May 20, 2024


Than a Food Fitter

Our Best Potato Salad – A Couple Cooks

5 min read


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

Potato Salad

There are loads of ways to make a good potato salad: German or French, loaded with dill or tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. But the type that holds our hearts is the American classic: just like Grandma’s or the grocery store deli counter! Here’s our best potato salad made the American way: creamy, tangy and sweet, and loaded with crunchy onions and pickles. It’s that pale yellow color that betrays the combination of mustard and mayo, and is destined for stardom at your next cookout or picnic. Prepare yourself in advance for the question: Can you bring that potato salad again?

Ingredients for the best potato salad recipe

Here’s how to make potato salad: the American way! Gather up your bottles of mayo, mustard and pickle relish for this one. This retro-style festival of condiments really does make for the best pop of flavor. We’ve made some updates to the classic recipe, adding Greek yogurt to stand in for a little mayo and fresh dill for an herbaceous pop. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Yukon gold potatoes: the variety here is important! Also called gold potatoes, 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
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Yellow mustard and Dijon mustard
  • Celery seed
Potato salad

How to make potato salad

The trickiest part of how to make potato salad? Boiling the potatoes! There are several variations on the best way to do so. Critics argue over whether to peel and chop before or after boiling. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Quarter the Yukon gold potatoes, then place in a pot of cold water. Leave the skins on: they’ll come off easily later.
  • Boil the potatoes 8 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and rinse them under cold water.
  • Pop off the skins with your fingers, then chop into smaller pieces. When they’re cool enough to touch, the skins come off easily after boiling. Another trick? Sprinkle them with vinegar and salt before mixing (read more below).
  • Mix the potatoes with the sauce and vegetables. Chop the veggies, mix the sauce, and add it all together. Go to the recipe below for quantities.
  • Chill 2 hours. This salad tastes great right away, but it’s best when it’s cold. If possible, refrigerate it for 2 hours before serving.

Tips and ingredient notes

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

  • Sprinkle the potatoes with vinegar and salt, and let stand for 5 minutes before dressing. This trick from Julia Child is also part of our French Potato Salad recipe. It infuses the potatoes with tangy flavor before dressing them, which amplifies the flavor of the dish.
  • Use sweet pickle relish for a classic flavor, or dill pickles for more savory notes. Sweet pickle relish adds just the right sweetness to the overall mixture. But chopped dill pickles work too: they intensify the savory notes.
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream pair perfectly with mayo. 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.
Potato salad

Storage info

This 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 best potato salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, go to Vegan Potato Salad.


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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 15 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: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Potato salad, potato salad recipe


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