This Southern Potato Salad is the best creamy version made with simple ingredients. Tender potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, sweet relish and a dash of mustard come together perfectly in must-have recipe for any celebration or barbecue.
You know those recipes you call your mom for. This potato salad recipe is one of those recipes. I grew up (in Eastern NC) on my grandmother’s old-fashioned Potato Salad and she never had an “exact recipe”. She just tossed in the ingredients and did the taste test.
Thank goodness I finally learned that making this classic potato salad is much easier than I thought. I was so nervous the first time for some reason.
There are many versions of Potato Salads, but this is traditional southern potato salad I grew up on. To me, this is by har the best potato salad recipe around!
It’s one of those family favorite easy side dishes that everyone looks forward to at so many holidays and family gatherings throughout the year. I mean is there anything better to have with burgers or hot dogs at a cookout than this great recipe!
Ingredients you will need:
Makes 8 servings
Potatoes – Peeled and diced. I think the best potatoes are white potatoes because they are so creamy But Yukon gold potatoes and red potatoes work well too. Starchy potatoes, like Russet potatoes, typically do not do well in potato salad since they have a tendency to fall apart after boiling them.
Hard-boiled eggs – A must for potato salad. I like my potato salad with lots of egg but if you prefer just 3 or 4 that is fine as well.
Mayonnaise – Another classic ingredient for any potato salad. My personal preference is Hellman’s mayonnaise. But I know there are some die hard duke’s mayonnaise lovers that swear by it too . Some people do prefer a whipped salad dressing ,like miracle whip, for a tangier flavor. I personally think regular mayo is best but feel free to use light mayo if you want to cut calories a little more.
Yellow Mustard – adds just the right amount of a tangy flavor.
Sweet pickle relish – has always been in our version of potato salad but you can also use dill pickles or dill relish if you prefer.
Salt and pepper – You can also sprinkle the top with a little paprika too if you’d like.
Other additions you can add is chopped yellow onion and chopped crunchy celery. Green onions, sweet onion and red onion are also great too. My grandmother didn’t add either of these but I know they are popular in some variations.
How to Make this Homemade Potato Salad
Step 1: Place the large eggs in a pot of water. When the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 minute.
Step 2: Remove from heat and COVER and let stand for 20 minutes. Or you can make hard boiled eggs in the oven or Instant Pot hard boiled eggs for the perfect hard boiled egg!
Step 3: Peel and dice the potatoes into about 1 inch pieces. You can boil the potatoes with the skin on and scrape the skin off with a knife after you have cooked and drained them.
Step 4: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water and bring them to a boil over high heat for about 15 minutes UNCOVERED or until fork tender. Drain in a colander and then place the hot potatoes in a large bowl or the serving bowl you want to use.
Step 5: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour to give the potatoes ample time to cool completely. If you try to mix warm cooked potatoes, they tend to crumble when stirring.
Step 6: In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and sweet pickles together. Then add salt and black pepper to taste.
Then add the potatoes and fold in gently.
Plan to give your potato salad several hours in the refrigerator before diving in. The flavors get better and better as the hours go by. (usually 4-6 is plenty of time).
Make a day or 2 before if you have time to let the flavors blend even more.
Cook the potatoes with the skin on if you prefer.
Use dijon mustard if desired.
Add a dash of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar if you prefer a tangier flavor
Add a little celery seed and/ or garlic powder if desired.
If you happen to have any leftovers, they will keep just fine for about 4 days in the refrigerator. If your potato salad has been at room temperature longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees F), discard any leftovers since bacteria can grow if left out longer.
You can serve potato salad warm or cold. I actually love it warmed. Just be sure to heat it up and not let it sit out to get warm.
Try these other side dish recipes too:
Southern Potato Salad Recipe
- 2 lbs potatoes peeled and diced
- 7 hard boiled eggs chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 4 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place eggs in a pan covered with cold water. When the water starts to boil, reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 1 minute .
- Remove from heat and COVER and let stand for 20 minutes. Or you can bake your eggs in the oven for the perfect hard boiled egg!
- Peel and dice the potatoes into about 1 inch pieces.
- Cover them with water and bring them to a boil for about 15 minutes UNCOVERED or until tender. Drain in a colander.
- Let the potatoes cool before mixing so they won’t crumble. I actually put mine in a bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- In a separate bowl, mix the other ingredients together.
- Then add the potatoes and mix gently.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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Just like my Mother made in Houston, Texas. We have lived in South America, New Mexico, California and now Oklahoma. And, I have never tasted a better potato salad than this. Thank you for reminding me!!!
I have made this twice. The first time was with Dukes mayo and all dill relish. It was good. The second time I used miracle whip and 2 tablespoons of dill and 2 of sweet relish and i got more races the second time.
No onion, or celery? That’s un-American!!!! Was that a typo? Without onions, it is just eggs and potatoes in mayonnaise.
Best recipe. This is my favorite potato salad
I have to say…this is one of the best potato recipes ever! I’ve made it multiple times and it is always a hit!
Thank you so much Stephanie!
Hey, another southerner in NH! I am from Georgia myself. This is the base for my recipe. I usually add on onion, bell pepper, and paprika to mine. Then slice egg on top, and sprinkle a little more paprika over top. For the longest time, my Grandma never mixed the paprika or egg in. Then one time she started and never went back. I use her recipe. My great grandma liked to add in a red apple for color and crunch. I may need to try in some celery.
I am from Texas. My grandmother mashed her potatoes. Onion, celery, eggs, bell pepper, mustard, salt, pepper,
This is how I was taught to make potato salad. I am a Georgia peach, and this has been done for generations in our family. One little hint, When mixing all together do it in a colander. This way you will not have soupy potato salad (if that has ever happened to you)
I’m trying this
Super bowl. Sunday with a few other family classics
I will let ya know
What happened to the finely chopped onion and celery or at least celery seed in lieu of fresh celery. I’ve been making award winning potato salad for years and those additions are a must.
This us exactly how my Mother made potato salad! The only difference is, she always used the same number of eggs as potatoes, as she felt it gave more flavor. She also did the “taste test” while mixing the ingredients. That’s how she taught me and I also taught my daughters. Mom was from South Dakota (does that make her southern) and I grew up in Wisconsin. My nephew asked me to make my potato salad for his wedding reception instead of his Mom’s, stating “yours tastes better”. Love this!
What makes it southern? Sounds like what we make in Iowa.
For over 25 years, I didn’t know it was called “Southern potato salad”
( my family is from Nova Scotia Ontario)
I substitute mustard for Dijon and sweet pickle relish for real pickles. I try to even out my ratio of boiled eggs with potatoes. With the extra eggs I take the yolks and creaking them with a little bit of extra mail the other half I sprinkle on top of the salad
This recipe was absolutely amazing. And simple. Nothing over the top and crazy added. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great! Definitely recommend!
I made this from the recipe, but it wasn’t close to Texas Style. I took some over to my moms to taste. She said it needed onions, celery, paprika and a little vinegar. This was a great base to start from, i just wanted it more like Mom’s.
This recipe is absolutely wonderful! I added some celery seed, onions and a sprinkle of paprika on top, just to make it look as delicious as it tastes. My southern mother-in-law from Alabama loved it!
That’s when I knew it was perfect!
I too am a N.C. girl and this was one of my Mom’s specialties, but she always added about a Tbsp. of diced gr. pepper,Tbsp. of diced celery and 2 thinly sliced gr. onions( So. is -spring onion) This was always at all our family gatherings….I think its going to be on my menu tonight–yum-o !!!
This was awesome! My first time making it for the family picnic, it was easy & delicious! I was nervous because my sister in law was the queen of the potato salad & she passed away last September & I know she would have approved.
Pam, You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear this! 🙂
Frying potato salad in a skillet is AMAZING.
I make my potato salad same way except I like to mix my salad while it is pretty warm. The flavors seem to marry together better than it does cold. It seems like when it is cold, it just coats the potatoes instead of soaking into potatoes. I also like to eat it warm.