Rival potatoes when it’s made right. But sadly, most homemade versions can be weak. The process sounds simple enough, so what’s the problem?
The truth is, when prepared at home, there are many ways potato salad can be different. Hiccups run the gamut from over- or under-cooked potatoes to under-seasoning. These missteps make potato salads that are mushy or too hard, soft or oily—not the one you’d find in America’s favorite spring and summer side dish.
The best and easiest potato salad you can ever make starts with butter-soft potatoes infused with a satin mayo dressing and studded with smoky bacon, crunchy celery, fresh green onions and sweet pimentos. .
This is a totally foolproof recipe, I know you’ll keep coming back.
Follow my tips below to make the perfect potato salad every time.
. The best types of potatoes for potato salad
start with potatoes. Which type should you use? Not russet. Potatoes are divided into three general categories based on their texture: starchy, all-purpose, and waxy.
Russet potatoes are starchy, which means they will fall apart during cooking or when you’re mixing ingredients.
All-purpose potatoes, such as White and Yukon Gold, are less starchy than russets and will work. But the best potatoes for potato salad are the low-starch, waxy varieties, because they keep their shape during cooking.
For best results, use New (also called Baby) Potatoes, Red Bliss or Fingerlings.
How to Prepare Potatoes for Potato Salad
Consider preparing your potatoes the day before. To save time, cut your potatoes up to a day in advance and place them in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover the cut potatoes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
When cutting your potatoes, make sure they are a uniform size. It doesn’t matter if you start with small small potatoes or medium-sized Yukon Golds, just be sure to cut them so that each piece is about two inches across. This can mean that some potatoes are halved, while others have been quartered or cubed.
When the size and shape are the same, the pieces will finish cooking at the same time.
Never put your cut potatoes in boiling water as this promotes uneven cooking and often the potatoes will turn pulpy on the outside until the middle is soft.
. Start the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the temperature to medium-high and gently simmer the potatoes until fork-tender. Keep in mind that the cooking time can be as short as five minutes.
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and be sure to weather your waters. A respectable potato salad is seasoned from the start, so add about a teaspoon of salt to your boiling water to season your potatoes from the inside out. Wait until your water starts to boil so that your salt dissolves quickly rather than adding it at the beginning.
And you can go ahead and leave the potato skins on for color, flavor, and nutrition. If you use New, Red Bliss or Fingerling potatoes as suggested, you’ll find that the skins are delightfully thin and tender and add great texture to the salad. In addition, the skin contains nutrients and fiber that are not found in meat.
Last How Long It Will Take to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad
Cook your potatoes until they are just perfect, not over- or under-cooked. After boiling for five minutes, start checking the potatoes by piercing them with a fork. If the prongs come in cleanly with little resistance, the potatoes are cooked. This may take anywhere from five to eight minutes, depending on the size of your potato pieces. Wait any longer and the potatoes will fall apart.
your potatoes while they are hot
This may be the most important tip, and one that may be new to you, but dressing the potatoes while they are hot is the key to flavor. When the spuds are hot, the ingredients can penetrate the meat.
Keep in mind, you should only put on a vinaigrette-based dressing when it’s hot. If you add a mayo-based dressing, the hot potatoes will melt the dressing and the salad will become oily.
To enhance the flavor of potatoes while they’re hot, toss them with apple cider vinegar and spread on a baking sheet to cool for at least 30 minutes before adding the creamy sauce and the rest of the ingredients.
This step guarantees great flavor, a butter-soft texture and allows any excess water to evaporate, which ensures that the creamy dressing will stick to the spuds.
to make potato salad light and creamy
, so instead, make for a dressing delightfully light and extra creamy using equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream.
For the best match of flavors, let your potato salad cool before serving, preferably at least an hour and up to a day.
How to Make Potato Salad a Little Fancy
Consider adding fresh herbs to “brighten” the salad and add a clean, peppery bite and a vibrant splash of color. Try parsley, fresh basil, chives, oregano or any fresh herb you have on hand.
A fun and easy way to serve your potato salad at picnics and barbecues is to pour the salad into small cups and serve with a plastic fork.
Store the cups in a sealable container that fits snugly inside your cooler and your potato salad is ready for you to eat (without taking it out).
Recipe: The Ultimate Potato
Salad This is my go-to potato salad recipe. Feel free to adjust seasonings and mix-ins to suit your taste.
Servings: Six to eight
- 2 pounds new/baby potatoes, Red Bliss, or fingerling potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- cup mayonnaise, regular or light
- cup sour cream, regular or light
- 1 Spoon Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper
- pound bacon, about 6 to 8 strips, cooked-crisp and chopped until chewy
- cup chopped green onion
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained and chopped
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- to serve
- Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by about two inches. Set the pan on high heat and let it come to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to medium-high. Boil until potatoes are just fork-tender, checking for doneness after five minutes of cooking.
- Strain the potatoes and take them out in a big bowl. Add apple cider vinegar and toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to a large baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Let cool for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper.
- When the potatoes are completely cool, add them to the mayonnaise mixture and stir gently to coat. Fold in bacon, green onions, celery, pimentos and parsley. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours before serving. Finish by sprinkling paprika, if you wish.