Fingerling Potato Salad

4.80 from 79 votes
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This fingerling potato salad with lemon herb dressing complements any meal. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or a family dinner, this vibrant and flavorful side dish will impress your guests and leave them craving more.

Bowl of fingerling potato salad with lemon herb dressing.

Recipe Science

  • Fingerlings are waxy types of potatoes with low starch that hold their shape well. They have a sweet, buttery flavor and creamy texture.
  • To retain the potato’s structure, start them in cold water, bring them to a boil, and then simmer them at 185°F (96ºC) until tender.
  • Use Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil to create a creamy, emulsified dressing. The mustard helps the oil and acidic ingredients blend smoothly and prevents separation.

Why It Works

This fingerling potato salad recipe is ready in just 20 minutes! Everyone loves a classic American potato salad made with the traditional mayonnaise and relish base. However, if you’re looking for a lighter version with slender fingerlings, then preparing a simple vinaigrette is an excellent option.

I tenderize the potatoes in salted boiling water so that the flesh becomes creamy. Tossed in a tangy lemon herb dressing, this fingerling potato recipe will have guests asking for seconds.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Potatoes: Fingerlings have a slightly sweet and buttery flavor and a creamy texture. They are in season from spring to early fall and come in various colors, such as gold, purple, and red. They are petite in size and don’t require peeling.
  • Mustard: Dijon mustard adds a tangy flavor and creaminess to the vinaigrette.
  • Sweetener: A small amount of honey balances the pungency of the ingredients.
  • Citrus: Fresh lemon zest and juice add a bright and sour taste to the dressing.
  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds a mild pungency to the vinaigrette.
  • Alliums: Minced shallots provide both onion and fresh garlic notes.
  • Herbs: Chopped parsley, thyme, and rosemary add a robust herb flavor to the dressing.
  • Seasoning: Salt and pepper enhances the savory taste of the potatoes.
  • Oil: Fruity extra-virgin olive oil adds a gourmet flavor and richness to the potato salad.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This fingerling potato salad recipe is easy to customize! Try these simple yet flavorful substitutions:

  • Potato Options: If fingerlings are out of season, other kinds of potatoes can be used. Try baby Yukon golds, white or red baby potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
  • Mustard Substitutes: Mix in some grainy mustard for bursts of pungent flavor. Yellow mustard can be used, and it has a milder taste but less dimension. Try some spicy brown mustard for a lingering heat.
  • Oil Swaps: Instead of olive oil, try other neutral-tasting types of cooking oil, like avocado oil or sunflower oil.
  • Vinegar: Use champagne vinegar, red wine, or white wine vinegar.
  • Sweetener Swap: Maple syrup, agave, granulated sugar, or brown sugar works well.
  • Herbs: Add fresh, fine herbs like tarragon, chives, or basil.
  • Seasoning: To enhance the flavor of the dressing, add garlic powder, onion powder, and sweet or smoked paprika.

How to Make Fingerling Potato Salad

Step 1: Cook the Potatoes 

The boiling method tenderizes the flesh within minutes. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside while making the dressing.

Tips for Perfect Execution: I always start the potatoes in cold water with salt, bring them to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer in water between 185 and 205°F (85 to 96ºC). This prevents the potatoes from overcooking and breaking apart.

Homemade vinaigrette dressing in a clear glass jar.

Step 2: Make the Dressing 

To make the dressing light and refreshing, I use freshly squeezed lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard for acidic notes. Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley add herbaceous aromatics to the salad.

A touch of honey and shallots add a sweet and savory balance to the vinaigrette. I also add extra virgin olive oil for creaminess.

Fingerling potatoes in a bowl with lemon herb dressing

Step 3: Make the Potato Salad 

Now that potatoes have been boiled and slightly cooled it’s time to toss in the lemon herb dressing! Alternatively, you can simply drizzle the dressing on top.

Fingerling potatoes make for a colorful side dish.

Step 4: To Serve 

The fingerling potato salad is delicious when served warm or at room temperature. It can also be made a few days ahead and refrigerated for a quick side dish.

Pro Tip: Because the dressing does not contain mayonnaise or eggs, the potato does not need to be kept cool if served in warm weather. However, make sure to follow these picnic and barbecue food safety tips for any food that you are enjoying outside or serving for longer periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are fingerling potatoes?

Fingerling potatoes are easy to spot at the market because their name corresponds with their characteristic oblong finger-like shape. They are typically smaller tubers that are harvested when fully mature, 2-4 inches in length, and come in various colors (red, purple, orange, and white), which can make your dishes even more eye-catching. They are waxy potatoes that have a thin skin, so you don’t have to peel before eating.

How do fingerling potatoes taste?

Fingerling potatoes are buttery and earthy, which makes them suitable for boiling, roasting on a baking sheet, and pan-frying. The potato has a waxy and firm texture, which means they do not fall apart easily after they are cooked and have more of a tender bite versus a more starchy russet potato.

Can I roast the potatoes instead of boil them?

Roasted fingerling potatoes add a crispy texture contrast to the potato salad. This is a simple baking method that uses dry heat from the air to yield crispy skin. All you have to do is preheat the oven to 400°F (204ºC), add the oil, then season with salt and pepper and roast until browned, which takes around 30 minutes, depending on size.

More Potato Salads

If you tried this Fingerling Potato Salad recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Fingerling Potato Salad

Fingerling potatoes with lemon herb dressing made of tangy vinaigrette, fresh thyme, rosemary, and Dijon mustard to bring out their earthy flavors.
4.80 from 79 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine French


  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, for cooking potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • Cook the Potatoes – Add the halved potatoes to a large pot. Cover with 1 inch of cold water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain with a colander and set aside.
  • Make the Dressing – In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, honey, lemon juice, zest, vinegar, shallots, parsley, thyme, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and olive oil. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Mix the Potato Salad – Add warm potatoes to the dressing and stir to combine.
  • To Serve – Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate.


  • Potato Substitute: If fingerling potatoes are not available, you can use red, purple, yellow, or white baby potatoes (or a combination of all).
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 383kcal (19%)Carbohydrates 44g (15%)Protein 6g (12%)Fat 21g (32%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 15gSodium 381mg (16%)Potassium 95mg (3%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 750IU (15%)Vitamin C 83.3mg (101%)Calcium 0.1mgIron 3.1mg (17%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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26 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Adeline says

    Jessica, I have been enjoying your recipes. I just made your lemon garlic chicken for dinner and it was delicious!!!! Thank you for caring about how we all cook. You make us cooks look good!,,,,,,,❤️❤️

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can use dried herbs. I would reduce all of the fresh herbs by 1/3 to 1/2 the amount for dried. Let me know how it goes!

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