Traditional Potato Salad Recipe

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This Traditional Potato Salad recipe is made with Hellman’s mayonnaise and is the perfect BBQ side dish! An easy potato salad that will remind you of picnics with you grandma!

a blue bowl of potato salad with paprika sprinkled on top, a yellow towel to the left with a wooden spoon on top

There are some recipes where less is more and this is definitely one of them! It’s such a simple and easy potato salad recipe that I’m almost embarrassed when people ask me for the recipe.

But they always do because it’s a hit everywhere I take it! It’s the same recipe my mom always made growing up, and there’s nothing quite like a homemade, family-style potato salad recipe to make you feel nostalgic.

How to Make Traditional Potato Salad

With a Hellman’s mayonnaise dressing and just potatoes, onions and hard boiled eggs, this recipe has minimal ingredients and comes together pretty quickly. Plus, it’s great to make ahead and keep chilled in the refrigerator before you’re ready to eat.

The key to a potato salad is the… drumroll, please… POTATOES!!

The kind of potato you choose and making sure it’s cooked just right! I prefer Russet potatoes for my potato salad. They hold they’re shape really well but still get tender enough that the dressing clings to them and stays distributed evenly.

You can experiment with other types of potatoes, but I always end up coming back to russets.

a blue bowl filled with potato salad with a yellow towel in the background

How long do you boil potatoes for potato salad?

Before you start boiling your potatoes, make sure you scrub them really well to remove all the dirt.

I leave my potatoes whole and with the skin on when I’m boiling them. This makes it easier to remove the skin after they’re done cooking.

You can easily leave the skin on and chop them into large chunks and then add into the water. Some people prefer their potato salad with the skin-on. It gets very thin and adds some nice color to the dish.

But since I peel the skin after cooking, that’s how we’re going to proceed with this recipe!

Add your clean potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add salt (just throw a couple teaspoons in, no need to measure). Bring the pot to a fast simmer, low boil.

Now the technique to make sure they’re done correctly is super scientifici here… just check it with a fork!

You want your potatoes tender the whole way through to the center, but you don’t want them to cook for too much after that point otherwise they will turn to mush when you’re mixing everything together.

For large, whole russet potatoes, I usually start checking for doneness around 17-20 minutes. Once my fork pierces through to the center, they’re done. (if you cut your potatoes into chunks first, they should be done around 13 minutes).

Once they’re tender, remove from heat and drain. Allow that potatoes to cool for 10 minutes or so until they’re cool enough to handle.

At this point, I use a small paring knife to easily remove the potato skins. Feel free to leave them on if you want! Then just dice your potatoes into bite-size pieces.

Mayonnaise Dressing for Potato Salad

For my family, there is no substitution for Hellman’s mayonnaise. It has to be Hellman’s or we won’t even touch it.

Ingredients for Potato Salad Dressing:

3/4 cup Hellman’s mayo
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vinegar

That’s it! Mix it up in a bowl and then pour it over your chopped potatoes!

You can do whatever add-ins you want but for traditional potato sald, we do chopped onions and chopped hard boiled eggs.

Little secret, I am not a fan of hard boiled eggs at all. AT ALL. So since I was a little girl, my mom always mixes everything together except the eggs. She puts some in a small container for me and then mixes the eggs into the larger batch for everyone else. I still do this for myself when I’m making it for my family.

But if you want to really get crazy with this recipe, you can add in chopped bacon, green onions, shredded cheese, celery… whatever makes it a classic potato salad for your tastebuds!

And then serve it alongside one of your favorite main dishes! Potato salad goes great with:

potato salad in a blue bowl that's sitting on a yellow tea towel

a blue bowl filled with potato salad with a yellow towel in the background
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Classic Potato Salad

An easy recipe for potato salad just like your grandma used to make! Only a few ingredients needed for this classic side dish recipe!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: traditional potato salad
Servings: 12
Calories: 267kcal
Author: Natalie Dixon

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Russet Potatoes
  • 1 large Onion finely diced
  • 3 Eggs hard boiled
  • 3/4 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • Paprika optional, garnish

Instructions

  • Wash potatoes throughly and then place in large pot. Add water to cover and place over medium heat. Bring water to a rapid simmer and continue simmering until potatoes are just fork tender. Large potatoes will take about 20 minutes until the center is tender.
  • Once potatoes are done, drain water and allow to cool for a little until they're cool enough to touch. Remove peels and then roughly chop cooked potatoes into 1" cubes.
  • In a large bowl, add mayonnaise, sugar, salt and vinegar and stir to combine. Add diced potatoes and diced onions. Stir until well combined.
  • Dice hard boiled eggs and fold into potato mixture.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 822mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

pinterest graphic for classic potato salad

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