Perfect Potato Salad

This potato salad really is perfect and is the only recipe I’ve made for at least the last year or so. (Update 7/2013: And it still continues to be my favorite! Along with this loaded version.)

I’ve adjusted the seasonings along the way over the years and have updated the recipe according to my preferences, but really, the dreamy thing about this recipe is that it can be tailored (with lesser or more amounts of any ingredient) to your taste buds. My husband, Brian, abhors pickles which is why they don’t appear in this version but I lay awake dreaming about potato salad with pickles in it – so throw them in and think of me, would ya?

Thanks to my perfectly sweet friend, Tori, who gave me this recipe in the first place! It really is the best classic potato salad ever. In the world. Honest.

Perfect Potato Salad

One Year Ago: Buttermilk Cloverleaf Rolls

Perfect Potato Salad

Yield: Serves 6-8

Perfect Potato Salad

The salt amounts in this recipe may vary if you boil your potatoes with salt so make sure you taste along the way so the salad isn't too salty (or undersalted)!

Ingredients

    Dressing:
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (I use Best Foods/Hellmans Light Mayo with great results)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust according to taste - you may want to sue the greater amount if your potatoes were boiled without salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced dried onions or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Salad:
  • 5 pounds potatoes (I prefer to use red potatoes or yukon gold potatoes because I like their firm non-grainy texture but russet potatoes work, too)
  • 1 15-ounce can olives, cut in half
  • 10 hard-boiled eggs*, diced

Directions

  1. For the dressing, the easiest way to make this is to add all the ingredients to the mayo jar and shake like your life depends on it until everything is combined. Of course, this requires that the mayo jar is half empty (with only 2 cups of mayo in it). If this is not the case, simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl until all ingredients are combined.
  2. For the salad, peel, dice, and boil potatoes until tender but not mushy (I cut my potatoes into bite-size pieces and boil for about 8-10 minutes). Drain potatoes well and pour into a large bowl. Add sliced olives and hard-boiled eggs. Pour dressing over warm potatoes until desired “dressing-level” is reached. I usually make this salad the night before and I pour a thin coating of dressing over the potatoes, olives and eggs while they rest in the fridge overnight. Before serving the next day, I add the rest of the dressing and mix until it looks just right. Most importantly be sure and taste so you can add extra salt and pepper to taste!

Notes

*For perfect hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a deep saucepan; cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 14 minutes. Transfer to an iced water bath; let cool completely. Unpeeled eggs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/perfect-potato-salad-2/

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my friend, Tori

40 Responses to Potato Salad

  1. Kim in MD says:

    Perfect timing, Melanie! I throwing my son a graduation party next month, and I was looking for a new potato salad recipe! I know…I shouldn’t try out new recipes when entertaining, but your recipes have never failed me, so this is it! :-) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    Ooops…meant to say I am hosting a graduation party! :-)

  3. Norah B says:

    I’ve made this several times since you posted it last year and I still use it as my go to potato salad recipe. It’s so tasty and yummy.

  4. Melanie says:

    I’ve made this twice in the last month and it’s always been a hit! The only change I make to the recipe is an addition of a little pickle relish.

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – if my husband didn’t want to vomit at the thought of pickles, I’d definitely be throwing some in, too!

  5. Cammee says:

    I’ve never used a recipe for potato salad. I know what I like in it and I just wing it, but I’m really intrigued by the buttermilk, I can’t wait to try this! I, too, like a little relish in my potato salad–sweet though.

    You have been a busy woman, I’m loving all of these new recipes!

  6. I’ve never seen using buttermilk in a potato salad before, I bet it makes it taste wonderful!

  7. Jan says:

    Sorry to disagree but I have the perfect potato salad. But thanks for the buttermilk angle. I’m going to add it next time. Then I will have the PERFECTER Potato Salad. (I also don’t use dehydrated onions, I use lots and lots of the real thing with no complaints yet.) I think so many people miss the mark because for some crazy reason, they only put in 1-2 eggs; glad to see you use a bunch.

  8. Carmen says:

    Just whipped up a batch of this potato salad, it is in the fridge cooling, I have some leftover dressing to add later too :) Hubby is going to love it, thanks so much

  9. grace says:

    there are people who don’t like taters? blasphemy! :)
    the olives are a surprise indeed–very unique recipe!

  10. Jessica says:

    This looks fabulous! Great picture!

  11. Shandra says:

    Can I just say I LOVE your site! ALL of your recipes are so delicious and quick to make. Thanks!!

    Also, just thought I would let you and your readers know we are giving away a FREE Bosch Mixer (over $300) on our blog this month! Visit our blog for more details http://www.dealstomeals.blogspot.com to see how easy it is to win!

    Good luck

  12. Janet says:

    I like the addition of buttermilk and will make this recipe soon; thank you Mel. Love your site.
    Also, Jan from above……will share YOUR ‘perfecter potato salad recipe with us???

  13. Ashlee says:

    I will have to try this, I hate potato salad with the relish my mom puts in!

  14. Janae says:

    As a native Idahoan I have to put in my 2 cents or tip or whatever you want to call it…My mom swears that you have to boil those potatoes in water with lots of salt in it (She puts in a full Tbls), otherwise you’ll have tasteless potatoes that you can never add enough salt to later to get the right flavor.
    Also quarter the potatoes and boil till they’re tender. After they have cooled cut them into bit-size pieces and you won’t have to worry about mushy potatoes. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

  15. Joyce says:

    I have never dared make potato salad before but I am going to give it a try for our next family party. Just curious, do you think this recipe makes enough for about 25 people if there is also a main dish, green salad and chips? Do I need to double or 1 1/2 times it?

  16. tanya says:

    I just made this for our annual Memorial Day BBQ. It def is the perfect potato salad. I am a big fan of potato and egg salad anyways and I have made several recipes over the past 3 years but this is def the best one I have made. I am throwing out all my other recipes. This one is so creamy and tasty! Yum YUM!!!!
    While I was making it for the BBQ I was making your Italian beef for dinner. I love your blog!!!! I just saw your post on a homemade cake mix. We recently have tried to get away from cake mixes as well so I am psyched to try this recipe as well.

    • Mel says:

      tanya – thank you for checking in on this recipe! I am thrilled that it exceeded your expectations and that you loved it. I hope the Italian beef worked out ok, too!

  17. Rochelle says:

    This was the best potato salad I’ve ever had. Seriously.

    Found your site a few months ago and I’m loving it. Thanks for sharing all these great recipes!

  18. Sara says:

    I made your potato salad for the first batch of the season. It is yummy!! I am so ready for spring!

  19. Once again, I am completely thrilled with two more of your recipes. I just made your Perfect Potato Salad along with the cornbread rolls that you just posted today, and my son said it was the best meal he has eaten all week. I served the rolls sliced in half, with Dutch Gouda cheese, along with some watermelon. So tasty! Thank you!

  20. Vicky says:

    Made this potato salad for a get-together yesterday and it got a lot of compliments. I had never thought to put so many eggs in but I really liked it that way, and I’m an olive fan, so I would add more of those. I found the dressing to be quite abundant, so I added 4 or five more potatoes and even then it was still plenty creamy. (I used russets and have found that if you just watch them carefully and take them off the stove when they’re just tender, then rinse them under cold water, they’re not mushy at all. Cooked all the way, but just firm enough to not be soft and grainy.) Finally, in case anyone else wonders the same thing, I was unsure at first about this coming out really salty because of all the salts called for in the dressing (and because I cooked the potatoes in salted water), but it was just fine. Thanks for another great recipe!

  21. [...] pork ribs Baked beans (I added molasses) Potato salad Deviled eggs I swear the ribs aren't burnt, just a crappy picture. Baked beans in my favorite [...]

  22. Renay says:

    This potato salad is the bomb! Love it!

  23. Okay, as I just commented on your loaded baked potato salad, I’m pretty picky. I challenged you to try mine; now I’ll try yours! I’m wary of the olives though… :)

  24. Wow! My recipe for potato salad is almost the same. I use sour cream instead of buttermilk and green onion instead of regular, but other than that, the ingredients are the same (though the amounts may be different). How funny! My recipe is one I just made up according to our tastes. I’m sure yours is wonderful too and I like the idea of using buttermilk :)

  25. [...] – BBQ –    Steak Marinade Robusto with Perfect Potato Salad, Angel Hair Pasta Salad, Corn on the Cobb and Garlic [...]

  26. toni says:

    I have never used buttermilk so will try it. My potato salad i always add green olives and diced dill pickles ,as i don’t like sweet pickles. yummy.

  27. AHOP says:

    This looks delicious! Like another reader commented, I have never used buttermilk in potato salad, but I’m going to try it too.

  28. Kynicar says:

    I’m making this right now. Everything is sitting in the fridge, letting the favors meld. I snuck a tiny bite and it is good! I loved the addition of buttermilk. Yum. However, I admit I’m in the camp for a more mustardy dressing (blame my grandma, that’s how she always made it, and unfortunately she passed away and I can’t find her recipe). Anyway, I doubled the mustard, then adjusted the dressing to taste and it is now perfect. I might have to add some dill pickle later…(blame grandma again). Love your blog!

  29. Mel says:

    Making this today…for the second time. It was a real hit the first time! Thanks, as always, for the delicious recipes I know I can trust. Oh, and your San Francisco Chops are cooking in the slow cooker- it’s going to be a delicious dinner at our house!

    The “other” Mel

  30. Heidi says:

    Black olives or green olives?

  31. […] The Perfect Potato Salad-delicious. Next time I’d add celery or pickles. It needed more crunch. And Salt. And Pepper. […]

  32. Liz K. says:

    One of my most FAVORITE things about your blog is how specific you are about timing (like boil the potatoes 8-10 minutes). I think the only reason I can cook good food is because of the way you write up recipes. The detail is what helps those of us who aren’t the best cooks pretend like we are.
    Thanks!

  33. Brooke says:

    Just made this and it’s a keeper! Wonderful flavor! I did add in a 1/2 cup of white sugar to the dressing and that gave it just the right amount of sweetness. Love the buttermilk addition! :) Thanks for the winning recipe!

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