Classic Potato Salad

This Classic Potato Salad recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments, where I am a contributor.

Creamy Classic Potato Salad is the perfect side dish for any occasion, especially a summertime potluck. This 7-ingredient old fashioned potato salad recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious. Makes 6-8 servings.

A woman holds a bowl of traditional potato salad over a table of other BBQ dishes

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 mayonnaise, this No Mayo Potato Salad is a family favorite. Yes, we have a few mayo haters in the house.)

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 perfectly cooked gold potatoes, hard boiled eggs and chopped celery, this potato salad recipe is tossed with a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard to make the most decadent combination.

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

Other delicious summertime side dishes: Instant Pot BBQ Baked Beans | No Mayo Coleslaw with Honey Mustard Dressing | Grilled Peach Salad with Burrata |

Need more dishes for a backyard barbecue? Check out my Outdoor Entertaining Recipe Index for more food ideas.

Potato salad ingredients in bowls on a countertop with a blue checked towel

What you need to make this recipe:

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  • A large saucepan or pot for boiling the potatoes
  • Potato peeler
  • Sharp knife

You’re going to need seven ingredients to make this Traditional Potato Salad recipe.

Chances are that you’ve got some, if not all, of the ingredients in your house already. 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 potato salad dressing.
  • Granulated garlic—I love granulated garlic for this recipe because adds garlic flavor without the punch of fresh garlic to the 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!

The best types of potatoes for this recipe:

Waxy potatoes are the best for potato salad because they hold their shape when boiled.

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

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

Collage showing how to make and put together classic potato salad

How to make Old Fashioned Potato Salad

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 cold water. The water should the potatoes completely. We want the potatoes to have more than enough space to cook. Season the water with a healthy pinch of salt.

Cook the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

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

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.)

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.

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.

Mix the potato salad. Gently toss the cooled potatoes with the egg and celery. Drizzle on the dressing, and gently stir to combine.

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.

Serve. You can serve it at room temperature (immediately) or pop the potato salad in the fridge to chill and serve it cold later. Garnish with green onion and a sprinkle of paprika!

Collage showing potatoes before boiling and a potato salad after mixing

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Potato Salad is a classic entertaining dish, especially in the summer months.

If you go most anywhere for an outdoor gathering, a potluck, a picnic, a backyard barbecue, you’re going to find yourself eating a serving of potato salad without a doubt.

If you find yourself wanting to entertain this summer and serve this delicious potato salad recipe, here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:

  • Double the recipe. This one goes fast because it doesn’t make a huge serving, and if you’re feeding a crowd, you definitely need more than one batch of this goodness!
  • Make it ahead of time. This traditional potato salad recipe keeps well in the fridge! Make it a day or two in advance, and serve it chilled.
  • Don’t serve it too early. Because it has hardboiled egg and mayonnaise in it, this potato salad recipe can’t sit out for hours on end. Remove it from the fridge when it’s time to eat–not too early!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is traditional potato salad?

Traditional potato salad recipes involve boiled potatoes with hard boiled eggs, celery and a luscious mayonnaise-based dressing. Some call for yellow mustard, dill pickles or even sweet pickles, though you will not find those three ingredients here.

Do u put eggs in potato salad?

Yes! I love the creaminess eggs add to potato salad.

Why does my potato salad get watery?

Make sure you drain your potatoes well and also not mix them with the dressing until cooled.

What’s good with potato salad?

Potato salad pairs with so many dishes you can enjoy outdoors, like BBQ Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans and more!

Is it better to boil potatoes whole or cut up for potato salad?

I like to chop my potatoes for potato salad because they cook faster and more evenly.

Close up of creamy potato salad in a bowl with a spoon

Tips and tricks to 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. This would cause for disappointing flavor and texture.
  • Don’t overmix the potatoes. They’re going to be fork tender, so they will stick together as you mix them. Keep in mind that if you mix them too much, your potato salad will become similar in appearance to mashed potatoes. A little texture is good.
  • Make parts in advance. Hard boil the eggs early. Boil the potatoes, too. Prep the rest of the ingredients and keep ‘em 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.
A woman holds a bowl of traditional potato salad over a table of other BBQ dishes
Yield: 6 servings

Classic Potato Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Creamy Classic Potato Salad is the perfect side dish for any occasion, especially a summertime potluck. This 7-ingredient old fashioned potato salad recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

Potato Salad

  • 2 lb. gold potatoes
  • 4 eggs, hardboiled, shelled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced into bite-sized pieces

Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, for garnish
  • Paprika, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Wash, then peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler. Cut into ½” cubes.
  2. Place the chopped potatoes in cold water in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of salt to season the water.
  3. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes boil, prep the rest of the ingredients. (If you haven’t yet, hard boil the eggs.) Chop the hardboiled eggs. Dice the celery.
  5. When fork tender, drain the potatoes and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Measure out the mayonnaise into a medium-sized bowl. Add the white wine vinegar, mustard and granulated garlic. Stir until smooth, then taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. Once the potatoes are cooled, toss with the egg and celery.
  8. Pour the dressing on top of the potato mixture, and gently mix to combine.
  9. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge, then serve when ready.

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.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 367mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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