Classic Potato Salad

Classic Potato Salad in a bowl with radishes, eggs and pickles.
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This no-frills, classic potato salad just might be the best you’ve ever had. (We know those are fighting words, but we’re not backing down.)

Classic Potato Salad Wins Best in Show, Every Time. 

People have opinions about all sorts of things, food not the least of them. But, when it comes to everyone’s favorite picnic side dish, the gloves really come off. Chances are you think the way your mom, aunty, or grandma made potato salad recipe is the gold standard. And, while we aren’t here to start fights, we humbly suggest that until you’ve had this easy classic potato salad, you’ve yet to experience the best.  

What Is Classic Potato Salad?

From family barbecues to summer potlucks, we’ve all consumed our fair share of this picnic mainstay, which can lead to some strong opinions about how it should be made. Classic, old-fashioned potato salad consists of cubed, boiled potatoes mixed in a mayonnaise-based dressing—as opposed to the German potato salad counterpart, which is tossed in a vinaigrette-style dressing—but from there the variations are many.

Some people add sweet pickles or dill pickles, some add no pickles at all! Others swear by hard boiled eggs, and yellow mustard in the dressing. Fresh dill, cucumber, sliced onion, celery, or olives—all are fair game.

For our version of classic potato salad, we’ve opted for hard-cooked egg, pickles (and pickle juice!) and fresh radish slices for crunch and a little peppery bite. In our (maybe not so) humble opinion, it’s the most balanced, creamy, crunchy, tangy, crowd-pleasing potato salad out there, and we’re ready for you to put it to the test.

pink, purple and red radishes on a checkered linen.

How Do You Make The Best Potato Salad?

  1. Chop your potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and veggies.
  2. Boil your potatoes, allow them to cool, then add them to a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together your dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Add the boiled eggs, radish, cucumbers, pickles, parsley, and chives and to the potatoes.
  5. Whisk together your dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour over everything and gently mix together.
  6. Garnish with extra herbs and serve, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
  7. Enjoy every perfect bite!

Tips and Tricks for the Best Potato Salad:

Method matters! Follow these pointers when making our easy potato salad recipe for a winner every time!

  • Go for a waxy potato variety. We prefer Yukon Golds, but red potatoes work well, too. These hold their shape best and have a firm texture. (Russets are starchier and more likely to fall apart after boiling.)
  • Scrub your Yukon Gold potatoes before you peel and chop them. Because their skin is thin, there’s no need to peel them, but you don’t want any grit.
  • Cut the potatoes into even, two-inch pieces. They’ll cook more evenly if they’re all the same size.
  • Boil the potatoes for ten minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. As soon as they’re cooked, run them under cold water immediately to stop the cooking.
  • Don’t skimp on the herbs! Finely chopped fresh chives play beautifully against the creaminess of this salad.
hands whisking dressing in a bowl next to Classic Potato Salad

Wondering What To Serve with Our Old-Fashioned Potato Salad?

Here’s a few of our favorite mains that find a happy home next to this creamy potato salad recipe:

  1. The spice of these grilled jerk chicken kebabs pairs perfectly with the creamy goodness that our easy potato salad offers.
  2. Our smoky grilled salmon with avocado salsa comes together quickly and makes for a zesty partner for this classic dish.
  3. Peanut butter and jelly, chips and guac...some things were just made for each other. Case in point: our traditional potato salad with pickles and this classic cheese burger with secret sauce. It’s a match made in summer cookout heaven!
  4. Are you on “sides” duty? Play overachiever for the day and bring these dressed-up baked beans along in addition to our WBPS (world’s best potato salad, obvi). They’re surprising simple to throw together and chock-full of smoky bacon and sausage.

Equipment You’ll Want to Create This Classic Potato Salad:

  • A super sharp chef’s knife (this one is our jam!) for slicing and dicing those yukon golds.
  • Serve that incredible salad out of this generously proportioned bowl that’s perfect for serving to a big crowd. (Bonus: It comes with a lid for easy storing of leftovers!)

Has Our Homemade Potato Salad Recipe Won You Over?

Save your breath and spare us the heated arguments...we know your Nana is an amazing cook! Just do us a favor and make our classic potato salad and then (and only then) tell us all about how you think it compares to the one you’ve been eating for years. And, when you do, just go ahead and snap a picture and post it to Instagram tagging @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see how it turned out. Happy eating (and comparing)! 

Classic Potato Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup Persian cucumbers, diced
3/4 cup pickles (sweet or dill), diced
4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
5-6 radishes thinly sliced

Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp stone ground mustard
1/4 cup juice from pickle jar
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Scrub and clean potatoes. Leaving skin on, cut potatoes into 1.5-2 inch pieces.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add potatoes and cook until they can be pierced with a fork. About 10 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop them from continuing to cook.
  3. When potatoes are completely cooled put them, along with chives, parsley, cucumbers, pickles, eggs and radishes, in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl whisk all dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with a large spoon until potatoes are completely coated.
  5. Garnish with extra chives, parsley and radishes. Enjoy!