Easy All-American Potato Salad

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Here’s my homemade potato salad recipe that’s perfect for summer barbecues and family picnics. I use russet potatoes with fresh ingredients and classic pantry staples to make this tasty side dish.

potato salad recipe perfect for summer barbecues and picnics
Table of Contents
  1. Potato selection
  2. Spud preparation and cooking
  3. Vinegar enhances the flavor
  4. Classic mix-ins
  5. Customize the recipe
  6. Make it ahead of time
  7. Serve this with
  8. All-American Potato Salad Recipe

Grilled burgers and main course items are not complete without a side of creamy potato salad. To maximize the taste of the spuds, I boil them first then marinate them in vinegar. It’s a simple step that seasons them throughout, not just on the surface.

Russet potatoes yield a flaky and creamy texture, which makes them an ideal base for the recipe. A mix of hard-boiled eggs, crunchy vegetables, and simple, bold pantry seasonings elevate the flavor. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make. Plus, you can prepare it in advance to save time on the day of serving.

potato salad recipe ingredients on a marble table

Potato selection

Russet potatoes are the root vegetables of choice because they have a mealy texture due to the higher starch level. When they cook, you can sense a more crumbly and flaky texture that adds to the potato salad’s creaminess, just like mashed potatoes

For a heartier and denser consistency, use waxy potatoes, like Yukon golds with a more buttery taste, or red potatoes. They have a higher sugar level, allowing them to hold their shape better when mixed, but will be less creamy.

Recipe Resources

Spud preparation and cooking

Learning how to make potato salad is easy, but the cooking step is critical to the final texture. Peel and cut the potatoes into large pieces, ¾-inch dice. This size retains nice chunks when stirred and later eating. Cook the potatoes in salted, cold water. Bring water to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. 

This process allows the flavor of the salt to be absorbed and gives an evenly cooked texture. However, don’t overcook! They should be fork-tender but still hold together when pierced, so they don’t fall apart entirely when mixed. I like to check every few minutes. It takes about 15 minutes to cook the potatoes. 

Vinegar enhances the flavor

When the potatoes are warm, they are better at absorbing flavor. Toss in two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar right after cooking, stir and allow to sit for 20 minutes. The vinegar infuses into each piece, giving some acidity to the mild potatoes and balances the rich dressing’s creaminess. If desired, you can substitute apple cider vinegar for a milder taste.

Classic mix-ins

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

Customize the recipe

Feel free to sprinkle in some whole celery seeds or a few teaspoons of pickle juice. I also like sweet pickle relish or honey for a sweeter flavor. For a Hawaiian-inspired potato salad, add in chopped ham, pineapple, and Fuji apples.

I use this recipe as a base to make a healthier version with yogurt, or sour cream works well too. Don’t be afraid to play around to find your favorite combination!

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

Make it ahead of time

You can prepare and store this dish in an airtight container placed in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Otherwise, you can freeze portions in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month. To do so, spread in a thin layer and remove all of the air, then seal. Defrost in the refrigerator a day before using. I like to chop some fresh onions and parsley to garnish on the top right before serving.

Serve this with

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

The benefit of starting with cold water

Start the potatoes in cold water, then gradually increase the temperature for even cooking. This process prevents the outsides from cooking too fast. If not done correctly, the spuds can break down too much, which might be okay for mashed potatoes, but not when you want to retain chunks for the salad.

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All-American Potato Salad

Homemade potato salad recipe that's perfect for summer barbecues and family picnics. This tasty side dish will be the talk of the party.
Pin Print Review
4.31 from 254 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • Peel the skin off the potatoes and cut them into ¾-inch cubes. Immediately place them in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover them by 1-inch.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to bubble, add 1 tablespoon salt and stir to dissolve. Reduce to a simmer over medium heat, adjusting as needed. Stir occasionally and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender but not falling apart, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and transfer them back to the warm pot. Add the vinegar and use a rubber spatula to combine. Let it sit and marinate for 20 minutes. The potatoes will still be warm.
  • In a large bowl, gently stir together the potatoes, mayonnaise, celery, relish, onion, parsley, mustard, ¾ teaspoon salt, black pepper, onion powder, and chopped eggs. Season with 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

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 5 cups
  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Freezing: Store in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month. Press into a flat layer, remove all of the air, and seal. Defrost in the refrigerator a day before serving.

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Nutrition Facts
All-American Potato Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 193 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 347mg14%
Potassium 486mg14%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 142IU3%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 118mg12%
Iron 4mg22%
* 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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Reader Interactions

69 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Nancy says

    This recipe was easy and super delicious. I had a couple of unused baked potatoes and used these (cheated) instead of cooking potatoes as per the recipe. The salad still came out tasting great. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe my family and I enjoyed!!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great idea Nancy! Any shortcuts you can use, the better 🙂 So happy to hear that everyone enjoyed the recipe!

  2. Adam says

    This was a really good and simple recipe. I wasn’t sure whether the recipe called for sweet relish or dill relish, but dill sounded better. So I chopped up some good kosher dills, and it was great. I also think that some crumbled thick-sliced bacon would be a nice addition – but I was too lazy. In sum, I really liked this and will make it again.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Adam! I have used sweet relish in the past but I LOVE the idea of fresh chopped dill pickles. I’m sure the flavor and texture was even better! Bacon would definitely be a good add if you have time 🙂

  3. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    I printed this out. It is very similar to the recipe I have used for years for my moms which is our family favorite. I never knew how much mayo or mustard she put in though and always felt I overdid the mayo so I am excited to have your recipe. I’m making this today.

    Have a wonderful day and thank you for another great recipe. If you have a good German potato salad recipe I’d appreciate that too. I have never had it but my husband had it years ago and still talks about how good it was.

    Judy

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so glad that you found a recipe similar to what your mom would make for your family! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the recipe, please let me know how it turns out. I’ll have to do some research on the flavor profiles of German potato salad, fun!

  4. Jane says

    This reminds me of my mom’s famous potato salad. At least we thought it was! She added finely chopped green olives (w pimentos) and it just gives it a different delicious taste.

  5. Kimberley says

    I’m American and was curious to see what American potato salad looked like in Australia. This is almost exactly what I make but I use chopped dill pickles instead of relish and the dill pickling liquid instead of vinegar. I really enjoy your blog and am trying lots of new (to me) Japanese recipes–thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I love the idea of using dill pickles and the juice for the potato salad Kimberley! Thank you so much for following my blog and trying new recipes 🙂 If you ever have any questions, please let me know!

  6. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    This is a follow-up to my earlier post and your response. This is now my go to recipe for Potato Salad. It tastes exactly like my moms which has always been my favorite and my husband loves it too. Your recipe gave me exact measurements on the mayo and relish which is an area I always over added or under added. Following your recipe it has been perfect each time and I have made it. I’m sharing it with all my kids as well.

    Thank you,
    Judy

  7. Pam S says

    Big hit! I had Wickles Pickles on hand so I used the juice and chopped up some pickles. Trying it again today with red potatoes. Hope it’s just as good.

  8. Mariaelena Yeow says

    Wow Had to try this Potato Salad I usually do the one in my cook book but had to change it as I’m using it all the time, I loved it a little different to what I use to and taste great. Everyone who came to the BBQ commented on the Salad, yes I took the credit for it sorry. Will be doing this at the next BBQ,

    • Mary Clay says

      Thanks for the tip about the vinegar. I followed the directions which is normally how I make Potato Salad but the addition of the vinegar put it way over the top. PS I used advice. I will be using this from now on.

  9. Sarah says

    Hi! How far in advance can I make this potato’s salad? I have a barbecue on Sunday but would like to make it either the Friday night or Saturday morning before. Is this too early? Thanks in advance!

  10. BillyeJean says

    I never cut up my potato’s before cooking. I am told i make the best. When asked I always tell tell them they can’t believe I cook potatoes while and skin still on cool a little block them when cool enough to handle and go from there never mushy or over cooked. Always use russets or baking potato. Normal American recipe

  11. Cecilia says

    This was super easy to follow. I didn’t have an onion or celery, so I swapped those out for black olives and crunchy dill pickles. Yum! Thank you!

  12. Jessi says

    This is my absolute favorite potato salad!! The ingredients are great, tastes amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing. My husband isn’t much of a hard boiled egg fan so I put extra in so he won’t eat any of it and I can have it all to myself! Bravo!!!!

  13. Lora Nordgreen says

    Definitely a crowd pleaser! I had to find a potato salad recipe for girl scouts camp. This one was amazing. So easy. Made 15 pounds of this recipe. I use my recipe app to get me to the correct measurements. I know if I use Jessica Gavin in my Google search for a reliable recipe I’m confident that it’s always a success.

  14. Barb says

    Just made this. It’s awesome!
    Thank you for sharing. I am not a cook and depend on bloggers to fulfill my meal plan adventures. Thanks very much for the great directions.

  15. Barb Beardsley says

    Thanks Jessica,
    Anxious to try the potato salad. On another note……the beautiful picture of your lettuce is a Kodak moment wanting to be framed.
    Thanks also for your wonderful website.

  16. Shirley says

    I made this today and it is the First Time I have ever been pleased with making my own potato salad! I used sweet vidalia onions ’cause I had them on hand. I like a little sweetness so I added a few blobs of Frank’s Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce, which made it perfect and also gave it bright red flecks to compliment the green of the celery. It is absolutely Delish …. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  17. Alyce Sica says

    I am 68 years old and have never made potato salad. I tried this recipe but left out the dill relish. It came out delicious. I will be making this again. I cooked the potatoes in my pressure cooker for 4 minutes then released the pressure. They were perfect for potato salad. Loved it and I will be making it again very soon.

  18. Jessica R Parks says

    Thank you! I needed a good recipe to use for a school project. I am doing a thanksgiving project, and needed to find a recipe and “buy” the ingredients. I’m not actually making it, but it I ever decide to make potato salad, this will definitely be first on my list of recipes. 😀

  19. Melinda says

    I have never found a potato salad recipe as easy or as GOOD as this classic. It is my go to ever since I discovered it via Pinterest last year. Getting ready to make it again so just had to stop by and comment.

  20. Deann says

    At the very top of the article it says sweet pickle relish put in the ingredients it says dill pickle relish???

  21. 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.

  22. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    We had family over last night and grilled steaks and I made this potato salad for the third time. All the ingredients are spot on. It tastes like my moms only better due to the crunch of celery and red onion. Also the onion powder.

    Thank you
    Judy

  23. V says

    Anyone make this without the egg? My son hates eggs (!) and I’m wondering if flavor would still be good.

  24. Judi says

    I just made this for my husband’s Birthday barbecue tomorrow. It is so delicious! I’m hoping it will be even better tomorrow!

  25. Carly says

    Have you tried using seasoned rice vinegar? Its one of my favorites, but am curious if anyone has tried it in this recipe.

  26. Ann says

    Hello, I have made this recipe once already and it was a great success. I am going to make it again today and I am wondering if I can use pickle juice instead of vinegar on the potatoes. Thank you for creating this new family favorite!

  27. Patti says

    WOW, Jessica! This was hands down the BEST potato salad that I’ve ever made! I followed the recipe to the “T” with the only exception was adding tiny cubes of sharp cheddar cheese (because cheese makes everything better in my book)! Again, fantastic recipe!

  28. Wendy says

    I am using organic russet potatoes. Is it ok to leave skin on the potatoes…I think it might increase nutritional value?

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