Classic Potato Salad

VideoSide DishFavorite SummerPotato Salads

Going to a cookout? This classic potato salad is what you want! It's made with boiled potatoes, sour cream, mayo, green onions, celery, parsley, pickles and bacon. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Summer. Outdoor barbecues, kids and swimming pools, burgers, hot dogs, and plenty of potato salad. We made a big batch of potato salad for a little family gathering this weekend. How about you?

VIDEO! How to Make Classic Potato Salad

Potato Salad for a Crowd

What I love about potato salad is that it serves a lot of people without a lot of effort, and it’s so easy to make a good one.

I love using Yukon golds, though you can use any potato. My dad likes using russets in his potato salad. This recipe is for potato salad with sour cream – using it as a binder makes it extra creamy.

How to Cook Potatoes for Potato Salad

The easiest way to cook potatoes for potato salad is to boil them. Here are two key tips for boiling potatoes success:

  1. Cut them so they are the same size. This ensures that all the potato pieces cook evenly and at the same rate. We cut our potatoes into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Start the potatoes in cold water: Bring the potatoes up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until they’re tender in the middles when pierced with a fork. Starting them in cold water also ensures that they cook evenly throughout.

How long to cook your potatoes? If you cut them into 1-inch chunks like we do, they will cook from start to finish in about 25 to 30 minutes.

Potato Salad Recipe

How Far Ahead Can You Make Potato Salad?

Potato salad can be served right away, or refrigerated until ready to serve. It’s best served the same day it’s made, but leftovers will keep for about 3 to 4 days (less if the salad has sat out at room or warm temperatures for any length of time).

You can also boil the potatoes and fry the bacon a few days ahead. Keep them refrigerated separately and assemble the salad when ready to serve.

Potato salad does not freeze well, and we don’t recommend it.

Try These Other Potato Salad Recipes!

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Updated May 25, 2020 : We spiffed up this post with a brand new video! No changes to the original recipe.

Classic Potato Salad

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

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.


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (you can leave the peel on if you want), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons 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)
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper



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

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!)

2 Meanwhile, 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.

Once cool, chop the bacon finely.

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

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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37 Comments / Reviews

No ImageClassic Potato Salad

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kara

    This is a fantastic recipe! I make it per directions (using light mayo & light sour cream, adding the dill pickle juice but also adding chopped sweet pickle, and exchanging green onions for chopped sweet onion). I use Kirkland chopped bacon for easier prep. And it is so good on its own that it does not need the addition of chopped hard-boiled egg. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!


  2. Lisa

    Delicious! Thank you Elise, once again, for a tasty dish!! I took your advice and switched the ratios of mayo to sour cream based on what I had in my fridge and added a couple of hard boiled eggs. My family loved this, thank you again!!

  3. Bonnie

    This Potato Salad was excellent! I’ve always made it with all mayo (as my mother did), celery, chopped egg, sometimes radishes if I have them and onion. I did find the amount of sour cream to be a little more than I liked so I increased the mayo. I also used a little cider vinegar but otherwise stayed true to the recipe. My next door neighbors always like my Potato Salad but this one they said they absolutely thought it was the best ever!
    I also want to thank you for this and the many other recipes from your site that I have tried and loved!


  4. Brigette

    This is my favorite potato salad, ever. The last time I made it, this past Monday, I did not have any sour cream so I upped the mayo. I also did not have any bacon so I made it without. I LOVE the extra flavor from the dill pickle juice. I made a double batch and there was only 1/2 cup left by the end of the meal. I’m pretty sure everyone went back for thirds. This is a keeper, share-the-love recipe.


  5. Marie

    Excellent! Used light sour cream for the first time! Used Hormel real bacon pieces, dijon mustard and sweet relish…. #YUM


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