The Best Potato Salad

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My go-to recipe for classic, creamy, zesty, Southern potato salad.

The BEST Potato Salad Recipe

For years and years, I’ve been receiving requests from many of you mayo lovers for a classic, ultra-creamy, mustardy, pickle-y, homemade potato salad recipe here on the blog. And, at the same time, I’ve been receiving requests from others for a zippy, savory, easy potato salad recipe that you make without inviting Miracle Whip to the party.

Well this week, all potato salad eaters are welcome here on the blog, because I have — not one, not two, but — three brand new potato salad recipes to share with you! A potato salad for everyone!! I have high hopes that one of these three recipes will become your new go-to this season. And today, I’m kicking off this series by returning to my Midwestern roots by sharing the classic potato salad recipe that reigned supreme at the thousand church basement potlucks of my childhood…

…this classic, creamy, Southern potato salad. ♡

It will forever be the first version that comes to mind when I hear the words “potato salad.” If you also grew up with this dish in your life, you know exactly what we’re working with here — hearty potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, celery, onion, and pickle relish (optional, or not, depending on who you ask). Plus a rich and creamy sauce that is spiked with mustard, celery salt, vinegar, and paprika. And — yep — an unapologetically mega scoop of mayo or Miracle Whip.

There are of course all sorts of other fun ingredients you can add in (hello, bacon). And I’ve also included ingredients below for how you can customize your own potato salad recipe with different seasonings or lighten it up a bit with some creamy alternatives to mayo. But however you make yours, this classic recipe is guaranteed to be total, nostalgic, creamy comfort food.

So if you’re on Team Mayo, grab a jar and let’s make a batch together!

The BEST Potato Salad Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Potato Salad Ingredients

Potato Salad Ingredients:

Alright, let’s talk ingredients! To make this Southern potato salad recipe, you will need:

  • Potatoes: I prefer buttery Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe, but Russets or red potatoes would also work well too. Feel free to peel your potatoes if you do not like the skins, but I always leave them in because I like the extra texture that they add.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: I like to cook mine in the Instant Pot, but you can also make them the traditional way on the stovetop.
  • Mayo or Miracle Whip: Up to you! Miracle Whip (a lighter, slightly sweeter and spicier mayo “dressing”) was always the standard for this potato salad in the Midwest. But feel free to choose either Miracle Whip or Mayo, or go 50/50. Or you could also mix in some plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for part of the mayo.
  • Vinegar: I make this salad with apple cider vinegar, but red wine vinegar or white vinegar would also work well. Whatever you have on hand!
  • Pickle relish (optional): If you’re not into pickles, feel free to leave this out. But if you love pickles, a good scoop of relish (or you can dice your own pickles) adds an irresistible sweet tang to this salad.
  • Veggies: Raw celery and onion are traditional here.
  • Seasonings: Celery salt, paprika (I prefer smoked paprika), salt and pepper are the classic seasonings in this potato salad. But see notes below for some other fun ideas to try!
  • Mustard: I like a good zesty Dijon mustard in this salad.

I recommend sprinkling your potato salad with smoked paprika or Old Bay seasoning just before serving, to give it an extra pop of color and flavor. Or feel free to also garnish your potato salad with egg (extra hard-boiled eggs), chopped fresh herbs (chives, dill, parsley, etc.), or a sprinkle of bacon.

How To Make Potato Salad

How To Make Potato Salad:

Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe — it’s so easy!

  1. 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.
  2. Prep the sauce: Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, celery salt, mustard and pickle relish in a medium bowl until evenly combined.
  3. 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.
  4. Season: Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. (Also feel free to add in a tablespoon or two of pickle juice if you would like.)
  5. 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.

Easy Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad Recipe Variations:

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 don’t love pickles, just omit them entirely.
  • Omit the mayo: If mayo’s 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 don’t love apple cider vinegar, feel free to swap in white vinegar or red wine vinegar instead.
  • Use different mustard: If you don’t 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.

Potato Salad

More Make-Ahead Salad Recipes:

Looking for more make-ahead salad inspiration for summertime? Here are a few more favorite recipes:

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How To Make Potato Salad

The BEST Potato Salad!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x

Description

My go-to recipe for classic, creamy, zesty, Southern potato salad.  See notes above for possible ingredient variations.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold, Russet, or red potatoes*, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle relish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • half of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional toppings: smoked paprika or Old Bay seasoning, chopped fresh chives, (extra) sliced hard-boiled eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the diced potatoes in a large stockpot and add enough water so that the potatoes are covered by 1 inch.  Cook over medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil.  Then reduce heat to medium to maintain the simmer, and continue cooking the potatoes for 5-8 minutes or until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Then return the potatoes to the stockpot, drizzle evenly with the vinegar, and let the potatoes rest for 20-30 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, celery salt, mustard and pickle relish in a medium bowl until evenly combined.
  4. Once the potatoes are ready to go, add in the mayo mixture, diced eggs, celery and onion.  Toss gently until evenly combined.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  (Also feel free to add in a tablespoon or two of pickle juice if you would like.)
  6. Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill.
  7. Serve chilled, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Notes

*Potatoes: Feel free to peel the potatoes if you would like.  I prefer to leave the skins on to add extra texture to the potato salad.

Potato Salad Recipe

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Recipe rating

200 comments on “The Best Potato Salad”

  1. Super good and easy! Have made it twice and family loves it! I used Russet potatoes, skin left on for the salad. I have a major aversion to mayo, so I used low fat sour cream, you’d never know. I added a bit more sweet pickles + eggs. Will definitely be making again! Enjoy your recipes!

  2. This potato sald is simply DELICIOUS. Made it exactly by the recipe.

  3. Made it for the first time today! Enoued every bite – i put the boiled red skined potatoes in the fridge while I prepared the kther ingredients. Thanks for sharing this recipe

  4. Fabulous recipe. Add all the recommended ingredients. I only used 1 cup regular mayo.

  5. I didn’t tell my husband what was in it so he loved it.

  6. This made a wonderful potato salad. I doubled the recipe to take a tray to a funeral luncheon, but kept a small bowl for home as well.

  7. This is a wonderful recipe! I struggle with cooking so I was pleased this was so easy to make and so delicious.

  8. The potatoes in the picture used throughout this recipe do not have the skins on them. Just sayin’.

  9. Love your recipes and your potato salad is no exception! I follow a vegan diet, but the rest of my family eats a regular diet. To make this great for everyone for a Father’s Day cookout, I used vegan mayo (Hellmann’s) and no eggs. I also skipped the apple cider vinegar as the vegan mayo can be a little tangy. It’s super nice to be able to adapt recipes to fit both needs, without anyone feeling like they are “missing something!” Thank you so much!

  10. This recipe is fantastic. I’ve made it twice now and it blew everyone away both times. I love how so many potato salad recipes are bland as heck and this one is the exact opposite. So many cool ideas for tweaks and add-ins as well! This second time I combined the pickles and the red onion and added pickled red onions, it was great! Thanks for the awesome recipe, this is now a summer staple at our house!

  11. 5

  12. Thank you for sharing this recipe! It is my new favourite potato salad recipe. Made it for family this past weekend and everyone loved it. Served it with grilled shish kebabs, grilled corn, and an oriental savoy cole slaw. Yummy!!!!

  13. I can’t rave about this recipe enough, I’ve share it with many relatives. Simply delicious. Only change was I added some fresh dill Just outstanding. Thank you !!!!

  14. I’m definitely going to try it, it’s for a funeral, I just love potato salads. Thank you so much.

  15. I’m not a potato salad person.. or a cold salad person in general so I’m going off feedback alone here but wowzers…
    This is AMAZING!
    Soo easy, and ALWAYS requested. ALWAYS!
    “If you don’t make that potato salad thing you make I’m not coming.” (Playful, yet also serious lol) Type of amazing!
    MAKE THIS!!!!
    (Also, make anything else you find on this site. It’s freaking fantastic!)

    • Delicious!!! I did add cucumber and radish as we call it kitchen sink potato salad lol. Great easy recipe

  16. Thank you!!!! Turned out delicious!!! :)

  17. Can I use capers and relish or just one or the other?

  18. Made twice and I’ve tweaked it a bit to suit my own taste. I added extra relish, doubled the vinegar and added sugar to get a more balanced flavor profile since it eats salty to me. Also added a few slices of bacon chopped into bits and I added two more eggs. I also took the egg yolks and mashed them into the dressing to get it even creamier.

  19. I have made this many times as written and it is always delicious. I tried swapping 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt for some of the mayo and I think it was almost just as good.

  20. I used sweet relish and chopped up some baby dill pickles in place of dill relish, also added garlic powder and omit celery stalks, added chives directly to salad instead of topping. Otherwise followed directions and came out amazing

  21. This is delicious!

  22. Is there a particular reason for adding the vinegar to the cooked potatoes directly? Why not add vinegar to the Mayo mixture? Just curious!

  23. Great recipe! This was my first time making potato salad and I made it for our 4th of July BBQ. No complaints. I used Hellman’s light mayo, and garnished with smoked paprika and parsley. I also got distracted and forgot to add the salt and pepper to taste, but we didn’t even miss it. Would make again and highly recommend.

  24. Best alternatives of making potato salads ever. I never liked potato salads with mayo or any kind of pickle relish. The yogurt and sour cream is fabulous. Plus adding a bit of other ingredients and seasonings like bacon , chives, even green onions, basil, parsley, etc, with the usual celery, eggs, and
    mustard, makes it fresh and scrumptious. So much fun to try different things.
    Play around with these and enjoy!

  25. THIS is by far THE BEST potato salad I’ve ever had! Easy to make and quick too. Thank you!

  26. Amazing and so easy. It was my first time making potato salad from scratch and this recipe was perfect. It was a huge hit!

  27. Wow wow WOW!! This is the recipe I have been looking for a for years! Takes me back to my grandma’s classic potato salad. I really think tossing the war and potatoes in the Apple cider vinegar is a game changer! Thank you, thank you! This is a new family favorite that we will continue to make for years to come!

  28. Delicious! I never would have thought to add apple cider vinegar, any vinegar variant. I added my small left overs of marinated artichoke hearts along with pickles, celery seeds, olive oil based mayo, pepper, parika, hard boiled eggs and dijon mustard and vine ripen cherry tomatoes!