Red Potato Salad
This Red Potato Salad recipe is the perfect potluck side, or lunch side for work or a picnic. It’s easy to make and has lots of fresh flavor and texture.
What makes or breaks a potato salad is whether there’s lots of flavor incorporated into the dish. Otherwise, potatoes can be quite bland and boring. That won’t be a problem for us today!
For potato salad in particular, I believe there are three essentials for making it delicious:
- Seasoning the boiling water heavily with salt, so salt penetrates the potato
- A knockout dressing with lots of flavor
- Fresh herbs and vegetables to add crunch and texture
It’s actually easy to accomplish this with relatively minimal ingredients!
When I go to parties in the summer or on a picnic, I’ll almost always bring some sort of sturdy salad like this.
How to Make Red Potato Salad:
Start with the dressing so it’s ready to go for when the potatoes are hot. That way they absorb the dressing and flavor really nicely.
Combine mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, red or white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl:
I love the combination of fats here, with the fruity flavor and aroma of the olive oil, and the creamy classic flavor of the mayonnaise. It’s so much better than a mayonnaise-only dressing.
Also, if you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend making some homemade mayonnaise for optimal flavor.
I think red or white wine vinegars are by far the best acids here, but champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar, and apple cider vinegar work too.
Whisk that together until creamy and smooth:
What are the best potatoes for potato salad?
I recommend “waxy potatoes,” like red potatoes or yukon gold, over the starchy ones like russet. They hold up better, whereas russets can fall apart into mush.
Slice (or chunk) some red potatoes and put them in a big pot. How I cut them totally depends on my mood, and both work great.
Cover the potatoes completely with cool water:
Next add a couple tablespoons of salt to the water:
I know it seems like a lot of salt, but the potatoes will only absorb a small amount of this water, and it will help season the potatoes “on the inside.”
Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat.
How long do you cook red potatoes for potato salad? It depends on how you cut them up, but about 5 minutes after the water is boiling, or until fork tender.
Then drain them in a colander, and let them sit for a few minutes to let the steam escape a bit.
While the potatoes are still warm, toss them with the dressing, then add chopped celery, scallions, and chives:
You can either serve this warm (which I love) or you can chill it for a few hours before enjoying.
I have a whole section of potato recipes in my recipe index if you want more ideas. Enjoy!
If you want to make this red potato salad for a crowd, you can scale the recipe as needed. You may need to boil the potatoes for longer since it may take longer for the pot of water to reach a boil.
Is this potato salad healthy? That means different things to everyone, but it is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and paleo.
Can potato salad be made ahead? Yes, I’d only make it up to 1 day ahead though, so the flavor is still fresh and at its peak.
How many days will potato salad last? In the fridge for about 4 days before the flavor starts to deteriorate too much.
Red Potato Salad
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2.5 lbs red potatoes, sliced or chunked
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup sliced scallions
- 1/3 cup sliced chives
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
- Place the cut up red potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes, plus an inch.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, and cook the potatoes until fork tender. The time will really vary depending on if you sliced the potatoes or cut them into chunks, and how large, but for me it usually only takes about 5 minutes once the water is boiling, about 10-15 minutes total.
- Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain them in a colander and let them sit for a few minutes for the excess steam to come off.
- While the potatoes are still warm, toss them well with the dressing.
- Stir in the celery, scallions, and chives, then serve warm or chill for several hours before serving. Enjoy!
Post updated with new pictures, writing, and more tips in August 2018. Originally published July 2014.