The Best Potato Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

153 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/

    • I’d say absolutely no way to apple cider vinegar!!! I make awesome potato salad all the time it’s one of my specialties and decided to try something different:( so mad. Just a tad and it’s definitely a taste you can’t get away from. I say yes to vinegar in macaroni salad but no way in potato, just does not go! All you need is the mustard and or relish for acid. I’m bummed but hopefully after it sits a while it will calm down.

  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.

    • I put the recipe in Chronometer and for 350g (large serving) it was 270 calories.

    • Too bad. It’s their loss. This stuff is delicious and a serving won’t hurt them. Maybe it won’t show up on their waist if the try it!

  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.

    • I’ve been making this a lot lately! So good! I used celery seed since I didnt have celery salt and just as delicious. And, oh how I love sweet pickle relish! Thanks for always sharing delicious recipes with us!!

  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. This recipe was amazing. I didn’t have any vinager, but I just added extra mustard do make up for it since my family loves mustard anyway. And I added green onion as well as yellow onion instead of celery. It turned out amazing. Thank you

  27. This is a great recipe. Easy to make and delicious. Family loved it. Will make again.

  28. It was a crowd pleaser for our bbq.

  29. Love it! Thanks! I’m adding artichoke hearts and lemon….

  30. Delicious classic potato salad! As per my usual, I used this recipe as a starting point and wow! Dressing the potatoes with a bit of apple cider vinegar while they were hot was a great tip! Instead of pickles, I used capers and caper brine and I mixed a half a teaspoon of smoked paprika in the sauce. I took another’s advice and mixed the potatoes with the dressing while they were still water so the potatoes become more suffused with flavor plus I used a good bit more chopped white onion because I love onion! I used regular mayo because I don’t like my potato salad sweet but savory/ briny instead. I am very pleased with the results! Thanks for the recipe!

  31. My family doesn’t like potato salad so I haven’t made it for years… too bad they’ve missed out on something delicious!!! I was in a state of euphoria at dinner tonight!

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

  33. Very classic recipe for what I grew up on. This is really good and I would definitely make it again.

  34. Thus is exactly what I was looking for. The best potato salad ever!

  35. This is an excellent potato salad recipe! I used the pickle juice instead of apple cider vinegar and green onion because I had no red. I am making this for the second time tonight. Thank you for sharing!

  36. Really delicious potato salad. Used some small fancy schmancy potatoes and left skin on. Just quartered them. Worked great. Thank you!

  37. I’ve made this twice now. The first time, I didn’t have eggs on hand, no celery salt and was short a 1/4 c of mayo, so I skipped the eggs and added 1/4 of plain Greek yogurt. For the celery salt, I subbed Louisiana brand Cajun seasoning as I’m certain celery seed is a main ingredient. At the last minute, I tossed some fresh dill on one side, just to see… We all agreed that the fresh dill (plenty in my garden!), Brought the recipe from a 9.5 to an 11!
    I just finished making it again and liked the substitutions so much the first time that I did them again! Only I did add the eggs 😁

  38. This is my go to potatoe salad and is ALWAYS a hit we add some pickle jalapeño relish to too too AMAZING thanks for sharing this

  39. 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!

  40. Just ok. I personally thought it was very bland. I basically doubled all of the veggies and pickles and used a ton more Dijon mustard. Probably will try a different recipe next time 🙂

  41. Sorry your potato egg salad looks really yummy 😋 but my Mother’s potato ( home grown Potatoes ) fresh free range chicken eggs ( that we would collect daily) and fresh home made mustard,home grown cutes made into the utmost delicious dill pickles, fresh clipped dill from the garden, and Granny’s home made mayonnaise. Then served with our beans that we grew the year before which momma and Granny would turn the beans into the worlds best Boston baked beans ( which of course they would of made that in advance ) ,and with all this scrumptious delicious food there would be some smoked Kolbasa sausages sent from my Auntie out in Albert.

  42. Really good!! I needed a little less mayonnaise and peeled my potatoes after cooling. Splash of pickle juice instead of relish. I give my cooking water lots (about 1/4 cup) of salt, so no more needed. Trying to let it refrigerate before I take a fork to it (again!)

  43. This is great recipe with either green relish or finely chop dill pickles

  44. Got rave reviews from the spouse! First time making it, I substituted dill weed, triple crunch grain mustard, sweet relish/chopped sweet mix pickles and green onion as I didn’t have listed ingredients on hand. Second time I followed the recipe exactly. Both versions were delicious. We liked the crunch that came from the celery and grainy mustard which added texture. Definitely becoming our go-to, no-fail potato salad recipe.

  45. Delicious! I can’t quit sampling. Worth the effort.

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

  47. I am making your recipe for the 2nd time in two weeks. I have never had a potato recipe in my repertoire…until now! It is the BEST potato salad I have ever eaten and my family agrees. Like another reader, I too used grainy dijon mustard and also used chive, fennel fawns, basil and green onion stem from our garden to elevate the herb factor. Bravo! We will be eating this for the next 3 days.

  48. This is my families FAVORITE potato salad recipe! I have five picky kids and they all love it! If I make one that’s different than this they notice and call me out on it lol. Thanks so much!

  49. I made this with yukon gold potatoes, some skin left on for texture. I did not have celery salt so I substituted celery seed, and I did not use onions as they are currently under recall (listeria or something). One of my kids has food allergies but I normally try and follow a new recipe as exactly as I can so I can rate it truthfully. I used Sir Kensington’s soy and dairy free mayo, dijon mustard and the substitutions noted above. The ratios were quite nice to create a creamy potato salad. After following the measurements and taste testing I added additional dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar for more zing as I omitted the optional pickle relish (with the relish I think it would have been fine). I also added hard boiled eggs and crumbled bacon. To serve we garnished with shredded cheese. It was fabulous!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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