Perfect Potato Salad


Naming this recipe Perfect Potato Salad is a bold move. Potato salad is such an iconic American food and there are so many variations, perhaps the title is a bit of a stretch… your Gramma’s potato salad was probably perfect, too. And so is my mom’s.

The thing about my mom’s recipe is – there is no recipe. Ask her how to make potato salad and she’ll start off by saying, “Well, you’ll probably need at least a 10 lb. bag of potatoes. And, 18 eggs. And salt. Be sure to use plenty of salt.” I credit my mom for teaching me that cooking is sometimes more of a process than a recipe.

Well, last night we had a mini-family reunion. Marvin’s son, Chris, came into town for a fishing trip and there was just enough time for a quick family dinner before his flight home. He’s been away from the Northwest for about a year now, so we wanted treat him to a typical family BBQ – salmon, steak, coleslaw, garlic bread and of course, potato salad.

Even though I love my mom’s potato salad, I don’t make mine the same way. She boils whole baking potatoes, cools them overnight, then peels off the skin and cuts them up. That is just way, way too much work for me! I buy baby potatoes and cut them before boiling – and, of course, I leave the skin on. I like a lot of parsley in my potato salad. My mom usually leaves that out in favor of a little relish. Neither one of us put paprika on top, but a little dill from the garden is okay. We both use mustard – French’s Yellow Mustard… not dijon.

So is this recipe perfect? That’s probably debatable, but Marvin’s daughter, Vicki, did say last night, “I want a recipe that will taste EXACTLY like this when I make it.” A pretty good endorsement! I am posting this for Vicki, but I hope you will try it, too. (And let me know what’s in your perfect potato salad!)

By the way, if you are making potato salad for a crowd, you will need to quadruple this recipe… or as my mom would say, “Start with a 10 lb. bag of potatoes.”

Perfect Potato Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: A Passionate Plate
Serves: 8
A classic American-style potato salad made with egg and yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 lbs. yellow skinned new potatoes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parlsey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cut the new potatoes into quarters (or sixths if they are large).
  2. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of well-salted water until they are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool. (Note: new potatoes have thin skins and cook faster than baking potatoes. Test for doneness after 10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard and cider vinegar. Mix well.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, green onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir the dressing into the potato mixture until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, smash the potatoes slightly to get a creamer consistency.
  7. Refrigerate to blend the flavors before serving.



  1. Lynn Swick says:

    Mary – I agree with you your Mom’s potato salad is the best, but I am going to give yours a try and I am sure it will be just as good. Your Mom can make a gourmet meal out of hot dogs. I am always impressed by what she can do. You have learned well. Lynn

    • MaryMiller says:

      If only I could make pie crust like my mom… somehow that skill did not get passed down. We may need a potato salad taste off this summer. 🙂

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