This Southern Potato Salad recipe is classic comfort food perfect for any big family meal. It’s made with tender potatoes mixed with hard-boiled eggs, tossed in a delicious creamy and tangy dressing. Your family will love it!
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
I love a good helping of delicious potato salad. With so many variations of potato salad, the classic Southern Potato Salad will always reign supreme in my heart. It’s a dish best served cold and pairs well with Southern classics, like fried chicken, Grilled ribs, or baked chicken.
Black American households typically prepare and serve potato salad at community events, family gatherings, and celebrations, highlighting the cultural importance of food and fellowship.
Southern Potato Salad typically features tender potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, crisp celery, relish or chopped pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. Finally, it is finished by subtly adding paprika or fresh herbs for visual appeal and subtle yet essential complexity to the dish.
Ingredients for Southern Potato Salad
- Potatoes: I use Russet Potatoes for this recipe, but feel free to use Yukon Gold Potatoes or white potatoes if you prefer.
- Dressing: Mayonnaise, yellow mustard, and sweet relish create the delicious dressing over this potato salad.
- Vegetables and Eggs: onion, celery stalk, and hard-boiled eggs offer flavor and texture to this classic dish.
- Seasoning: Salt, pepper, and paprika. The paprika is added for garnish.
How to Make Southern Potato Salad
Hard boil your eggs, peel them, and then chop 2 eggs, and slice the remaining 2 for topping if desired. Set aside.
Next, peel and chop your potatoes into ½ inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add a good pinch of salt to season the potatoes at this stage.
Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and let the potatoes boil until they’re tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and set them aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, and sweet relish and whisk until combined.
Add the diced onion, celery, chopped eggs, and cooled potatoes to the mayonnaise mixture in the bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the sliced boiled eggs on top of the salad, then sprinkle with paprika for garnish, if using.
Cover the salad and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve and enjoy.
To make a delicious potato salad, follow these expert tips:
- Don’t Overcook the Potatoes: For a potato salad that holds its shape and has a pleasing texture, try not to overcook the potatoes in the initial step. I use Russet potatoes in this recipe, known to break apart when cooked too long. Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, then quickly remove them from the heat and drain them. You can also use Yukon Gold or white potatoes, which will hold their shape better.
- Season the Cooking Water with Salt: Potatoes absorb water as they cook, so adding salt to your boiling water infuses the potatoes with flavor from the inside out.
- Use a Good Quality Mayonnaise: Your potato salad will only be as good as the ingredients that go in it. For a delicious dressing, use good-quality mayonnaise as your base.
How to Store Potato Salad
Make ahead: This is a great make-ahead dish. Prepare the salad earlier in the day, or the day before, then cover the bowl and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
To refrigerate: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: I do not recommend freezing potato salad. The main components of potato salad do not hold up well in the freezer. The dressing can separate and become watery.
How to Serve Potato Salad
Keep these things in mind when serving potato salad:
- Temperature: Potato salad can be served either cold or at room temperature, depending on your personal preference. If you’ve just taken it out of the fridge, you might want to let it sit for a little while to take the chill off, as the flavors often shine through better at room temperature.
- Serve as a Side Dish: Potato salad is a popular side dish at BBQs, picnics, and potlucks. It pairs well with grilled meats like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs. It’s also a classic companion to sandwiches.
- Presentation: Garnish your potato salad just before serving for an appealing presentation. This could be a sprinkle of paprika, a handful of freshly chopped herbs like parsley or dill, or a few slices of hard-boiled egg.
- Portion Size: A serving of potato salad is typically around half a cup, but it can vary depending on what else is being served with it.
Black American households typically include boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, diced celery, and sweet pickles or pickle relish, all tossed in a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise and mustard. Seasonings can include salt, pepper, and paprika. However, like any family recipe, the ingredients can vary based on personal preferences and family traditions.
How long can potato salad sit out?
According to food safety guidelines, potato salad should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that time is reduced to one hour. Potato salad, especially made with mayonnaise, can become a breeding ground for bacteria if left out too long.
I hope you like this Southern potato salad recipe as much as we do. If you’re looking for more Southern salads, try these out:
Southern Potato Salad
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes about 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 3 Tablespoons of yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sweet relish
- ½ a sweet onion, diced about ½ cup
- 1 celery stalk, diced about ½ cup
- 4 boiled eggs 2 chopped, 2 sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Paprika to sprinkle on top for garnish optional
- First, place your peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot, then fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add a good pinch of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and let the potatoes boil until they’re tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and set them aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, sweet relish, and vinegar and whisk until combined.
- Add the diced onion, celery, chopped eggs, and cooled potatoes to the mayonnaise mixture in the bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the sliced boiled eggs on the salad, then sprinkle with paprika for garnish.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
- Be careful not to overcook the potatoes, as they can become mushy. They should be just tender when pierced with a fork.
- Don’t skip the chilling time. This allows the flavors to meld together and the salad to firm up. The salad will taste even better if you leave it in the fridge for at least an hour.