Classic Potato 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.

Side view of homemade potato salad in a white bowl.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

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?


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.

Side view of homemade potato salad in a white bowl.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

How to Cook Potatoes for Potato Salad

The easiest way to cook potatoes for potato salad is to boil them. Here are 2 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 middle 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.

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.

Potato salad in a bowl on a wooden background.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

Try These Other Potato Salad Recipes!

Classic Potato Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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, or 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!)

    A person testing if potatoes in a dutch oven are cooked to show how to make potato salad.
    Eliezer Martinez
  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.

    Frying bacon in a skillet to make the best potato salad recipe.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Chopped bacon on a cutting board to make the best potato salad recipe.
    Eliezer Martinez
  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.

    Mixing the dressing for a potato salad recipe.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Combining potatoes and dressing for a potato salad recipe.
    Eliezer Martinez
    A glass bowl of homemade potato salad.
    Eliezer Martinez
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
324 Calories
17g Fat
36g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 324
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 562mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 21mg 105%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 1009mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.