Potato Salad Musings



Some interesting “variations” mentioned. The mayo-less Italian version sounds worth trying.
Our family didn’t have potato salad often and never had an ironclad version, as they did for turkey stuffing! By hit or miss, I’ve finally arrived at a version that DH likes. No one else in the family will touch the stuff so it’s not subject to critical review.

My/his version: Diced hot skin-on Idaho potatoes and chopped sweet onion are sprinkled with white vinegar and left to mellow until cool. Equal parts Best Foods mayo and sour cream blended in along with chopped dill and bread and butter pickles, hard boiled eggs, LOTS of fresh dill, splash of dill juice, salt and pepper to taste…


(:@)) :@)) ) #3

I like German styles. There are mainly 2 popular versions: the (far) north and the south. The salient difference is the use of dairy in northern version. It can be quark, cream, Schmand (milk cream), or even yogurt. Mayo is an abomination.

Ingredients in north German potato salad: waxy potatoes, vegetable stock, hard boiled eggs, gherkins, dairy (see above), salt, pepper, pinch of sugar optional, fruit vinegar.

South German: waxy potatoes, veg stock, onion, oil, salt pepper, pinch of sugar optional, mustard, white wine vinegar, gherkins, garden chives.



Neither of those are the hot potato salad that we grew up calling German potato salad, with bacon and vinegar but no mayonnaise.
Maybe that’s an American High Plains German thing?


(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle) #5

I was just thinking the same!


(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle) #6

(NIce article - I love Michael Twitty!)

I really enjoy potato salad and make a number of variations. Growing up, my family had three types: a creamy salad with lots of dill, a “mashed” potato salad with finely diced celery for contrast (this was served atop gumbo) and a “regular” salad with mayo/mustard/ hb egg/onion/celery.

I don’t care for potato salad with the addition of peas. I’ve seldom met a supermarket potato salad I like - most have a sweetness I find cloyingly distasteful. The most surprising potato salad I had was at a friends home when I lived in Puerto Rico. He added apples as did his mother. It worked!



Just the other night I almost didn’t make a potato salad because I found we didn’t have mayo, dill, celery, or pickles. But I ended up making it with olive oil, champagne vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, sour cream, shallots, fresh tarragon and chives, and brined capers. Was a big hit and I’ll definitely make this again.



I just remembered my M-I-L’s special potato salad. She used sweet potatoes, the kind with firm yellow flesh. Mayo, onion, celery I think, celery seeds, and sweet pickles. Always a side dish at her Thanksgivings.



That’s worthy of being in the article, or maybe the weird foods thread.
Trying to wrap my head around cold sweet potatoes.

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I like the Duke’s shout out!

Does anyone remember the top chef episode where the Italian lady made an unexpected version of potato salad? I think it involved barbecuing overnight. It did not go well for her.

…“Silvia (honestly, did Sylva and Silvia have to be on the same team?) is doing something she is referring to as potato salad, but it’s really roasted potatoes and vegetables in an Italian salsa verde. It resembles potato salad as much as I resemble the Olsen twins stacked on top of each other.”

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(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle) #11

I’ve been served a couple of cold sweet potato salads. The only one that I liked had some heat and black beans - kind of Mexican inspired. Istr just a touch of mayo to bind it.

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NOT my M-I-L’s salad, but i’d like yours infinitely better.



I love my mother’s potato salad (Ohio). She uses russets, peeled and after they’re cooked she cuts them into cubes and pours juice from some dill pickles over them while still warm. Then chopped celery including leaves, chopped dill pickles, plenty of hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, mayo mixed with yellow mustard and some celery seed. Nothing sweet. Hellman’s mayo (can’t get Duke’s up north).



I love this salad, I serve it room temp, but cold leftovers are just as good. https://eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/autumn-salad-in-a-gorgeous-color/

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(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle) #15

I would try that.


(DeMarko) #16

Love this topic! I think there are about as many versions as there are cooks, so it intrigues me to taste new ones.

I talked about some of this in the condiments thread, so I might be a little repetitious here. I basically disliked potato salad unti I was in my forties. I did taste a lot however, at family events and summer picnics. Still didn’t like it.

The 1st one I tried that I liked had generous amounts of king crab in it and a lot of black olives - not sure what else. So that opened a little window…next up was my good friend and neighbor Jackie. She wrote down what she used & that has been my main go to ps for years. Potatoes (russets, cut in large chunks & cooked skin on. More flavorful but I remove skins after cooking). Then miracle whip, Nalley’s baby dills, finely chopped, French’s Classic yellow mustard & so on. DH loves Greek potato salad or ones that use vinaigrettes like French one’s. So can’t always make my favorite. My friend passed a few years ago and I made all the food for after the memorial service, including her potato salad, and other things she loved. Her family members remembered the ps and enjoyed it. It was all very cathartic for me to feed the mourners.

I think it’s sad so many people don’t make their own anymore, instead picking some up from Costco or a deli. It is quintessentially American it seems, but I know it is made and enjoyed in European countries also. Probably came from there originally, brought here and adapted with different ingredients.


(Eli Paryzer) #17

I had an excellent herbed potato salad at Tillie’s in Short Hills, NJ tonight. It had a nice fresh dill flavor.


(DeMarko) #18

Looks delish! I like this Tillie’s place, at least vicariously. :blush:


(Eli Paryzer) #19

Thanks! It was. You can taste the fresh dill and other fresh herbs.



Without belittling others’ taste, there is something undefinably off-putting, chemical, sweet, about commercially packed potato and macaroni salads. We keep “sticking our tongue in the cavity” and periodically buying these and wind up chucking large quantities. As you say, they aren’t that difficult to pull off at home, so why do we keep doing this?