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The Best Potato Salad

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My go-to classic potato salad recipe is easy to make, perfectly zesty and creamy, and always a crowd fave!

The BEST Potato Salad Recipe

I’m returning to my Midwestern roots today to pay homage to the potluck dish that will forever be a nostalgic favorite…my classic potato salad recipe. ♡

There are of course a million different takes on how to make potato salad. But if you grew up in the Midwest or South and spent any amount of time at backyard barbecues, church basement dinners, or summertime picnics, you know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to a “classic” creamy potato salad. We start with freshly-diced potatoes, boiled until perfectly tender and then tossed with a hint of vinegar. Then to the potatoes, we add the classic building blocks of hard-boiled eggs, crisp celery and tangy red onion. A big scoop of pickle relish adds a deliciously briny kick, although some may argue it’s optional. Then everything gets tossed with a rich and creamy dressing spiked with mustard, celery salt, vinegar, and paprika to bring everything together. Potato salad perfection.

Now I know that there are strong opinions out there on the topic of Miracle Whip versus mayo, so you do you! Feel free to also add in any extras you might like, such as bacon, avocado or fresh herbs. And while I personally love leaving the potato skins on for extra texture and nutrients, you’re totally welcome to peel the potatoes here if you prefer.

Let’s make some potato salad together!

The BEST Potato Salad Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Potato Salad Ingredients In A Bowl

Potato Salad Ingredients

Here are some quick notes about the easy potato salad ingredients you will need for this recipe:

  • Potatoes: I prefer buttery Yukon Gold potatoes or red potatoes in this recipe because they hold their shape well and won’t get too mushy, but any other variety of potatoes can work well too.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: I always cook hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot nowadays, but you’re welcome to 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 use mayo instead (I would recommend Duke’s), or you could use a 50/50 mix of the two. To lighten things up, feel free to also also sub in some plain Greek yogurt or low-fat 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.
  • Pickle relish (optional): If you love pickles, a good scoop of relish (or you can dice your own pickles) adds an irresistible sweet tang to this salad! If you’re not into pickles, no worries, just leave it out.
  • Veggies: Raw celery and onion add a classic bit of crunch to this potato salad.
  • Seasonings: We will use Dijon mustard, celery salt, paprika (I prefer smoked paprika), fine sea salt and black pepper to season the creamy dressing. I also recommend sprinkling the salad with a hint of extra smoked paprika before serving.

Classic potato salad in a bowl with spoon

How To Make Potato Salad

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here are the basic steps for how to make potato salad:

  1. Boil the potatoes. We’ll place them in a pot, cover with cold water, and boiled until fork-tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, return them to the pot, drizzle with vinegar and let them cool for awhile. (If you need to speed up this process, you can rinse the potatoes in cold water until chilled before returning them to the pot!)
  3. Make the dressing. While the potatoes cool, whip up the dressing.
  4. Combine. Toss everything together very gently in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Season. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Chill. Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill.
  7. Serve. Then serve and enjoy! ♡

How To Store Potato Salad

Potato salad unfortunately does not freeze well. So if you are making a batch in advance or have leftovers to store, simply place the potato salad in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

The best potato salad in a small serving bowl

Potato Salad Tips

Here are a few quick potato salad tips to keep in mind when making this recipe!

  1. Don’t overcook the potatoes. In order to avoid a mushy potato salad, regularly check the potatoes while they are cooking. Once they can easily be pierced with a fork, they’re ready to go!
  2. Be sure to add some crunch. Celery and onion are the classic additions to creamy potato salad. But if celery isn’t your thing, try adding in some radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, fennel or carrots instead to the salad to give it some nice texture and crunch.
  3. Give it time to chill. All of these delicious flavors will continue to meld as the potato salad sits, so it will be even more delicious after it has chilled in the fridge for a few hours.
  4. Adjust seasonings to taste. Everyone has their own opinions about how homemade potato salad should taste, so please feel free to adjust any of the seasonings (or any of the larger ingredient ratios) to taste!

Potato Salad Variations

  • Add bacon: Add crumbled crispy bacon just before serving.
  • Add cheese: Add shredded cheese, such as cheddar, smoked gouda, crumbled feta or Parmesan.
  • Add fresh herbs: Add chopped fresh chives, dill, parsley, basil, or thyme to taste.
  • Add extra veggies: Add bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, fennel, green onions, peas, radishes, or sweet corn.
  • Add olives or capers: Add your favorite olives or capers for some extra briny flavor.
  • Use baked potatoes: Chop up leftover baked potatoes instead to turn this into a baked potato salad.
  • Make it vegan: Omit the eggs and swap in your favorite vegan mayo to make this a vegan potato salad recipe.

More Potato Salad Recipes

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

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The BEST Potato Salad

The BEST Potato Salad!

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 176 reviews
  • 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 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. Boil the potatoes. Place the diced potatoes in a large stockpot and add enough cold water so that the potatoes are covered by 1 inch. Cook over medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil. Reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer, then continue cooking the potatoes for 5-8 minutes or until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Try to avoid overcooking the potatoes.
  2. Drain the potatoes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander. 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. Make the dressing. Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, celery salt, mustard and pickle relish in a medium bowl until evenly combined.
  4. Combine. Once the potatoes are ready to go, add in the mayo mixture, diced eggs, celery and onion.  Toss gently until evenly combined.
  5. Season. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. (Also feel free to add in a tablespoon or two of pickle juice if you would like.)
  6. Chill. Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill.
  7. Serve. Serve chilled and enjoy! Leftovers can be refrigerated 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.

Time-saving method: If you are in a hurry, you can rinse the potatoes immediately with cold water until chilled. Then drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander, return them to the stockpot, drizzle evenly with the vinegar, and continue on with Step 3.

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257 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’.

    • Except they do. The Yukon gold skins are light and golden, similar to the potato flesh. 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!






  29. Your recipe is just like mine except I sprinkle Oregano on top and toss it around in the salad. Gives it a great flavor. My husband loved it.

  30. It was the BEST! I’m not a big potato salad person, but I loved this and everyone raved how good it was. My new go-to! I used red potatoes with skins on and switched out half the mayo for FF plain yogurt. The dill pickles make it for me. Everything else I left the same. SO good!






  31. I’ve never made a potato salad before and was asked to for a bbq recently. Searched a lot of recipes online and chose this recipe! I used the gold potatoes and made two modifications for the 2X (double batch) – I substituted 1 cup of mayo for sour cream and I used yellow mustard instead of dijon. It was DELICIOUS! I received a lot of fantastic reviews. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!!






  32. Just made this recipe this afternoon for my father’s birthday tomorrow, and it came out absolutely PERFECT!! I am a huge fan of potato salad and have enjoyed almost all that I’ve had in my life, but this one tops them ALL! Thank you so much for this recipe, because I’m sure it will be a huge hit tomorrow! ??❤






  33. IF YOU NEED TO TAKE REST BREAKS, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TRY THIS RECIPE. THIS RECIPE WILL REST WITH YOU. BE JUST AS YUMMY AS IT IS WITHOUT THE BREAK.

    I am Canadian. I grew up eating the potato salad I loved (mom’s). I never made it quite as good as that was, then. Then I found this recipe. Decided my own potato salad topped mom’s.

    I added sweet potato and chopped snow peas, balanced out the mayo with Toum (Garlic Sauce), threw in some sweet pepper, changed the parsley to Cilantro, used Pink Mountain Salt, added this to my digital recipe site, trimmed down my scallion forest, and added that, and still referenced Ali as the author of this recipe.

    This recipe is yummy, with and without the changes. Thanks so much for sharing this Ali






  34. Love this recipe. I don’t usually make my own potato salad but this was worth the effort (and it was easy). I prefer reds so used those. Will make it again and again! Thanks.

  35. I made this once for a party and people loved it. I am now requested to make this for every friend and family gathering. Making it now for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. I always make it exactly like the recipe calls for. I will never buy it from a store again! :)






  36. Best recipe I’ve ever used believe me I’m in my later 60’s and been making potatoe salad for years but came across this recipe that taste so much better using the vinegar and letting potatoes rest really makes the consistency perfect. So delicious and flavorful I will use this recipe always .






  37. I always look for 5-star ratings and this one was the first that came up. Why not, I thought…..I made it for a birthday party for a small group and it was a huge success. Everyone raved about it. I didn’t change a thing to the basic recipe (no additions of chives, etc.) I used organic Yukon Gold, skin-on. I’ll never use another potato again. It was extremely easy, and for once, the only thing I had to buy, that I didn’t already have in the house, was the potatoes!.

  38. So good! I removed the relish and added in a couple of tablespoons of pickle juice (mixed it in with the mayo). I also used white wine vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar. We like mustard so I doubled the mustard. I also added a little onion and garlic powder to the mayo, and sprinkled whole salad with smoke paprika before serving. Seriously the best potato salad I’ve ever made, and probably ever eaten.






  39. DELICIOUS. This was the first dish in a long time that everyone in my family agreed was absolutely amazing. We made it with our own twist, but stuck true to the ingredients. Will be making again.






  40. I am 60 years old, love potato salad and had never ever made my own. I ate it in restaurants and bought it at the grocery store deli. I don’t know why. I actually love to cook. Anyhow, I made this tonight for part of our 40th anniversary dinner. It was incredible and so much better than store bought! Thank you!

  41. This has become my go-to potato salad recipe! It is so good. I leave out the red onion because I dislike raw onions, but it is still perfect, and everyone agrees it is amazing.






  42. I never think to make potato salad but tonight I felt like it so google led me here man what have I been missing it is SO good I didnt have dill pickle I’m not actually sure if we get that where I live in NZ so I used some gherkin relish instead was delish thankyou!






  43. I have been looking for potato salad & coleslaw recipes as good as my moms. I am going to try yours. Thank you for sharing.

  44. Made this yesterday, substituting a few ingredients, and there was very little leftover, it was a hit! My husband liked it so much that he asked if I could turn this into a macaroni salad. I have a feeling I’ll be making both all summer long. Even my picky eater loved it!

  45. Author and Chef Ms. Ali and Readers:

    Am so happy with this recipe; thank you, Ali! Was planning on potato salad for this holiday weekend and got started but then realized I probably had no sour cream or other dressing condiments other than mayo–And I sure didn’t want to go fight the crowds at the grocery story on Saturday morning first thing.

    Ms. Ali–YOU saved the day! This is a great recipe and your amazing first step of the apple cider vinegar for the potatoes is magic! If somebody out there thinks “I don’t like eggs in my P-salad,” well, I have news for you—the eggs are nearly invisible in the finished salad but those yolks add so much richness to the salad. And eggs are A+ for keto or other low carb diets.

    I had a red pepper that had about a day of shelf life remaining, so i cut it up, flattened it out and pan roasted its sections (w very little avo oil on my cast iron skiller)–I let them roast until they got blackened and then the other side. Confetti-diced those and added them to Ali’s awesome recipe–Not too bad an addition! :)

    This is a great site for a cook or chef of any ability (including accomplished chefs) to follow for super-high quality home cookin’.

    Ali, thank you for your kind work that helps me (and thousands of others!) so much. PS: I added about 3/4 teaspoon of PLAIN unflavored yogurt to the dressing. That added a little volume that helped the final product also and a bit more umami. Thank you, Ali, for all your hard work.

  46. First time making potato salad and used SWEET relish by mistake. Wow!

  47. This is a great recipe.
    And I would have to say that this isn’t far the best website for recipes. Love this website.






  48. This is the closest recipe I’ve found to what my late mom made. She never wrote her recipes down and guarded them closely so I’ve spent several years searching sites. Today I finally lucked out, just in time for our July Fourth cookout. Thank you!
    The only change I made was to add the vinegar to the mayo mixture and add a little sugar – those were steps I did know Mom took 😊.

  49. Followed the recipe exactly. Excellent!






  50. Literally the best! I didn’t have celery seed so I substituted with fresh dill. My husband has hardly stopped talking about it – I’m going to have to make it almost weekly now.