Growing up in the Midwest, I remember there wasn’t a potluck without several bowls of potato salad. I would watch with dismay as all the adults enjoyed the common social gathering side dish. At that time, I wondered if I would ever get over my aversion to the yellowish, mushy potato mixture.
Not much has changed. I have yet to taste and enjoy a potato salad like the ones served at potlucks past. However, since potato salads are such a popular food among family and friends, I was curious if there was a way to make it that I enjoyed tasting and serving to others.
I sought out to make a potato salad with multiple layers of texture and flavor. I decided to change some things up–add what I thought was missing and subtract what doesn’t need to be there. I must say, this recipe has finally made me a fan of potato salad. Many a friend has requested this potato salad because it is so delightful!
The Best Potatoes for Potato Salad
The best potato salad begins with the right potatoes. Red potatoes are my go-to, but there are several options you can choose from and still make a great potato salad. My main criteria when searching for potatoes is thin-skinned and waxy. It sounds strange, I know. You’ll understand when I explain it below.
Red potatoes are ideal for making potato salad. They are thin-skinned and “waxy,” which means they have high moisture and low starch content. The flesh of red potatoes is firmer and smoother than starchy potatoes (think Russet potato) and holds its shape well after being cooked. The firm flesh is why it’s an optimal choice for potato salad and maybe not so much for mashed potatoes. One of my favorite parts about red potatoes is that peeling is not necessary due to the thin skin. When you skip peeling potatoes, you save bushels of time!
The “New” Potato is not a specific variety of potatoes, yet it’s often referred to as one. I think it’s necessary to mention it since “New Potatoes” is such a popular phrase used on menus and recipes. Also often called “baby potatoes,” the name aptly refers to any variety harvested before full maturity. Since “New” Potatoes are usually the younger version of red potatoes, the features will be much the same for use in potato salad.
They may seem like the real “baby potatoes,” but Fingerlings only grow to about 3-inches long and 1-inch wide at the max. They are thin-skinned and in the “waxy” category of low starch potatoes. Fingerling potatoes come in multiple varieties and colors like Ruby Crescent, Russian Banana, Long White, and Purple Peruvian, which can make for a fun multi-colored potato salad.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold’s are an all-around good potato to stock in your kitchen because they fall nicely between the waxy Reds and starchy Russets. Their skin is thinner like a Red potato, so peeling is optional for potato salad, and they hold their shape well when cooked.
Why You Should Not Use Russet Potatoes in Potato Salad
I know someone out there is going to wonder why on earth I’m not listing Russet potatoes and what my problem is. I know Russet potatoes are a standard choice for some, but I have my reasons for leaving them off the potato salad list.
Russets are starchy, thick-skinned, and the culprits linked to almost every mushy, weird-textured potato salad. Because of their thick skin, peeling is a must! Which means you’ve added extra time to your meal prep that you could otherwise avoid.
I rest my case.
How to Make the Perfect Potato Salad
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Wash, dry, and cut the potatoes into bite-sized cubes. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in olive oil, Old Bay seasoning, and 1/2 tablespoon each of Tarragon and Dill.
Spread the potatoes evenly on parchment-lined baking sheets and roast until golden brown and tender (about 25-30 minutes). While the potatoes are roasting, cook the bacon in a skillet or on a baking sheet in the oven.
If you haven’t already cooked a hard-boiled egg, I suggest cooking it at this point. Place a fresh egg (or several if you want a snack later) in a small saucepan and completely cover it with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then immediately turn the heat off. Cover with a lid and set a timer for 7-12 minutes, depending on how hard you like your egg boiled. I prefer mine on the soft side, so I cook hard-boiled eggs for about 7-8 minutes.
While the egg cooks, prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and water in a small bowl. Once the timer goes off, transfer the egg to the ice bath until you’re ready to use it in the recipe.
To make the dressing, dice the white and light green parts the green onions. Chop the bacon into small bits. Use an egg slicer to cut the hard-boiled egg into small pieces.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, remaining tarragon and dill, ground mustard, green onion, bacon, hard-boiled egg, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, and sea salt.
When the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to a large mixing bowl and toss in the dressing. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.
This potato salad serves a crowd, but if you need it for a small gathering, you can easily split the recipe in half. If you enjoy it, please let me know in the comments below!
As always, Bon Appétit!
- 2.5 lbs Red Potatoes
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dry Tarragon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry Dill
- 5-6 strips bacon
- 1 hard boiled egg
- 3 green onions
- 1 cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp ground Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Prep a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Wash, dry, and cube the potatoes.
- In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in olive oil, Old Bay, and 1 teaspoon each of Tarragon and Dill. Spread the potatoes evenly on a couple of the baking sheets and roast until golden and tender (about 25-30 minutes).
- While the potatoes are roasting, arrange strips of bacon on a prepared baking sheet. Place the bacon into the oven to cook for 15-18 min. or until fully cooked.
- To make the dressing, dice the white and light green parts of the green onions. Chop the bacon into small bits. Use an egg slicer or knife to cut the hard-boiled egg into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, remaining tarragon and dill, ground mustard, green onion, bacon, hard-boiled egg, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, and sea salt.
- Add potatoes to the mixture and fold until they are completely coated in dressing. Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g