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Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style version is creamy and classic: just like Grandma’s.

Potato Salad recipe
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There are lots of ways to make potato salad: German or French, loaded with dill, or tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. But the type that holds our hearts is that classic American potato salad recipe! You know, the kind that’s creamy and tangy sweet, loaded with crunchy onions and pickles? It’s that pale yellow color that betrays that it’s swirled with mayo and mustard, and it’s destined for stardom at your next cookout or picnic. Here’s our best potato salad recipe!

Ingredients for this potato salad recipe

Here’s how to make potato salad the American way! Gather up your bottles of mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish for this one. This festival of condiments really does make for the best pop of flavor! This is our spin on Grandma’s standard, with a few tweaks like fresh dill for an herbaceous pop. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Yukon gold potatoes: the variety here is important! They have a lightly sweet flavor and keep their shape when boiled. Do not substitute red skinned or russet potatoes!
  • White wine vinegar
  • Celery stalks
  • Green onions
  • Red onion
  • Fresh dill
  • Sweet pickle relish (or dill pickles)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Yellow mustard and Dijon mustard
  • Celery seed
Best Potato salad

How to make potato salad

The trickiest part of how to make potato salad? Boiling the potatoes! Other than that, it’s a simple matter of chopping and stirring. Critics argue over whether to peel and chop before or after boiling. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Quarter the potatoes, then place them in a pot of cold water. Leave the skins on: they’ll come off easily later.
  • Boil for 8 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and rinse them under cold water.
  • Pop off the skins with your fingers, then dice. When they’re cool enough to touch, the skins come off easily after boiling.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with vinegar and salt. This trick from Julia Child is also part of our French Potato Salad recipe. It infuses the potatoes with tangy flavor mixing them into the salad.
  • Mix all salad ingredients together, then chill 2 hours. This salad tastes great right away, but it’s best when it’s cold. See the recipe below for the ingredient list. If possible, refrigerate it for a few hours before serving.

Tips and ingredient notes

The method is simple, but it does take a bit of time to prepare this potato salad recipe. But don’t worry: it’s absolutely worth the effort in the end! Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Use sweet pickle relish for a classic flavor, or substitute dill pickles. Sweet pickle relish adds just the right sweetness to the overall mixture. But chopped dill pickles work too: they intensify the savory notes.
  • Sour cream pairs perfectly with mayo, or swap in Greek yogurt. Many salads use only mayo in the dressing. Adding Greek yogurt or sour cream in combination with it lightens the flavor. Greek yogurt also makes less calories and adds a slight tang.
  • Dijon mustard adds complexity. Yellow mustard is key to this classic recipe, but we love it with a little Dijon mustard in combination. We regularly stock both in our fridge. If you don’t, using 100% yellow mustard works too.
How to make potato salad

Storage info

This potato salad recipe just gets better over time! You can make a batch and store it in the refrigerator for days. Here are best practices when it comes to storage:

  • How long does potato salad last refrigerated? Up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better over time.
  • How long does potato salad last outside? Up to 1 hour. If serving outdoors, you can leave it unrefrigerated up to 1 hour, then return it to an ice-packed cooler.
  • How long does potato salad last at room temperature? Up to 2 hours. But try to minimize the time sitting at room temperature if possible.
  • Can you freeze potato salad? Freezing is not recommended because of the mayonnaise. Mayo doesn’t freeze well and can separate after freezing, and the potatoes can become discolored. Celery also doesn’t freeze well. The best way to extend the life is keeping it in the refrigerator.

Potato salad variations

Want to try another spin on this classic recipe? Here are a few variations that can compete with this tasty recipe:

This potato salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Potato Salad

Best Potato Salad


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5 from 1 review

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

Description

Here’s how to make the best potato salad recipe! This American-style version is creamy and classic: just like Grandma’s.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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 sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard (or 2 yellow and 1 tablespoon Dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • 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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Chamberlin says:

    Awesome recipe!!! Thanks so much. I used apple cider vinegar & mucho fresh dill. I let the potatoes cool for a half hour so the Mayo doesn’t break. Red onion & new spuds from the Farmer’s market was an added plus. My culinary critic, wife, thought it superb- you should see her boil water. A keeper!






  2. Olivia J says:

    I love potato salad! Thanks for this recipe you guys! I can’t wait to try and make this!