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Potato Salad » Simple and Healthy Recipe! ✅

Old fashioned potato salad, just like mom used to make! Tasty, creamy, and a perfect summer side dish for your barbecue!

A ball of potato salad on a paper plate with a hot dog in the background.

Summer is in full swing, and if you’re anything like me, it means you’re doing your best to be outdoors, getting as much sun as possible!

And that means lots of barbecues and outdoor dining. If going out is great, eating out is even better!

But when it’s hot, you want to enjoy simple, cool and refreshing dishes. At my house, we like things like cold crab dip, Cobb salad, and the occasional frozen mango margarita, maybe with a fresh, creamy slice of strawberry shortcake for dessert.

And one of my favorite summer side dishes would have to be potato salad.

This potato salad recipe is exactly what I remember having throughout my childhood and beyond. It’s a true classic, with fluffy potatoes, crisp celery, sweet onions, and rich hard-boiled eggs in every succulent bite, all topped with a tangy, creamy dressing.

closeup of a bowl of potato salad with a text sign above it that says

HOW TO MAKE POTATO SALAD

This recipe has 3 basic components:

  1. Potatoes,
  2. Accessories and
  3. Dress

POTATOES

My favorite type of potato for potato salad (or whatever, really) would be red potatoes. They’re versatile (you can use them for anything from potato soup to scalloped potatoes to stuffed potato skins to mashed potatoes) and they always cook up fluffy and delicious.

But you can use any type of potato you want! I think Yukon Gold Potatoes could also work well here, as well as Red Bliss Potatoes.

Leave the skins or remove them? It completely depends on you. For the photos and videos you see here, I opted to peel the potatoes. But I also like potato salad with skin. It seems to me that the potatoes taste even more like potatoes. For which I am always ready.

Cut the potatoes into cubes.

Peeled or unpeeled, potatoes should be cut into small pieces and then immediately placed in a large pot of cold water to prevent discoloration.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan with cold salted water.

Spray the water thoroughly. Potatoes can be very bland and are best with a generous amount of salt.

Put the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Then lower the heat and bring the potatoes to a simmer and cook until fork tender.

This usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes.

Check the doneness of the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife.

To check for doneness, insert the tip of a sharp knife. If it slides in and out easily, the potatoes are cooked.

Drain the hot water and sprinkle the potatoes with a little white vinegar. Do this while they’re still hot, so they really soak up that spiciness. This is a secret hack to make the best potato salad!

Pour the boiled potatoes in vinegar.

Toss the hot potatoes in the vinegar, so each bite is well seasoned, then set aside to make additions and seasoning.

THE COMPLEMENTARY

A classic potato salad recipe will most likely include the following add-ins:

  • boiled eggs
  • Celery
  • sweet onions

And these are my favorites and the ones I have included in the recipe card below.

But honestly, you can wear whatever you want. Here are some other tips:

  • Chopped pickles or pickle sauce
  • Bacon
  • Peppers or chopped bell peppers
  • shallot
  • Herbs such as thyme, tarragon, or dill
  • Grated cheese
  • Jalapeño peppers, for a spicy version

Just to name a few.

Or you can leave out anything that doesn’t suit your personal tastes. It’s your potato salad, make it your way!

THE CONDIMENT

Put the additions in a large bowl and add mayonnaise, mustard, a little more vinegar and celery seed.

Ingredients for dressing the potato salad in a large bowl.

Celery seeds are, to me, what give potato salad its distinctive flavor. When I try it, it transports me to all the backyard kitchens I’ve ever enjoyed.

For the mustard, I like plain yellow mustard, but you can also use a Dijon mustard or grainy mustard if you really want to go a step further. I think a Dijon potato salad with fresh tarragon sounds delicious, and even a grainy mustard version with bacon would be just as filling and delicious.

Mix everything until the mixture is well integrated, then gently add the cooked potatoes, being careful not to break them too much and not to crush them.

Fold the cooked potatoes in the dressing.

Taste it to see if it needs more salt or pepper. I usually find that if the potatoes have been cooked in well-salted water, they don’t really need anything else, but you are the best judge!

As a finishing touch, I love a dash of paprika and a sprinkle of chives, just to give it a little extra color.

IS THIS DISH HEALTHY?

I’ve provided specific nutritional information in the recipe card below so you can judge for yourself (a serving should be about a half cup per person, as a side dish). But in terms of common dietary restrictions, I will point out that this dish is naturally free of gluten and dairy.

It does contain eggs, however, so if you’re serving it to someone with an egg allergy or sensitivity, you’ll want to skip the hard-boiled eggs and use a vegan mayonnaise product instead. There are many options out there; here is a link to look around: vegan mayonnaise.

Overhead image of a plate of potato salad on a weathered wooden table, with a serving spoon next to it.

CAN IT BE MADE FORWARD?

I like to make my potato salad at least a few hours in advance so it has time to chill and let the flavors meld. I often make it even a day before serving it.

It seems to me that it also takes some of the tough bite out of onions. Almost pickled in the dressing and they become sweeter and softer.

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

Potato salad should be kept cold as much as possible.

Do not leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

It can be kept for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

CAN YOU FREEZE IT?

I’ve read that it’s possible to freeze potato salad, though I’ve never tried it on its own and I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It seems to me that the freeze/thaw process can alter the smooth, creamy texture of the dressing and possibly cause it to separate.

But if you do choose to try it, be sure to thaw it in the fridge instead of at room temperature, to keep it in that safe temperature range.

Potato salad on a plate with a blue checkered napkin and a disposable fork.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE RECIPES TO COMPLETE YOUR BARBECUE:

  • deviled eggs
  • corn skillet
  • Cheddar Biscuits with Chives
  • banana pudding
  • peach dessert

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Potato salad Preparation time 20 min Cooking time 10 min Total time 30 min

Old fashioned potato salad, just like mom used to make! Tasty, creamy, and a perfect summer side dish for your barbecue!

Course: Salad, Side Dish Cuisine: American Keyword: how to make potato salad, potato salad, potato salad recipe, potato salad recipes, potato salad Servings: 12 Calories: 274 kcal

  • 4 pounds potatoes* (about 6 medium rust)

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar, divided

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 sweet onion, chopped

  • 15 ounces of mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional garnish)

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives (garnish optional)

US Customs – Metric

  1. Cut the potatoes into cubes and put them in a large pot with cold water.

  2. Add the salt to the water and bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat.

  3. Lower the heat and let the potatoes simmer until fork tender (about 10 to 15 minutes).

  4. Drain potatoes and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon vinegar.

  5. Put the hard-boiled eggs, celery, and onion in a large bowl along with the mayonnaise, remaining vinegar, mustard, and celery seed.

  6. Stir to combine.

  7. Add potatoes, taste and season with salt and pepper (if needed).

  8. Transfer potato salad to a serving bowl and garnish with paprika and fresh chives, if desired.

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