Easy All-American Potato Salad

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A creamy All-American potato salad perfect for summer barbecues and picnics. Tender russet potatoes combined with hard boiled eggs, celery, red onions, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and mustard for a tasty side dish.

potato salad recipe perfect for summer barbecues and picnics

When you think about summertime, potato salad is one essential item that always makes it on the table, especially when serving barbecued food. This All-American potato salad is the ultimate recipe that will have everyone coming back for another serving!

When researching cooking techniques for making a creamy classic potato salad, there is an abundance of options. I found a technique from Cook’s Illustrated that started cooking of the potatoes in cold water, followed by a marination in vinegar step to maximize the taste of the spuds.

The creaminess of russet potatoes combined with traditional ingredients and seasonings found in your pantry makes this dish easy to prepare. This potato salad recipe is so tasty that I used it as a base to make a healthier version with yogurt. No matter what variation you try, using this basic potato cooking technique will give you delicious results every time!

Large chunks of potato salad with sliced egg in a white bowl

How to make potato salad

  • Peel and cut potatoes into ¾-inch cubes.
  • Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water.
  • Bring water to a boil, add salt and reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook until fork-tender then drain.
  • Add potatoes back to the pot and combine with vinegar.
  • Let potatoes sit for 20 minutes.
  • In a large bowl combine the potatoes, celery, mayonnaise, relish, onion, parsley, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover, chill and garnish with parsley, onion, and celery.

Potato selection

  • Russet potatoes are the root vegetable of choice because they have a more “mealy” texture. When they cook, you can sense a more crumbly and starchy texture that adds to the creaminess of the potato salad, just like mashed potatoes.
  • Yukon gold potatoes can be used instead for a more buttery flavor.
  • Red potatoes are a tasty choice but are more waxy texture, meaning they will hold shape better but be less creamy.

potato salad recipe ingredients on a marble table

The cooking process

Start cooking the potatoes in cold salted water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. This process allows the flavor of the salt to be absorbed into the potatoes and give an evenly cooked texture. Don’t overcook otherwise they may fall apart completely when mixed. I always check a few times to make sure the chunks are fork-tender. It takes about 8 minutes to cook the potatoes.

Adding vinegar

When the potatoes are warm, they are better at absorbing flavor. Toss in two tablespoons of vinegar right after cooking, stir and allow to sit for 20 minutes. The vinegar slowly infuses into each piece giving some tartness with each bite to compliment the creaminess of the dressing. Apple cider vinegar can be substituted for distilled vinegar for a milder pungency.

chopped onions, celery and pieces of potatoes and eggs in a white bowl

The essential ingredients

The classic ingredients for potato salad are hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard (or yellow mustard), dill pickle relish, red onion, and celery. I usually skip the miracle whip and make my own homemade mayonnaise. These elements create a balance of creaminess, tangy, sweet and crunchy textures.

Salt, pepper and onion powder is used for seasoning. Feel free to sprinkle in some whole celery seeds, or a few teaspoons of sweet pickle juice. For a Hawaiian-inspired potato salad add in some chopped ham, pineapple, and Fuji apples. Don’t be afraid to play around to find your favorite combination!

Make it ahead of time

This potato salad can be prepared and assembled up to 2 days before serving. I like to shop some fresh onions and parsley to garnish on the top. Onions that have been pre-cut tend to smell more sulfurous.

All-American potato salad in a white bowl ready to serve at a bbq or picnic

More potato recipes

The benefit of starting with cold water

The potatoes should start in cold water then gradually brought to a boil, then simmer to finish cooking. This culinary school tip I learned prevents the outside from cooking too fast and the interior taking more time. This is important for when you want to retain chunks of potato.

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All-American Potato Salad

A creamy All-American potato salad, perfect for summer barbecues and picnics. Tender russet potatoes and traditional ingredients for a tasty side dish!
Pin Print Review
3.96 from 187 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, for cooking potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup celery, ⅛-inch dice
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup dill pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons red onions, ⅛-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dijon mustard, or yellow mustard
  • ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced into ¼" cubes


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¾-inch dice. Immediately place them in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch.
  • Boil water over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer. Stir a few times, until potatoes are fork tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and transfer back to the pot.
  • Add vinegar and use a rubber spatula to toss gently to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes, the potatoes will still be warm.
  • In a large bowl, gently stir together potatoes, celery, mayonnaise, relish, onion, parsley, mustard, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, onion powder and chopped eggs. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour before serving. Garnish with more parsley, celery, and onion if desired.

Recipe Video


  • Potato salad can be made up to two days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

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Nutrition Facts
All-American Potato Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 586mg24%
Potassium 686mg20%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 42.1mg51%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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52 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Thaddaeus M. Poe says

    I’ve been searching for the best potato salad recipe. This beats the pants off anything in food network and epicurious.
    Thank you.

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