Classic Potato Salad

84 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

Potato salad is the ultimate summer salad recipe. It’s simultaneously creamy, crunchy, and fresh — and the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and parties. This is my mom’s classic recipe that I’ve lovingly adopted and have been making for over 20 years. I think you’ll love it as well!

A big bowl of classic potato salad.
Photo: Gayle McLeod

Why You’ll Love This Potato Salad

Many people have a family favorite potato salad recipe passed down from generation to generation, like German potato salad. But let me tell you why I think my mom’s recipe is the best for a classic American summer salad

  • First, it’s not mushy. I’ve come across many potato salads that resemble mashed potatoes. But that’s a little too soft for my liking. Potato salads should have texture, crunch, and a chunky consistency.
  • Second, it’s not watery. It’s creamy without being soupy. And that’s because there’s just the right amount of dressing for the type of potatoes used.
  • Lastly, it’s not a bowl of monochromatic beige and yellow. This potato salad is a delicious combination of red potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, celery, radishes, spring onions, dill, and mayonnaise — loads of color and tons of fabulous flavor.
Ingredients for potato salad.

Potato Salad Ingredients

  • Small Potatoes: You can use red potatoes, white new potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes. I’m using red potatoes because I love the reddish color that comes through in the mixture. Plus, they’re creamy, lower in starch, hold together well after cooking, and the skin is so soft that you don’t have to peel them. 
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs add protein to this salad, making it a more filling side dish.
  • Crisp Vegetables: Celery, spring onions, and radishes add a fresh crispiness with every bite.
  • Mayonnaise: I love my homemade mayonnaise recipe, but you can use a store-bought version as well.
  • Fresh Herbs: A bit of freshly chopped dill is all you need for an herbaceous touch. But you could also use other tender herbs, which I’ll talk about more below.
Boiling red potatoes in a pot.

How To Make Potato Salad

  • Boil the potatoes. Fill a large pot with water, add the potatoes, and bring to a boil. Salt the water, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • Make hard-boiled eggs. Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (so that no bubbles break the surface) and gently add the eggs with a skimmer. Cook the eggs for 12 to 14 minutes, then place them in an ice water bath to stop their cooking.
Boiling eggs in a pot.
  • Cool and chill. Once the potatoes have finished cooking, drain the water. Fill the pot with cold water to cool the potatoes down, then drain again. Place both the eggs and potatoes in the refrigerator to cool completely. Pro tip: Ensure your potatoes and hard-boiled eggs are fully cooled before making potato salad. Any residual heat will melt the mayonnaise if you mix everything too quickly. And nobody wants a hot melted potato salad!
Diced eggs on a wooden board.
  • Dice the potatoes, and eggs, and stir everything together. Once cooled, peel the eggs, and then dice both the potatoes and eggs into 1-inch-sized pieces. Then, add the diced potatoes and eggs to a large mixing bowl with the mayonnaise, celery, radishes, green onion, dill, salt, and pepper. Stir gently until well combined. Serve the potato salad immediately or refrigerate for up to three days. I’ve got a few storage tips below.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Yes, you can make potato salad a day ahead! Or what I do, at a minimum, is prepare the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs the day before. That way it’s ready to be mixed the day of the party. And as long as your potato salad isn’t sitting out during a party or BBQ for hours, it should last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Potato salad ingredients in a bowl.

Ingredient Alternatives

  • Swap any of the vegetables for chopped carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, water chestnuts, or even sweet or dill pickles.
  • Swap mayonnaise for yogurt instead. It will taste a bit creamier, but still delicious! You could also do a mix of half yogurt and half mayo.
  • If you don’t like dill, you can use thyme, parsley, or another tender herb.
  • If you don’t like the skin on your potatoes, peel the skin off after they’ve cooled, and before you chop them up.

Common Questions

Can you use russet potatoes?

I do not recommend using russet potatoes for potato salad. They’re more starchy and will fall apart as soon as you start stirring. Save those russet potatoes for my carne asada fries! 

Should you cut the potatoes before or after boiling?

I prefer to boil my potatoes whole, then chill them in the fridge and cut them after they’ve cooled. It’s easy to slice through the potatoes this way, and I feel they’re slightly less waterlogged and mushy. But if you prefer to slice and cube your potatoes first, just remember to reduce the boil time to about 12 to 15 minutes.

Can I make this dairy-free? 

Yes, you sure can. Just swap in a vegan mayo. My favorite brand is this Primal Kitchen vegan mayonnaise made with avocado oil! It’s just as creamy as the real thing and will be the perfect substitute. 

A white bowl of potato salad.

More Summer Side Dishes

I can’t wait for you to try this potato salad recipe! If you make it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recipe in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community as well.

Potato salad with a fork.

The BEST Potato Salad Recipe

5 from 24 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This classic potato salad recipe inherited from my mom is easy, flavorful, and loaded with texture. That's what makes it the perfect summer side dish for BBQs, picnics, and dinner parties! Watch the video below to see how I make this in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 7 red or white new potatoes (Yukon gold potatoes also work)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 6 radishes, grated
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Boil the potatoes. Fill a large pot with water. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Salt the water, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until a fork inserts easily with a little resistance.
    Boiled potatoes in a pot.
  • Make hard boiled eggs. Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (so that there's no bubbles breaking the surface) and use a skimmer to gently add the eggs. Cook the eggs for 12 to 14 minutes, then place in an ice water bath to immediately stop their cooking.
    Boiled eggs in a pot.
  • Cool and chill. Once the potatoes have finished cooking, drain the water. Fill the pot with cold water to cool the potatoes down, then drain again. Place both the eggs and potatoes in the refrigerator to cool completely.
    Cooled potatoes and eggs in bowls.
  • Dice the potatoes and eggs. Once your potatoes and eggs are fully cooled, peel the eggs, and then dice both the potatoes and eggs into 1-inch sized pieces.
    Chopped hard-boiled eggs.
  • Stir it all together. Add the diced potatoes and eggs to a large mixing bowl along with the mayonnaise, celery, radishes, green onion, dill, salt, and pepper. Stir gently until well combined. Serve the potato salad immediately or refrigerate for up to three days. 
    A bowl of classic potato salad.

Lisa’s Tips

  • To make ahead and store: You can cook the eggs and potatoes a day before, then make the rest of the salad the day of. Alternatively, make the salad ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
  • To make this salad even healthier: I use my homemade mayonnaise recipe (as I can control the quality of oil and make sure there are no unnecessary ingredients).
  • For getting the boiled eggs out of the pot: This is my favorite skimmer for making hard-boiled eggs as it’s large and wide.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 770mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Potato Salad, How to Make Potato Salad, Potato Salad, potato salad recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted May 2015, but updated to include new information, photos and video for your benefit!

You May Also Like

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

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

Recipe Rating




84 Comments

  1. I stumbled upon your website on Facebook when my husband and I were looking for healthy alternatives. I have to say I have yet to make one of your recipes we did not love. Today is no different. I was a little skeptical of the potato salad, but it is wonderful! It really competes with my friend’s recipe. I always thought she had the best potato salad. Thank you for providing wonderful, tasty recipes.5 stars

    1. Hi Kathy – Thanks for leaving a review and happy to hear you’ve been enjoying so many recipes, including this potato salad!

  2. I’m going to make this potato salad for Easter
    Looks easy and delicious
    Also love the way you make hard boiled eggs

  3. I’m finally happy to see someone else make hard boiled like I learned. I got the deal from a guy that makes pickled eggs. And I haved passed it on to anyone who never volunteer to make deviled eggs. Thanks a bunch. 😀

    Phyllis

  4. I followed the instructions as written and added onion, radishes, eggs plus carrots. I made the homemade mayo, which was wonderful. It tastes like my mom’s.5 stars

  5. This is such an easy and tasty recipe and everyone loves it. I’m making it again for Father’s Day. Since I love relish, I also add some to take the flavor up another notch. Yum!!

  6. I don’t like celery, though I understand it adds a welcome crunch. Do you think fennel would work instead or would the liquorice flavour be too overpowering?

  7. That’s it!!! That’s the recipe my mom used when I was growing up. GLove those radishes. So good and not so vinegary like so many other recipes.5 stars

  8. Thank you, Lisa! Another winner :) perfect for welcoming the start of BBQ season! I added some cooked sausage I had on hand and used your recipe for homemade avocado oil mayo as well. 5 stars

  9. This potato salad recipe is absolutely delicious! I would have never thought about adding radishes, what a hit! My husband said it was the best potato salad he has ever eaten! Thank you for a keeper recipe! 5 stars

  10. I like them I am going to make the tuna salad and the potato salad look very good thank you for the recipes5 stars

  11. Fantastic recipe! This is our new favorite. Love the radishes! Only change is I add some finely chopped sweet pickles….so yummy. There are only two of us so I halve it and still have leftovers. Thanks for another homerun!5 stars

  12. Thanks for the potato salad recipe.   You make it sound easy to prepare and delicious to eat. 5 stars

  13. What a great potato salad! I wasn’t much of a potato salad lover until I made this dish.

    Hmmm, yummy once I finish preparing it and stick a fork in it. The hardest thing is not to continue to eat it before I put it in the fridge. I absolutely love it.

    I was looking for a way to incorporate green onions into my diet, and this recipe is one sure-fire way of doing that.

    I was wondering if mustard can be substituted for the mayonnaise?5 stars

    1. Hi Lee- Happy to hear this recipe turned you into a potato salad lover! As for using mustard instead, that will change the flavor of this recipe entirely. But if that’s something you’re looking for, then you can give it a try!

  14. It’s an absolute favorite in our family! 🥰
    I’m Russian, and it reminds me of my belived Russian salads. Celery and radish seemed like very unconventional choices for a soft mushy salad, but it works out perfectly. I’m so happy I found it. Thank you 🙏🏻
    We love it so much, there are never any leftovers, so my husband usually hides some before guests arrive 😁5 stars

      1. Hi! I really want to try thus recipe but I’m not a big fan of dill. What other herb would you recommend?

  15. This was my first attempt of making a potato salad. It was really good. My husband eats healthy. Never been on a diet or anything. It’s just the way he eats and enjoys. So he liked this light potato salad🙂

    Thank you, Lisa 🥳🙌🏻 5 stars

    1. Hi Assem – Glad you finally got to make your first potato salad with my recipe! Always good to hear when the hubby loves it :)

  16. So delicious! It was my first time making potato salad since I always ate my mother’s recipe. I absolutely loved this! The grated radishes is such a bonus to the flavor. I did add a little dollop of mustard to add a bit more tang;) Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I love your website and videos, I am excited to try more recipes of yours!5 stars

    1. Hi lleigh – I am so glad you loved the recipe! Thanks for the compliments and hope you enjoy the rest of my videos/recipes :)

    2. I adored this recipe! In Argentina it Is a little bit difficult to find red skin potatoes. I used classic potatoes and ir was delicious all the same 😘😘😘💕💕💕5 stars

  17. I’m not a fan of celery, what substitute do you recommend? 

    Can’t wait to try it…looks delicious! 

    1. Water chestnuts would be a great alternative and still provide that crunch. :) Hope you enjoy it!

    2. I hate celery myself but love/need the flavor in my potato salad.. So I use the celery seed seasoning

  18. Radishes are full of water and so the potato salad will not keep well and will become watery.  I add radishes when I serve it in an amount to be consumed at that sitting.   I sometimes have also added some Italian dressing to the cubed potatoes while they cooling to boost the flavorand not added dill then.

    1. I’ve made it for 20 years and have never had it go watery. :) I don’t think there’s enough radish in the recipe to cause any issues. But you can certainly add it to each plate individually as well.

  19. Our family has a similar recipe but we add a few (claussen) pickles cut relatively small. They add an awesome crunch dimension plus flavor. Just remember to cut the salt a bit if you’re going to try this!

  20. I love your recipes and web site. I am wondering why you don’t have any vinegar or another acid to add great flavor and cut through the mayo? I thinks it’s also good for you right? Could I add some red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

    Thank you!

    Kristen Berry

    1. Hi Kristen – thank you, I’m happy you love my recipes! And this potato salad recipe is a version I’ve just been enjoying my whole life, but you can certainly add vinegar if you’d like. :)

      1. I prefer to use red potatoes as they are more creamy, lower in starch, and hold together well after cooking!

    1. It’s almost a requirement at a BBQ party, isn’t it? :) Hope you enjoy the recipe Natalie!

      1. Hi Lisa as a true lover of potato salad I think your mom got it exactly right! Love the addition of the radishes and the simplicity of this recipe. Definitely a case of less is MORE!😘5 stars

  21. I love a good classic potato salad. Will let you know how it turns out. Making this for a gathering at my friends.

  22. This truly looks like one of the most delicious potato salads I’ve ever seen!! Must try the recipe!5 stars

    1. It’s so true! I think that’s why I love potato salad so much, because I know summer is coming. ;)

  23. Hi. Amazing recipe. Will surely try.

    I just wanted to point that the link in the video (for the recipe) takes you to a different recipe for salsa and not the potato salad.

  24. Hi Lisa – is the nutrition info listed for 10 servings? I’m planning on making this to go with some chicken, but if it’s that much per serving I might only need a half batch. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lynn – yes, that’s per serving (with 10 servings). I did just notice a small error on the back-end though and fixed it, so the calorie count is slightly less. :)

  25. Questions: 1)Did you peel the potatoes before you boiled them? I couldn’t tell from the pictures and didn’t see it in the instructions. If I were to use red, I may not peel them. 2) If we don’t make our own mayo, is there one that you recommend? I’m from the South and usually use Duke’s Mayo because it doesn’t have any sugar and is pretty “clean”. Can’t wait to try! Looks yummy!

    1. Hi Gaye – Because I used red potatoes in this recipe I didn’t peel them. You could also use “new potatoes” as well, but same thing, I wouldn’t peel them. I’ve never heard of Duke’s but when I’m in a pinch I usually use mayo from a brand called Primal Kitchen.