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Classic Potato Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for a crowd pleaser for a pot luck, this Classic Potato Salad recipe is it. It’s made with potatoes and hard boiled eggs and tastes like nostalgia.

For more ideas, check out all of our recipes.

A blue bowl filed with classic American potato salad with the words "Classic Potato Salad" digitally written on top.

If you go to any summer barbecue, you’re going to find potato salad. When I’m making it, I want to jazz it up. And I usually do make a fancy potato salad. But, classics are a classic for a reason. And so, a lot of people just want a classic American potato salad at a cookout. 

If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck. This is our Classic Potato Salad recipe.

It’s really simple to make and you can make it ahead of time. That’s great because if you’re hosting a barbecue, there’s so much to do the day of. So this potato salad is something you can cross off your list the day before, making the day of the party just a little easier.

And, if you have extra potatoes and need something else to do with them, we have a huge list of potato recipes. So you can definitely find something else for your party.

A side salad with croutons on it and dressing in the back with the words "Easy Side Salad Recipes Pasta Salads, Potato Salads, Green Salads & more" digitally written on top.

Potato salad is the perfect side dish for a barbecue. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our list of Easy Side Salad Recipes. There are recipes for pasta salad, lettuce salad, and more.

Classic Potato Salad Recipe

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Classic Potato Salad Ingredients:

How To Make A Classic Potato Salad:

Salt being added to a pot that has water being poured into it.

Bring a large pot of cold water, along with a tablespoon of salt, to a boil over high heat.

Don’t skip the salt. This is the only real way to impart any flavor into the potatoes. Without the salt, they’ll be plain, making your potato salad really plain.

Diced potatoes in a white bowl being poured into a pot of water.

While the water is coming to a boil, peel and chop the potatoes into evenly sized chunks.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water, and boil them for 15 minutes until you get fork-tender potatoes.

Cooked diced potatoes in a colander.

Drain the potatoes and add them to a large bowl.

Three eggs in a bowl on water on a stove.

While the potatoes are boiling, boil the eggs.

Small aside: You can boil your eggs however you want, but we have a post about how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs that you might want to check out.

Separated egg yolks and egg whites.

Peel the eggs and separate the yolk and the white.

Egg whites chopped into pieces.

Rough chop the egg whites and add them to bowl with the potatoes.

Mayonnaise, egg yolk, and milk in a white bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolk, milk, mustard, garlic powder, and the remaining salt until you create a creamy dressing.

A yellow dressing being poured onto chopped egg whites and diced potatoes.

Pour the yolk mixture over the potatoes and egg whites.

Classic potato salad in a blue bowl.

Slowly mix until everything is coated. You want to do this with hot potatoes, rather than waiting for them to cool, because warm potatoes will help melt the dressing a little and easily coat the potatoes completely.

Wait until the potato salad has cooled to room temperature, then store the potato salad in the fridge until it’s time to serve.

A blue bowl filled with Classic Potato Salad.

Classic Potato Salad: Frequently Asked Questions

What type of potatoes are best for potato salad?

Personally, I think Russet potatoes are the best for potato salad. They have a higher starch content than other potatoes. Some of that is pulled out during the cooking process. But, starchy potatoes will get a little mushier and give a creamy texture to the potato salad.

Waxy potatoes, like Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes, aren’t as starchy and hold up more when they’re boiled. That means your potato salad has more integrity, which is not the way grandma used to make it.

Should you peel potatoes before boiling for potato salad?

When you’re making potato salad, you definitely want to peel the potatoes before boiling them, especially if you’re using Russet potatoes. If you use unpeeled potatoes, some of the skin will fall off when you’re boiling the potatoes, but the majority of the skin will stay behind. That gives a really distracting mouth feel to the potato salad. The potato skins don’t absorb the dressing or flavor like the white does, so they’re dry and takes away from the texture of creamy potato salads.

Some potatoes have a thinner skin, which basically melt when you’re boiling them. But, since we suggest using Russet potatoes in potato salad, we suggest you peel them.

Can you make potato salad ahead of time?

You absolutely can make potato salad ahead of time. It actually tastes better the next day because the flavors have time to meld together.

Is there a way to speed up potato salad?

So, here’s a fun tip I learned while watching a cooking show not too long ago. Boil potatoes and eggs at the same time in the same pot.

Potatoes will take 15 minutes and eggs will take about 12 minutes to get to the perfect consistency. So, add your potatoes, then, three minutes later, add the eggs. Drain everything at the same time.
This leaves you some extra space on your stovetop because you only use one burner. It also makes your life a little easier because you’ll only have one pot to wash.

And, as an extra perk, salted water actually makes hard boiled eggs easier to peel. So, you’re doing yourself a favor by boiling them in the same pot as the potatoes.

How do you store leftover potato salad?

Store any leftover potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last about three to five days in the fridge.

Can I use Dijon mustard as a substitute for potato salad?

Dijon mustard is delicious. It has a nice, tangy flavor that adds a lot of taste to potato salad.

However, this is a classic potato salad recipe. And, back in the day, the sweet, yellow mustard is what everyone used. So, if you want to keep this classic, use yellow mustard. Plus, yellow mustard add more of a yellow coloring to the potato salad, which is the color you expect to see with a classic potato salad.

A silver bowl with a label that says "Loaded Potato Salad" on it with potato salad inside.

More Potato Salad Recipes:

This classic recipe isn’t the only easy potato salad recipe we have on Drugstore Divas. If you want a similar one with eggs and potatoes, but with a twist, try our Deviled Egg Potato Salad. The potato salad dressing in it is seasoned in the same way that deviled eggs are seasoned, giving it a really nice depth of flavor.

For something different, try our Loaded Potato Salad. It has crispy bacon, green onions, sour cream, and cheese — and that potato salad tastes just like a loaded potato. And then there’s our Avocado Potato Salad, which has no mayonnaise and is actually an accidentally vegan recipe.

Yield: 10 Servings

Classic Potato Salad

If you’re looking for a crowd pleaser for a pot luck, this Classic Potato Salad recipe is it. It’s made with potatoes and hard boiled eggs and tastes like nostalgia.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of cold water, along with a tablespoon of salt, to a boil over high heat.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, peel and chop the potatoes into evenly sized chunks.
  3. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, and boil them for 15 minutes until you get fork-tender potatoes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and add them to a large bowl.
  5. While the potatoes are boiling, boil the eggs.Peel the eggs and separate the yolk and the white.
  6. Rough chop the egg whites and add them to bowl with the potatoes.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolk, milk, mustard, garlic powder, and the remaining salt until you create a creamy dressing.
  8. Pour the yolk mixture over the potatoes and egg whites.
  9. Slowly mix until everything is coated. 

Notes

Don't skip salting the water.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 276Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 65mgSodium 1004mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 5g

Have you made this Classic Potato Salad recipe? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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