Classic Potato Salad

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Want to make the perfect classic potato salad? This recipe is simple and quick and you can doctor it up however you like.

Classic Potato Salad Recipe

Potato salad is my husband’s love language. Well, one of them, anyway. I can always make his tummy happy if there’s a bowl of potato salad in the fridge. Seriously, the man could eat the whole bowl if I let him.

The secret, however, is that my potato salad is pretty basic. When I go off roading, he doesn’t love it so much. This deli-style version is too sweet for him and he likes this loaded potato salad well enough. But, my classic potato salad?

Total love language.

This is a pretty straight forward recipe that you can doctor up any number of ways. My guy likes it just straight-up, but you can stir in chopped hard cooked eggs, red bell pepper, bacon, or pickles. Consider this a delicious canvas that you can edit to your heart’s content.

You can also switch up the salad even more by changing the type of potatoes and the type of vinegar. I like to use russets that tend to break down just a tad. (Red potatoes are a bit waxy and should hold their shape.) Wine vinegar gives this a nice zing. I use white wine vinegar so it doesn’t get any pink hue to it.

Classic Potato Salad Recipe

Classic Potato Salad

This classic salad is the perfect accompaniment to fried or grilled meats, making it a perfect dish for the warmer months. Pack it with sandwiches for a picnic or serve it alongside a ham for an easier make-ahead Sunday supper.

I like to add the vinegar and mayonnaise while the potatoes are still warm. This seems to help them absorb the flavors better and helps the potatoes to hold together. I stir in a little sour cream at the end to add a little tangy creaminess. You can add more mayonnaise if you like.

I look for potatoes on sale and buy as much as we can eat in a short amount of time. The mayo I tend to make myself. I know. Freak of nature that I am, I’ve gotten into the habit of making it about once a week.

This week I made three batches. I use dry herbs for this usually, but feel free to use fresh. Just use a bit more. Typically fresh herbs take three times the amount of dried.

Tools I use for this classic potato salad recipe:

These kitchen tools make the recipe process so much easier!

What’s YOUR favorite style of potato salad?

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Classic Potato Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Want to make the perfect potato salad? This recipe is simple and quick and you can doctor it up however you like.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: potato salad
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 369 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 5 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 batch 3/4 cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  1. In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Cool slightly.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar over the warm potatoes and allow that to soak in. Stir in the mayonnaise and distribute throughout. Season the potatoes with the salt, dill, pepper, and tarragon. Allow the salad to cool.
  3. Add the sour cream, celery, and scallions. Adjust seasonings. Chill under ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

Though you can serve the salad warm, it’s nice to let it chill several hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Potato Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 24mg8%
Sodium 487mg21%
Potassium 1261mg36%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 312IU6%
Vitamin C 34mg41%
Calcium 128mg13%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    We love potato salad too. It just screams Summertime! To my sliced potatoes, I add some chopped onion, hard-boiled eggs, mayo, yellow mustard, pickle juice, salt and pepper. The mustard gives it a little “zip” and gives the potato salad a nice color. I always use the Yukon Gold potatoes because whether the potatoes are in potato salad, mashed or any other way, they have such a nice golden color.

  2. Trish says

    I like to use a waxier potato, and I always have trouble when I try to boil the potatoes. I cannot seem to get the timing right, so I either end up with very mealy potatoes, or underdone, rather hard potatoes. I have taken to baking them to get it right. But that is problematic because I hate to use the oven during our brutally hot summers. ack!!!

    • How about cooking the whole potatoes in the crockpot? Then chop and make into potato salad. Takes some pre-planning, but that solves your oven issue.

  3. Micha says

    My favorite potato salad recipes are ones I use sliced jalapeño and homemade ranch dressing in or the one I make with bacon and sour cream in addition to mayonnaise.

  4. Potato salad is a staple at home. We love it so much. But while I do play with the recipe every once in a while, I always go back to the basic recipe because my kids love that more.

  5. Beth says

    Vinegar or mustard in the basic potato salad would earn dirty looks in my family. The favorite basic potato salad in our family is potatoes, eggs, mayo, salt, and pepper.

    The loaded potato sounds like something I might have to try, though. 🙂

    • One of the great things about potato salad is that you could easily mix two bowls so you can have it the way you want it. Love that.

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