If you attend a BBQ at my parent’s house in the summer, there’s a 99% chance you’ll be served Judy’s Baked Beans, The BEST Pasta Salad, and Dirt Cake, or any combo of the three, but always, always, always Mom’s Classic Potato Salad. It’s a summertime staple.
My Mom (she cracks me up. Yes, Mom, I know who you are!) has made this recipe so many times that it’s ingrained in her memory, but recently I had her write it down ingredient by yummy ingredient, step by simple step. I’ve never actually made this recipe myself – after all, Mom always seems to make it best – and was surprised to see there’s not nearly as much mayo as I thought, plus the recipe includes a secret marinating step that gives the salad flavor from the inside out.
My Mom has fine-tuned this recipe over the years to fit our family’s tastes – eliminating add-ins like chopped onions and celery, which we don’t love – so feel free to jazz this recipe up with any mix-ins you like. The base recipe, which I’m sharing here, is a classic, creamy, dare I say, clean, tasting Potato Salad. The only one I’ll eat. It is SO good!!!
What Potatoes to Use for Potato Salad
Russet potatoes make for the best classic potato salad. You heard it here first. We’ve tried many different types of potatoes in this salad over the years, but russets are our very favorite, tried and true potatoes.
Can I Make This Side Dish Ahead of Time?
You can absolutely make this potato salad up to two days ahead of time. The flavor just gets better as it sits in the refrigerator and the flavors meld together.
How to Make This Recipe
Start by scrubbing and peeling. 2-1/2lbs russet potatoes, which is about 4 medium-sized potatoes. Make sure they’re all roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Again, we have used various types of potatoes in this recipe over the years, and russets are the best. Trust.
Scrub the potatoes then place in a big pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then cook for 20-30 minutes or until a knife can be easily inserted into the center of each potato.
Remove the potatoes with tongs then let cool slightly. When they’re cool enough to handle but still warm, use a paring knife to help peel (it should be very easy) then chop the potatoes into big chunks and place inside a large bowl.
Meanwhile, mix up the dressing for the potato salad. Part of this dressing will be swirled over the warm potatoes, and part will be stirred in at the very end before serving.
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar (same as apple cider vinegar) and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Then add 1/2 teaspoon sugar, a scant 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a heavy dash of paprika.
Give ‘er a little stir with a fork to combine.
Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the warm potatoes then stir and stash in the fridge for at least an hour or up to overnight. This is the “marinating” step that gives the potato salad so much flavor!
While the potatoes are still cooking, hard-boil 4 large eggs. Just pop them into a saucepan then cover the tops by 1″ with cold water. Bring to a boil, place a lid on top, then let them sit off the heat for exactly 12 minutes.
Plunge the eggs into ice water, or run under cold water for a few minutes, then lightly smash each egg against a cutting board, roll so the shell cracks all the way around the center, and then peel. I find that still-warm eggs peel the easiest. Chop the eggs up then place ’em into the refrigerator.
Before serving, add the remaining dressing, 1/2 cup light mayonnaise, the chopped hard-boiled eggs, and a dash of salt to the marinated potatoes then stir to combine, adding up to 1/4 cup more light mayo to achieve a creamier consistency.
That’s it! Classic, right?! Refrigerate until ready to devour, then dig in. Creamy and SO dreamy, I hope you love this salad as much as we do – enjoy!
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Classic Potato Salad
Mom's Classic Potato Salad is an old family favorite, and a summer cooking side dish staple. Creamy, mix-in FREE, and just right!
- 2-1/2lbs medium-sized potatoes (about 4-5 potatoes - make sure all are same size)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- dash salt
- For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- scant 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- dash of paprika
- Place potatoes in a very large pot of cold water then bring to a boil. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until a knife can be easily inserted into the centers.
- Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan then cover with cold water 1" above the tops. Bring to a boil, place a lid on top, and then remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Drain then plunge into ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes. Peel eggs then chop and place into the refrigerator.
- Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl then set aside.
- When potatoes are tender, remove to a colander with tongs. When cool enough to handle, but still warm, use a paring knife to help peel potatoes then chop into large pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle 3/4 of the dressing over the warm potatoes then toss to combine. Cover then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, add remaining dressing, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, chopped hard boiled eggs, and salt to potatoes then mix to combine, adding more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
join the conversation
I have worked for years to replicate my Mother-in-Law’s potato salad. When I told my family about the marinating idea, they said, “Don’t mess with the way you make it”. I melded the two recipes (her points of difference…salt and a bit of sugar on the potatoes after draining, and adding some cream or half &half to the mayo,) Going forward, I will ALWAYS include the marinating step. It was terrific! The family agreed!
Love it!! It’s the little things that can really make a big difference, right?! :)
What kind of potatoes do u use?
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