: Starchy potatoes have thick skin and a drier, mealier texture. Thanks to their large cells, they dont hold up well to boiling or mixing because they take on more water than waxy potatoes when cooked.
So, waxy potatoes are best for potato salad. But in-between potatoes are also fine to use in a pinch, and even starchy potatoes work if you like your potato salad on the creamy side.
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The Best Way To Cook Potatoes For Potato Salad
Waxy potatoes and all-purpose potatoes can be boiled whole or cut starchy potatoes must always be boiled whole.
When cooking any potatoes, add them to a pot, cover them with cold water by an inch, add a big pinch of salt and turn the heat to high. When the water boils, reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until they are firm but tender when pierced with a fork or paring knife. Test cut potatoes as soon as the water comes to a boil, it doesnt take long to cook small pieces of potato, especially if theyre slices. Whole Russet potatoes will take longer to test, remove one from the pot with tongs and pierce it with a paring knife, which should slide into the center of the potato easily. For a step-by-step guide complete with photos, head over to our story, How to Boil Potatoes.
To peel the skin from potatoes, use a paring knife and gently tug off large pieces. The hotter the potatoes are, the easier they are to peel we suggest wearing 2 pairs of disposable gloves to protect your hands from the heat. After peeling, cut the potatoes in cubes.
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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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.
Boil Your Egg Chop Your Veggies
The next step is to boil your eggs. You can use the already hot potato water to boil your eggs . Place the eggs into boiling water, set a timer for 10 minutes, and when times up, transfer to an ice bath.
While the eggs are boiling, you can chop your celery and green onions. For the celery, trim the ends off the celery, slices lengthwise in half, and then chop into 1/4 chunks. For the green onion, trim off the bottom and chop to 1/4 chunks.
Once they are cool enough to handle, peel, and roughly chopped your hard boiled eggs. Then fold in your celery, green onions, and eggs into the potatoes.
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Why Waxy Potatoes Make The Best Potato Salad
If you have a craving for potato salad, and only have Russets in the house, it’s not the end of the world. You can still create a soft and creamy salad with them, according to All Recipes. The reason most people prefer a waxy potato, is because they tend to hold their shape throughout boiling, and can stand up to the pressure of being tossed around with extra ingredients. Russets, on the other hand, may fall apart during boiling, and can turn into mashed potato salad when mixed.
Beyond choosing a potato, there’s no right or wrong way to make a potato salad. According to NPR, potato salads in mid-19th century America were a combination of potatoes, oil, vinegar, and herbs. We didn’t see mayonnaise enter the fray until a couple decades after the big mayo brands came on the scene. So, whether you prefer a traditional, cold, American potato salad, or a warm, German potato salad with bacon, Dijon mustard, and vinegar, keep a bag of waxy potatoes in the pantry, and a delicious batch of potato salad is at your fingerlings, er, fingertips .
Why Does My Potato Salad Get Watery
Watery potato salads may be caused by the following: Type of potato used. A waxy or moist potato tends to stay that way when cooked. Try draining the water and then leaving the potato on the stove for a few moments to cook any extra water out, just turn lightly so you dont over work the potato or it will turn mushy.
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The Science Of Potatoes
While there are over 500 varieties of potatoes worldwide, spuds can be broken down into three main types: waxy, all-purpose and starchy. And when it comes to starch, there are two types of starches in potatoes: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose creates a fluffy spud once cooked, while amylopectin helps the potato hold its shape.
Because a classic potato salad is boiled, avoid starchy potatoes. Instead, reach for waxy or all-purpose potatoes, which contain more amylopectin than fluffy, starchy potatoes and will hold their shape.
Amanda Frankeny, a registered dietitian and program director of the Food Dignity Movement, explained, New potatoes, red varieties or fingerling potatoes have more water and less starch than starchy potatoes, and a higher proportion of that starch is amylopectin. They make a gummier, denser product … and they do hold together when boiled.
Ali Manning, a food scientist and owner of Umami Food Consulting, also recommends sticking with waxy or all-purpose potatoes the next time you whip up a classic potato salad. She explained, the composition of the starch granules in waxy potatoes allows them to maintain their structure better during boiling.
Though starchy potatoes like russets, Idahos and sweet potatoes are typically a go-to in many American households, you should reserve those for baking and mashing instead of for potato salad.
Manning explained that they arent a great choice due to their high starch content.
Start With Cold Water
Place your diced potatoes in a pot of cold water and then bring it all to a boil. If you add potatoes to already boiling water, the outside of the potatoes will get overdone and too soft while the inside will still be undercooked. While it is fine to add pasta and frozen vegetables to boiling water, always start with cold water when boiling potatoes.
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Dont Skimp On The Eggs
Not all potato salad recipes are mayonnaise-based. Some are made with an oil and vinegar dressing, while others are heavy on the mustard, Greek yogurt or sour cream. But many of our favorite potato salads contain eggs in one form or another. No matter which type of dressing you choose, dont be afraid to add hard-boiled eggs to the mix: The yolks add a rich, creamy flavor.
Secrets To Making The Perfect Potato Salad
Picking the right type of potato is crucial in the success of your potato salad.
1. Pick the Right Type of Potato:
When making potato salad chose a waxy variety such as red, new or fingerling potatoes. These potatoes have a thin skin and hold up their texture when boiled to fork tender. You can also use an all-purpose variety such as Yukon Gold which is commonly found in most kitchens. Russet potatoes are not a good choice for potato salad as they are too starchy and have a thick skin.
2. The Right Way To Boil Potatoes:
As soon as your potatoes are fork tender, place them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
The key to boiling potatoes is to start them in cold water. Just place the quartered potatoes in a pot and cover them with the cold water. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. If you place potatoes directly in boiling water, the result will be uneven cooking, with the outside being overcooked and the inside being undercooked. Dont forget to season the potatoes as they boil. A little salt will add a lot of flavor! And just as important as it is to boil the potatoes the correct way, you must stop the cooking process by placing the potatoes in an ice water bath as soon as they are fork tender. Otherwise, the potatoes will continue to cook and become mushy.
Soaking raw onions in water will help take the bite out the onions.
3. Soak Raw Onions Before Adding Them To Your Potato Salad:
4. Skip the Vinegar Use Pickle Juice:
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