Classic Potato Salad

Serves: 2 Ready in 20 minutes.

  • 1 b new red potatoes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. If you haven’t boiled eggs ahead of time, place them in a pot and just cover with water and a tsp of white vinegar. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and turn the temperature down to low for 8-10 minutes. Run them under cold water before peeling.
  2. Cut potatoes in half and boil until a fork or knife slides into them easily.
  3. While potatoes are boiling, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Add the diced celery and shallot to the dressing. Grate the boiled eggs in when they are cool enough to handle.
  5. Strain the potatoes and let them dry out in the colander for a couple minutes before adding them to the dressing while still warm.
  6. Can be served warm or left in the refrigerator for the flavors to blend for a few hours or overnight.


If you’re looking for everyone’s favorite picnic potato salad, this should do it. But there are plenty of ways to change it up and make it more to your personal taste. Feel free to multiply the recipe up a few times to feed a crowd!

I like the potatoes firm and distinct from the dressing personally, but if you like the potatoes to sort of crumble and blend into the dressing, you can cook them a bit longer or start with a starchier potato (try a classic russet or even a Yukon gold).

On the other hand, I like the eggs to be almost part of the dressing which is why I grate them into the salad on a box grater (also it’s easy and I’m lazy). But you can dice it into chunks if you want more distinguished egg.

I don’t keep traditional yellow mustard in my house because I just don’t like it, but I’m sure many of you will claim that it’s not a true potato salad without the tangy yellow stuff. Feel free to substitute it for the dijon, but you may want to dial back the vinegar from 2 tsp to 1 tsp in that case. Feel free to add more mustard if you love that flavor or play with the kind you add: try a grainy one for some texture, a spicy brown mustard for some heat, or a honey dijon for a hint of sweetness.

This is really a base recipe that you can spice up with your own flair to suit your taste. If you like extra tang, try adding some diced pickles or pickle relish. If you like spicy, add some cayenne pepper or some diced chiles. Hard core carnivore? Add bacon! Vegan? Leave out the egg and use some vegannaise (or stay tuned for whenever I post my olive oil based potato salad dressing). Replace the shallot by sweet onions, green onions, or red onions. Add some fresh herbs to freshen it up: try parsley, dill, or thyme. Get some extra crunch by adding more veggies like a bell pepper. Lighten things up by replacing some of the mayo with sour cream or plain greek yogurt. Get really crazy and try a sweet potato salad (this would be a great variation to try if you want to go spicy with the dressing!).

Always make sure to salt and pepper to taste before you serve – potatoes can really eat up that salt.

Story time

The humble potato is probably one of my favorite foods. It’s so versatile, with texture ranging from crispy to fluffy to creamy, and it’s delicious and always ready to complement any flavors you want to throw at it.

I personally am a huge fan of oven roasted potatoes – super crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, perfectly salty, a little spicy … mmm, nuggets of happiness as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, it is summer time now, and I live in a studio apartment (with only one window that actually opens). That means if I decide to turn on the oven for anything, I’ve resigned myself to trying to sleep in an 85 degree sweatbox. So summer time is a no-go for my go-to roasted potatoes. Enter the humble potato salad.

It seems to me that potato salad it somewhat of a polarizing dish. Either you have fond memories of creamy mounds of fluffy tangy potato-y goodness at family BBQs or you have no idea why people subject themselves to a lightly potatoed excuse to eat spoonfuls of mayonnaise. Honestly, I’m somewhere in between. Potato salad does recall some fond childhood church picnic memories, but I can understand how a textureless mound of overly creamy potato ooze might not be the most appealing side dish. That’s why I like to keep my potatoes firm, the dressing tangy, and include enough extra veg to give it a nice crunch. Hopefully this recipe will help you find either a new twist on an old favorite or it will bring you into the potato salad fold.

Also stay tuned for a non-mayonnaise-based warm potato salad that is a nice switch up from this creamy original.

More Photos

Today’s potato salad chopping is courtesy of my mama!


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