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 for a classic, ultra-creamy, mustardy, pickle-y, homemade potato salad recipe (Team Mayo!) here on the blog.  At the same time, I’ve been receiving requests from many others of you (Team Don’t-Wanna-Come-Anywhere-Near-Mayo) 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!  Basically, a potato salad for everyone!!  I have high hopes that one of these three recipes will become your new go-to this season, so stay tuned to see which one will be your pick.  But as for 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.”  And 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:

Print
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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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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106 comments on “The Best Potato Salad”

  1. First time making Potato Salad and it is delicious. Thank you.

    I did my potatoes in the instant pot. 4 minutes High Pressure, Natural Release 3 minutes then quick release. Put Potatoes in bowl and then added vinegar to them.

    I added a little paprika and celery seed as another user did.

  2. This reicpe looks very delicious. A perfect morning recipe for me. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Also here i have a special potato salad recipe. Check out the recipe here: https://www.recipespack.com/classic-potato-salad-simplyrecipes-com/

  3. I found out halfway thru the recipe that I was out of pickles. Fortunately I did still have the jar with some of the pickling vinegar. I took advice from one who commented that she just used the vinegar not the pickles. Oh my this potato salad is out of this world! Thanks so much for sharing it-it’s definitely a keeper!

  4. How many calories are there per serving?
    I have family that won’t eat potato salad because they think it is fatening.

  5. I knew it was going to be good when I sampled the mayo/seasoning mix mid process but this recipe exceeded all expectations. The author of this recipe is not lying when they it is the BEST. It is simply spectacular! A few notes, I did not have celery salt but used celery seed instead and neither the pickled relish nor the smoked paprika are optional imo.

  6. Great recipe ! I added an apple and radishes – it is an amazing simple and good recipe! Thanks !!

  7. I often sub pickle juice for vinegar …good option if you’re a pickle fan!

  8. Great potato recipe. My family couldn’t get enough. Easy to make, and hard to mess up. Will be making again

  9. I have to agree that this is the BEST potato salad ever, at least the best potato salad I’ve made. I’ve attempted potato salad in the past, but I now realize part of the problem was the kind of potato I used, and another part of the problem was that I cooked the potatoes too long. This is an excellent recipe. Since it’s just my husband and myself, this recipe provides a tasty side for several meals. With the hot summer days of Arizona, it’s nice to have something cold in the refrigerator that I can pull out and serve without having to heat up the house, or, in my case, our RV.

  10. Hi
    I made a half portion and it was yummy… best potoatoe salad I’ve made.
    Used green onions and white vinegar. Delicious…my husband loved it too and he’s one fussy hard to please guy…

  11. Amazing!

  12. ….recipes very similar to how i make it but i use what i have…. i cant eat onions so sprinkle top with chopped up green onion for those who like it…. bay seasoning is definitely something i would not use… first trip to san francisco had crab legs and couldnt eat them, tasted bad.. but turns out it was bay seasoning, just dont like it… i would prefer to leave seasonings out on the table and let guests choose the ones they want?? just an idea, am making some now!

  13. ooops didnt see the many comments below when just typed mine! sorry

  14. Oh no, sorry I am 76 and tend to forget things: learned from my neighbour to add a big spoon of sour cream and chopped up dill pickles… great for me as I dont use onions or celery, lol ENJOY

  15. I made this for a potluck party recently and now regret it, it is so good now I have to make it all the time.

  16. Very good – I made it along with fried chicken for a picnic lunch at the beach.
    I used half Miracle Whip (light) and half Hellmans Mayo (light). Everyone enjoyed it.

  17. I’ve never made potato salad until now! I made this and it was so easy and doesn’t require snh special ingredients. I already had most of them. Thank you for this recipe! I will definitely make it again!
    Happy 4th of July!🇺🇲

  18. Just like my grandmother’s recipe (she’s from Iowa and is hands down THE best cook in the family!) and just as good! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  19. Wow! This recipe is amazing! I made it yesterday for today, the 4th of July and it is delicious! I think the key was putting the apple cider vinegar on the warm potatoes first. It gives it more depth bc it really gets into the potato so you have a creamy and tangy potato salad. I also added a little smoked paprika. All around amazing potato salad!

  20. This was delicious!! I used red potatoes, didn’t have red onion so I used yellow, I don’t like relish so I chopped up some dill pickles and I used celery seed instead of celery salt but even with the substitutions it was delicious and everyone wanted the recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  21. It came out good it was a hint!!!

  22. Love this recipe. I added the pickle relish, But added a f2-3 tablespoon of green olive juice. An old friend told me this years ago. Not very noticeable, but makes it delicious.

  23. Great Recipe, this is what potato salad should taste like, my new favorite.

  24. First time making this, or any, potato salad- WIN! Tangy, creamy, yummy- the trifecta! I used grainy mustard, sweet yum yum pickles, and regular paprika. Adding this to my family recipe box! Thank you!

  25. Thanks for posting this! I just finished making the potato salad and it is delicious!!! My husband is already eating it before it’s chilled! I used Russet potatoes. I didn’t have celery salt. Nor relish (but I cut up some dill pickle chips I had) and added a little bit of red bell pepper however I did everything else to recipe. Topped it off with paprika.
    This is my first time making potato salad. So glad I found your recipe! It’s a keeper! Thanks again!!

  26. Wow! Delish. Thank you.
    I used gerkins pickles and pickle juice. Tossed in an avocado and paprika.
    Bam, happy mouth.

  27. So good! I did make a few adjustments, though. I omitted the celery, used 5 hard boiled eggs instead of 4, reduced red onion to about 1/4 instead of 1/2 (very thinly sliced with peeler then chopped up), used Beaver brand deli mustard (with whole mustard seeds) instead of Dijon, and increased the mustard to 2 heaping teaspoonfuls. We LOVED it… My husband said I’m going to need to make this all the time now!

  28. First time making potato salad. The old bay gives it a nice kick

  29. I added dill weed, thyme, basil, onion powder, and chives instead of red onion. My bf loves it.

  30. Served this to a group of 15 adults plus kids with 2 other sides and a main dish and had 1/2cup left of a doubled recipe. It was reported to be better than someone’s mother’s recipe:)
    I boiled my potatoes whole, cooled overnight, then skinned and cut to bite size before adding vinegar.
    Needed more salt, some yellow mustard, pickle juice for my taste. plus, I skipped the celery and substituted a seasoned salt with some celery in it for the celery salt.

  31. Excellent. I used extra paprika and eggs and added radishes. Very yummy. Thank you.

  32. Delicious, the first time in 30 years my brother-in-law asked me for the recipe

  33. This was so good! I just did the sauce and added all the veggies into the bowl and mixed it all up as one, let thy sit in the fridge for a few hours and added the potatoes and eggs in later. I added 2 tablespoons of milk into the mayo mixture also, and put the apple cider vinegar into the sauce as well. I drizzled the potatoes with another tablespoon or less with the ACV too. Other than that I followed the recipe as written. My personal touch on it though was to chop up about 2 tablespoons of the celery leaves and sprinkle them in. It gave such a nice herby flavor that blended in really well. I also used 3 dill pickles in place of the relish and a few shakes of onion powder!

  34. Great recipe. Just finished making this Potato Salad. I love it.

  35. I didn’t even have celery or red onion so I decided to go ahead without them (and the eggs because I’m not a fan) but it may be the best potato salad I’ve ever made, even so.

  36. Just made this recipe… yummm. Super quick and easy too!

  37. This was good, but I was always taught to cut big potatoes in half and cook small potatoes whole and peel after they are done. I have tried cutting them up to cook and you just end up with watery potatoes. They are easy to peel when cooked, just use the back of a knife or a spoon and the peel almost falls off. Potatoes are cooked through and still firm.

  38. I always add chopped radishes as well as a spoonful of horseradish to my potato salad,

  39. I am using your recipe as a basis for tomorrows potato salad. I did tweak it a bit by adding diced jalapenos and a 1/4 tsp of powered Fatalii pepper. We will see the results but I’m very optimistic.

  40. Love it! We added more mustard, but besides that, it’s pretty much perfect! ~A&E