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Classic Southern Potato Salad

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.

Instant Pot potato salad in a white bowl with boiled eggs and sprinkled with paprika

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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.

raw eggs, sliced potatoes, relish, mustard, and mayo in separate bowls

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • 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

I love to use my Air Fryer Boiled Eggs or Instant Pot Boiled Eggs because these methods are foolproof and pretty easy.

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.

boiled eggs in an ice bath

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

water poured into a pot with sliced potatoes
sliced potatoes in a pot of water

How to Make Southern Potato Salad

Detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

  1. Boil potatoes.
  2. Boil eggs.
  3. Peel the eggs and slice into small cubes.
  4. Add the cooked eggs, mayo, mustard, relish, white onions, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste to a bowl.
  5. Combine the potatoes and the egg mixture.
  6. Cover and chill.
collage photo of 4 photos showing boiled sliced eggs, mayo, relish in glass bowls

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.

Instant Pot cooked potatoes in a glass bowl with sliced eggs

Additional Toppings and Ideas

  • Chopped Dill Pickles
  • Crumbled Bacon
  • Jalapenos
  • Chopped Celery
  • Sliced Tomatoes
Instant Pot potato salad in a white bowl

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.

Freezer Tips

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.

Recipe Tips

  • 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.
Instant Pot potato salad in a white bowl with boiled eggs and sprinkled with paprika

Pair This Dish with These Main Dishes

Air Fryer Ribs
Air Fryer Catfish
Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Instant Pot Ribs
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Homemade BBQ Seasoning

More Southern Recipes

Southern Coleslaw Recipe
Air Fryer Hush Puppies
Southern Soul Food Baked Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Southern Green Beans
Instant Pot Collard Greens

Southern Mustard Greens
Southern Homemade Cornbread

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

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.
Save this recipe here.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine southern
Keyword soul food potato salad, southern potato salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
chill 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 247kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes Peeled and sliced into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large bowl of cold water For egg bath, ice added to the water is optional
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup white onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.
  •  
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g
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