Dad’s Potato Salad

Updated December, 2011.

A month ago or so I made some potato salad. I love potato salad and was well pleased with this one. Then the next week my father made his version of potato salad. It was great too! The difference? Pickle juice and mustard. Also he throws in a hard boiled egg once in a while too. Note that getting the recipe out of my parents generated the usual recipe banter. Dad: “Use Russets.” Mom: “I’ve been making this recipe for years with all kinds of potatoes.” Dad: “Use Russets.” We’re using Russets in this recipe, which is why it is called, “Dad’s” potato salad.

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Dad’s Potato Salad Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 mid sized Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 Tbsp juice from Kosher dill pickles
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 or 2 chopped scallions, including the greens
  • 1-2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, raw or roasted, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 Place peeled, cut potatoes in a large pot. Cover with an inch of salted water. Bring a pot of water to boil. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until just fork tender. Remove from pot. Let cool enough to handle, but still warm.

2 Put potatoes in to a large bowl. Add the juice from the Kosher dill pickles. Add the finely chopped pickles themselves. Add parsley, onions, celery, scallions and, if using, the hard boiled egg, carrots, and red bell pepper.

3 In a separate small bowl, mix mayonnaise with mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the dressing with the potato mixture. Again, salt and pepper to taste.

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37 Comments

  1. george

    My grandmother made potato salad with pickles, but the secret ingredient was an apple or two diced up. That way you get a balance of tart and sweet.

  2. Anna

    I learned this trick from a friend while preparing potato salad for her daughter’s wedding:

    After boiling, skinning, and cubing the potatoes, marinate them in a little vinaigrette for a few hours before adding the mayonnaise and other ingredients. This gives the potato salad a whole new depth. Use white vinegar or rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar to keep from darkening the potatoes, and good olive oil.

  3. Francille

    For a different twist on this favorite salad, I bake the potatoes instead of boiling. When cool enough to handle, peel skins, then dice and toss with a good virgin olive oil. Mix mayo with sour cream [ half & half ]and a dollop of mustard. Add pickle relish of choice, followed with the usual celery, onions, hard boiled eggs, fresh ground sea salt, fresh ground white peppercorns. Enjoy

  4. Paul

    Elise, this was delicious! Made it for a Labor Day party and got compliments. I couldn’t resist adding stuff, which is a bad habit of mine. To your terrific base recipe, I added some roasted corn and to the dressing, I added some buttermilk, since I had it out for a cake and was really loving that tangy taste. With the buttermilk, I ended up adding a bit more mustard.

    Love your blog!

  5. FrancoFile

    How lovely that your father cooks. My dad is quite satisfied with himself for making toast, and I seem to have married another one like him in that respect. Parents, teach your sons to cook! I’m going to teach mine.

  6. Michael Kirkwood

    Ever tried some sliced apples in your potato salad – DEEEEElicious !

  7. frenchy1007

    Tried the recipe just as written….delicious….obviously in terms of pickle preference, some prefer dill, some prefer sweet & some prefer none. I personally can’t stand “sweet” potato salad. To me it’s a very country flavor. As for adding apples, corn, etc…to my way of thinking…..that’s not even potato salad anymore. Some things just don’t belong in potato salad!

  8. Melody Elliott-Koontz

    My mom always put dill pickle juice in her potato salad. It is almost the same recipe..cept mom always used good ole’ ball park mustard and sometimes some sliced green olives.

  9. mark

    I made this recipe for memorial day and everyone loved it. I varied the ingredients a bit. I added garlic and chopped green olives to it and subtracted the scallions. It was a hit! Thanks!

  10. Daya

    Thanks for the comments, y’all. I’ve been making this with Kosher Dill pickles & the juice for lots of years. Tonight I was wondering if there were recipes for this in cyberspace or did I just make it up and enjoying this alone? :-) Makes me wonder…Has anyone reading this ever try POLISH DILL PICKLE SOUP? Has a very similar flavor only its a creamy soup version…CHECK IT OUT….YUM!

  11. Jan

    I tried this recipe for something different and at first my family wasn’t sure they would like it. Once they tasted the potato salad, it disappeared faster than any standard potato salad.

    Great flavor, great food! Perfect for a picnic or in the middle of winter.

  12. sls

    Made this tonight to go with Elise’s pulled pork recipe. I thought it was really good. I used regular european mustard, increasing the amt. since I like a mustardy potato salad, and used cornichons since we don’t get dill pickles here. Used green onion instead of scallions. I thought it was really delicious.

  13. KJO

    One of the things I always add to my potato salad is Tabasco–enough to give it a healthy zip. I also use the combination of egg and pickle juice, but haven’t used pickles in the salad lately.
    I also typically use Russetts (Cooks Illustrated recommends them as the best for holding up), but my last batch, I only had Yukon Golds, and the flavor was distinctly different–good, but just different from the Russetts.

  14. Ricardo

    Parsley is used quite often in many recipes. However, a replacement for parsley that you might want to try is fresh cilantro. This adds a real great taste the potato salad. We try to rip off just the leaves and use them only. It may take a moment of your time, but is well worth it. Many of our friends are wowed at the unique taste.

  15. zchamu

    Have made this twice now. It’s fantastic, and has been a massive hit with company. And it’s even better the next day.

  16. Cathleen

    I made this recipe for a BBQ get together with friends last night. I doubled the recipe and thank goodness I did because the bowl was pretty much licked clean! Rave reviews from all! I added and omitted a few things but overall this recipe is great. I highly recommend it!

  17. Pademelon

    This recipe looks great! I can’t wait to try it. My mom uses a little dill pickle juice in her (amazing and much sought after) devilled egg recipe and calls it the secret ingredient. So this doesn’t really surprise me to much (though I’d never have thought to add it to potato salad).

  18. lisa

    I found a recipe in Cook’s illustrated similiar to yours and your Dad’s. The only exception was half mayo and half sour cream. I used red onion as well, diced small. This is my first attempt ever trying to make potato salad, had a big craving for it with my bbq chicken. The recipe I had also suggest yukon but I had the little red russets and it turned out so good. Everyone like it, including my Mexican boyfriend and by picky sons that don’t normally eat potato salad. I do think it is the pickle juice and the the Dijon mustard that makes the differnce. It wasn’t the bright yellow salad that would scare my children away in the past.

  19. Chetia

    I remember my aunt using a couple of green olives and their juice in her potato salad

  20. B.Swetnam

    This recipe is for your Dad, and everyone else, it’s a Germany Potato Salad with Sour Cream. I was looking through an old, copyright date 1961, New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and remembered I hadn’t made this is years, but it is so good.

    1 pound potatoes, boiled (about 4 medium potatoes)
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    1 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber (optional)
    Paprika

    1. Slice potatoes while still warm. If new potatoes are used, slice in their jackets. Old potatoes should be peeled.
    2. Mix the sugar, salt, mustard, pepper and vinegar. Ad the sour cream and cucumber and mix. Pour over the potatoes and toss lightly until all the potatoes have been coated with dressing. Turn into a serving dish and sprinkle with paprika. Serve warm or cool. Serves 4

  21. Marchel

    This is very similar to my mom’s potato salad, which I still make to this day. She would stir together all the ingredients as a ‘dressing’ mix, including the hard boiled eggs while the potatoes were cooking. Then pour it over them after they were drained. It’s important to get the dressing on the potatoes while they are hot, so that it is absorbed by them. I’ve tried to do it after the potatoes got cold and the results were not very good.

    She used sweet and dill pickles, pickle juice and pickle relish. Also, French’s yellow mustard and chopped red onions. To make it pretty she would sprinkle paprika over the top. Then she would make a couple of ‘daisies’ out of hard boiled eggs with ‘stems’ made from green onions.

    I haven’t varied it much, except I use white wine vinegar and Gulden’s brown or dijon mustard. I sometimes add some garlic and fresh chopped thyme. I prefer yukon gold potatoes as well, however, I have yet to meet a potato that I don’t like!

    I appreciate the variations that your readers share.

  22. Pat

    I grew up eating Texas-style potato salad made with Russett potatoes, dill pickles and dill pickle juice, onions, celery, and lots of yellow mustard (hardly any mayo). Some of my aunts put boiled eggs in theirs but not always. They also would kind of mash the potatoes until lumpy. You don’t find people making that old-time Texas potato salad much anymore. They make it way too creamy and don’t mash it like they used to.

  23. Rachel

    I found this recipe after I googled “russet potato salad”. I didn’t have actual pickle juice, celery or red onion. So I substituted dill relish for the pickles & pickle juice, carrots for the celery and garlic for the onion. It was still absolutely delicious and a hit with the family! Not too bad for a potato salad virgin LOL.

  24. Renee

    This is the second time I’am making this for a holiday picnic. The first time it was very good but this time I stepped out of the “box” and sprinkled in a generous amount of celery seed, threw in some of the celery leaves, added a tablespoon of cider vinegar to the mayo and Grey Poupon Dijon mustard mix. I gave my husband a spoonful to taste test. he looked up at me and said “that’s it” “tastes just like my aunt Tish’s” btw, your dad was right about using Russett potatoes. thank you Dad!

  25. irene

    This is almost exactly my recipe. Everyone would ask me to make potato salad for get togethers. I would not put in any onions. I have always put boiled eggs. Also dill juice for some and sweet cucumber pickle juice for the friends who liked it sweet. I enjoy it both ways.

  26. Karen

    Just made this potato salad with almost all of the ingresdients from the backyard garden. It was a hit! Thanks for the recipe – I will defintely make it again (and I don’t think I’ll buy potato salad from the store again)!

  27. Becky

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. I am going to a BBQ on Saturday — my daughter’s birthday and she is home from Colo. — so we will be going to her dad and stepmom’s home and I was chosen to make the potato salad. I love dill pickles and this has got to be a hit! I will share the reactions next week.

  28. Penny

    Just made this. Fantastic! Am toying with the idea of adding some apple, per comment suggestions, because that sounds nice and summery, but may just wait and serve as is. Thanks for this nice one!

  29. Leah

    I added about 2 TBSP mayonnaise and added 0% plain yoghurt for the rest of the 1/2 cup…just to cut down the mayo a bit. I also added more Dijon mustard to give it more of a tang. It tasted just as good and is slightly healthier.
    Thanks for the recipe, it’s become a regular in my meals:)

  30. Pat Cincotta

    The 1/2 cup mayo just wasn’t enough for four potatoes. Maybe my potatoes were bigger. Anyway, I added plain yogurt to mine and along with the Kosher pickle juice, I used sweet pickle relish. The sour/sweet combination was really good. I left out the carrots and added a small can of chopped black olives. Delicious!

  31. Christine

    I just made this potato salad and its wonderful! I do think the key is the quality of mayo. I bought some expresser pressed canola oil from Whole Foods. It made this potato salad.

    I used three organic russet potatoes. I added parsley flakes, red onion, onion powder (since I love onion) a little red pepper, a little organic carrot, pepper and celery.

    I omitted the pickle, scallions,mustard, egg and added salt.

    I will definitely make again!

  32. christine

    I wanted to add that after a couple hours in the fridge, I needed to add the dijon mustard. It lacked that “zip!” and once I added it, it was perfect. I may add some swiss cheese or some apple in the future. For now, it’s addicting.

  33. irena

    This is really not that different from my usual potato salad recipe, and I have to say, yours is just sooo much better!
    You are right, the pickle and pickle juice really makes a world of difference. My husband has ask me to make it 3 weeks in a row now.
    SO, thank you and hat off~

  34. Rebecca

    A must for all of my potato salad: DILL — my salad is very similar to this except I add dill.

  35. Mollie

    Wow! This stuff was amazing! This was the first time I’ve ever made potato salad. I don’t really even like it usually- like at family parties. I am always turned off by the smell and knowing that it’s coated and oozing with mayo. THIS recipe, however, does not produce that type of potato salad. Just enough dressing to make it all stick. It’s vegetarian and adaptable for vegans as well (if you used vegan mayo). I added about 1/2 tsp of garlic powder to the dressing but basically followed everything else. I’m not sure if it really added anything, but it didn’t hurt.

    Also, 20 minutes was just enough time for me to cook the potatoes and hard-boil eggs/peel eggs, AND do all the chopping and prep work since I don’t have a food processor. I would give yourself about 25-30min to complete the salad.

    Tomorrow I’m putting a huge glob in the center of a lettuce leaf, adding a slice of tomato, putting that between two pieces of bread and voila! a potato salad sandwich for lunch.

    Thank you for your recipes!

  36. Rachael

    This was terrific! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I use them quite often.

  37. Earl

    Very good!

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