Southern Potato Salad


For a potato salad with rich, nostalgic flavor that reminds you of Grandma’s cooking, you can’t beat classic Southern-style potato salad. Between the crispy celery, hard boiled eggs, tangy relish, and ultra-creamy dressing, this crowd-pleasing side is a staple for a reason. I’ll tell you my tricks for making it just right.

What Are The Key Ingredients That Give Southern Potato Salad Its Signature Flavor?

The combination of a few key ingredients gives this potato salad its distinctive regional flair. A mayonnaise and mustard-based dressing makes it nice and creamy. I also add a splash of apple cider vinegar to brighten all the flavors. Incorporating chopped hard boiled egg, sweet pickle relish, sweet onion, and celery gives it delicious mix-ins in every bite. And a dash of paprika on top completes its down-home charm.

What Potatoes Work Best For The Creamiest Texture?

Russet potatoes lend themselves perfectly to the richness of Southern potato salad. Their starchiness breaks down into a smooth, creamy base when boiled and dressed. I cut any large potatoes in half before cooking so they soften all the way through but don’t get mushy. Once fork tender, they’re easy to peel. Gently breaking down the peeled, cooked potatoes with a knife releases even more starch for binding the ingredients together.

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How Long Should You Let It Chill To Allow The Flavors To Blend?

Resist digging in right away! Allowing the potato salad to rest in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours truly takes it to the next level. The time gives the potatoes a chance to soak up the dressing for maximum creaminess. Meanwhile, the flavors of sweet relish, onion, mustard, and mayo all mingle, balance out, and create potato salad bliss. I highly recommend making this the day before a picnic or potluck.

Recipe Tip: Don’t Skip Draining The Potatoes!

I can’t stress enough the importance of thoroughly draining the just-cooked, peeled potatoes before mixing them with the other ingredients. Any excess moisture will thin out the dressing instead of contributing to creaminess. I drain them in a large colander first. Then spread them out on a few clean kitchen towels to soak up every last drop of water. This step makes all the difference in getting the rich, creamy consistency that Southern potato salad is known for.

How Long Will Homemade Southern Potato Salad Last In The Fridge?

This potato salad will keep in an airtight container for a full 4 days if stored in the refrigerator. That makes it easy to whip up on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week or take along to community meals all week long. The flavors continue to develop with time, making planned-ahead potato salad incredibly tasty.

With my easy tips and techniques, I know you’ll fall in love with Southern charm in potato salad form. Let me know if this classic recipe helps you wow guests at your next gathering!

Southern Potato Salad Recipe

Ingredient List:

  • Russet Potatoes: 3 pounds (medium size)
  • Mayonnaise: 1 cup
  • Yellow Mustard: 1/4 cup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 teaspoons
  • Granulated Sugar: 2 teaspoons
  • Onion Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sweet Pickle Relish: 1/4 cup
  • Celery: 1 stalk, finely chopped
  • Sweet Onion: 1/2, finely chopped
  • Hard Boiled Eggs: 4 (3 chopped, 1 sliced for garnish)
  • Paprika: for garnishing

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes in half and place in a pot. Cover with water (1-inch above potatoes), add salt, and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain, cool, peel, and discard skins.
  2. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and onion powder. Combine this mixture with the potatoes.
  4. Stir in the sweet pickle relish, chopped celery, sweet onion, and chopped eggs.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  6. Garnish with sliced egg and a sprinkle of paprika.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.


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