How to Make Potato Salad in 3 Simple Steps

Win over picnic- and potluck-goers with these potato salad recipes, including warm German potato salad and some delicious twists on the classic side.

There are few nostalgic dishes that complete a summertime picnic spread better than potato salad. Since the tender boiled potatoes dressed in a tangy dressing can be served cold or at room temperature, it makes the perfect potluck side dish. While it's convenient to pick up a carton of creamy potato salad at the store or deli, you can easily make homemade potato salad with minimal effort and just a handful of ingredients. Start out by making our tried-and-true classic Better Homes & Gardens potato salad. Watch it quickly disappear at your outdoor gathering, then add one of our other delicious potato salad recipes to the menu next time.

Classic Potato Salad
Andy Lyons

How to Make Potato Salad

Follow these simple steps to learn how to make potato salad. We're using our classic recipe complete with eggs and mayonnaise for a fan-favorite side. Once you've mastered the original homemade potato salad recipe, try one of the recipe twists below.

1. Cook the Potatoes

In a medium saucepan, place potatoes, ¼ teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Wondering how long to boil potatoes for potato salad? They'll be done in no time! Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.

Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking times for potatoes can vary based on the size of your cut or whole pieces so keep an eye on them and check often with a fork.

2. Make the Dressing

Meanwhile, for dressing, combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl ($7, Walmart). Stir in the celery, onion, and pickles.

3. Combine Ingredients

Add the potatoes and eggs. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill in a storage container for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

Test Kitchen Tip: Want to make your potato salad stand out from the rest of the usual potluck favorites? Try using red potatoes instead. Especially when you leave the skins on, red potatoes can easily bring a whole new look (and a slightly different flavor) to a basic potato salad.

Hot German-Style Potato Salad
Blaine Moats

How to Make German Potato Salad

German potato salad is usually served warm, unlike classic potato salad with egg and mayo. German potato salad recipes usually feature bacon and vinegar as main ingredients. Since it's served hot, German potato salad isn't as much of a picnic favorite as classic potato salad, but that doesn't mean you should pass this version up. Try serving German potato salad for dinner alongside just about any meat entrée, or make this warm dish in winter for a cold-weather variation of summer potato salad.

Corn and Potato Salad
Sara Remington

Best Potatoes for Potato Salad

Most of our Test Kitchen's potato salad recipes call for waxy potato types such as red, yellow fingerling, and new potatoes. We prefer these over softer types like the traditional Russet because they hold their shape better once cooked and stirred into the dressing.

Now that you're a pro at making homemade potato salad, branch out to a new potato salad recipe. Give plain potato salad a BLT sandwich twist. Utilize the whole garden with our summer vegetable potato salad. Swap the dressing for pesto or try making a sweet potato salad. No matter which recipe you choose, you'll know you've brought one of the best potluck side dishes of all time to the table.

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