This easy Classic Southern Potato Salad is the best recipe with mustard, eggs, relish, and smoked paprika. This old fashioned side dish is perfect for any BBQ or cookout spread.
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FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END OF THIS POST. BEFORE YOU SCROLL, THERE’S IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG POST.
If you’ve ever been to a Black folks’ cookout or holiday gathering, you know we take our side dishes seriously! There’s always an argument about who made the potato salad and whether or not it was prepared well.
This is a traditional must-have staple for get-togethers and parties.
Ingredients for the Dressing
- Pickle Relish
- White Onions
The Best Potatoes to Use
I love to use russet potatoes. I have used those all of my life to make this potato salad. You can pretty much use whatever you want like Yukon gold or red potatoes.
Red potatoes are waxier and will have a little difference in cook time. You can read more about How to Boil Potatoes here.
How to Boil Eggs
To boil them on the stove, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover them with cold water, about an inch over the eggs. Boil for 8-10 minutes and then place them in an ice bath for 10 minutes. Peel.
How to Boil Potatoes
People often wonder if the best way to boil them is to boil them whole or cut. Cut potatoes are the way to go. They will cook evenly and faster. If you boil whole potatoes, you’re more likely to end up with an overcooked outside with a raw center.
To boil, add the cut potatoes to a large pot and cover the potatoes with water. Use enough water to ensure the potatoes are submerged. How long you boil will vary based on the type of potatoes you use. Boil for 8-10 minutes
How to Make Southern Potato Salad
Detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.
- Boil potatoes.
- Boil eggs.
- Peel the eggs and slice into small cubes.
- Add the cooked eggs, mayo, mustard, relish, white onions, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste to a bowl.
- Combine the potatoes and the egg mixture.
- Cover and chill.
Can You Make it Without Eggs
Yes, simply omit the eggs.
Can You Substitute Mayo?
You can substitute mayo for plain Greek yogurt or sour cream if you wish.
Watery Potato Salad
If the potato salad is watery, you didn’t allow the potatoes to cool long enough prior to combining the dressing. You must drain them well and allow them to cool after boiling.
If you add in liquid ingredients like vinegar, this could also result in watery, runny potato salad.
Additional Toppings and Ideas
- Chopped Dill Pickles
- Crumbled Bacon
- Chopped Celery
- Sliced Tomatoes
How Long Can It Sit Out?
It can sit out 1-2 hours. It takes about 2 hours for bacteria to start to grow to dangerous levels. In warm temperatures, that time shrinks. You can read the Food Safety Guidance from the FDA here.
Can You Make it Ahead of Time/How Long Does it Last in the Fridge
Yes, store the potato salad in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
You can freeze it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In general, mayo does not freeze well and usually develops ice crystals. You can read more about Freezing Potato Salad here.
- Personally, I do not like mushy potato salad. If you overcook your cubed potatoes, the potato salad will turn out mushy and it will look and taste much more like soup than summer salad. The potatoes won’t have the firm texture if you don’t use the steamer basket.
- Potatoes need seasoning. You will have to salt and pepper to taste or the dish will be bland.
- Pickle relish is used to add pickle flavor along with a hint of sweetness. If you like sweet potato salad, add sugar or sweetener. Taste repeatedly and adjust as necessary.
Pair This Dish with These Main Dishes
More Southern Recipes
More Salad Recipes
Instant Pot Potato Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Keto Low Carb Coleslaw
Keto Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad
Keto Low Carb Broccoli Salad
Keto Low Carb Egg Salad
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Classic Southern Potato Salad
- Add the potatoes to a pot or deep skillet along with cold water. Add enough water so that the potaotes are completely covered.
- Bring the water to a boil and then adjust the heat to a simmer. Do not cover the pot. The potatoes will need 8-10 minutes to cook. Check in on them after 5 minutes by piercing with a fork. You don't want the potatoes to overcook, that will result in mushy potatoes. (Unless you are looking for a mashed potato salad).
- Once cooked, drain the water from the potatoes. You can use a strainer or use a slotted spoon to gather them. Place the potatoes in a bowl to cool. Cooling is important.
- Boil the eggs. Once boiled place them in the bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.
- Peel the eggs and slice into small cubes.
- Add the cooked eggs, mayo, mustard, relish, white onions, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste to a bowl. Taste repeatedly. You may need to add additional salt and pepper. (If you prefer sweet potato salad add a little more relish and maybe sugar.)
- Combine the potatoes and the egg mixture. I like to mix them separately to give the potatoes some time to cool. Stir to combine.
- Cover and chill for at least an hour to two hours before serving.
- If the potato salad is watery, you didn’t allow the potatoes to cool long enough prior to combining the dressing. You must drain them well and allow them to cool after boiling.
- You can omit the eggs if you wish.
- You can substitute sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for mayo.
- When you slice the potatoes, they need to be equal in size. Otherwise, smaller potatoes will cook faster and result in mushy potatoes.
- You can double the recipe. If you don’t have a large pot, you may consider boiling the potatoes in batches.
- This is a dish that you will want to add your ingredients (especially the seasonings) a little bit at a time, and then taste repeatedly to determine if it needs a little bit of anything else.
- Use a food processor to chop up the eggs and veggies if you want them really finely diced.