Classic Potato Salad

If you are using Russets and not Yukon Gold potatoes, peel them first, then cut them into 1-inch pieces for cooking. The bacon is entirely optional, feel free to skip it, or experiment with other ingredients. My dad likes adding minced carrots and chopped hard boiled egg to his potato salad.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes (you can leave the peel on if you want), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard (your favorite, yellow, Dijon, stone ground)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 dill pickles, chopped into 1/4 in cubes (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked* and finely chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

*To cook the bacon, heat a frying pan on medium low. Lay out the strips of bacon in a single layer. Gently cook, turning over occasionally with tongs, until lightly browned, and much of the fat rendered out. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess fat. Do not pour any fat from the pan down the drain, it will clog it. Instead, pour it into a jar, or sop up with paper towels and discard.


1 Cover potatoes with salted water and bring to a simmer: In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.

2 Simmer until fork tender, then drain: Simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. (If you want, add some pickle juice to the drained, still slightly warm potatoes. The potatoes will absorb some of the juices, making them even tastier!)

3 Whisk together sour cream, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper: In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard. Add a little salt and pepper.

4 Add potatoes and other ingredients: Add the potatoes and use a rubber spatula to gently combine with the sour cream mixture. Add the green onions, celery, parsley, pickles, and bacon, again gently combining. (Include a couple tablespoons of the pickle juice for good measure.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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  • Gina

    So I added a few things-juice from a couple lemons, tablespoon of olive oil, seasoning of chives, minced onions, garlic powder, parsley, dill weed, seasoning salt, celery salt, some Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, vinegar, eggs and some green olives. I couldn’t get it right until I added the lemon juice, made it all come together. I love potato salad and I’m always trying new things. My boyfriend commented the last time I made it that it was never the same. I think this batch is the best ever. The olive oil makes a big difference also and it’s good for you!

  • Jennifer

    I’m looking for a recipe to make mayonnaise without eggs, spice and mustards. Because I’m allergic to eggs and any and all spices. Does anyone by any chance know if there is a recipe to make mayonnaise using sour cream? Thank you very much.

    • Elise

      Hi Jennifer, I would do a Google search for vegan mayonnaise and see what you find!

  • Vicky

    I made this last night and loved it! The changes I made were 1/2 cup mayo 1/2 cup yogurt (no sour cream), added 1 clove garlic, added 2 more strips of bacon and omitted the celery (only because I forgot about it). It was delicious!

  • Karl

    I love potato salad! But this recipe made me love it even more!

  • Shuhada

    so delicious! I love a good old fashioned potato salad.

  • Tempy

    This salad is so familiar to the one I prepare, although I usually use garden variety mustard (the one we all know from yellow bottles) I tried Djon this time and the green onions, versus the purple or white I usually love to use (for the strenth of onionish flavor). I substituted bacon for a few thinly cubed pieces of ham that we had from leftovers and added boiled eggs to the batch. It sure was a winner here!

  • Annie

    Whoa, this is a great recipe but OMG I would NEVER toss out good bacon fat! I might even fold a bit of it into the potato salad. I always strain my rendered bacon fat, keep it in a canning jar by my stove and use it to season leafy greens or other dishes. Ever cook onions in bacon fat?? Scrumptious! I even mix it into dog’s food.

    Let’s not be so afraid of eating good, natural, wholesome saturated fats. The old advice concerning sat fats is VERY outdated and was wrong. Keep studying and researching this issue and you will see what I mean. The fat worth avoiding is trans fat (hydrogenated liquid oils); that’s the killer!! And the old, outdated research results didn’t differentiate between healthy sat fats and hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

    In case you are wondering…I’m 65, 5’5″ and have never been on any prescription drugs and I weigh 130 pounds. I eat healthy fats. What I don’t eat is refined grains–those will make you fat!

    This looks like a very tasty recipe for potato salad for sure!

    We always keep a jar of bacon drippings around, great for flavor. Try adding them to refried beans. Yum. ~Elise

  • Judy

    I must have at least 50 potato salad recipes, most of them good…but classic recipes like this always seem to be the ones I make the most. We sometimes add diced smoked ham to our potato salad and serve as a main dish in the heat of summer, but I’m looking forward to using the bacon instead. We grow Italian flat leaf parsley, which is fabulous in this kind of dish. Served on a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves with a healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika sounds yummy…and I think I’ll use both Yukon Gold and Red potatoes.
    Thanks for another great recipe, Elise.

  • Nancy Long

    will definitely give this one a try, though have never found one I like as well as my mother’s. She added a bit of vinegar, but no pickle and she put in some chopped green pepper.

  • Julie

    This one sounds great! I’ve never used sour cream or bacon, I’m absolutely trying this next. Mine uses russets boiled unpeeled and whole, then peeled and sliced thin when slightly cooled, a mix of equal parts Greek yogurt and mayo, celery and celery leaves (the unsung hero), diced red onion, fresh chopped parsley, chopped capers, 2 tbs of yellow mustard, and salt/pepper/paprika. I’ve made it I think 7 times this summer now, my boyfriend goes crazy for it. This is my mom’s recipe with capers and mustard added and the hard-boiled eggs omitted because they smell and taste like death :p

  • Askmeaboutcheese

    My mother always bakes her potatoes instead of boils, then chops after cooking for the potato salad, they hold up a lot better in the salad

  • Rose

    I made this recipe and it’s awesome. The only thing I did different was to cook the bacon in the microwave you never have to worry about the fat as it’s all absorbed by the paper towels.

  • jonathan

    how could i have ever missed this? you know i’ve touted union square (nyc) cafe’s recipes many times in the past. here’s their version of potato salad with bacon, but using an herbed vinaigrette dressing made with some of the potato poaching liquid instead of a mayo-based dressing. really tasty.

  • Linda

    Excellent recipe! I wouldn’t change a thing. Very good taste using the Yukon Golds and the bacon was just the thing to include. I love trying your recipes the way that you present them without changing the ingredients. I really feel like I am venturing into new cooking experiences when I make them the way you make them instead of including my “
    old” way ingredients. Thanks, as always, for sharing your expertise. It is much appreciated.

  • kate

    This is wonderful recipe. It’s actually similar to the one my mom used to make when i was a kid but instead of adding the dill pickle in mom would boil the potatoes with dill seed.

  • Mary Morris

    I love this recipe, it’s like having a fully loaded baked potato in the summertime, with the bacon, chives and sour cream, without the heat. I use russet potatoes utilizing a Fanny Farmer tip: boil them whole, with skins on until tender when pierced by a fork. Drain the potatoes and as soon as you can handle them, peal off the skins (they come off quite easily when cooked and before they get cold) and discard, then chop up the potatoes. The cooking time is longer and it’s a bit tedious, but you are rewarded with wonderful, mealy potatoes that aren’t soggy.

  • Katrina

    A classic! Love this recipe :)

  • Jette Stuart

    Incredible recipe…the bacon did wonders for the flavor

  • Mike

    My mother’s recipe was mostly the same, except she used equal parts whole milk and mayo–no sour cream for her–then used gherkins instead of dill pickles.

  • Lisa

    Love love LOVE tater salad!! No bacon, sour cream or added salt for me, but the rest of the recipe is spot on!! I also sub a little sweet relish for the dill pickles. YUM!!!

  • John Astle

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of the variations made to this recipe. All of them sound GREAT! I believe Potato Salad is one of those recipes with a great deal of versatility, but almost anything you do, it still comes out great. Personally, I can’t imagine Potato Salad without hard-boiled egg. I also like to add a bit of horseradish and Tabasco Sauce to the mix.

  • preet

    Thanks for this! The mustard and cilantro (or parsley) really makes all the difference.

    I improvised on your recipe and used red onions instead of green, skipped the dill and bacon, added 2 hard-boiled eggs and topped it off with grated mozzarella. It turned out great!

  • Jen

    Made this tonight for our Memorial Day gathering. I substituted dill relish for the pickles (all I had!) and it is amazing! I KNOW it will be even better tomorrow. Thank you for the great (and easy) recipe!!

  • Tami

    Everyone in my family is vegetarian, so we all love salads. recently we made this variation of potato salad: cubed, boiled potatoes+sweet peas+chopped pickles+steamed carrots+steamed beet(s)+mayonnaise. You can also substitute the beet with boiled eggs and olives. It’s amazing, hope you try it :)

  • David

    I saw this potato salad recipe and felt that my own family’s extremely quick and simple version might be worth mentioning.

    1 bag New/baby potatoes
    1/2 jar “Real” mayonnaise
    3 eggs
    Small tin of anchovies
    Salt & pepper to taste

    1. Boil potatoes; about 15-20 minutes should work. Boil eggs semi-hard.
    2. Cut up potatoes (leave the skin on), and peel and cut up the eggs.
    3. Shred 4-5 anchovies by hand.
    4. Mix all ingredients in bowl.
    5. Add some salt and pepper, as desired.

    Et voila! A tasty, but not necessarily healthy, side-dish, providing enough for five or six people.

  • Rob N

    This is excellent except for the Dill pickles. Pickles yes, but Gerkins not Dill. You would be amazed the difference it makes.

  • Anonymous

    Very wonderful! I found the flavors of the green onions to really ‘pop’ after a few days of the left overs sitting in the fridge. The second time I made it, I decided to add the onion in with the potatoes and sour cream/mayo mixture to mellow overnight. Made a big flavor difference.

  • Jim Price

    Great recipe! I varied it by substituting a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for the pickles, adding 4 hard-boiled eggs, and cubing my potatoes before cooking. I think the golden Yukons make best potato salad.

  • Alice

    Thank you for the recipes…and the style in which you write. Refreshing.

    I may be alone in my amazement at this potato salad, but do give it a try. Pretty, different and yummy. It was served at a buffet lunch in Tahiti after a day of snorkeling. I have invented new versions based on the original recipe, but here is all it was:
    Tahitian Pink Potato Salad
    White potatoes
    red onion
    Best Foods Mayo (she made me promise!)
    Canned beets – julienne strips – or fresh cooked
    crispy canned corn

    Do try it. Enjoy!

    Hi Alice, Thanks, it sounds delicious! I love beets, with just about anything. ~Elise