Southern potato salad is a staple side dish for your next barbecue or family gathering. Served cold, this classic potato salad is filled with potatoes, eggs, celery, red onion, and relish, then coated in a creamy seasoned dressing.
In the south, potato salad is a must for any barbecue, picnic, or family gathering. Especially popular in the summer, this salad is prepared and served cold, making it the perfect hot weather side dish.
It's easier than you think to make your own potato salad from scratch! Made with easy to find ingredients like yukon gold potatoes, hard boiled eggs, celery, onions, and just a bit of pickle relish.
Ingredients and substitutions
I recommend using a potato that's in between waxy and starchy, like yukon gold potatoes. A more waxy potato, like small red potatoes (like in my dill potato salad recipe) also make a good choice, because they hold their shape well after boiling.
Russet potatoes are not ideal for potato salad. They mash very easily once cooked, meaning they don't hold up well when mixed into a salad.
Pickle relish can be sweet or dill (depending on the flavor you're looking for), and can be substituted with diced pickles.
Any type of mayonnaise will work in this recipe - I used regular Duke's mayonnaise. Or, it can be substituted with part or all greek yogurt for a lower calorie, higher protein potato salad.
Dijon mustard can be substituted with yellow mustard.
Lemon juice can be substituted with apple cider vinegar, but I recommend the bright, fresh flavor of freshly squeezed lemon juice!
Should I peel my potatoes?
This is totally up to personal preference. The skin can be left on or peeled off before cubing your potatoes.
The skin of the potato is where you'll find many nutrients and fiber. Plus, peeling potatoes is time consuming. For these reasons, I give my potatoes a good scrub in the sink and leave the skin on!
Leftovers and storage
Potato salad needs to be stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If you're transporting potato salad to another location, store it in a tightly sealed container in a cooler with ice (or ice packs) to help keep it cold for longer.
Potato salad can sit out at room temperature for a maximum of two hours. After that, it needs to be refrigerated or discarded. If your potato salad is sitting out in a temperature of 90 degrees or more, that time is reduced to one hour.
Prepared potato salad will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
What to serve with potato salad
Southern potato salad is the perfect side dish for just about any main course, from burgers on the grill to a fancy holiday ham.
- Pulled pork
- Sloppy joes
- Cheesesteak sandwiches
- Fried chicken
- Baked chicken
- Hot dogs
- Marmalade glazed ham
Southern Potato Salad
- 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes
- 3 large hard boiled eggs diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- ½ red onion diced
- ¼ cup pickle relish
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and add to a large pot of salted water (water should reach about 1 inch above the potatoes). Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until they can easily be pierced through with a fork (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes in a colander and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, add potatoes, eggs, celery, red onion, and relish. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Whisk to combine, then pour over salad ingredients. Toss until evenly coated.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Do not add dressing to hot potatoes - the mayonnaise can melt and separate. Allow your potatoes to cool to room temperature first.
- Prepared potato salad will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- If serving potato salad at an event, it can sit out safely for a maximum of 2 hours before needing additional refrigeration. If the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, that time is reduced to 1 hour.