Easy Creamy Potato Salad

Hands down, this is my favorite creamy potato salad recipe (and so many of our readers agree, just read the reviews). See how to make our homemade potato salad with a simple classic dressing. Jump to the Easy Potato Salad Recipe

Easy Homemade Potato Salad

How to Make the Best Potato Salad

There’s no need to be intimidated. Potato salad is very simple to make. With a few tricks, you’ll be making it like a pro in no time. While we’re on the subject of potatoes, you should know that we love them around here! Here are a few more favorite recipes: Our go-to mashed potatoes, these easy baked sweet potato fries, and our smoky roasted fingerling potatoes with a dipping sauce inspired by this recipe!

Best Potato Salad

More Recipes: We also love this Red Potato Salad as well as this mayonnaise-free Herb Potato Salad!

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 them.

Leave the potatoes whole. Whole cooked potatoes maintain more of their flavor and natural sweetness. We’re also partial to the texture of potatoes when they are cooked whole compared to chopped.

If you don’t have small, waxy potatoes available, other potatoes will work in their place; the texture will be slightly different. We try not to use russet (baking) potatoes since they tend to fall apart. If that’s all you have, don’t worry. Chop them before cooking — they are much larger and take a long time when cooked whole. (We use the same varieties of potatoes for our favorite roasted potatoes recipe.)

How to Cook the Potatoes

We simmer potatoes whole in salted water when making potato salad. Here are our top tips for doing it:

Salt the cooking water. It’s important to add a generous amount of salt to the cooking water. By salting the water, the flavor of the potatoes comes out. They won’t taste salty, only like excellent potatoes.

How to cook potatoes for potato salad - Salting the water

Simmer, don’t boil. When it comes to cooking potatoes for potato salad, there’s no need to boil. When you do they violently bash against each other. Instead, bring the water with potatoes to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. The potatoes cook just as quickly.

Potatoes are cooked when you can push a fork through the center. When they are done, drain the potatoes and add them to an ice bath, which stops them from cooking. After 2 to 3 minutes they are cool enough to handle.

While I love using skin-on potatoes for mashed potatoes, I like to remove the peel from the potatoes for this. Since I use small potatoes, peeling them before cooking would be a frustrating task. Instead, 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 us do this in our video above).

Removing the skins from cooked potatoes

A Quick Recap

  • Small waxy potatoes are best — they cook quickly, and there’s no need to chop them.
  • Cook the potatoes whole. They taste better and don’t get waterlogged.
  • Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  • Add a generous amount of salt to the cooking water. Without salt, the potatoes won’t taste very good.
  • Cook potatoes until fork tender, drain them then add to an ice bath, stopping them from overcooking.

My Favorite Potato Salad Dressing

Our potato salad recipe airs on the classic, more traditional side, but we do have a couple of tweaks. (If you are looking for a non-creamy dressing, take a look at our green bean and potato salad with feta and olives or this herby, mayo-free version.)

For the salad dressing, we use mayonnaise and sour cream. Both make the dressing extra creamy, but mayonnaise can be heavy by itself.

Adding the sour cream lightens up the dressing a bit. If you’re used to only using mayonnaise, try adding a bit of sour cream next time. It’s a game-changer. When I really want to up my potato salad game, I use homemade mayonnaise. It’s easier than you might think. Here is our mayonnaise recipe with a video that walks you through how to make it.

We also add regular yellow mustard, which adds an extra kick of flavor as well as a bit of color. I usually use Dijon mustard in our recipes, but when it comes to this salad, regular yellow mustard wins.

We add vinegar as well, but not to the dressing. Instead, we sprinkle vinegar over the cooked potatoes. We learned this tip from Alton Brown.

After dicing the cooked potatoes, scatter a tablespoon or so of vinegar over them. It’s incredible how much of a difference the vinegar makes. Use apple cider vinegar, white, or red wine vinegar or even dill pickle juice!

Tossing potatoes with vinegar

The Rest of the Ingredients

Now we have perfectly cooked and seasoned potatoes and a creamy dressing, it’s time to add some extra ingredients.

Potato salad is a personal process, and there are lots of opinions out there as to what makes it “perfect” or “the best.” The recipe below is our version — it includes everything we love, but remember that it’s your potato salad, so add what you like!

Celery and Pickles — The celery adds a lovely crunch and our house isn’t stable without dill pickles in the refrigerator so adding them is a no-brainer for us. If you don’t like pickles in potato salad leave them out (you can also replace them with sweet pickles).

Red Onion — I love the sweetness and crunch of red onion in this. To make sure that the onion doesn’t overpower the salad with raw onion flavor, I “deflame” the onions. It’s a simple process, simply add cool water to chopped onion and set aside for 10 minutes. The time in the water takes the raw edge off the onion.

Hard-Boiled Eggs — Maybe it’s how we were brought up or what we’re used to but, potato salad without eggs is missing something. Hard-boiled eggs add texture and extra creaminess.

Fresh Herbs — The most common herbs are parsley and chives, but dill, cilantro, and tarragon all work well. In our recipe below, we use both dill and parsley. Experiment for yourself to see what you love. Add a tablespoon at a time then taste. Also, remember dill and tarragon are a little stronger than other herbs so add accordingly.

Potato Salad Ingredients

What Our Readers Are Saying

If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you achieve the best homemade potato salad, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.

“I’ve made this so many times!! Always so yummy and a big hit with even the pickiest eaters!!” – Pam

“Best potato salad ever!!” – Melinda

“Excellent. Tastes delicious! It’s so much better than the potato salad purchased at the store.” – LouAnn

“I LOVED this potato salad!” – Paula

More Easy Side Dishes

Recipe updated, originally posted May 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. The recipe video has also been updated. To watch the original video (from 2013), watch it on YouTube – Adam and Joanne

Easy Creamy Potato Salad

  • PREP
  • COOK

Small yellow, white, or red potatoes are best for potato salad. The potatoes maintain their natural moisture and sweetness this way. We prefer the texture when cooked whole, but you can chop the potatoes if you’re in a pinch for time or if your potatoes are large.

We love to add fresh herbs and love a combination of 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 the whole 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

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
  • Add 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.

    Bring 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.

    Meanwhile, 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.

    Chop 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
    • While 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
      • Stir the sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard in a bowl.

        Add 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.

        Season 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 for the sour cream.
  • Make potato salad up to 3 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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/6 of the recipe / Calories 250 / Protein 6 g / Carbohydrate 29 g / Dietary Fiber 4 g / Total Sugars 3 g / Total Fat 13 g / Saturated Fat 4 g / Cholesterol 75 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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354 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Anne March 5, 2022, 12:55 pm

    Made this last night. I love a good potato salad! My husband loved it. He doesn’t care for my potato salad. Heck, I don’t care for my potato salad. This was awesome. The only twerk I made was to use rice vinegar. It’s got just a hint of sweetness. Will definitely make this again and again and again and again…

  • Susan Lim January 9, 2022, 10:21 pm

    It was creamy to our taste

  • Jay L. Stern December 29, 2021, 6:09 pm

    Your recipes for potato salad and cole slaw are the traditional ones that tasted soooo good when I was a kid. I’ll be making them for myself. Alas, everyone else in my family seems to exhibit food allergies. My wife and daughter are lactose intolerant, and both are 98% vegan. That means NO dairy or eggs. They finally realized they need and can eat fish such as salmon and sea food. My other daughter has to avoid potatos for a while, and one son in law has to be “kind” to his hiatal hernia. That means no garlic, very low fat….. I tell ya, its almost at the point where the only thing they can all agree on is water! I do make a type of kim chi that they all can eat, and they do. Mine is low sodium and no garlic. It is the aging process that gives it the probiotic properties we all need and the kicky taste. But I really digress! I wanted to ask if you had any dairy free, potato, and egg(hyphen)less, recipes you would like to share?

  • Ash December 25, 2021, 2:00 am

    How long will this be ok for in the fridge? I doubled the recipe and used 15 eggs lol my hubby loves eggs, I used a whole punnet of dill and left out the pickle and celery it’s so yum

    • Joanne April 21, 2022, 1:31 pm

      Hi Ash, the potato salad keeps well in the fridge for about 3 days.

  • Lisa December 15, 2021, 10:27 pm

    I needed a recipe to make something for a work Christmas party. This recipe was easy to follow and it came out great! Thank you so much!

  • Ann December 1, 2021, 2:41 pm

    Love your potato salad . Yeah I’m going to try to make your coleslaw:)

  • Nanette S Jackson November 14, 2021, 7:04 pm

    Excellent recipe Thank you so much

  • Mike Baldomero October 23, 2021, 11:42 am

    I have made this recipe for our family and friends for a couple years. It is always a hit, they clean out the bowl. I only make one bowl… Keeps em comin back for more next time!

  • Janice September 24, 2021, 7:30 pm

    This is the best potato salad I have made, the addition of Apple Cider Vinegar tales this to a new level.

  • Nate September 13, 2021, 8:53 pm

    Just made it. Excellent! Nice tip on putting the onions in water + adding vinegar top the potatoes.

  • Mary Ann Limunovic September 4, 2021, 8:18 pm

    My whole family loves your potato salad even my 2 year old grand daughter. Just one question how do I make the hard boiled eggs not get attached to the shell? Half of the egg ends up in the garbage. Please help!!

    • Toni Gattie September 8, 2021, 2:44 pm

      You need to use old eggs. At least a couple weeks old, if not more.

    • Eve November 6, 2021, 3:13 pm

      Mary Ann, I steam my eggs. I have better results, even with farm fresh eggs. Hope this works.

    • Alan Oswald February 12, 2022, 12:16 am

      Put the eggs in an ice bath for 10 minutes+ when they are done. Whatever sticks to the shell, use a spoon to remove it.

    • Tammy King March 27, 2022, 11:42 am

      I’ve taught my 11 yr old this trick, and its the easiest way to peel eggs by far: once your eggs are cooked, run them under cold water so the shells are cool enough to handle. Drain off remaining cold water. Shake the pot so as to beat the shells all over. Pick up an egg and gently squeeze the shell off of it – it will come off easily in your hand. I always rinse the eggs under cool water just to remove any traces of shell, though that usually isn’t required, just a preference.

  • Joli Garcon August 25, 2021, 10:49 pm

    Adam and Joann, I don’t buy celery often because I end up throwing so much away. Can I substitute celery seed in your recipe and if so would a tsp be the right amount or need more? Or just leave it out. My mom used celery seed but I don’t have her recipe. And yours reminds me of hers which was my grandmother’s. Thank you.

    • Joanne September 1, 2021, 3:18 pm

      Sure! You can also just leave the celery out.

  • Iris August 25, 2021, 3:41 pm


  • Lucy Borkowski August 24, 2021, 2:42 pm

    I am looking forward to making it.

  • Lucy Borkowski August 24, 2021, 2:41 pm

    I anxious to try it.


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