No summertime picnic or potluck would be complete without a Southern Potato Salad! Bites of tender potatoes, hard boiled eggs, pickles, onions and celery make this side dish delicious. It’s all held together by the most flavorful creamy dressing!
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When you’re not sure what to bring to a potluck or picnic, stick with something classic like this southern potato salad! It’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser since just about everyone loves it. You’ll find no unnecessary frills here or complicated steps – just classic ingredients and easy steps that yield the best results every single time.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this potato salad recipe is the most satisfying! It’s all about the combination of creamy, savory potatoes combined with the tang of mustard and a touch of sweetness from sweet pickles. It’s a combination of flavors and consistencies that really hits the spot and goes well with just about everything fresh off the grill!
I also really love that this recipe is totally budget-friendly. Nothing on this list of ingredients is hard to find or will break the bank. Just simple, classic potato salad ingredients that are held together by the most mouthwatering (and also easy to make) creamy dressing that features mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar.
Ingredients in Southern Potato Salad
Potatoes – If you’re wondering what potatoes to use in a southern potato salad, I always recommend russet! It’s not as starchy as some others so it won’t turn into glue while you’re trying to cut them. These potatoes are also smooth, fluffy, and tender, which makes them perfect for this potato salad.
Hard Boiled Eggs – I recommend aiming for a ratio of potatoes and eggs where the eggs don’t get lost among too much potatoes. The point of this salad is to feature a balanced combination of both.
Onion – A yellow or vidalia onion is preferred for the best touch of natural sweetness.
Celery – Celery provides a fresh crunch that this smooth salad needs to change up the textures.
Sweet Pickles – While some recipes call for relish, I prefer using pickles in my potato salad. Pickles bring in more crunch and less sweetness at the same time. You can add more pickles than relish without overpowering other flavors.
Mayonnaise -There’s quite a bit of mayo in this potato salad, so make sure to choose your favorite one because the flavor will come through clearly.
Mustard – I’m just going to come out and say it – I do not like yellow mustard! Because of the harsh and overpowering flavor of yellow mustard, I use Grey Poupon Dijon mustard instead. I find the flavor a lot more complimentary to other ingredients.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Southern Potato Salad
Boil the potatoes – Rinse your potatoes and place them in a pot. Fill the pot with cold and make sure all potatoes are fully submerged. Bring the pot to boil, then lower the heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are tender (1). Drain the water and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Cook the eggs – Place eggs into the pot and add enough cold water to fully submerge the eggs. Heat up the eggs and water over medium-high heat until the water comes to a roaring boil. Cover with a lid and take off heat. Let eggs sit in the hot water, covered with a lid, for 10-13 minutes (1). Drain the eggs and let them cool to room temperature.
Peel and dice – Peel and dice the potatoes and eggs. Toss them into a large bowl.
Prep the other ingredients – Dice the pickles, onion, and celery into even sized pieces. Add it all to the mixing bowl (2) and gently mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
Make the dressing – Combine the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the mayo mixture to the potato mixture and mix everything together (3).
Enjoy – You can store your potato salad for later or serve right away.
Tips for the Best Southern Potato Salad
- Cook the potatoes and eggs ahead of time and give them enough time to cool down completely before cutting. It’s much easier to cut potatoes and hard boiled eggs when at room temperature.
- Dice the potatoes into small pieces. You want everything cut into small cubes so that it all mixes well and each bite has an even amount of ingredients.
- Peel the potatoes before cutting. There are many potato salads that are great with potato skins left on, but not this one. The texture of this potato salad is smooth, creamy, and tender and potato skins would really change the texture here.
- Mix the potato salad ingredients together first so that it’s evenly mixed. Then, add the dressing mixture. Mixing the potato salad twice will ensure that ingredients are incorporated evenly throughout.
- This potato salad can be served still warm or cold.
Yes! You can prepare this potato salad ahead of time partially or completely.
Potatoes and hard boiled eggs can be cooked the night before. Cook potatoes and hard boiled eggs, strain all the water, and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover both with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to prepare the salad.
Potato salad can also be prepared completely and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Store potato salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to keep the container covered nice and tight either with the lid or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, make sure to use a new sheet after each time you open it.
To minimize exposure to bacteria and extend life of potato salad, use a clean spoon each time you take out some potato salad.
I like to conduct a very simple fork test! Once the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, they’re fully cooked and ready to go.
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Southern Potato Salad Recipe
- 3 lbs Russet potatoes
- 8 eggs
- 6 oz sweet pickles
- 1 Vidalia onion
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Cooking potatoes:Rinse potatoes and place them in a pot. Fill the pot with cold water, making sure potatoes are covered. Bring the pot to boil and lower the heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are tender. (You can stick a fork into the middle of a potato to test it.) Drain off water and let potatoes cool to room temperature.
- Cooking eggs:Place eggs into the pot and add cold water to it. Add just enough water to cover the eggs. Heat up the eggs and water over medium-high heat until water comes to a roaring boil. Immediately cover with a lid and take off heat. Let eggs sit in the hot water, covered with a lid, for 10-13 minutes. Drain off water and let eggs cool to room temperature.
- Peel potatoes and eggs.
- Dice potatoes and eggs into small cubes and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Dice pickles, onion, and celery into even sized pieces and add it to the mixing bowl as well. Gently mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
- In a small bowl, combine mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the mayo mixture to the potato mixture and mix everything together.
- Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Potatoes: For this potato salad, I always recommend russet! It’s not as starchy as some others so it won’t turn into glue while you’re trying to cut them. These potatoes are also smooth, fluffy, and tender, which makes them perfect for this potato salad.
- Make ahead: cook potatoes and eggs ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days if needed. Make sure to drain the cooking water off. Store cooked potatoes and eggs in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator.
- Storing: Store leftover potato salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to keep the container covered nice and tight either with the lid or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, make sure to use a new sheet after each time you open it.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in May 2019.