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How To Make The Best Potato Salad – 5 Simple Tricks & Tips For The Best Summer Side Dish!

Picnic season is right around the corner and that means it is time to share our top 5 simple tricks and tips for making the Best Homemade Potato Salad.

At every summer picnic, barbecue, or backyard gathering, you can almost guarantee that there will be some sort of potato salad on the buffet table. Although you can purchase quarts of it at the grocery, the homemade version tastes so much better.

Not to mention, it is much more economical to make it yourself. And with grocery costs on the rise, it is more important to know how to make it now more than ever.

best potato salad
Making homemade potato salad is easy to do with these 5 tips and tricks.

However, before you jump to my favorite potato salad recipe, be sure to follow the 5 key steps listed below which will help you make the best potato salad each and every time!

5 Secrets To Making The Perfect Potato Salad

1. Pick the Right Type of Potato:

If you want your potatoes to hold their shape after they have been cooked, then it is best to choose a waxy potato, such as red, new or fingerling potatoes. These potatoes have a low starch to water content, meaning that after they have been boiled, they won’t fall apart when mixed with the other ingredients.

They also have thin skin and don’t necessarily need peeled. This is a great option for those who would like to get added nutrition from their side dish or for those who are short on time.

However, I prefer to use an all-purpose potato when making potato salad. It is well known that my favorite potato variety to use in the kitchen for most of my recipes is Yukon Gold.

These potatoes are considered to have a medium starch to water content. That means that they hold up well when cooked, and can be used in a variety of potato dishes.

They also have a thin skin that doesn’t require peeling if you prefer to keep the skins on. And the slight buttery taste and creamy texture of the inside of the potatoes pair perfectly with the other ingredients.

However, Russet potatoes are not the best choice for potato salad as they have a high level of starch. This means after they have been cooked, they will crumble and not retain their shape. This is the reason that many people use them to make mashed potatoes.

Therefore, if you ask me what the best potato to use for making potato salad, my answer would be Yukon Gold potatoes.

yukon gold potatoes
When it comes to what type of potato you should use when making potato salad, chose Yukon Gold.

2. The Right Way To Boil Potatoes:

When it comes to boiling potatoes, you may not think twice about how it is done. However, in order to get the potatoes to have the perfect texture there is a specific method that must be followed.

The key to boiling potatoes is to start them in cold water. If you place potatoes directly in boiling water, the result will be uneven cooking, with the outside being overcooked and the inside being undercooked.

Therefore, place the diced potatoes in a pot and cover the tops with the cold water. Then turn on the heat and bring the pot to a boil.  

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 when the potatoes become fork tender. Do this by placing the potatoes in an ice water bath as soon as they have been drained.

If you simply drain them and set them aside, the potatoes will continue to cook and become mushy.

red onions
Soaking your red onions will get rid of that strong taste. However, this step is completely optional.

3. Soak Raw Onions Before Adding Them To Your Potato Salad:

If you like the flavor of onions, but could do without the harsh bite that some onions produce, this simple step will make all the difference in your potato salad.

Dice your onions and then let them soak in water for at least 10 minutes. Then drain and remove any excess moisture on the surface by patting them dry.

This will make the flavor much more mellow and be more palatable for those who don’t like the strong taste of onions. As a side note – 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 in place of the vinegar.

You can even customize your potato salad even more with the type of pickle juice that you use. 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 directly over the drained, cooked potatoes right after they come out of the ice bath. This allows the potato to absorb the flavor rather than pouring it in as part of the dressing.

diced pickles
Adding diced pickles to the potato salad makes a big difference in the flavor. Although I prefer dill pickles, you can use sweet or even gherkins pickles if you prefer.

5. Add Diced Pickles to Your Recipe:

I had never heard of putting pickles in potato salad until I was looking for a way to eliminate the sugar when I was trying to recreate my favorite Amish Country Potato Salad. I wanted to replicate that sweet and creamy taste without adding in white sugar and surprisingly diced pickle spears were the answer!  

Just like the pickle juice, you can adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding in sweet pickles instead of dill pickles. However, I typically use our own Homemade Dill Pickles in my potato salad, as some Sweet Pickles can be too sweet for my liking. 

Now that you know the 5 keys to making the best potato salad, let’s look at an actual recipe that puts these tips and tricks to use.

Amish Country Potato Salad Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step is to scrub the potatoes clean, removing any eyes or bad spots. Then you must decide if you want to peel the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are prepared, cut them into 1 inch x 1 inch sections. Then place the potatoes in a stockpot and fill the pot with enough cold water to cover potatoes.

Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender (about 8-10 minutes). While the potatoes are cooking make your hard boiled eggs using your preferred method, or use this Instant Pot Hard Boiled Egg recipe.

Next, dice the onion and place the pieces in a bowl of cold water. Let the onions soak for 10 minutes.

When the potatoes are almost done, prepare a large ice water bath. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain the potatoes and place them immediately in the ice water bath for 3 minutes.

mustard mayo dressing
Once the dressing has been poured over the top, gently toss to coat. Then be sure to refrigerate before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Then drain potatoes and place them in a large serving bowl. Pour the pickle juice on top of the potatoes and gently toss.

Prepare The Dressing

Set the potatoes aside while you prepare the dressing. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper, if using. Mix well.

Drain the onions and pat them dry. Peel and dice the hard boiled eggs and add it to the bowl with the potatoes.

Add the diced onion, celery and pickles in the bowl. Then pour the dressing on top and gently stir and fold until thoroughly mixed.

Garnish with paprika, if desired. Cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving. However, it is best if you let the potato salad chill overnight.

Serve the potato salad with grilled hamburgers, after you read The 12 Secrets to Making & Grilling Hamburgers. Then you will be on your way to becoming the neighborhood, picnic food expert!

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Amish Potato Salad

best potato salad

A light and creamy potato salad recipe that tastes just like the potato salad that you can buy from Ohio's Amish country.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and peel potatoes and then 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).
  2. While the potatoes are cooking cut onion and place in a bowl of water.
  3. Prepare a large ice water bath. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain and place in ice water bath for 3 minutes. Drain potatoes and when they are cool enough to handle, dice into small bite size pieces. Add pickle juice, toss gently and set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl combine mayo, mustard, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper (optional). Mix well.
  5. Drain the onions.
  6. Place the potatoes, eggs, onion, celery and pickles in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently stir and fold until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with Paprika (optional).
  7. Chill 2 to 3 hours before serving but even better if you let it chill overnight.

Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 446mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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