Best Potato Salad Recipe
This Potato Salad Recipe makes the best classic potato salad! This favorite side dish is easy to make with potatoes, egg, pickle relish, onion, celery and a creamy homemade dressing.
Potato salad is a classic summer side dish that’s perfect for serving with your favorite meals. If you love potato salad, you’ll also enjoy my Macaroni Salad, Coleslaw Recipe, Pasta Salad and Broccoli Salad.
I love my Instant Pot Potato Salad recipe for convenience, since the potatoes and eggs cook at the same time in the Instant Pot. But if you’re looking for a traditional potato salad recipe that you can make on the stove, then this is the recipe for you!
Potato salad is surprisingly simple to make, but, just like making perfect creamy Mashed Potatoes, there are a few tips and tricks that will make your homemade potato salad the hit of the party.
How to Make the Best Potato Salad
The best potato salad starts with perfectly cooked potatoes, a creamy homemade dressing and a few other ingredients added for flavor and texture. To make the most delicious traditional potato salad:
- Salt the potato cooking water. This flavors the potatoes from the start and really makes a difference in the finished dish.
- Cut the potatoes into pieces that are approximately the same size so that they will cook evenly. I find that 3/4-inch pieces are the perfect bite-size.
- To make this recipe quick and easy, get the potatoes cooking first and then hard boil the eggs. While the potatoes cool, chop the onion and celery and make the dressing.
- Chill before serving. Potato salad is always better on the second day, after the flavors have had time to blend together.
- To avoid watery potato salad, let the potatoes cool before adding the dressing. Also be sure to drain the potatoes well after cooking. Give it a stir before serving to make sure everything is well combined, and enjoy!
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: You’ll need two pounds of potatoes for this recipe, which serves six. It is not necessary to peel the potatoes since the skins of gold potatoes are thin, but you can peel them if you wish.
- Mayonnaise: Mayo is the creamy base for the potato salad dressing. For a lighter potato salad, replace half or all of the mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt (full fat yogurt is best).
- Sweet Pickle Relish: Sweet relish adds a little sweetness to the dressing.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This makes the dressing slightly tangy. White vinegar can be substituted, but we prefer the flavor of apple cider vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard: A tablespoon of Dijon elevates the flavor of the dressing. The mustard flavor is not strong, and you can substitute yellow mustard if you prefer.
- Celery Seed: Celery seed adds a bit of an earthy flavor. It’s subtle, but I find that it gives the salad more flavor overall. If you don’t have celery seed on hand, you can omit it from the recipe.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning. Salt is also added to the potato cooking water to season the potatoes as they cook.
- Celery and Red Onion: These bring flavor and crunch that is truly delicious!
- Hard Boiled Eggs: We love hard boiled eggs in our potato salad. If you don’t care for potato salad with eggs, you can leave them out.
- Paprika: For garnish. It adds a pop of color and a bit of flavor.
Best Potatoes for Potato Salad
I find that Yukon gold potatoes make the best potato salad. They hold their shape well and have a lovely starchy texture and delicious flavor. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy peeling potatoes, you’ll love using gold potatoes because the thin skins don’t need to be removed. Red potatoes are also a good choice. My Red Potato Salad recipe is a favorite.
Russet potatoes are not the best for potato salad because they tend to soak up more water when you boil them and they fall apart more easily once cooked.
How to Make Potato Salad
Here is an overview of how to make this recipe. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are just tender when pierced with a fork. Don’t overcook the potatoes or they may fall apart.
- Drain the potatoes well and let them cool for at least 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes cool, mix together the dressing ingredients.
- Stir the dressing into the cooled potatoes.
- Gently stir in the chopped celery, red onion and coarsely chopped hard boiled eggs.
- Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Chill before serving. Serve garnished with paprika, if desired.
You can cook the hard boiled eggs ahead of time or cook them while the potatoes cook. If you have an Instant Pot, Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs are the easiest to peel. This is how I usually cook eggs when I make egg salad, deviled eggs and this recipe.
How Long to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad
Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces and place them in a pot of cool water with the water level about 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook the potatoes for 6-9 minutes, or until they are just tender.
The cook time can vary based on the size of the potato pieces and how long it takes the water to come to a boil. Check the potatoes often so that they don’t overcook.
You can modify this recipe to your tastes. Here are a few suggestions:
- Instead of red onion, try sweet yellow onion or green onion.
- Instead of sweet pickle relish, add chopped sweet pickles or dill pickles. Or, add a tablespoon or two of pickle juice.
- Use fresh herbs to brighten the flavors. Try chopped dill or parsley.
- Add cooked, crumbled bacon.
- Swap yellow mustard for the Dijon mustard.
- Omit the hard boiled eggs if you prefer your potato salad without egg.
- Use plain Greek yogurt in place of half of the mayo for a lighter, tangier potato salad.
How Long Does Potato Salad Last
Potato salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to refrigerate potato salad promptly for food safety. Never leave it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or less if outside on a hot day. Salads with mayonnaise-based dressings can spoil quickly if they are left out of the refrigerator, especially in a warm environment.
Potato salad tastes best after it has chilled in the refrigerator. For the best taste, refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving. It will taste even better on the second day.
What to Serve it With
We especially love to serve this side dish when we’re grilling. It’s perfect for a BBQ! Try it with:
- Grilled Chicken
- Turkey Burger Recipe
- Grilled Salmon
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Steak Kabobs or Grilled Steak – We love this Steak Marinade!
This easy potato salad is also delicious with Slow Cooker Ribs, Instant Pot Ribs, Instant Pot Pulled Pork, Instant Pot BBQ Chicken, Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Baked Chicken Breast, Baked Pork Chops and Sloppy Joes.
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (cut into ¾-inch pieces, peeling is optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or yellow mustard)
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 hard boiled eggs (coarsely chopped)
- paprika (optional topping)
- Place cut potatoes in a large pot and add cool water until the water level is about 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the 2 teaspoons salt to the pot and stir. Boil potatoes for 6-9 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork. Check the potatoes often and be careful not to overcook them. Drain the potatoes well.
- Allow potatoes to cool for about 20 minutes before mixing them with the dressing.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, celery seed, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Whisk until well mixed.
- Transfer the cooled potatoes to a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat the potatoes. Gently stir in the celery, onion and hard boiled eggs. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Chill potato salad in the refrigerator before serving. It can be served the day it is made, once chilled, and will taste even better on the second day. Stir before serving and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
- Potato salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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