Featuring the perfect texture, creaminess and balance of flavors, this classic potato salad recipe is simply the BEST! Whether you enjoy it at home or take it on a picnic or to a potluck, this is sure to be a hit!
How to Make The BEST Potato Salad
Potato salad is one of those dishes practically everyone claims they have the best recipe for. (I know, dangling participle. But the grammatically correct way just sounds so darned highfalutin!) But most potato salads are downright uninspiring. In my experience most of them are either too dry, too wet, too mushy, not salty enough, lack flavor, and are just overall bland.
This creamy Classic Potato Salad features the perfect balance of textures and flavor and is a potato salad you can feel proud to show off at your next barbecue, picnic, potluck or family dinner!
Before we get to the recipe, let’s dispel a commonly held belief about potato salad and food poisoning, because the two get thrown together a lot.
Myth-buster: Despite common belief that the mayonnaise is the culprit, the fact is that mayonnaise can actually help inhibit the growth of food-borne bacteria because of its high acidity level (vinegar, lemon juice, salt). Plus store-bought mayonnaise is highly pasteurized. So when you hear about potato salad having caused food poisoning, what actually caused it?
Usually it’s the protein-based ingredients added to the salad like chicken, ham, tuna, eggs, or even the potatoes themselves. Cooked starchy vegetables like potatoes can be an incubator for bacteria if not stored properly. Another reason for bacteria growth has to do with the preparation of the potato salad – it involves a lot of hand contact with the ingredients (eg, chopping, dicing, slicing). So the takeaway here is to just wash your hands and the vegetables thoroughly, use a clean working surface, and store your potato salad properly and you can wave goodbye to food poisoning.
Classic Potato Salad Recipe
Let’s get started!
Chop the onions, celery and pickles and place them in a large mixing bowl.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
Add the potatoes and chopped eggs to the mixing bowl along with the mayonnaise mixture.
Carefully stir the ingredients together until combined being as careful as you can not to break up the potatoes too much.
Let the salad refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving.
This salad gets better and better the longer it sits and is fantastic the next day!
Be sure to try these other delicious salads:
- Chicken Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Thai Quinoa Salad
- Crunchy Broccoli Salad
- Freezer Slaw
- Pea Salad
- German Cucumber Salad
- Waldorf Salad
- Moroccan Chicken Salad
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad
- Sauerkraut Salad
- Coronation Chicken
- Broccoli Pasta Salad
Classic Potato Salad
- 3 pounds firm yellow potatoes , scrubbed and boiled with skins on in lightly salted water (do not overcook or the potatoes will be mushy), then peeled and left to cool completely before slicing
- 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles (can use sweet pickles if you prefer)
- 2 large celery stalks , chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
- 4 large boiled eggs , chilled and then chopped
- For the Mayo Sauce:
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sliced the cooled potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the chopped vegetables and eggs.
- To make the Mayo Sauce, combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the potato salad and stir very carefully until combined, being as careful as you can not to break up the potatoes too much.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, preferably longer. This potato salad gets better the longer it sits. It's fabulous the next day.
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet on Jul 18, 2015
Kaiza Solza says
In your BEST Classic Potato Salad, you refer to a Brown Mustard? Any particular brand?? Best brand?
Kimberly Killebrew says
Hi Kaiza, not really, basic brown mustard all has the same ingredients so the brands don’t matter much. Use whatever is on sale :)
A big hit! Wasn’t sure about the pickles at first, but added them because all the recipes of yours I have tried are fantastic. Glad I didn’t leave them out! The family was raving – even the ones who don’t like potato salad.
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
I’m so happy it was a hit, PW, thanks so much for your feedback and compliment! :)
This is my dad’s recipe. His preference was 1) no sugar and 2) instead of vinegar, he always used dill pickle juice. Now that he is no longer with us, I always substitute Greek yogurt for half of the mayo, and garnish with fresh dill: yum.
Sorry, but self made cooking and bought mayo? Hey it takes not even 10 mins to make your own and generate taste. Try the salad with pieces of Frankfurter sausage..
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
And are those Frankfurter sausages self made as well, El? ;)
I said nothing about bought and I would certainly encourage the use of homemade mayo for those who wish to make it.
Jean Moore says
I completely agree with everything in this recipe except the dill pickles. This is just like my mother’s recipe except she used sweet pickles or sweet relish. It is absolute creamy goodness!
Chef zacki Murphy says
When I had a NC BBQ restaurant in NYC, I only used chopped sweet pickles. This is a more southern way of making potato salad. I prefer to use little red potatoes for color.
I would love to give this a try! Looks amazing!!
Sara Welch says
This is summertime staple in our house; so delicious! Looking forward to enjoying this all season long!
The pickles give this such a delicious kick!
I would love some of this delicious potato salad for lunch!! YUM!!
I LOVE a classic! This looks incredibly delicious!!
I am drooling over this potato salad. This is exactly what I need for lunch today!
Beth Pierce says
This looks so delicious and flavor filled! My family loves this recipe! Thanks!
RJ Unsinn says
I cannot agree with your statement that “my main complaint with most potato salads is that they’re just too darn dry”. My experience has been just the opposite. That is, the vast majority of commercial potato salads (restaurants or from grocery store/delis) are “just to darn slimy and swimming in mayonnaise”. I grew up in the American Midwest where potato salad is a staple of almost every family. No self respecting “home chef” would make the “slop” that commercially prepared brands sell in stores or restaurants.
The trick is to use “just the right amount” of mayo and other “saucy ingredients” (mayo, mustard, etc.) The end result should be pleasantly moist but not swimming in sauce (as are most commercial potato salads).
Hi, great recipe. I never would have thought to put eggs in it, but that is a very good idea. I personally put an apple in there also for a sweet crunch. Try it, it works. Also, do you not put any salt in there? Furthermore I put the cooked, peeled and sliced – still warm potatos in some bouillion, and let it cool down totally. Drain the acces bouillion and mix ot with the veg. and sauce. Viola!