How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe you’ve ever tasted!
My mom’s potato salad is better than your mom’s potato salad.
There, I said it and I’m not taking it back! *wink*
Seriously though, my mother has magical abilities in the art of potato salad making. Mom makes a traditional mustard, pickle, and hard boiled egg potato salad. I have never made or tasted another potato salad better than her version… And I’m not the only person to think so.
Over the years I’ve watched countless relatives and friends swoon over here classic potato salad.
The problem is, when you ask her for the recipe she has a hard time sharing it, because she doesn’t actually have a recipe written down. She makes it by feel.
It’s taken years of watching, assisting her, and asking questions to come up with what I consider to be her recipe.
Want to know mom’s secrets?
How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe
1) The key is to use starchy potatoes and let them get really soft, so they are partially mashed once mixed. This gives the potato salad a rustic, yet thick and luxurious quality. I like to use Yukon Gold or Klondike Goldust potatoes. Do not use new potatoes, because they hold their shape too well and will leave the dressing soupy.
Start the potatoes in cold water and bring them to a boil to ensure even cooking. Make sure to salt the boiling water so the flavor gets deep down in the potatoes.
Once the potatoes are soft, drain off the water and peel off the skins. You can leave some of the skins on if you like the added texture. Chop the potatoes when they are soft; this saves time on the peeling and chopping.
2) Next mix all the dressing ingredients together. Use your favorite mayonnaise as the base. I know better than to tell you what brand to use… Mayonnaise is an intensely personal condiment!
Here in the carolinas we use Duke’s Mayonnaise, but mom usually uses Hellmann’s. You can even go with Miracle Whip if that is your favorite.
Mix a large amount of sweet pickle relish into the dressing. Use the refrigerated kind that tastes fresh and stays firm. If you can’t find it, finely dice firm refrigerated sweet pickles instead.
Make sure to use yellow mustard for flavor and color. Sometimes mom adds half yellow mustard and half dijon mustard, but if it’s going to be one or the other, you have to use classic yellow mustard.
Apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, and a little bit of paprika round out the dressing flavor.
3) Mix the potatoes and the dressing while the potatoes are still warm. Add chopped hard boiled eggs for richness, celery for crunch, sweet onions for zippy bite, and fresh chopped dill for an herbaceous punch.
The onions are a point of discrepancy in our family… Personally, I would always choose scallions over any other raw onion. However my dad insists on raw chopped sweet onions for crunch and flavor, so that’s what mom uses.
To his credit, they do provide a more potent onion essence and crisp texture when serving on the second or third day.
4) Finally potato salad, any potato salad, tastes better on the second day after the flavors have had ample time to mix and mingle.
When possible make mom’s potato salad the day before you plan to serve it. However, if you don’t have time to make it a day ahead, refrigerate the potato salad for as long as humanly possibly before meal time.
If you are determined to learn How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe, give my mom’s recipe a try.
I guarantee, you will not be disappointed!
How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe
- 5 pounds Yukon Gold or Klondike Goldust potatoes
- 2 cups mayonnaise, your favorite brand
- 1 cup refrigerated sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, or 1 part yellow + 1 part dijon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 4-5 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water until it is 1 inch over the top of the potatoes. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook the potatoes for 13-15 minutes, until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish including juices, mustard, apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth. Then chop the eggs, celery, onions, and dill.
- Once the potatoes are very tender, drain off all the water. Remove the loose peels and chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks. It's ok if they are soft and crumbly. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Gently mix in the dressing until it coats the potatoes well. Then stir in the eggs, celery, onions, and dill. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh dill and paprika.
- Cover the potato salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you have time to make it ahead, it tastes even better on day two! Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
NOTES: 1) If you can't find golden potatoes, use russets. 2) For best flavor, make your potato salad a day ahead.