Classic Potato Salad

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  • Classic Potato Salad is the perfect potluck side dish that is great year-round. Calling for seven ingredients, this old fashioned potato salad recipe is easy to make and share. 

    overhead bowl of potato salad

    Potato salad is one of those polarizing dishes that everyone seems to have an opinion on. And this recipe involves one of the most polarizing ingredients—mayonnaise.

    I’ll be clear: I’m here for any and all potato salad renditions. (If you’re looking for something without mayo, this No Mayo Potato Salad is one of our family’s all-time favorites because we have a few mayo haters in the house.)

    Old Fashioned Potato Salad

    This recipe… is not for mayo haters, though it’s not as heavy as some classic potato salad recipes can be. It’s got a lovely creaminess and balance and comes together quickly when you have the ingredients ready to go.

    Calling for gold potatoes, boiled until fork tender, hard boiled eggs and chopped celery, we toss this potato salad recipe in a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard.

    potato salad on a fork

    I can see this being a standout side dish at any summertime potluck, especially the outdoor ones, because this potato salad is incredibly easy to eat and enjoy!

    Ingredients

    Chances are, you’ve got some, if not all, of the ingredients for this classic potato salad already on hand in your house. They’re all pretty easy to find at a traditional grocery store.

    You’ll need…

    • Potatoes—we’re going to be using gold potatoes. I like to peel them with a vegetable peeler and chop into ½” cubes for a uniform size. However, as you mix the potato salad, they will melt into the other ingredients, and that’s A-OK! 
    • Hard boiled eggs—these add color, texture and flavor to our potato salad, and I love ‘em. 
    • Celery—it adds a beautiful crunch to this creamy potato salad.
    • Salt—I like to use a fine grain sea or kosher salt for this recipe.
    • Mayonnaise—use your favorite brand (mine is any Avocado Oil Mayo) or homemade mayo here. 
    • White wine vinegar—this thins out the dressing while also providing some acid to the mix. You could also use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have white wine vinegar.
    • Dijon mustard—I love Dijon mustard so much. It adds a depth of flavor, along with some creaminess, to the classic potato salad dressing. 
    • Granulated garlic—we love garlic in our house, but I didn’t want to use fresh in this recipe since it would provide a bit of a kick. Granulated garlic adds the garlic flavor without the punch to our dressing.
    • Black pepper—this is an optional ingredient, but it’s good to have on hand in case your dressing needs a little extra flavor! 
    mixing potato salad in a mixing bowl

    Best Types of Potatoes

    Waxy potatoes are where it’s at for potato salad because they hold their shape when boiled. 

    Personally, I like gold potatoes for this recipe. However, you can also use any waxy potatoes here, like red, purple, blue and fingerling potatoes.

    angle view of potato salad in a white serving bowl

    Do not use a starchy potato, like a Russet, in this recipe.

    How to make Classic Potato Salad

    1. Prep the potatoes. Give ‘em a good wash, scrubbing the skin well. Then peel the skins off with a vegetable peeler. Dice into ½” cubes using a sharp knife. Once they’ve been diced, place in a large saucepan and fill it with water to where the water covers the potatoes completely. We want the potatoes to have more than enough space to cook. Season the water with a healthy pinch of salt.
    2. Boil the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, drain, and let cool for 15-20 minutes. (You can also do this in advance, let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and finish the rest of the classic potato salad later.)

    Pro tip: Fork tender means you can spear one of these potatoes with a fork, and the metal will slide in easily without the potato falling apart. 

    1. Prep the rest of the ingredients. Hard boil the eggs (if you haven’t already.) Chop the hard boiled eggs. Dice the celery into bite-sizes pieces.
    2. Make the dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and granulated garlic. Stir until smooth, and then give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
    3. Mix the potato salad. Gently toss the cooled potatoes with the egg and celery. Drizzle on the dressing, and gently stir to combine.
    step by step images of how to make potato salad

    Pro tip: Don’t fret if your potatoes begin to melt into the other ingredients! This will not affect the flavor, and you can see how it will look in the photos above and below. 

    1. Serve. You can serve the classic potato salad at room temperature (immediately) or pop the potato salad in the fridge to chill and serve it cold later.

    Tips for the Best Potato Salad

    • Cook and cool those potatoes. You don’t want them to be so hot that they’ll separate the dressing mixture, which would cause for disappointing flavor and texture.
    • Don’t overmix the potatoes. They’re going to be fork tender, and they will stick together as you mix them, but if you mix them too much, your potato salad will become more similar in appearance to mashed potatoes. A little texture is good.
    • Make parts in advance. You can hard boil the eggs early and also boil the potatoes, too. Prep the rest of the ingredients and keep ‘em all in the fridge in separate airtight food storage containers before combining and mixing. You can also make the dressing in advance. Store it in a mason jar in the fridge until go time.
    hands holding potato salad

    Make Ahead and Storage

    You can store this classic potato salad in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight food storage container. I do not recommend freezing it.

    To help with prepping it ahead of time, hard boil the eggs in advance, and leave in shells until time to make the potato salad. Boil the potatoes, and let cool in advance. You may put them in an airtight food storage container in the fridge and keep cool for a few days before mixing the ingredients of the potato salad.

    classic potato salad recipe for pinterest

    More potluck side dishes:

    Slow Cooker Baked Beans
    overhead shot of bowl of slow cooker baked beans
    This Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe is made with 4 types of beans simmered with brown sugar, bacon, and more! Perfect side dish for barbecues!
    Ambrosia Fruit Salad
    overhead of ambrosia salad
    Bursting with fruit, marshmallows and fluffy cream, this Ambrosia Salad comes together in minutes and can be served as a side or dessert!
    Greek Pasta Salad
    close up of Greek pasta salad
    This simple Greek Pasta Salad is just the thing for potlucks and summer cookouts! The textures of crunchy veggies, al dente pasta, and flavors of a savory Greek dressing and feta cheese make this one of the best summer salads around!
    Close up of mayo potato salad

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    hands holding potato salad
    Print Recipe
    5 from 5 votes

    Classic Potato Salad

    Classic Potato Salad is the perfect potluck side dish that is great year-round. Calling for seven ingredients, this old fashioned potato salad recipe is easy to make and share.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Cooling Time20 mins
    Total Time55 mins
    Course: Side
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: classic potato salad, easy potato salad
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 293kcal
    Author: Erin Parker

    Ingredients

    Potato Salad

    • 2 pounds gold potatoes
    • 4 hardb boiled eggs , peeled and diced
    • 2 celery ribs , diced into bite-sized pieces

    Dressing

    Instructions

    • Wash, then peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler. Cut into ½” cubes.
    • Place the chopped potatoes in cold water in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of salt to season the water.
    • Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
    • When the potatoes are fork tender, drain the potatoes and let cool for 15-20 minutes. You can also rinse with cold water to stop the cooking processs.
    • Combine the mayonnaise with white wine vinegar, mustard and granulated garlic. Stir until smooth, then taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
    • Once the potatoes are cooled, toss with the egg and celery.
    • Pour the dressing on top of the potato mixture, and gently mix to combine.
    • Serve immediately, or store in the fridge, then serve when ready.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!

    Notes

    Store in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight food storage container.
    Make ahead tip: Hard boil the eggs in advance, and leave in shells until time to make the potato salad. Boil the potatoes, and let cool in advance. You may put them in an airtight food storage container in the fridge and keep cool for a few days before mixing the ingredients of the potato salad.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

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