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Making Potato Salad (Plus 6 Recipes)

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Potato Salad is the most popular side dish of choice to serve at cookouts. This phenomenon is partly due to the versatility of the humble spud. Follow our easy tips with these 6 bonus recipes!

Potato Salad

The sheer volume of recipes nearly equals the number of people who prepare them. Of course, there are a few things to know before making one. Potato salads can contain ingredients that can spoil; remember that food safety is important. You also need to start with the right type of potato.

What is the difference between a hot and cold potato salad?

A potato salad is a combination of potatoes, dressing or mayonnaise, vegetables like onions and celery, seasonings, and sometimes eggs. Because dressings and mayonnaise can spoil quickly, these salads must be kept cool from the start. Some varieties are prepared and served hot, but creamy salads must remain cold at all times. This includes letting the potatoes cool down significantly after you have boiled them. Doing so will maintain a cooled environment from the onset of preparation. See the boiling section for how to cool off your boiled potatoes.

Hot potato salads are dressed in lemon juice, or vinegar. Seldom do they contain mayonnaise. The boiled potatoes are drained, tossed in a warm dressing, and served with item like cooked bacon bits or capers.

Potatoes
Lars Blankers

What is the best potato for potato salad?

While this seems like a simple dish, you can improve your salads by choosing the right potato. The traditional potato is, of course, the russet or Idaho potato. This potato comes in big bags at the grocery store. While this is an excellent choice for baking and French fry making, it is not necessarily the right choice for potato salads. I recommend using high moisture, waxy potatoes like the red potato, Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold. I prefer the Yukon gold because they have a superior texture and lend themselves well to dressing.

Best practices for boiling potatoes

When boiling potatoes, try to get them to the perfect point of tenderness, and then get them right out of the hot water. Potatoes are boiled whole or cut into smaller pieces. The boiling time reduces with smaller pieces. It’s best to add salt to the water before you add the potatoes. When the potatoes are tender enough to bite through, and before it becomes mushy, remove them from the water by draining them.

Potato salad in bowl

How can I add flavor to a potato salad?

Salad dressings or mayonnaise are typical, but the seasonings are entirely your choice. Try diced vegetables like onions, celery, diced pickles, or diced jalapenos. Fresh herbs like dill and flavorful mustards like Dijon are also good additions. Experiment, get creative and make it your masterpiece. Now that you have all the ins and outs, try some of our popular recipes!

potato salad with bacon in a red bowl

1) Bacon Lovers Potato Salad

If you love the goodness of a loaded baked potato, then this bacon lovers delight is for you. The potatoes are coated in a delectable mixture of blue cheese, green onions, and bacon; chilled, and then served. If you’re looking for a simple, homemade side dish, I recommend this one. Serve this at your next BBQ, potluck, or game day party.

Hawaiian potato salad made with spam

2) Hawaiian Potato Salad

This easy, creamy Hawaiian-style salad contains a little spam, a hit of lemon juice, and loads of delicious flavor. Serve this homemade salad with grilled and baked meats or vegetables.

Tangy mustard potato salad with red onions in a white bowl.

3) Tangy Mustard Potato Salad

This Southern-style Tangy Mustard based salad contains all of the goodness of a classic creamy variety, with an extra mustard zing!

Texas Potato Salad in white bowl

4) Texas Potato Salad

A homemade Texas favorite combines the creaminess of mayonnaise and mustard with a kick of pickled jalapenos. Truly a delicious homemade side dish that is perfect for potlucks and BBQs.

herb and caper salad with potatoes and red onions

5) Herb and Caper Potato salad

This herb and caper salad is so good; it’s worth eating all by itself! Warm potato salads make the perfect year-round side dish for cookouts, potlucks, or family dinners. The combination of flavors means this salad can hold up against some of the boldest mains. We recommend serving this herb and caper potato salad with pork chops, grilled fish, chicken, or traditional BBQ meats.

Deviled Egg Potato Salad

6) Deviled Egg Potato Salad

This Deviled Egg Potato Salad is so delicious and creamy that you’ll want to serve this Southern staple at your next cookout. You will love this side dish if you are a deviled egg lover.

Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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