Cooking Basics

How do you make potato salad?

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Bowl of potato salad
It's so simple to make delicious potato salad!
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Rule 1 of how you make potato salad: Potato salad should not come in a tub

Whether it's for a picnic, a potluck or just as a side dish, potato salad is a favorite across the country.  But you don't have to buy that pre-made stuff from the grocery store if you know how to make potato salad from scratch.

Potato Salad Basics

So how do you make potato salad?  It starts with the right potatoes. Baking potatoes will make a mushy salad, so select small, firm potatoes like red skins, Yukon Golds or very fresh russets. Then select your favorite style -- here are two easy recipes to get you started.

Southern Potato Salad

This potato salad is equally at home with a plate of bar-b-que, a burger or a tuna salad sandwich.


  • 1 pound firm red potatoes, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg, cooled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise ( if you prefer, Soy Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Thoroughly scrub potatoes and remove any eyes with the tip of your knife
  • Put potatoes into a large pot, cover completely with water, and bring to a boil
  • Boil potatoes until just fork-tender, drain and allow to cool
  • Peel potatoes (or leave the skins on for extra nutrition)
  • Cut potatoes into small cubes
  • In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, chopped egg, celery and onion
  • Stir mayonnaise mixture into potatoes and stir gently to coat.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Chill before serving

Tangy Mustard Potato Salad

If you want to learn how to make potato salad with a little more of a kick, give this mustard potato salad recipe a try.


8 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and chilled
6 hard boiled eggs, crumbled
2 cups Vadalia onions, diced fine
1 cup celery, diced fine (about 2-3 stalks)
3/4 cup firm dill pickles, diced fine (choose a refrigerated pickle for better crunch)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup pickle juice (yes, the stuff right out of the jar)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons course Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon sugar


  • Scrub the potatoes and remove any eyes
  • Boil potatoes without peeling them
  • Cook the potatoes until fork tender, then drain
  • Let the potatoes cool to room temperature 
  • Peel, if you choose
  • Chill the potatoes
  • Cut into small cubes
  • In a separate bowl, combine the onions, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, pickle juice, cream, salt, pepper, and sugar and stir to combine well
  • Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Add additional mayonnaise if the salad is dry (some potatoes soak up a lot, some a little)
  • Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Refrigerate until cold.

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