Southern Potato Salad – Immaculate Bites

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Southern Potato Salad – Flawlessly creamy with just the perfect amount of tang and a dash of heat, this potato salad recipe is my absolute favorite for potlucks and family get-togethers. A few pantry staples come together to deliver the most classic (and most delicious) Southern potato dishes out there. Let’s just say my bowl always comes home empty. 😉

When it comes to potato salad, I’ve tried my fair share. It is never missing at any get-together or family reunion. Plus, since it goes so well with grilled meat and sandwiches, it’s a regular side on my own lunch and dinner table too. You might say I’m a potato salad connoisseur of sorts. 😆

And the beauty of potato salad is its simplicity. A few pantry staples create amazing comfort food, and if you get the ratios right, you’ll have a side that is literally perfection.

Enjoy Southern potato salad

What Potatoes Make the Best Southern Potato Salad?

Opinions vary on this question, but I’d recommend using either Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes. They cook up pleasantly soft yet stay firm enough to not make mushy potato salad. When using thin-skinned potatoes like red potatoes (if that’s what you have on hand), you can leave the skin on for added texture and a rustic look.

Recipe Ingredients

  1. Potatoes – I find four large russets do the trick for this recipe, but you may want to add a few more if you’re using a different variety of potatoes.
  2. Eggs – I don’t believe in potato salad without hard-boiled eggs. Kidding, obviously, but they really do add some luxurious taste and texture. 😋
  3. Crunchy Veggies – Diced green onion, chopped celery, sweet relish, and some minced garlic are a gorgeous contrast in texture to the potatoes and eggs. Plus, they add so much flavor!
  4. Dressing – Dijon mustard, homemade mayo, Creole seasoning, and some good old S&P are all you need for the perfect potato salad dressing. It’s that simple! 😅

How to Make Southern Potato Salad

How to Boil Potatoes

Cook the Potatoes

  • Prep – Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks, then add them to a medium saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water by at least an inch. (Photos 1-2)
  • Cook – Salt the water and cook them until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let them cool. (Photos 3-4)
Mix all the ingredients and gently stir until combined


  • Chop – Once cool, add the potatoes to a large bowl together with chopped eggs, green onion, and celery.  
  • Flavor – Mix the sweet relish, garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  
  • Dressing – Add the mayonnaise mixture together with the potato mixture. Gently but thoroughly mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Chill – Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.  
Southern Potato Salad on a bed of lettuce ready to serve

Recipe Variations

  1. Customize the dressing and seasonings. Southern potato salad is highly customizable. Everyone’s Grandma seems to have her own family recipe. So make this recipe yours. Don’t like sweet relish? Use dill pickles. Not a fan of Dijon mustard? Go ahead and use yellow mustard. Don’t like the added heat? Use smoked paprika instead of Creole seasoning. Want to add something else? A dash of apple cider vinegar? Some Italian seasoning? Go for it! I highly recommend experimenting until you find your favorite version of this recipe.
  2. Fancy up your potato salad with some pretty and tasty garnishes. Bacon crumbles, chopped banana peppers, shredded cheese, fresh chopped rosemary or dill, any or all of these make fantastic potato salad toppings.
  3. Trade out the root. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, yams (ñame, not sweet potatoes), taro, or any other starchy root vegetable would make a great salad.

Tips and Tricks

  1. I like to peel and cut my potatoes before boiling, but you can totally toss them in whole and then peel and chop after they are cooked and cooled. A lot of people feel like this method saves time.
  2. Truth be told, potato salad always tastes better on the second day. So make it ahead if you can! Speaking of which…

Make-Ahead Instructions

Make potato salad one to two days ahead if you’d like! It tastes even better when the potatoes have time to soak up all the dressing flavors. Simply make it and then store it covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Store leftover Southern potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for 3-5 days.

Serving and Storage Instructions

Serve Southern potato salad chilled in a large bowl as a side to your favorite family meal. Scoop hearty portions on everyone’s plates and garnish with your favorite herbs or bacon bits. 🥓

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for 3-5 days.

Southern potato salad recipe is my absolute favorite


How long does boiling potatoes for potato salad take?

For this potato dish, I peeled and cut the potatoes into chunks before covering them with water in a saucepan. I boil mine for about 10 minutes, but that time can vary depending on the kind of potato you use and whether you cut them into chunks. Basically, you want to boil them until they’re fork-tender but not falling apart. 👌

Why is my potato salad watery?

Potatoes can hold a lot of water, so they need a chance to release it. So don’t skip the draining and cooling step because that’s how we eliminate the excess water that could make your potato salad runny.

Can I peel the potatoes ahead?

Sure. You can peel potatoes up to 24 hours ahead of time. But they’ll need to stay refrigerated and submerged in water. Otherwise, they’ll turn brown and look unappetizing. If you want to cut down on peeling time, boil the potatoes with the skin on, and when they cool, the skins will be super easy to peel off by hand.

What Goes With Southern Potato Salad

I especially love potato salad alongside fried chicken or grilled wings! But honestly, it goes great with anything grilled or fried. Pair it with other classic sides too, like green beans and bacon or cajun fried corn on the cob. Oh! And don’t forget the sweet iced tea. 😉

More Epic Potato Salad Recipes to Try

  1. Red Potato Salad
  2. Sweet Potato Salad
  3. Ranch Potato Salad
  4. German Potato Salad
  5. Patti LaBelle’s Potato Salad


Give this creamy, tangy Southern classic a try and see if it doesn’t become a new family favorite! Already tried it? Let me know how it turned out in the comment section below. 🙌

Watch How to Make It

This blog post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.

Southern Potato Salad

Flawlessly creamy with just the perfect amount of tang and a dash of heat, this potato salad recipe is my absolute favorite for potlucks and family get-togethers. A few pantry staples come together to deliver the most classic (and most delicious) Southern potato dishes out there. Let’s just say my bowl always comes home empty.