Home » The Best Homemade Potato Salad

The Best Homemade Potato Salad

Forget the mushy, gloppy store-bought stuff…THIS is the BEST homemade potato salad recipe ever! (Really!!) With these tips handed down from our Granny, we’ll show you how to make perfectly balanced and flavorful potato salad that will be requested over and over again!

homemade potato salad with celery

Granny’s Homemade Potato Salad with Egg

I love a good potato salad! Yet, a great tasting potato salad seems impossible to find in either stores or restaurants. Lucky for me, Granny taught me to how to make the best homemade potato salad!

Homemade potato has a better texture and fresher taste than anything you can buy. If you follow my cooking techniques, you’ll understand just how good a homemade potato salad can taste and why.

How you prepare your potato salad is as important as what goes into it.

What??? It’s true.

The Secrets to Making the Best Potato Salad

I’m sharing a few tips that will up-level your potato salad, no matter what recipe you use.

  1. In my first tip, I’ll share the best way to get the most flavorful potato salad.
  2. My second tip will tell you how to cook the potatoes to keep the pieces whole, tender, and with the perfect texture.
  3. My final tip will tell you how to mix the salad dressing in at the perfect time so that the potatoes taste even more delicious.

Just by following the techniques shared in this recipe, you can improve your own family recipe.

In case you don’t have your own family potato salad recipe,  I’m going to share my traditional family potato salad here. It’s how my mom has always made it and how I still do.

For the record, when I made this so I could take pictures; I ended up eating it all. It was so good.

It doesn’t have any bells or whistles. It’s a plain Jane potato salad.

And you what? That works!

It works because potato salad is a side dish. It should taste delicious but not over power the main dish. Or if you’re like me, you can make a meal of it.

A classic potato salad though, will work great with the strong flavors of BBQ and grilled meats. It is great for picnics and cookouts.

Trust me on this—bringing a bowl of homemade potato salad instead of the gloppy stuff in tubs from stores is going to make everyone happy.

It would make me happy anyway—I’d probably want to eat the whole bowl! Oh right, I already did that.

Related: Be sure to try our Creamy Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad too! It’s my Aunt Fanny’s recipe and it’s been a family favorite for over 30 years!

homemade potato salad in bowl

Traditional Potato Salad Ingredients

I’ll give estimates in the recipe card. All ingredients are based on personal preferences. Some people love lots of onions. Some love just a few. Some people don’t like any onions. Everything is adjustable!

  • Potatoes — I like to use thin-skinned ones such a new or Yukon gold. Leave whole but give a little scrub.
  • Sweet onion — finely chopped
  • Celery — Wash celery stalks and slice thinly. You could also chop if you prefer that shape. Use about 2 to 4 stalks depending on how much potato salad you are making.
  • Boiled eggs — Use 3 to 6 boiled eggs and chop them up in small pieces.
  • Pickles — I like a combination of dill and sweet for the best flavor. You can even add a little sweet pickle juice to your dressing.
  • Mayonnaise — Usually about ½ cup to a cup. You don’t want the salad dry, but you also don’t want it swimming in mayonnaise.
  • Seasonings — salt, pepper, sweet paprika, dry mustard (leave out if you don’t have any, don’t substitute the kind from a jar), garlic powder, vinegar or a little pickle juice, sugar.

What are the best potatoes for potato salad?

Like I mentioned above, your best bet are potatoes with thin, waxy skin because they hold their shape better. These varieties include Yukon Gold, new potatoes, red potatoes, or even fingerling potatoes.

If possible, stay away from starchy potatoes such as Russets — they tend to fall apart during cooking.

How to Make the Best Homemade Potato Salad

TIP #1 — Plan ahead!

This is best when it is made the day before you plan to serve it. At the very least, make it the morning that you plan to serve it. This gives it time for the flavors to fully develop. That’s tip #1.

Hard boil your eggs and set aside.

Add your whole potatoes in their skin, to a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer.

TIP #2 — Cook your potatoes whole, and in their skins.

Most recipes have you peel and dice the potatoes ahead of time. While, this technically works, I believe that a lot of the potato flavor is lost, and you ruin the texture of the potato salad.

How long do you boil potatoes for potato salad?

Cooking your potatoes will probably take about ½ hour. Keep an eye on your potatoes! You want them done all the way through, but not mushy. Use a small pointed knife to assess doneness.

If you aren’t sure if your potatoes are done cooking, you can pull a potato out and cut it in half. You want to see it cooked all the way through.

If you still aren’t sure, cut a small piece off and taste.

boiled potatoes in bowl

TIP #3 — Prep the rest of your ingredients while the potatoes cook.

While the potatoes are cooking, you can chop the celery, onion, and egg.

Then make your salad dressing. If you’re making a big salad, use about a cup of mayonnaise. To your mayonnaise, you are going to add salt, pepper, sweet paprika, dry mustard (use dry or leave out—nothing from a jar), garlic powder, sugar, and a little vinegar or sweet pickle juice.

Once the potatoes are cooked all the way through, drain the hot water off carefully.

Then add cold water to the pan and let the potatoes rest there for a few minutes.

This is important. You want to cool them just enough that you can handle them. Once they can be handled, peel the skin off and chop into bite size pieces.

chopped boiled potatoes

TIP #4 — Add the dressing to the potatoes while they are still warm.

This is my final tip, and probably the most important because doing this will make the potatoes taste amazing. If you wait to add your dressing until the potatoes are cold, they don’t absorb the flavor as well.

Add the potatoes to a mixing bowl. Put chopped celery, onion, pickle, and egg on top.

potato salad ingredients in bowl

Add the prepared salad dressing and gently mix. Gently lift up the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and turn them. Mix like this until all the potatoes have dressing and the ingredients are mixed in. Remember, gently my friends, gently mix.

Put in serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time.

If you have a hard boiled egg or two left, it looks pretty to slice them and put on top before serving.

Recap of Important Notes about Making Potato Salad

  • Prepare at least eight hours ahead for best flavor.
  • Cook potatoes, whole and in their skins. Cool slightly, then peel and chop.
  • Add chopped items and dressing to the potatoes while the potatoes are still warm.
  • Mix gently. Don’t stir or beat. Mix gently so that the potato don’t break apart too much.
  • Once mixed, put in serving bowl.
  • Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs.
  • Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

How long does potato salad last?

Assuming you have leftovers (which we rarely do), potato salad can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days. Keep in a sealed food storage container.

When you have potato salad out for dinner or a party, do not leave at room temperature for more than a two hours. Return to the fridge for safe storing.

Granny’s Homemade Potato Salad Recipe

Tried this recipe? Rate it! We’d also love to know your thoughts in the comments!

homemade potato salad in bowl

The Best Homemade Potato Salad

Sara Garska
Everything you need to know to make perfect potato salad every time -- just like Granny's!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 202 kcal

Equipment

  • sauce pan
  • mixing bowl
  • serving bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 8 medium potatoes use ones with thin skins such as new or Yukon gold.
  • 6 hard boiled eggs peel and chop 4 or 5. Slice the remaining to put on top.
  • 4 stalks celery sliced thin
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons dill pickle chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet pickles chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard omit if you don't have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar or sweet pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions
 

  • Hard boil your eggs and set aside.
  • Place the unpeeled whole potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with cold water. Gentle bring to simmer and cook until done. About 1/2 hour.
  • Cooking will probably take about ½ hour. Keep an eye on your potatoes. You want them done all the way through but not mushy. Use a small pointed knife to assess doneness.
  • If you aren’t sure, you can pull a potato out and cut it in half. You want to see it cooked all the way through. If you still aren’t sure, cut a small piece off and taste.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, chop the celery, onion, and egg.
  • Then make your salad dressing. If you’re making a big salad, use about a cup of mayonnaise.
  • To your mayonnaise, add salt, pepper, sweet paprika, dry mustard (use dry or leave out—nothing from a jar), garlic powder, sugar, and a little vinegar or sweet pickle juice. This is now your salad dressing.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked all the way through, drain the hot water off carefully.
  • Then add cold water to the pan and let the potatoes rest there for a few minutes.
    boiled potatoes in bowl
  • Cool them just enough that you can handle them. Once they can be handled, peel the skin off and chop into bite size pieces.
    chopped boiled potatoes
  • Add the dressing to the potatoes while they are still warm.
    potato salad ingredients in bowl
  • Add the potatoes to a mixing bowl. Put chopped celery, onion, pickle, and egg on top.
  • Add the prepared salad dressing and gently mix.
  • Gently lift up the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and turn them. Mix like this until all the potatoes have dressing and the ingredients are mixed in.
  • Put in serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time.
    homemade potato salad in bowl
  • If you have a hard boiled egg or two left, it looks pretty to slice them and put on top before serving.

Notes

Prepare at least eight hours ahead for best flavor.
Cook potatoes, whole and in their skins. Cool slightly, then peel and chop.
Add chopped items and dressing to the potatoes while the potatoes are still warm.
Mix gently. Don't stir or beat. Mix gently so that the potato don't break apart too much. 
Once mixed, put in serving bowl.
Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs.
Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Nutrition

Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 6gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 416mgPotassium: 676mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 267IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy recipe, potato, potatoes, potluck, salad, sides
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Be sure to pin our easy potato salad recipe on Pinterest:

Everything you need to know to make perfect potato salad every time -- just like Granny's!

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