Hands down, this is my favorite creamy potato salad recipe. So many of our readers agree — read the glowing reviews. See how to make our homemade potato salad with a simple classic dressing.
Watch the video
Our potato salad recipe is easy! You’ll make it like a pro in no time with our tricks. I show you how to choose and cook the potatoes, my favorite potato salad ingredients, and our family’s beloved creamy dressing that’s so good you’ll be licking the bowl clean (we also use it when making this red potato salad with herbs).
This potato salad is also perfect for making ahead of time. In fact, it gets better after a night in the fridge. Serve this creamy potato salad at your next barbecue, and prepare for all the compliments. For a mayonnaise-free potato salad, see this delicious herb potato salad.
How to make the best potato salad
To make potato salad, you’ll need potatoes, our homemade dressing, and a few extras to make it special. Remember that potato salad is a great make-ahead side. It will keep when stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
The best potatoes to use
Small, waxy, and thin-skinned potatoes are best for potato salad. Small yellow, white, or red potatoes are perfect (fingerling potatoes work, too). They are quick-cooking, and since they are already small, there’s no need to chop them before cooking.
If you don’t have small, waxy potatoes available, other potatoes, like russet (baking) potatoes, will work in their place, but the texture will be slightly different. If you have large potatoes, chop them before cooking them since they will take much longer to cook whole than smaller varieties.
How to cook the potatoes
When making potato salad, I cook whole, small potatoes. I find potatoes cooked whole retain flavor and have a better texture than when cooked chopped. I simmer the whole potatoes in salted water until I can push a fork through the center.
- Salt your water: Don’t skimp on salt in the cooking water! It enhances the potato flavor without making it salty.
- Simmer, don’t boil: Opt for a gentle simmer. This prevents potatoes from bashing one another and cooks them just as fast.
- Use an ice bath: Stop the cooking and cool them down quickly with an ice bath. No more mushy potatoes!
While I love using skin-on potatoes for mashed potatoes, I remove the skins for potato salad. Since I use small potatoes, peeling them before cooking would be frustrating. So, I cook my potatoes with the peel on, let them cool, and then peel. Since the potatoes are cooked, the peel comes off easily (you can see how quickly the peel comes away from the potatoes in our video).
⭐️ Here’s my favorite trick when cooking potatoes for potato salad: sprinkle apple cider vinegar over the peeled warm potatoes. We learned this secret for the best potato salad from Alton Brown years ago. It makes the flavor of our potatoes pop and adds a little bite, which works nicely when mixed with our creamy dressing. I often reach for apple cider vinegar, but you can substitute it for other vinegar or pickle brine, as many of our readers have suggested in the comments below.
My favorite potato salad dressing
- Mayonnaise and sour cream make our dressing extra creamy. I love the combination and find a dressing made with only mayo too heavy. Plain yogurt will work in a pinch if you don’t have sour cream. Homemade mayonnaise makes this extra special.
- Yellow mustard adds some kick and color. I usually use Dijon mustard in our recipes, but regular yellow mustard wins in this potato salad.
I love how simple our favorite potato salad dressing is to make. It only has 3 ingredients and tastes so good that I end up licking the bowl. We use the same dressing when making this creamy herb potato salad and turn it into a sauce for roasted fingerling potatoes.
What to add to potato salad
- Celery and pickles — Both add a fresh crunch. Our family LOVES dill pickles, so we always add them, but you can leave them out or use sweet pickles instead.
- Red onion — I love a little onion in my salad. Still, to ensure it doesn’t overpower the other flavors, I “deflame” the onions before adding them. It’s easy — soak chopped onions in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain. The time in the water takes the raw edge off the onion.
- Hard-boiled eggs — Eggs are a must for me in this recipe, but you can leave them out if you aren’t a fan. Hard-boiled eggs add texture and extra creaminess.
- Fresh Herbs — I love dill and parsley in this potato salad, but dill, cilantro, and tarragon all work well. Experiment for yourself to see what you love.
This potato salad recipe is our ultimate creamy potato salad with all the add-ins we love. If something doesn’t spark your interest, leave it out. It’s your potato salad, after all.
More easy sides
Easy Creamy Potato Salad
Our ultimate creamy potato salad recipe! Small yellow, white, or red potatoes are best; we prefer the texture when cooked whole. If your potatoes are on the larger side, you can chop them if you’re in a pinch for time.
We love adding fresh herbs and combining chopped parsley and dill. Parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, and cilantro all work well. Add about two tablespoons of herbs first, then add more to taste. Dill and tarragon are strong, so you may not need 1/4 cup.
If you can, store the salad in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so before serving. This extra time helps the flavors mingle and makes for a better potato salad.
Makes 6 Servings
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
2 pounds small yellow, red, or white potatoes
1 tablespoon apple cider, wine, or rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise, try homemade mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard, substitute Dijon or whole grain mustard
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
3 celery stalks, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 medium dill pickle, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup, try homemade pickles
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, or cilantro
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Cook Potatoes
1Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water. Season with salt — use one teaspoon for every quart of water.
2Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (boiling the potatoes can cause them to hit one another and break apart)—Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
3Meanwhile, set up an ice bath. Add cold water to a medium bowl filled with ice. Drain the potatoes and then place them into the ice bath. When cool, peel the potatoes by gently pinching the skin and pulling it away.
4Chop the peeled potatoes into bite-size chunks, then add to a large bowl. Scatter the vinegar over potatoes and lightly season with salt.
- “De-flame” Onions
1While the potatoes cook, add the onions to a small bowl and cover with cold water. Wait for 10 minutes, then rinse. This step helps to tone down the raw flavor of the onions.
- Make Potato Salad
1Stir the sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard in a bowl.
2Add the sour cream mixture, de-flamed onions, celery, pickles, eggs, and herbs to the potatoes. Gently stir to combine, being careful not to mash the potatoes too much.
3Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have the time, refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Substitute 1/2 cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt for the sour cream.
- Make potato salad up to 5 days in advance.
- For instructions on how to cook hard boiled eggs, visit our tutorial: How to Cook Hard Boiled Eggs.
- You can use dried herbs for this salad, we recommend adding a heaping tablespoon of dried herbs–I especially love dill and chives.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving
1/6 of the recipe