Classic Potato Salad

Side DishFavorite SummerPotato Salad

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?

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!

Updated July 4, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Classic Potato Salad

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

 

Method

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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34 Comments / Reviews

No ImageClassic Potato Salad

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. 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.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Marie

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Anna

    I used red potatoes, didn’t have sour cream so just used mayo, and didn’t have scallions so used yellow onion, also didn’t have parsley, but this is awesome! Of course, bacon. :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. 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!
    Enjoy!!!!!

  5. 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.

    Show Replies (1)
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