What I’m Making: Potato Salad

I make a lot of potato salad over the summer months. I love that I can make it and it can be a big portion of the meal or can be a side with other salads. I make mine a lot like my mom made hers. Of course, there is no real recipe…that’s the story of almost all of my best recipes.

On this day, we had it with Coney Islands and Kelli’s pickle salad.

I always start out with 8-9 eggs.

and about 5 pounds of potatoes.

I prep mine in my Instant Pot…I do them at the same time. I put water and potatoes in the bottom, then I put a bowl on top of the potatoes and put the eggs in it. Everything goes on manual temp for four minutes and I do a quick release. Everything gets drained and cooled. The eggs go immediately into cold water for the best peeling.

After that has cooled I chop an onion.

For the sauce I mix:
1 1/2 cups mayo
a couple of squirts of mustard
2 Tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
a little bit of milk

It all looks like this. Trust me, the recipe is so forgiving. Just mix this much up, put it in the salad and see if it needs more of something and add it.

Potato salad is one of those foods where the flavor and way people like it varies greatly. My son makes my recipe only he puts dill weed in his version. I jokingly told a friend one day who puts chopped pickles in her potato salad that we can’t be friends anymore. We all have a way we like to eat our potato salad and your job it to make it the way your family likes it.

I have a theory with potato salad that it’s always a little different because of the potatoes. On this day, I was using up potatoes that had just started getting “eyes”. They were drier and the mixture soaked into the potatoes more than usual. Fresher potatoes don’t absorb the sauce as much.

So…mix the eggs, potatoes, onions, and mix and see if you like. Adjust as necessary.

I’d love to hear in the comments how you make your potato salad. What do you do differently? Do you add pickles to yours?

50 thoughts on “What I’m Making: Potato Salad”

  1. I use an instant pot to cook the potatoes and eggs together. The only difference is that I crack the eggs into a bowl and put them on top of the potatoes. There is no need to peel the eggs. I do cool them quickly by putting the egg “loaf” bowl into another bowl with ice water.

    1. Betty Woodlee

      I mash my potatoes because that’s the way my husband likes it. I add relish instead of chopped pickles. I don’t use mustard only use mayonnaise. Again due to husband’s preference. I make potato salad a lot too.

  2. Mine is similar to yours except I don’t put sugar in mine. I never measure my mayonnaise, I just add until I get the right consistency.

  3. I do put pickles in mine . (sweet like bread and butter chopped pickles) Also chopped bell pepper and celery but not onions because I am allergic to onions.
    Seems like every family has their own way as well as every region. Yours sounds good! Since I use sweet pickles I don’t add sugar.

  4. I have never been able to make a decent potato salad. I’m gonna try your recipe here. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Close to yours. I add onions and celery and sometimes sourcream w/the mayo. I cook potatoes in my pressure cooker. I top the salad with sprinkled dill weed, paprika and sliced hardboiled eggs. No sugar.

    1. I don’t have her recipe, but my daughter raised 2 athletic boys. ( She called them the 6 foot silos ) She cubed 10 pounds of raw potatoes before cooking. When the potatoes were warm, she added dressing, seasoning & eggs. She also made 10 pounds of scalloped potatoes & ham at a time & they could eat anytime they came home.

  5. I just made some potato salad today. I make mine quite similar to yours, but I do add celery. The dressing is 2 cups mayo, 4 T. sugar, 1 T. Vinegar, 1 T. mustard, and 1 T. celery seed. I will use salt/pepper to taste. I usually make a full recipe of the dressing even though I may not use it all. I put in fridge so it is ready to make more salad and I often use it in other salads I might make. Both of my sisters use this same recipe.

  6. I take mayo usually Miracle whip as I like tang, milk, pepper, celery salt , onion, mustard and put in food processor as this way onion is very finely chopped. Potatoes always cooked in skin and peeled after boiled and chopped. Sauce poured over warm potatoes so potatoes absorb flavor. No eggs ever in my potatoe salad sorry

  7. Rebecca Burch

    I don’t add “pickles” per se but I put a little bit of pickle juice (from the jar) in my dressing so the pickle flavor is there. Sometimes I also throw in a (tiny) pinch of garlic powder. I, too, love potato salad… regular & German.

    1. Nance in Reno

      I hate scrubbing and peeling potatoes, so I use a bag of frozen Potatoes O’Brien in a microwave safe bowl with lid. I add 1/4 cut of water and microwave it with lid on 14 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through time. Don’t drain. Season with mayo, mustard, etc.
      I used to only make macaroni salad because I dislike peeling potatoes and would ask my mother-in-law to bring the potato salad

  8. If I am in a rush, I mix Thousand Island dressing in with the mayo instead of pickles, sugar, mustard or milk. We like it a lot, but not quite as good as grandma’s.

  9. Well, Jo, my potato salad is vastly different from everything I’ve read so far…I used potatoes, chopped celery, onion and green pepper, as well as thinly sliced radishes and chopped hard boiled eggs, reserving several to slice over the top after the dressing goes on. The dressing is mayonnaise, a little sugar, a little milk to thin, and salt and pepper. Both my very German Grandmother and my very German mother-in-law made it this way and I’ve carried on the family tradition…and passed it along to my kids!

  10. Nance in Reno

    I hate scrubbing and peeling potatoes so I use a bag of frozen Potatoes O’Brien in a microwave safe bowl with lid. I add 1/4 cut of water and microwave it with lid on 14 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through time. Don’t drain. Season with mayo, mustard, etc.
    I used to only make macaroni salad because I dislike peeling potatoes and would ask my mother-in-law to bring the potato salad

  11. Being from the south, most of our potato salad is made similar to yours without milk and sugar with salad cubes added. My mom used chopped onions in hers and I have added onions to mine on occasion. Salt and pepper to taste. We call it mustard potato salad. I do a pasta salad with mayonnaise and salad cubes. I have substituted ranch dressing instead of mayonnaise.

  12. My mom’s secret ingredient was Miracle Whip — homemade potato salad just doesn’t taste the same without it. And no mustard. And when we were kids (60 years ago) and when things were busy, she bought ordinary potato salad at the supermarket deli and fancied it up with radishes, cukes, hard-boiled eggs, etc., so that we all thought it was home-made. No secrets there!

  13. Linda M White

    I don’t have a recipe either, just use ingredients until it seems right. One thing I do differently is after I peel and chop the warm potatoes, I add Italian salad dressing and stir to coat the potatoes. I add finely diced onion and celery along with relish, mayo, about a tablespoon of mustard, salt, pepper and some garlic powder or garlic pepper. I add 3 or 4 diced boiled eggs.
    I don’t use baking potatoes as I don’t like that grainy texture. I prefer redskins, but will also use whites or yellows.

  14. Marlene Clausen

    Pretty much the same, except if I have it, I add chopped celery and chopped bell pepper of any color. I also, usually, make my own mayo. The number of eggs varies w/what I have on hand. Always at least six up to a dozen and adjust potatoes accordingly: fewer eggs/fewer potatoes. I think the basic like yours in the standard Iowa version of potato salad and what I’ve eaten all my life! Thinking about it, I believe Mom always used Denison Mustard in hers because we lived where they made it and it was always in the frig.

  15. Jo, Mine is similar to yours, except I add chopped celery and radishes, and instead of sugar, I add a tablespoon of Cool Whip (that was my mom’s “secret ingredient”)!

  16. I boil my eggs and potatoes together, I prefer the red. I chop onions, celery and pickles and throw everything in with the cooled potatoes and eggs. I never use a recipe for the dressing but I do use mayo, mustard, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper, water and Worcestershire sauce. I mix my dressing in a bowl and pour it over the vegetables and then add more seasonings if needed. I’m picky about flavor and this turns out delicious. I have a bag of potatoes ready for July 4th.

  17. Mine is pretty similiar to yours. I use Miracle Whip, not mayo, growing up there was never mayo in the house. I also add celery and pickle juice to mine. I use green onion. I make the sauce the day before and add the onion to the sauce so the flavors blend. Adjust as needed to taste. Potato salad is a take it or leave it food for me but my son LOVES it so I make it a few times a summer.

  18. 5 lb of unpeeled baby red potatoes cut and quickly boiled until slightly tender and still plenty firm, then drained, rinsed, and cooled. Pat dry with paper towels. Add at least a dozen rough chopped hard boiled eggs, lots of dill pickles cut up (fairly large dice) and sliced black olives. Dressing is mayo, a small squirt of yellow mustard, black pepper, celery salt, and table salt to taste. Use just enough dressing to thoroughly coat but not be too goopy. Make a day ahead if possible so flavors come together in the frig. If too dry after overnight, add more mayo and seasonings. Serve with paprika sprinkled over the top. Make sure you taste test for flavor. My family loves this version.
    I appreciate everyone sharing their recipe. Thank you.

  19. My potato salad is very close to your recipe; I don’t put mustard, pickles, or sugar in mine though – I add a couple of shakes of Italian seasoning. I use a few less potatoes but add an extra egg or two. My son-in-law (an immigrant from Laos) loves it and always teases me that I didn’t make enough!
    You’re right – everyone has their own favorite. There is no right or wrong – we all seem to want many of the same foods we grew up with.

  20. I use mayo, mustard, eggs,onion flakes,and salt. Peel red potaotes as they dont get mushy. I don’t cube potatoes. I use the larger holes on a box grater. Saves so much time. It is super moist . Enough mayo to make creamy. You could add milk if wanted creamier but I don’t. My fam loves this. Great with a good hamburger or maidrite. A favorite summer meal.

  21. Shirley from Calmar

    My mom worked for a caterer and she made it similar to yours but used miracle whip and “splash” of vinegar.

  22. I don’t make potato salad very often. I have to admit , it’s not my most favourite salad. But when I do, I fry up bacon and onion, add it to the potatoes, then add hard boiled eggs, a bit of mixed herbs, some dill, and then mayonnaise. I like the sound of some of the other things that people add, like radish, pickle, bell pepper. I will have to keep these in mind for when I make it again. Here in Australia, it’s winter, not really salad weather.

  23. Blue Plate or Hellman’s mayo, squirt or two of mustard, a half teaspoon of dry mustard, chopped sweet pickles (preferably my grandma’s recipe), chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste. I dice my potatoes and put them into the Instant Pot with the eggs. It is so easy to do the potatoes in the Instant Pot that I make potato salad more often now.

  24. My recipe is similar to most listed here but I do add diced celery and dill pickles and maybe a little of the pickle juice. I prefer to use red or yukons than russets, because they hold their shape better after cooking. I boil my potatoes whole with the eggs and rinse them under cold water when done then dice. I Save one egg back to slice and put on the top with a sprinkle of paprika. Mayo only in this house but I did notice it is now modified so I’m making less foods that use it. So sad.

  25. I make potato salad so rarely! but my aunt SWEARS that I needed to use red potatoes, boiled w the skins on, allowed to cool, then skins come right off, sliced or chunked into a bowl. Add chopped celery, onions green or just yellow mayo (she preferred Miracle whip) sugar if needed, salt and pepper.
    Slice hard boiled eggs on top for a garnish and add a sprinkle of paprika.
    So this is my Aunt Janey’s famous potato salad that I rarely make LOL

  26. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, I liked reading your version of potato salad, and all the others. Mom always used miracle whip dressing. I got tired of it and when I lived on my own I switched to Mayo, sour cream mustard plus salt pepper, a little garlic, green onions and red and yellow peppers. Plus eggs and sweet and dill pickles. The fun part is one holiday all of us girls brought potato salad for dinner and none of them were the same.

    1. I was the same way, switching to mayo when I was on my own, but then the potato salad never tasted as good! So now, back to Miracle Whip for potato salad and egg salad.

  27. I always love sampling different potato salads and often try new ingredients in mine, depending on what’s on hand. My basic recipe is to peel and chop potatoes (whatever kind I have on hand) then boil until slightly tender. Drain. Add Dukes mayonnaise, salt, pepper, diced celery, dash of sugar, dash of ground mustard, dill weed. Sometimes I add boiled eggs if I remembered to make them. Usually I forget. Growing up, we always had Miracle Whip (never had Mayonnaise for some reason, maybe it was more expensive?) so that’s what my mother used.

  28. Don’t laugh….mind is completely different since I eat plant based…no animal products. So, no eggs or Mayo.
    I use russet potatoes, onion, celery, bell peppers, and dill pickles. But, the dressing base is white beans! You add mustard, red wine vinegar, tahini, and spices. If I didn’t tell you, you would never know it was beans. My husband likes it better than regular potato salad.

  29. I have never heard of adding milk to potato salad. Since I am allergic to milk it will now be added to the avoid this food at potlucks list. I will also warn my son who is even more allergic than I am. I just break out in a rash, he has had more harsh reactions. My mother never added milk so I don’t either. My girls also make it the way I do with no milk.

  30. Well, since I’m from the potato state of Idaho, here’s my recipe! I boil a bunch of spuds and let them cool. Then I semi mash them, add a chopped sweet onion, about half a jar of chopped bread and butter pickles, several chopped celery ribs, celery seed and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, then add mayo and mustard to taste. Perfection!

  31. I think the overnight with French dressing and the cooked dressing is what makes this potato salad stand out. And is well worth the extra time. Of course without the magic bowl you will have a hard time getting the real thing.

    Cooked dressing:
    Mix 2 Tbsp flour
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp dry mustard
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1/4 tsp paprika
    Blend in 1 1/4 cups milk or water
    1/3 cup vinegar
    Bring to a boil and cook over low heat stirring more or less constantly. Cook a minute or so and then pour over one beaten egg. Return to heat and cook another minute. Add 1 Tbsp butter. Cool and refrigerate. Enough for at least 2 big bowls of potato salad.

    Enjoy and share with friends and family.

    .

  32. Janet in Iowa

    You and I make potato salad very similarly. It’s my son’s favorite thing of mine and he requests it almost every time we are going to see each other and have time to eat at home. I do add some pickle juice to the dressing mixture but don’t put actual pickles or relish into the potato salad. I’ve never done milk or sugar but I think that would be good!

  33. I’ve never seen potato salad like my Mom’s. She thinned her Mayo with real cream and it was very thin because that’s how Dad liked it.

  34. I start with 5lbs of russet taters, cooked in the instant pot with the skins and 12 eggs. Peel the taters, then cube them. Cool the eggs, peel and slice & dice. I use Miracle Whip, Watkins Potato Salad seasoning, sugar, salt, pepper, finely diced onion, a splash of pickle juice if needed. I like to mix it all together, let it sit for a day or two before serving.
    I loved reading everyone’s version of how to make it, I think I will add some radishes and peppers next time if I have them on hand.

  35. Karen Hamilton

    I use 1/2 mayo and 1/2 Miracle whip in the dressing, along with sugar, half and half, celery seed, salt and pepper. Potatoes, eggs, onions and celery make up the rest of it. Now I’m hungry for potato salad!

  36. I use 5 lbs of potatoes (cooked in their skins and then peeled), 12 to 18 hardboiled eggs, 1 quart of mayo, vinegar and a little water to thin taste add sugar if needed, 1 to 2 onions chopped fine, chopped celery at least 1 cup. Use an egg slicer to slice two eggs to decorated top of salad. Cut up potatoes and the rest of eggs mix together with salt and black pepper to taste and rest of the ingredients. Put sliced eggs on top and sprinkle with paprika. Chill before serving.

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