Red Potato Salad
This Red Potato Salad recipe is the perfect potluck side, or lunch side for work or a picnic. It’s an easy recipe 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! We’ll use minimal dressing ingredients but have a great balance of flavor and freshness.
When I go to parties in the summer or on a picnic, I’ll almost always bring some sort of sturdy salad like this. It’s the perfect side dish for a summer cookout.
Salmon Salad, Cranberry Chicken Salad, Caprese Pasta Salad, and Egg Salad are some of my other go-tos. It’s truly one of my favorite recipe categories. This is also a great side for dishes like Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Oven BBQ Pork Spare Ribs.
What Makes This Recipe The Best
Seasoning the water – By seasoning the boiling water heavily with salt, just like when you make pasta, that allows the salt to penetrate the potato. This is great because the salted water seasons the flesh on the inside and makes for tender red potatoes.
A knockout dressing – We’ll make a quick homemade dressing that has a great balance of creaminess and tang. It’s delicious! This is creamy potato salad that isn’t drowning in mayo.
Fresh herbs and vegetables to add crunch and texture – Because potatoes are so neutral, it’s important to add other ingredients for flavor, and to ensure a delicious recipe. The bits of crunchy celery, scallions, chives, and more add both texture and flavor that is absolutely heavenly.
Step by Step Overview:
Start with the dressing so it’s ready to go for when the potatoes are hot. That way they absorb the tangy dressing and flavor really nicely.
Combine mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, red or white wine vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper in a large 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 variety of potatoes should you use?
The best kind of potato to use for potato salad is any of the “waxy potatoes,” like red bliss 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 skin potatoes and put them in a large pot. How I cut them totally depends on my mood, and both work great.
Cover the potatoes completely with cold 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 rolling 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 of cooking time after the water is boiling, or until fork tender.
Then drain them in a colander, and let them sit for a few minutes at room temperature to let the steam escape a bit.
While the potatoes are still warm, toss them with the dressing, then add chopped celery, scallions (aka green onions), and chives:
You can either serve this warm (which I love) or you can chill it for a few hours before enjoying.
Potato Croquettes, Steak Fries, and Potato Gratin are some of my other favorite potato dishes.
I have a whole section of potato recipes in my recipe index if you want more ideas. Enjoy!
A great potato salad is one that caters to your preferred tastes and ingredients. Here are some ideas for variations you can try.
Herbs – You may use other herbs that you enjoy here, such as fresh dill.
Sour cream – For a more heavily dressed and creamy red potato salad, add 1/4 cup of full fat sour cream to the dressing.
Hard boiled eggs – Combine the greatness of an Egg Salad with potato salad by adding hard-boiled eggs to the mix. Double the dressing and add up to 12 hard boiled eggs.
Onion – Instead of green onions, you can thinly sliced or chopped red onion instead. Or try pickled red onion or shallots to reduce the bite.
Lemon – Swap the white or red wine vinegar out for fresh lemon juice in the creamy dressing for extra fresh flavor.
Bacon – Add crispy bacon bits to the dressing, and extra on top for garnish.
FAQ and Tips
You can absolute scale the recipe as needed, you are really only limited by the size of pot you have. You may need to boil the potatoes for longer since it may take longer for the pot of water to reach a boil.
That means different things to everyone, but it is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and paleo.
Yes, but I recommend only making it up to 1 day ahead though, so the flavor is still fresh and at its peak.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 days. After that the flavor starts to deteriorate too much.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
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 season with enough salt that it tastes like ocean water, about a couple tablespoons. Then 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!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new pictures, writing, and more tips in August 2018. Originally published July 2014.
94 Comments on “Red Potato Salad”
Not sure how long ago I saved this recipe but finally made it today and it is VERY GOOD!! I almost always “tweak” a bit based on comments but this time only added a bit more seasoning (McCormick’s garlic herb blend, paprika & pepper). I halved the recipe and substituted shallot for chives (NOTE: I only used 1 Tbl of shallot based on google search about substituting)
Great Recipe—My only suggestion is to top with bacon bits!
Delicious! I was in a pinch for a potluck and made this recipe. Had to substitute with apple cider vinegar and brown spicy and yellow mustard instead of Dijon. Added some bacon. It was a huge hit!!! Will definitely make this a regular in our house:-)
This is delicious !! My whole family loved it! I added bacon!!
I know you mentioned seasoning the water in the introduction but I didn’t see it in the recipe. How much salt do you recommend?
Hi Amy, I added extra notes to the recipe box, but it should taste like ocean water. It usually takes a couple tablespoons of salt, but this varies slightly depending on how much water you have in the pan and also what kind of salt you’re using. Table salt is “saltier” (more dense) than kosher salt. So taste is the best guide, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Hope that helps.
Too much potato over sauce ratio
Great recipe. It seems though that it could use more of the spices than it states so don’t be afraid the be generous with the mustard, salt and pepper and red wine vinegar. Seasoned salt helps too.
Wry good, but only vegetarian if you used vegetarian mayo.
Had a birthday lunch and was blown away by this potato salad . Best I haver ever tasted.
I loved this recipe I’ve been making potato salad forever and this was the best ever – I didn’t overcook the potato like I usually do so thank you for that and the dressing is wonderful I’ll always make it this way from now on – used cider vinegar and cilantro cause that was what I had wow so good !
I love this recipe! I added sweet onion to the potatoes while they were cooking as someone else had recommended and I loved it. Also I use half mayo and half nonfat Greek yogurt to add a little protein to the salad.
Loved it! Thank you!
I did not like this. When warm it has a heavy vinegar taste and when cold is obviously missing something when tasted. A shame, it made a large amount and no one at my cookout would eat it.