Summer picnics require a few things; a checkered blanket, cool drinks, a portable radio, fried chicken, sweet cherries, and—most importantly—a potato salad. Potato salads are simple to make and even easier to customize. Potatoes, sour cream, celery, onions and cracked pepper form the most basic of salads, but that’s only the beginning. Below you’ll find some of our favorite recipes, ingredients, and spices to help you make the perfect potato salad.
What is the Best Potato for a Potato Salad?
Waxy potatoes are often the best choice for a salad as they hold their shape and texture. Look for Yukon gold, classic red, and fingerling potatoes at the store. Baking potatoes, like russets, can become too fluffy and will leave you with avante garde mashed potatoes instead of a potato salad.
Potatoes should be washed thoroughly and boiled whole with their skin left on. Leaving the skin on allows for a better texture, easier peeling, and keeps excess water out of the potatoes. (You can still leave the skin on if you like potato skin.) When the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, strain the hot water and dunk the potatoes in an ice bath to prevent overcooking.
What Goes in Potato Salad?
Once you have your potatoes picked out, it’s time to create a salad dressing. Most potato salads are simply dressed in mayonnaise or sour cream. Olive oil, ricotta cheese, buttermilk, prepared mustard, citrus juice, vinegar, and even bacon fat are all delicious ingredients for a potato salad dressing. The dressing can be mixed together first, allowing more time for all the flavors to come together.
Spice options are wide open to creativity, but the classics will always be black pepper, celery seed, dill seed, caraway seed, mustard seeds, mustard powder, and paprika. Spices like paprika can be saved to dust over the dish just before serving. For even deeper flavors, try spice blends like our Lake Shore Drive Seasoning, Bridgeport Potato Seasoning, Homestyle Ranch Dressing Mix, Garden Salad Dressing Mix, and Sweet Curry Powder.
Fresh herbs are also important for the overall flavor of the salad. The zest of fresh parsley cuts through the richness of a sour cream or mayonnaise-based dressing. Other herbs that work well in potato salad are chives, dill weed, chervil, tarragon, basil, oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Fresh herbs are preferable in this case, but dried herbs can be used if fresh are unavailable.
Now that the potatoes, dressing, herbs, and spices are taken care of, consider adding some other fresh ingredients. Most people stop at onions, celery, and pickles. You can also make potato salad with shallots, garlic, radishes, carrots, hard boiled eggs, apples, green peas, green beans, sweet bell pepper, olives, raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, bacon, tomatoes, sweet corn, beans, and hot chile peppers.
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Featured Potato Salad Recipes
Grilled Potato Salad
Potato salad is typically a side for grilled food, not grilled food itself. Charring the boiled potatoes gives them a delicious texture and flavor before being tossed with Lake Shore Drive Seasoning, fresh shallots, and a simple vinaigrette. This salad is served warm, and it’s amazing.
Savory and Sweet Potato Salad
If you enjoy classic Waldorf salad, then you will love this savory and sweet recipe. Sweet and crunchy apples provide a contrast in texture to the tender potatoes. Try adding toasted cashews or walnuts as a garnish.
Garden Potato Salad
The Garden Salad blend of Romano cheese, chives, sesame, and poppy seeds makes a delectable potato salad dressing. Cornichons add crisp texture and tartness to this recipe. Freshly chopped chives or tarragon work especially well as a final topping.
Warm Bridgeport Potato Salad
Homestyle Ranch Potato Salad
This recipe takes our Homestyle Ranch Dressing Mix and asks you to create a thicker dressing. The bell pepper adds a delicious sweetness to this dish too. For a more savory dressing, follow the advice of using a little bit of buttermilk in the dressing.