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This Mama’s Potato Salad is a classic potato salad recipe made with potatoes, hard boiled eggs, sweet pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, spices, and a touch of green onion. This is the best potato recipe you will ever eat!
This is a phenomenal classic potato salad recipe that is perfect for your 4th of July BBQ, summers by the pool, or a side dish to bring to a potluck. I have eaten a lot of potato salad in my days and this recipe reigns supreme. I will share all of my family secrets on how to make the very best easy potato salad.
This is such a classic potato salad that is so easy to whip up. I love to make it the day before to allow the flavors to meld together.
Potato Salad Ingredients:
Here is what you put in the best potato salad recipe. Here’s what goes into potato salad:
- Potatoes: Since potatoes are the star ingredient in potato salad, choosing the right type of potato can make a big difference in the taste and texture. I suggest using yukon gold potatoes in potato salad and read below for the reasons why.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: See below for tips on how to cook hard boiled eggs. Hard-boiled eggs add a rich and creamy texture to the potato salad.
- Sweet Pickles: Use sweet pickle relish or finely diced sweet pickles as it adds sweetness and tang to this potato salad recipe.
- Green Onions: I suggest adding sliced green onions since they are mild yet flavorful. A substitute would be to use finely diced red onion.
- Celery (optional): If you want to add some crunch to the potato salad, you can add finely diced celery to the potato salad.
- Fresh Herbs: If you want to add some herbs to this potato salad recipe, I suggest using Italian parsley, dill, or chives, or a combination of any of them. I sometimes make this easy potato salad recipe without herbs and sometimes I add them.
- Mayonnaise: Use a high-quality mayonnaise for the best flavor payoff. My favorite mayonnaise to use is Duke’s mayonnaise.
- Mustard: Adds a tangy kick to the dressing, balancing the richness of the mayonnaise. Use yellow, dijon or whole-grain mustard.
- Vinegar: A splash of vinegar adds acidity to the potato salad dressing, brightening the flavors and balancing the richness of the mayonnaise.
- Salt, Pepper, Sugar: Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning the salad. Adjust the amounts to taste, keeping in mind that potatoes absorb flavors, so it’s important not to undersalt. For extra flavor, use Lawry’s seasoned salt in place of regular salt. It is one of my secret ingredients.
What potatoes are best for best potato salad?
- My favorite potatoes to use in homemade potato salad are Yukon Gold potatoes. They are a popular choice for potato salad due to their creamy texture and thin, smooth skin. They also hold their shape well in potato salad. They have a delicious buttery flavor that pairs so well with the other potato salad ingredients.
- Another option is using red potatoes in potato salad. Red potatoes are another excellent option, known for their waxy texture. They are firm and hold up during cooking, making them ideal for potato salads where you want the potatoes to retain their shape.
What herbs to use in potato salad?
Herbs play a crucial role in enhancing the flavor profile of potato salad, adding freshness and flavor. Here are some herbs to use — parsley, dill, and chives.
Perhaps the most classic herb used in potato salad, parsley provides a fresh, slightly peppery flavor that complements the creamy and starchy nature of the potatoes. Dill is another popular herb in potato salad, known for its bright and tangy flavor. Chives contribute a mild onion flavor and a subtle hint of garlic.
How to make the Best Potato Salad:
- Start with Yukon Gold Potatoes (or small white, yellow, or red). Here is how to cook the potatoes for making potato salad. Place the potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain water and place potatoes in a colander. Cover with a towel and let potatoes steam for 15 minutes. This will help them slowly and gently cook and become even more tender.
- Use Hard-Boiled Eggs. To cook hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a pot and cover with water. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat, cover, and let sit for about 10-12 minutes. With a spoon, remove one egg and run under cold water. Peel and check for the desired doneness.
- Make a Dressing. This dressing is so important as it is what gives it moisture. Stir together mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar. I also love to use Lawry’s seasoned salt but regular salt is just fine too.
- Let Chill. The potatoes soak up all of the dressing once it hits the refrigerator which seasons the potatoes from within. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving, if possible.
Storage and Making Ahead:
Can Potato Salad be made ahead of time?
Yes! Potato salad can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Potato salad is an excellent make-ahead dish. You can prepare it the day before your event, allowing the flavors to meld together.
How to keep potato salad from turning watery:
Preventing potato salad from becoming watery involves a combination of proper cooking techniques, ingredient selection, and storage practices. Here are some tips to help you keep your potato salad from getting watery:
Choose Yukon Gold or red potatoes. These varieties hold their shape well after boiling and are less likely to turn mushy, reducing the risk of excess moisture.
Do not overcook the potatoes. Boil them just until fork-tender but still firm. Overcooked potatoes are more likely to absorb excess moisture, leading to a watery potato salad.
Allow the boiled potatoes to cool completely before assembling the salad. This prevents them from releasing excess moisture when mixed with other ingredients.
Refrigerate the potato salad for at least an hour before serving. Chilling allows the flavors to meld and gives the ingredients time to absorb the dressing without releasing excess moisture.
Potato Salad Substitutions and Variations:
You can use your favorite type of pickles or pickle relish in this homemade potato salad recipe. I use sweet pickle relish but you can use dill pickle relish or chopped dill or sweet pickles.
Use your favorite type of mustard — yellow mustard, dijon mustard, or whole-grain mustard.
Add crispy bacon for a smoky, savory flavor element.
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Mama’s Potato Salad
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold Yellow, White, or Red Small Potatoes
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar white or apple cider
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Mustard may add more if you want more flavor
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Salt Lawry’s or regular salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 3 Hard Boiled Eggs peeled and chopped
- 6 Green Onions or 1/2 Red Onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup Sweet Pickles chopped or Relish
- 2 Celery Stalks chopped (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Herbs chopped (such as Parsley, Chives, or Dill)
- Place the potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain water and place potatoes in a colander. Cover with a towel and let potatoes steam for 15 minutes. This will help them slowly and gently cook and become even more tender. Peel and cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar and gently toss.
- To cook hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a pot and cover with water. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat, cover, and let sit for about 10-12 minutes. With a spoon, remove one egg and run under cold water. Peel and check for the desired doneness. Chop and slice hard boiled eggs.
- To make dressing: in a small bowl, stir together mayo, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Pour dressing all over potatoes and gently toss to coat being careful to not break up or mash potatoes. Add hard-boiled eggs, onions, pickles, celery (optional), and fresh herbs. Check for seasoning. The potatoes will become more flavorful as they soak up the dressing in the refrigerator.
- Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs and a sprinkle of Lawry’s seasoned salt.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July holiday celebration with the ones you love. Happy Cooking!