Making potato salad doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few key steps that will help you make the perfect potato salad each and every time!
5 Secrets To Making The Perfect Potato Salad
1. Pick the Right Type of Potato:
When making potato salad chose a waxy variety – such as red, new or fingerling potatoes. These potatoes have a thin skin and hold up their texture when boiled to fork tender. You can also use an all-purpose variety such as Yukon Gold which is commonly found in most kitchens. Russet potatoes are not a good choice for potato salad as they are too starchy and have a thick skin.
2. The Right Way To Boil Potatoes:
The key to boiling potatoes is to start them in cold water. Just place the quartered potatoes in a pot and cover them with the cold water. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. If you place potatoes directly in boiling water, the result will be uneven cooking, with the outside being overcooked and the inside being undercooked. Don’t forget to season the potatoes as they boil. A little salt will add a lot of flavor! And just as important as it is to boil the potatoes the correct way, you must stop the cooking process by placing the potatoes in an ice water bath as soon as they are fork tender. Otherwise, the potatoes will continue to cook and become mushy.
3. Soak Raw Onions Before Adding Them To Your Potato Salad:
If you like the flavor of onions, but could do without the bite, this simple step will make all the difference in your potato salad. Just soak your onions in water for at least 10 minutes, and your raw onions will mellow out and be more palatable. You can even use this trick when serving onions with your burgers all summer long.
4. Skip the Vinegar – Use Pickle Juice:
Sometimes potato salad can have a strong vinegar taste that many people don’t like. Next time substitute pickle juice instead of the vinegar. If you like your potato salad more on the sweet side, use sweet pickle juice. Otherwise you can use the dill pickle juice right from your refrigerator. The key is when you add it to your potatoes! Pour it over your warm, drained, and diced potatoes. This allows the potato to absorb the flavor but doesn’t make for a runny mixture.
5. Add Diced Pickles to Your Recipe:
I had never heard of pickles in potato salad until I was looking for a way to eliminate the sugar that Amish Potato Salad calls for. I wanted to replicate that sweet and creamy taste without adding in white sugar and diced pickle spears was the answer! Just like the pickle juice, you can adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding in sweet pickles. I typically use our own homemade dill pickles (see :Pickle Page), as even sweet pickles can be too sweet for my liking.
**See our Printable Recipe for Amish Potato Salad below**
Mary and Jim
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Amish Potato Salad
- 3 pounds potatoes see above for type
- 2 tablespoons dill or sweet pickle juice
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper optional
- 4 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 4 dill or sweet pickle spears finely chopped
Wash potatoes and cut into quarters. Place the potatoes in a stockpot and fill with enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (about 10 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking cut onion and place in a bowl of water.
Prepare a large ice water bath. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain and place in ice water bath for 3 minutes. Drain potatoes (You can peel them at this step if you desire). Dice into small bite size pieces. Add add pickle juice, toss gently and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl combine mayo, mustard, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper (optional). Mix well.
Drain the onions.
Place the potatoes, eggs, onion, celery and pickles in a large bowl. Pour the dressing and gently stir until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with Paprika (optional).
Chill 2 to 3 hours before serving but even better if you let it chill overnight.
**Use New, Red, Fingerling or Yukon Gold Potatoes for best results
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms