Potato Salad is fun to get creative with, because, potatoes are just that way, and there are tons of different versions. However, this Classic Potato Salad Recipe never fails. It's always welcome at every picnic and barbecue and it's just an essential part of summer.
What Exactly is a Classic Potato Salad?
This can be a tough question because the answer is different for every family. Everyone has a recipe that their grandmothers and mothers made, and is served at family gatherings. However, in a nutshell, what we consider a classic potato salad is one that includes hard-cooked eggs, some crunch, and a mayonnaise-based dressing.
This is opposed to a German potato salad, which usually includes bacon and a vinegar-based dressing. In fact, potato salad probably originated with German immigrants to North America, then customized by creative cooks.
Both potato salad versions are delicious, but I do lean toward the classic version if I get to choose.
Which Potatoes Are Best For Potato Salad?
The best potatoes for Potato salad are the waxy thin-skinned ones, for example, creamers, fingerings, new potatoes, or Yukon gold. The waxier potatoes hold their shape and texture after cooking and hold up well for a potato salad.
For potato salad, stay away from thick-skinned, starchy potatoes, such as russets. These potatoes tend to fall apart when cooked and will end up mashed, and watery. Not ideal for a potato salad.
When shopping, look for small potatoes that are all about the same size. This way they will cook evenly.
How To Cook The Potatoes For Salad
We don't want the potatoes to be mushy for salad, so it's important to limit the amount of water they absorb. Boiling them whole and unpeeled is a good way to do it.
And here's my trick: once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them in a colander, and then place them back into the hot pot. Shake the pot over the still-warm stove burner for a minute to dry the potatoes out. Then place the potatoes to cool on a tray or board in a single layer, turning them every so often to reduce condensation.
Also, be sure to dry your celery and peeled eggs with a paper towel before adding them to the salad bowl.
What Else Goes in a Potato Salad?
Besides the potatoes, of course, your salad definitely needs some crunch. For classic potato salad, this usually means celery. However, you can also use radish, thinly sliced, or diced bell pepper.
For this classic potato salad recipe, you also need eggs, hard-boiled and chopped, both the whites and the yolks. And mayonnaise. Only real mayonnaise will do, and the classic has lots of it. A little chopped pickle lends the perfect amount of tang, and paprika is a must for garnish.
Let Your Potato Salad Chill in the Fridge
Potato salad needs to be cold. It also tastes much more delicious after everything has melded together in the fridge. And even better the next day. As with any dish, potato salad should not be left out of the fridge for long, especially on warmer days. Use a cooler packed with ice for picnics.
How Long Will Potato Salad Keep In The Fridge?
Mayonaisse-based potato salad with eggs will keep for three to five days in the fridge under optimum conditions. However, you may want to read this post to learn about the variables involved with keeping it food safe. Food Storage - Homemade or Store Prepared
What to Serve Potato Salad With
We all know that potato salad is perfect with everything summer, picnic, and grilled. It's the side dish that you need for Saucy Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Jerk Chicken Drumsticks, Chipotle BLT Cheeseburgers or Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken Thighs. Just to name a few.
Classic Potato Salad Recipe
- 24 small potatoes about 2 lb
- 6 hard-cooked eggs cooled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ cup red onion diced
- ¼ cup dill pickle diced (about one large pickle)
- ¾ cup real mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup chives chopped
- Put potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes
- Drain and allow to cool
- Peel and cut potatoes into cubes
- In a large bowl combine celery, onion, dill pickle, mayonnaise, mustard and salt
- Add potatoes and hard-cooked egg, stirring gently to combine
- Garnish with chives and paprika
- Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours