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How long to boil potatoes for potato salad? Should they be peeled? Here’s a guide for various styles of this classic dish.

Potato Salad
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Want to make potato salad? You can wing it if you know one thing: how long to boil the potatoes! Interestingly, there are a few nuances to boiling potatoes: whether to boil them whole or cut, and whether to peel them or leave the peel on. It all depends on the style of potato salad: so here are the best practices for each type!

How long to boil potatoes for potato salad

The boiling time depends on the size of the cut potatoes. For potato salad, we recommend chopping medium to large potatoes into large chunks before boiling. After they’re cooked, chop them into bite-sized pieces: this helps the potatoes to cook more evenly and stay together. You can dice the potatoes before boiling if you prefer (though there’s a greater risk of becoming soggy), or boil them whole (which takes longer).

  • Boil large potato cubes for 8 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Then peel if desired.
  • Boil baby potatoes or diced potatoes for about 10 minutes, until fork tender.
  • Boil whole large potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Then dice into smaller pieces.

Should you peel potatoes for potato salad?

It depends on the type of potato salad you’re making! Here’s a rule of thumb:

  • For creamy American-style potato salad, use Yukon gold potatoes. Quarter before boiling, then peel after boiling by pulling them off with your fingers: they slip right off! Then dice into bite-sized pieces.
  • For French-style red potato salad, use baby red potatoes. Boil them whole, then slice in half after boiling: no need to peel!
  • For German potato salad, recommendations vary. Some recipes use red skinned potatoes and keep the skins, others maintain the potatoes should always be peeled. It’s up to you!

Potato salad recipes

See below for the recipe for our favorite Creamy Potato Salad! There are as many potato salad recipes as home cooks around the world. Here are a few of our favorites:

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Potato Salad

How Long to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style salad is creamy and classic: maybe even better than Grandma’s.


  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes*
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced (both white and green portions)
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish (or chopped dill pickles)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard (or 2 yellow and 1 tablespoon Dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed


  1. Boil the potatoes: Quarter the potatoes, keeping the skins on. Place them in a large saucepan filled with cold water. Bring it to a boil and cook for 8 to 12 minutes until tender when pricked with a fork. Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold water. Allow to cool slightly, then peel the skins off with your fingers and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the white wine vinegar and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Mix and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the salad: Slice the celery stalks in half lengthwise, then thinly slice them. Thinly slice the green onions. Mince the red onion. Chop the dill.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt or sour cream, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, celery seed, 1 tablespoon of the white wine vinegar, ¾ of the teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Add the potatoes, celery, green onion, red onion, and sweet pickle relish and stir until fully combined. For best results, chill 2 hours before serving. Stores 5 days refrigerated.


*The variety here is important: use Yukon gold or gold potatoes for best results.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. gayle rush says:

    Hi. I am trying your potato salad today and will get back to you afterward. So glad I found you and look forward to trying more of your reciipes. I am a chef with a brain injury and memories are just coming back but I do remember loving to prepare food and experiment with ingredients, Right now I am happy when I find recipes like yours. I will respond if iI remember or you can write back to me to inquire. Keep up the great work you two. Hugs to both of you, Gayle

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I hope you enjoy! Thank you for reading.

  2. Camille says:

    Yummy yummy yummy yes, it was definitely try it!!!

  3. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!