This Old Fashioned Potato Salad recipe is my version of the classic American potluck dish. Tender potatoes with a creamy, perfectly seasoned dressing. This fail-proof recipe is one of my old favorites!
There are a lot of varieties of potato salad out there but this one is straight-up, old school, summer party in the backyard potato salad.
I grew up eating and LOVING my sister Barb’s potato salad and this recipe is a take-off on hers. I’ve made just a few slight modifications over the years and I’m happy to say that the result is wonderful.
Barb has a knack for potato salad; one of her many talents in the kitchen. She never measures anything so getting her pinned down on a recipe can be a bit difficult but I took it upon myself to press her on this one and thank goodness I did. It just can’t be beat!
This recipe includes what I think is the precise ratio of dressing to potatoes, a vital element to any good potato salad. Although I rarely measure my produce at the grocery store, I make an exception when buying potatoes to make this salad so I can get that perfect ratio every time.
The simple ingredients include 3 pounds cooked, cooled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes, diced white onion, and diced celery. It’s important to dice the veggies to distribute all that flavor and get the appropriate texture in each bite. Once that is combined it’s tossed with the dressing and chopped hard-boiled eggs.
The Best Potatoes for Potato Salad
My sister always uses russet potatoes and although they are less expensive, I just can’t stress enough how fantastic Yukon Gold potatoes are for potato salad. So, so worth it.
There is no need to peel the potatoes before you boil them. Drop them into a big pot, cover them with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat a little, cover the pot, and let the potatoes simmer at a low boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender but not falling apart. Drain off all the hot water and immediately rinse the potatoes in cold water until cool enough to handle. At this point, you can use paper towels to pull the peels right off. So much easier than peeling!
Potato Salad Dressing
The dressing is what really sets this apart as Old Fashioned Potato Salad. It consists of mayonnaise (the real stuff), a little yellow mustard (not too much!), sweet pickle relish, celery salt, a little regular salt, and fresh ground pepper. That golden hue you see in the image above is exactly what you want.
One of the areas I’ve strayed from Barb’s recipe is the sweet pickle relish. She adds an entire jar! I get that not all of you are as crazy about sweet pickles as we are so I’ve used just 3 tablespoons here which adds a mild, but not overwhelming sweetness to the salad. If you are not a fan, you can substitute dill pickle relish, but for me, it’s got to be sweet! You can also chop whatever type of pickles you like the most and use them instead of relish (try bread and butter pickles, yum!).
The chopped, hard-boiled eggs are added last and lightly tossed with the dressed salad.
Take a look at my detailed instructions for Perfect Easy to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs and be sure to plan ahead so they’ll be ready to go.
Sprinkle it with a little paprika and refrigerate it for at least an hour to be sure it’s nice and chilled.
Be sure to check out the recipe card below for some variations on this recipe. It’s fun to mix things up a little!
More summer salad recipes:
Cowboy Pasta Salad | Belly Full
Cranberry Apple Coleslaw | Barefeet in the Kitchen
Homemade Three Bean Salad | Valerie’s Kitchen
Creamy Pecan Crunch Grape Salad | Wishes and Dishes
Pizza Pasta Salad | Valerie’s Kitchen
Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- ¾ cup diced white onion
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
For the Dressing
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, (see Notes below for alternate choices)
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- paprika for garnish
- Add unpeeled potatoes to a deep pot that has a cover. Add enough water to cover the potatoes and place over HIGH heat. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to MEDIUM, cover the pot and cook at a low boil for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Drain and immediately rinse potatoes with cold water until cool enough to handle. Use paper towels to pull the peels off the potatoes and chop into small pieces.
- Combine chopped potatoes, diced onion, and diced celery in a large mixing bowl. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and toss to combine.
- In a small mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, celery salt, pepper, and pickle relish. Add to potato mixture and gently stir to combine. Fold in chopped hard-boiled eggs. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Sprinkle with paprika, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or more.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
This is exactly like the recipe my grandmother used to make the only thing different that she always added and I love to add to mine is diced red pimento it’s so good
This is not the recipe to try on party day. I cooked the Yukon potatoes for an “easy peel” for closer to 45 minutes not 25. I will say if you spring for a potato peeler that’s a little higher quality than dollar tree, it is far easier to just peel them first. Also after peeling and cooking I went to cut and they still were not cooked all the way. So what could have taken me 45 min to make is now taking twice the time. I wanted a super plain potato salad. I’m hoping the dressing turns out better than the cooking instructions. I have 45 guests who will be here in 4 hours and 20 things on my to do list still.
I agree that it is always a good idea to test recipes before a big event and I’m so sorry you had issues with cooking the potatoes. I can only assume they must be very large Yukons to have needed more than 45 minutes to cook until tender. I find it best to cook them with the peel since it helps keeps the surface of the potato intact and I don’t love peeling potatoes but you can absolutely peel them if you’d like. I hope the rest of the recipe works out better for you.
Just made it and I
Know it will be delicious
This potato Salad recipe is the bomb ,the best ever.
We love it too! Thanks, Woody. 🙂
Excellent simple recipe. My mom always made good potato salad and she is gone now and I was hankering for some good old fashion potato salad. This recipe was it exactly like she used to make loved it.
I was looking for an old fashioned simple potato salad recipe and this was IT! My husband is very picky and he absolutely loves this. Simple ingredients, easy recipe and it was delicious! Nothing else needed!
Fantastic! So glad it worked out for you. Thanks so much for your comment, Shannon 🙂
I use Miracle Whip because, for me, it has more flavor than bland mayo; also add celery seed along with diced celery, sugar & chopped green onions. After cutting potatoes in chunks and still warm, my mother-in-law would toss the potatoes with a few squirts of Wishbone (or other brands) Italian Dressing.
I forgot too add to my comment of the sugar.
For presentation looks. Sprinkle fresh chopped basil leave in a pattern of your choice on top. The nice green fresh look add to it.
If you don’t like relish. Just a couple pinches of sugar works great.
I like to add a couple of tbsps of horseradish to my Potato Salad. It gives a nice little tang,
Diced black olives!! Pimento!!