The Best Potato Salad Recipe Ever
How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe – Today I’m sharing our secret family potato salad recipe. My mom’s potato salad recipe is hands-down the best potato salad I, or anyone else who’s tried it, has ever eaten!
The Best Potato Salad Recipe… Ever.
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. My mom makes traditional mustard, pickle, and hard-boiled egg potato salad. It’s simple, but 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 her 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?
Here’s What You’ll Need…
Making the most comforting potato salad, you need a few classic ingredients.
- Yukon Gold potatoes or Klondike Goldust potatoes – or use Russets
- Mayonnaise – your favorite brand
- Refrigerated pickle relish
- Yellow mustard – or 1 part yellow + 1 part dijon
- Apple cider vinegar
- Celery seeds
- Hard-boiled eggs – peeled and chopped
- Celery stalks – diced
- Sweet onion – diced
- Fresh chopped dill
- Salt and pepper
How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe
1) The key to making the best potato salad is to use starchy potatoes and let them get really soft, so they are partially mashed once mixed. This gives the recipe a rustic, yet thick and luxurious quality. I like to use Yukon Gold or Klondike Goldust potatoes. You can also use Russet potatoes if you like. Do not use new potatoes, because they hold their shape too well and will leave the dressing soupy.
Start the potatoes in a large pot of cold water and bring them to a boil to ensure even cooking. Make sure to salt the boiling water so the salty 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 in a large bowl. 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 good quality refrigerated relish that tastes fresh, has large chunks, and stays firm. Otherwise, the dense ultra-sweet shelved variety might overwhelm the flavor of the dressing.
If you can’t find “good relish”, 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 a zippy bite, and fresh chopped dill for a 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 served 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 this recipe the day before you plan to serve it.
However, if you don’t have time to make it a day ahead, refrigerate the recipe for as long as humanly possible before mealtime.
Get the Full (Printable) Recipe For How To Make The Best Potato Salad Below!
If you are determined to learn How To Make The Family Secret Recipe, give my mom’s recipe a try.
I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Mayonnaise Should I Use?
The mayo is the base flavor in the dressing so it is a very important ingredient. I find most people have a favorite brand. Go with your family favorite. If you don’t usually buy mayonnaise, Hellman’s is very popular, but Duke’s mayo is the brand of the south. *wink*
Why Sweet Pickle Relish?
Most store-bought pickle relish is sweet. I like to use the refrigerated kind that has larger chunks. It provides a better texture and the sweetness adds a lovely balance to the salad. If you hate the idea of adding sweetness, find a tart pickle relish or add chopped banana peppers.
Can I Peel the Potatoes Before Cooking?
Mom always cooked the potatoes with the peels, then pulled off some (or all) of the peels after cooking. This allows you to leave some potato skins in the salad, if you like, for extra texture. Also, it elements the need for a vegetable peeler because the skins will pull right off after the potatoes are fully cooked.
However, if you do not want to incorporate any of the potato skins into the salad, you can peel them beforehand. It’s a matter of personal preference.
Is This Recipe Gluten-Free?
Yes, as long as the mayonnaise is gluten-free, the whole recipe is. (Most brands are, but double-check your jar.)
Can I Make a Dairy-Free or Vegan Version?
Of course! This recipe is already dairy-free. However, to make it vegan, simply buy a vegan mayonnaise and then omit the hard-boiled eggs.
How Long Does This Salad Last?
Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this salad will last a week.
Can You Freeze This Recipe?
I wouldn’t. The thawing process will change the texture and the dressing will not be as creamy.
Can I Add Other Ingredients to Mix Things Up?
Sure! Try adding: bacon, rosemary, scallions, chopped banana peppers, shredded cheese, or sour cream.
More Fabulous Make-Ahead Side Dish Recipes
- Perfect Southern Macaroni Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- The Best Broccoli Salad
- Provencial Potato Salad
- Market Bean Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad With Potatoes
How To Make The Best Potato Salad Recipe
- 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes 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 stockpot. Fill the pot with cold 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 okay 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.
- If you can’t find golden potatoes, use Russets.
- For best flavor, make your potato salad a day ahead.
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