What Are The Best Potatoes To Use For Potato Salad

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Consider Steaming Instead Of Boiling

BEST POTATO SALAD RECIPE | how to make potato salad easy, healthy and delicious!

The best way to avoid watery potato salad is to prevent the potatoes from getting waterlogged in the first place. Thats why we like to grab the steamer basket and keep the potatoes out of boiling water. When theyre cooked, season them with a light sprinkle of salt. Its easy to cook perfect potatoes with these pointers!

Choosing The Best Potatoes For Potato Salad

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Potato salad is a summertime cookout side dish staple. Although the number of recipes youll find for different dressings and add-ins are nearly endless, dont forget about the most important part of a potato salad the potatoes! With so many varieties available at the store, we started to wonder which type of potato is best for potato salad.

Yukon Gold, small red, and fingerling potatoes are especially good for potato salad because their high moisture content gives them a better texture even when cool. Also, they are waxier than starchy Russet potatoes which means they wont fall apart even after heavy mixing.

Save the Russets for baked and mashed potatoes and pick a waxy potato for your potato salad. Dont forget that you need to start them in cold water and, we prefer to leave the skin on for better texture, flavor, and more nutrients.

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Let The Water Evaporate

No one loves a watery potato salad, so save yourself from that fate by letting the water evaporate before mixing the ingredients. After tossing the potatoes in vinegar, let them cool completely in a single layer on a baking sheet. The water will escape, giving the dressing a better chance to cling to the potatoes.

Find your new favorite potato salad recipe in this collection.

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The best potatoes to use in potato salads are those with a low to medium starch content often called waxy or sometimes salad or boiling potatoes. Compared to starchy baking potatoes that fall apart and turn mealy when cooked, lower starch potatoes keep their shape and remain creamy with just the right amount of tooth to hold up in salads. They also tend to have a more distinct flavor than baking potatoes.

The most common low-starch potatoes are the red-skinned varieties, sometimes labeled Red Bliss. Other low-starch choices include white varieties like California long whites and Maine or Kennebec potatoes. Medium-starch options include Yukon Golds and Yellow Finns. Many specialty potatoes labeled as fingerlings, heirlooms, or gourmet potatoes have a low to medium starch content, and some come in hues of rose, pink, gold, and even purple, so your salad will be pretty as well as delicious.

Private Notes

How To Keep Potato Salad From Getting Watery

How to Make the Best Potato Salad Recipe + Video

There are a couple of reasons potato salad can become runny. Heres how to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Use the right potato. Yukon golds are our go-to and absorb the dressing well.
  • Be sure to add the dressing to cool potatoes before adding the creamy mayo dressing. Potatoes will sweat water as they cool, and that can contribute watery potato salad.
  • And then, reader Vicki sent in an email with her suggestion to avoid watery potato salad:I asked a renowned chef what I was doing wrong, and he told me NEVER to salt the potatoes either during cooking or preparing the salad. The salt makes the potatoes seep water. Ever since I took his suggestion, I have never had a problem with watery salad. You can season the salad with salt, pepper, and other seasonings just before serving and it wont affect the potatoes once they have been mixed with the mayo. Just an FYI.
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    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.

    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:

    Read Also: Potato Salad With Hard Boiled Eggs

    Can You Make It Ahead Of Time

    You can make this simple potato salad recipe ahead of time, cover it and store it in the refrigerator, and it will keep well for 3 to 4 days.

    You can also make ahead just the boiled potatoes, chop the pickles, red onion and eggs, or just prep the mayo Dijon dressing ahead to save some time.

    Because this salad contains mayo, it shouldnt be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

    What Is The Best Type Of Potato For Potato Salad

    How to Make World’s Best Potato Salad | Potato Recipe | Allrecipes.com

    Waxy potatoes, such as Red Bliss, New, or Fingerling, have the least amount of starch and will retain their shape while boiling, giving you a pretty bowl of potato salad. All-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold can be substituted for both starchy and waxy varieties. Remember: for potato salads, choose a waxy potato.

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    What Potatoes Are Best

    The very best potato salad recipe begins and ends with what type of potatoes you use. We love waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, because they hold their shape as they cook and keep their firm texture in the salad while chopping and tossing with the dressing. However, if you dont have any of those kinds on hand, you can use Russets. Weve used them in this recipe many times and they work fine. Theyre just a bit softer and flakier than red potatoes or Yukon Gold, but taste just as delicious.

    How To Make Vegan Potato Salad From Scratch

    Start by generously salting a saucepan of water and add the peeled and diced potatoes. Cook until fully fork-tender, but make sure not to overcook. For medium-sized potato chunks, you will need around 12-15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, you can prepare the other vegetables by de-seeding and dicing the peppers, peeling and dicing the onion, and peeling and chopping the carrots. Also finely chop the dill and cilantro.

    When the potatoes are ready, drain and rinse them, and shake them a few times in the colander to fluff up. Then, transfer them to a large mixing bowl together with the vegetables, fresh herbs, garlic, pickles and lemon juice. Mix together thoroughly.

    Now, add the vegan mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, mustard and dried thyme. Mix together thoroughly once again, and the potato salad is now ready to serve!

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    How To Cook And Handle Them:

    Whether you like to leave the skin on or peel it off, its absolutely worth taking the time to cut carefully, so all your potato pieces are about the same sizeso they all cook evenly. Youll want to start the potatoes in a pot of cold, seasoned water , and check often to ensure they dont get too soft.

    Another trick: add not only salt, but a little vinegar to your cooking water, on the order of about a tablespoon per quart of water . This helps flavor the potatoes all the way through , and it also helps prevent overcooking, thanks to the vinegars interaction with the potatoes pectin. The pieces should be easily pierced with a fork, neither still crunchy nor yet mushy. Pull them off the heat at the moment of perfection and drain.

    Then, just dont mix them too aggressively and there should be no issues with gluey, disintegrating potatoes, although a little fluffy-roughness around the edges is a good thing.

    While you may have heard its best to dress potatoes while theyre hot, this is only partly true. They will soak up more flavor when warm, but if too hot, they can also make mayonnaise melt and separate. So, feel free to toss warm potatoes with vinegar-based dressings, and if youre going mayo-based, toss the warm spuds with all of the other non-mayonnaise ingredients while theyre warm, then fold in the mayo once theyve cooled down a bit, say 30 minutes later.

    How To Make Potato Salad From Scratch

    How to Make The Best Potato Salad Ever [+Video]

    There is a little bit of prep to making potato salad from scratch, like chopping ingredients and boiling potatoes, but even so this comes together very simply. I recommend preparing boiled eggs a day ahead so they are ready to be peeled and chopped. Maybe even go ahead and chop the celery, onions and pickles while the eggs are boiling so they’re ready the day you make the potato salad, too!

    Steps to make potato salad:

  • Boil potatoes in large pot of water.
  • Peelandcube potatoes.
  • Combine mayonnaise, mustard, celery seed.
  • Stir in celery, onions and pickles.
  • Fold in potatoes and eggs.
  • Serve immediately or chill several hours.
  • for the full recipe ingredients and instructions.

    Another time saver is to complete some of the steps while waiting for the potatoes to boil. Peel and chop the eggs at this time, and the other ingredients if you didn’t previously.

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    When To Use Large White Or Yukon Gold Potatoes For Potato Salad

    Yukon Gold and all-purpose white potatoes are the middle-of-the-road potato. They have less starch than a Russet potato, but enough so that they can be cut up and cooked in salted water for mashed potatoes or potato salad. And true Yukon Golds are a lovely yellow color that shows through many potato salad dressings. Literally any potato salad recipe that calls for waxy potatoes can be made with Yukon Gold potatoes.

    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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    How To Make Potato Salad:

    Heres how to make the best potato salad recipe its so easy!

  • Cook the potatoes: Dice your potatoes into large chunks. Then add them to a large stockpot and cover with generously-salted cold water, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander, return them to the pot, drizzle with vinegar and let cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Prep the sauce: Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, celery salt, mustard and pickle relish in a medium bowl until evenly combined.
  • Toss everything together: Once the potatoes are ready to go, add in the mayo mixture, diced eggs, celery and onion. Toss gently until evenly combined.
  • Season: Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Chill: Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill. Then serve chilled, topped with your desired garnishes.
  • Potato Salad Recipe Variations:

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    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.

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    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.

    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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    Potato Salad Not Turning Out Like Mom’s Au Gratin A Mushy Mess You Might Be Using The Wrong Spud Discover Which Types Of Potatoes Work Best In Which Dishes For Mealtime Success

    Whether mashed or baked, roasted or fried, you cant beat potatoes for comfort. But your carb-o-licious dish might get a thumbs-down review if you dont select the right spud. Potatoes fall into one of three categories: starchy, waxy and all-purpose. For the best results, match your tator to your recipe. Heres what you need to know about the choices:


    These oblong potatoes are perfect for mashing and baking due to their thick skin and fluffy flesh. Their high-starch content makes them the perfect choice when making French fries, too.


    These waxy potatoes are the darlings of the salad set because they look great, keep their shape, and offer a creamy texture. Theyre low in starch and high in moisture so theyre perfect when boiled or roasted.

    White Potatoes

    Similar looking to Russets, use these guys when the recipe calls for boiling potatoes. Because they hold their shape so well, theyre also great in casseroles, soups and stews.

    Round Potatoes

    Use these like youd use white potatoesin stews, soups and casseroles. They have thinner skins than most varieties, but they hold up nicely during long cook times.

    Yukon Golds

    When you dont know what potato to use, turn to Yukon Golds. These all-purpose spuds have just the right combo of starch and moisture to hold up to nearly any cooking technique, including grilling, yet they come out golden on the outside and tender on the inside.

    Sweet Potatoes

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