Quick and easy, this Best Foods Potato Salad Recipe is just what you need to wow everyone at your next BBQ! Here's a time-tested classic recipe with everything you need to get it right the first time! For even deeper flavor, just make it the day before and chill in the fridge. It doesn't get easier than that!
My daughter, often says, "there's potato salad and then there's POTATO SALAD."
The fact is, that it is not easy to make a really good potato salad because so many things can go wrong. From watery dressings, to bland, lifeless, potatoes.. the list goes on. This traditional potato salad recipe fills in the gap with everything you need to know, so that your potato salad is a hit at your next summer barbeque!
Best Foods mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is the main ingredient in the dressing of the potato salad. The texture and amount of tartness can vary from brand to brand. This recipe used Best Foods mayonnaise (a.k.a. Hellman's) which is one of the most common brands of mayonnaise sold in grocery stores. Other brands (e.g., Miracle Whip and Kraft) and combinations of products (e.g., mayonnaise and sour cream) can also be used for the base of the dressing. The seasoning and acid may need to be adjusted by adding more salt, pepper, sugar and mustard to make sure your potato salad tastes just right.
Fun Fact: Best Foods Mayonnaise is made with the same recipe as Hellman's Mayonnaise. The two firms merged in 1932 and the combined company was acquired by Unilever in 2000. Both brands continue to sold and have the same mayonnaise recipe. Best Foods brand mayonnaise is more commonly sold on the West Coast while the Hellman's brand is sold on the East Coast of the U.S.
Classic potato salad ingredients
The best part about this Best Foods Potato Salad Recipe is the layers of flavors and textures which come from the ingredients below.
- Yukon gold potatoes are the best potatoes for making potato salad because they tend to be a little sweet, naturally creamy and absorb the dressing very well. They also conveniently hold their shape long after the initial boiling. You can also use other types of potatoes like russet, white and red potatoes. Starchier potatoes (e.g., russet potatoes) are a little tricky to work with as they can easily disintegrate in the salad and have a very dry flaky interior. Waxy potatoes like white potatoes, fingerling potatoes or red potatoes also works very well for potato salad.
- The apple cider vinegar helps brighten the flavors. I like to use apple cider vinegar because I always have some handy at home. You can use any kind of vinegar including rice vinegar and white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Other substitutes include dill pickle juice and lemon juice.
- Best Foods Mayonnaise is easily available in local supermarkets and is a perfect base for potato salad. Other brands of mayonnaise such as Hellman’s (same company, same recipe), Miracle Whip, Heinz, Kraft and store brands like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods work too. Many NYC delis use a mix of mayonnaise and sour cream for the dressing.
- The sugar helps brighten the flavors. You can also add any type of neutral sugar substitute (e.g., Splenda) instead of white sugar.
- Freshly ground black pepper helps to adds depth and spiciness to the dish.
- Sweet pickle relish and whole grain mustard is added for further layers of flavor. Minced dill pickles, cornichons or sweet pickles are also great substitutes for the relish. Smooth yellow mustard or Dijon mustard can also be substituted for the whole grain mustard – I just love whole grain mustard because the little mustard seeds pop in my mouth and add a delicious, tangy flavor.
- Paprika is sprinkled on top for color, and also for its contrasting, smoky flavors.
- Hard boiled eggs are a classic ingredient in potato salads which gives it that "devilled eggs" taste and creamy texture.Freshly ground black pepper helps to adds depth and spiciness to the dish.
- The celery, sweet onion, scallions (green onion) and fresh parsley leaves add texture and a fresh herb taste to the salad. The raw onion should be cut into smaller pieces or minced because the onion flavor can be overwhelming. Other fresh herbs like dill, celery leaves, basil, chives, or tarragon work very well in potato salad.
How to make this easy potato salad recipe
My best friend Jane made the world's best potato salad. It was so tasty, I could eat it by the bucket. I have since explored the recipes of various versions of potato salad - everyone's mom and grandmother has a unique twist ot tow. This is my version of the tastiest potato salad ever. To be honest, it is strikingly better the day after because the flavors have a little time to settle and deepen. This is a great make ahead dish
Boil the potatoes. Add 2 quarts of cold water to a large pot or saucepan. Add the potatoes, table salt and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender - about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes and place them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the warm potatoes with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Cool to room temperature - about 30 minutes.
Make the dressing. Mix the remaining sugar and vinegar, celery, raw onion, scallion, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, dill pickle relish and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Fold the potatoes into the dressing. Add the cooled potatoes to the creamy dressing in the large bowl. Season as needed. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.
Rest the salad. Potato salad is materially better when rested in the fridge overnight. The extra time allows the flavors to develop and penetrate deep into the potatoes resulting into a remarkably flavorful dish.
Tips on making an EPIC potato salad
- Don't forget the vinegar. Vinegar prevents the potatoes from being overcooked. Per J. Kenji López-Alt, a little vinegar in the cooking water helps ensure that the potatoes do not overcook. The acidic environment created by the vinegar, prevents the pectin, a soluble fiber found in potatoes from breaking down too quickly. Vinegar is also the secret to the tangy flavor in potato salad. The vinegar adds a layer of brightness to the dressing. For maximum absorption, the vinegar needs to be added to the boiled potatoes while it is still hot.
- The sugar brightens the flavors. Sugar helps to brighten and enhance all the flavors in the salad.
- Add the bold flavor and texture layers - it makes a difference. The eggs, relish, whole grain mustard, celery, red onion, and scallion help move an ordinary potato salad into something EPIC. It adds a little crunch, some herby flavor, a little color to dish that would otherwise just be boiled potatoes tossed with mayonnaise.
How long does this homemade potato salad last in the fridge?
When stored properly, this creamy potato salad will last about 4 to 5 days in the fridge. Store the salad in an airtight container for maximum freshness.
Can you freeze potato salad?
Potato salad does not freeze well primarily because the mayonnaise tends to split once thawed and the potatoes tend to lose their texture.
If you have too much leftover potato salad, it is best to repurpose them into other dishes instead of freezing them as shown below.
Potato salad tastes even better the following day because the additional time really helps the flavors develop.
However, if you have just made too much - here are some great leftover potato salad ideas:
- Breakfast Potato Salad Hash browns - Simply wash off the dressing with cold water and drain. Allow to air dry for about 30 minutes. Then follow my recipe for Indian Potatoes.
- Potato Salad Casserole - cover the top with shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.
- Mashed Potato Salad Croquettes - mash and form into patties, then dredge in flour, eggs and finally breadcrumbs or panko. Oven bake or deep fry.
Each serving of this Best Foods Potato Salad Recipe has about 370 calories, 6.6g of protein, 14.4g of fat, and 55.6g of carbohydrates. It also includes about 6.1g of dietary fiber.
This recipe yields approximately 8 servings. The nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe nutrition calculator and is intended for informational purposes only. Please use it as a general guideline. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should independently verify it using your preferred tool.
Every household has their own ultra-delicious variation of potato salad. Below are some examples of unique potato salad recipes:
- Sour cream and onion potato salad - use sour cream dressing, sliced red onion in the salad and top with sour cream and onion potato chips.
- Crispy, smashed potato salad - instead of mashed potatoes, use crispy smashed roasted potatoes.
- Nuoc Cham roasted potato salad - Toss deliciously roasted spicy Indian potatoes with Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese fish dipping sauce)
Other variations include substituting part of the mayonnaise with Miracle Whip, sour cream or Greek yogurt. Adding broken bits of bacon for crunchy, umami bite and different types of seasoning like celery seed. Some recipes substitute olive oil for the mayonnaise.
Potato Salad is classic dish to bring to summer barbeques. An easy crowd favorite, it is often served in game day parties and in informal gatherings where casual food like hamburgers and hotdogs are served. Because of its mild, cooling flavor, it pairs well with spicy foods like chili and spicy buffalo wings. It also is a great side dish with grilled meats and dishes like
Potato salad FAQs
To avoid getting watery potato salad, cool and dry the freshly boiled potatoes first. To do this, spread the boiled potatoes evenly on a baking sheet and allow to air dry for at least a half hour before folding the cooled potatoes into the dressing. If the potatoes are not cooled, they will continue to sweat resulting in a watery potato salad.
To avoid bland potatoes, season the water that you boil your potato in with salt and vinegar. You should add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar for each quart of water.
To boil, fill a large saucepan with cold water. Place potatoes, salt, and vinegar into the pot. Heat the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes in the gently boiling water until fork tender - about 10 minutes. It is best not to cut the potatoes for a potato salad prior to boiling because the small pieces tend to absorb water resulting in watery potatoes. Cut and/or peel the potatoes after they have cooled slightly. Boiling is the most efficient way to cook large batches of potatoes.
To steam, fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water. Add the cut potatoes. Cover and heat the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue steaming the potatoes until fork tender - about 30 minutes. Cut the potatoes into ¾-inch pieces prior to steaming to help speed up the process.
To microwave, add the cut potatoes to a microwave safe dish and add about half a cup of water. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a cover and microwave about 2 cups of potatoes at a time for about 2 minutes. Repeat the microwaving process until the potatoes are fork tender. Smaller pieces of potatoes help speed up the microwaving process. The microwave is typically only used for small batches of potatoes.
Soggy potatoes can be prevented by spreading the boiled, then drained potatoes to air dry on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes. If the potatoes are particularly wet, pat them on a paper towel to help remove the excess water.
For mayonnaise based dressing always toss the boiled potatoes while they are still warm, not hot. This way, you won't break up the mayonnaise.
To brighten potato salad dressing, add pickle juice, vinegar, lemon juice or mustard for more acid. You can also add a pinch of sugar.
More ideas for summer gatherings
Pan Fried Bratwurst - Everything you need to know about how to fry bratwurst like a pro. This classic recipe gives you perfect brats, with a crispy, perfectly charred outside and a deliciously juicy, flavor infused inside. It's perfect for eating with a dash of whole grain mustard and a dollop of tasty sauerkraut. No grill needed.
Wonton Shrimp Tacos - A scrumptious, crowd-pleasing canapé perfect for entertaining on the spur of the moment. Made with wonton wrappers and baked until golden, each bite has a very satisfying, signature crunch followed by an explosion of creamy avocado, sweet grape tomato, spicy, shrimp and crunchy wonton.
Buffalo Chicken Wings - Unbelievably easy to make, these keto chicken wings are baked to crispy perfection then smothered with an OMG IT’S SO TASTY buffalo glaze. The wings take only a few minutes to prep – the oven does the rest.
FINALLY, IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE
I’d love to hear how it went – please leave a comment and rate this recipe. Above all, I love hearing from all of you and will do my best to answer every comment!
Best Foods Potato Salad Recipe
- Large pot
- Large mixing bowl
- baking sheet
- Medium mixing bowl
- 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes about 5-6 , scrubbed and cut into ¾cubes
- 2 Tablespoons table salt
- ¼ cup sugar divided
- 6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar divided
- 3 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1 cup celery diced, about 2-3 ribs
- ½ cup red onion finely diced
- ½ cup scallions green part only, thinly sliced, about 4
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves minced
- ¼ cup relish or chopped pickles
- 2 Tablespoon whole grain mustard to taste
- 1 ¼ cups Best Foods or Hellman's mayonnaise
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
- paprika garnish
- Boil the potatoes. Add 2 quarts of cold water to a large saucepan. Add the potatoes, table salt and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Heat the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender - about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread even over a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with 2 Tabelspoons of vinegar. Cool to room temperature - about 30 minutes.
- Make the dressing. Mix the remaining sugar and vinegar, celery, onion, scallion, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Fold the potatoes into the dressing. Add the cooled potatoes to the dressing. Season as needed. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.