This Classic Southern Potato Salad recipe is a simple southern side dish filled with flavor and perfect for barbecues and potlucks.
Over the course of the last few months, I’ve been updating old posts with new photography and more tips for making my recipes turn out perfectly for you. Many times, that means I’ve taken out rambling stories or old references that date the posts a bit. But as I clicked through to update this post this morning, I found this post from 2011 about a devoted blog reader who was one of my favorite people – Ms. Peggi from Texas.
After this post, Ms. Peggi became a dear friend to our family. Rarely was there a holiday that didn’t include a sweet card or gift from Ms. Peggi. When Jack had his tonsils taken out years back, we hadn’t been home from the hospital long before someone arrived at the door to deliver a huge basket filled with ice cream, jello, pudding, popsicles, and all the other things that make tonsillectomy recovery a little more tolerable. She was such a sweet, thoughtful lady and became such a big motivation for me. I even mentioned her in my book.
Sadly, Ms. Peggi passed away in 2018. I miss her sweet emails and notes. So it only seemed fitting to leave this post just as it is as a sweet tribute to a very special lady – whom I never actually met… but somehow knew so well.
So let’s go back to July of 2011…
Y’all, let me start by saying, I love Southern Bite. I love being able to share my recipes (and my crazy thoughts) with you all. I do. Love it. But, honestly, I’ve been getting a little burnt out lately.
I have a full-time job, a wife in grad school, a two year old, various volunteer projects, etc., etc., etc. And just about the only time I have for blogging is late at night, after J has been put in the bed and I’ve helped proofread Heather’s papers. Those late nights have been taking their toll on me. And just when I started asking why I put myself through all this, I was given a little nudge. My “nudge” came as a comment on the blog last week. The comment read:
I want to thank you for all the fabulous recipes I have gotten from you.
It warms my heart to know that YOUNG PEOPLE like you cook and enjoy it and make your kitchen your favorite room in your house. So many young people with families do not choose this route nowdays. I am glad you two do what you do!!!!! I love Southern Bite.
I still cook some….I lost my husband after 50 years of marriage just recently, and it is hard to “get back in the grove” if you know what I mean.
I love your recipes…thank you and keep ‘em coming.
May God bless you, your family and friends,
Iowa Park, Tx.
I read this comment and was instantly reminded of why I LOVE Southern Bite… because of my readers. In my crazy, busy life, I get caught up and sometimes fail to realize that those numbers on the stat counter and those “likes” on Facebook are people. And it just touches my heart to know that somebody, even if it’s only Ms. Peggi Anderson from Iowa Park, Texas, gets a kick out of what I’m doing.
If I could, Ms. Peggi, I’d give ya a big ol’ hug! And to all of you out there, I am so grateful for the time you take out of your day to read my posts, check me out on Facebook, or open my emails. And I am so thankful that Ms. Peggi reminded me.
When it comes to potato salad, I have some serious feelings about it. Sure I like something like a Bacon Ranch Potato Salad or even a Baked Potato Salad, but when it comes to the classic – it’s got to be creamy, a little mustardy, and must have chopped egg and dill relish. Yes, I do prefer dill relish in my potato salad, but sweet relish will work as well.
I also much prefer potato salad when it’s still warm. When I was a kid, Mom would make a special little separate bowl of potato salad with dill relish and no onions just for me. (I wasn’t a big onion fan as a kid, but love them now.) I’d eat that little bowl as soon as she finished it. It never made it to the table.
What is potato salad?
Potato salad is a delicious classic side dish in the South. Consisting of mainly a boiled potato base, this yummy salad features tons of flavor and creaminess. Traditionally, potato salad includes potatoes, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Other common ingredients are onion, mustard, boiled eggs, and pickles or relish. However, there are many variations based on the region you may find yourself. This southern style potato salad includes boiled eggs, mustard, and vinegar for added flavor.
Potato salad is commonly served chilled, although I prefer mine slightly warm. You will find this classic side at many picnics, barbecues, potlucks, and dinner tables in the South. Enjoy!
Tips for the Perfect Potato Salad
- Boil until just tender! I like my potatoes to still have some shape to them. Many folks like them completely mushy – almost like making mashed potatoes, but that’s not my favorite. So, I cook them in salted water until they are just tender but still able to hold their shape.
- Choose a starchy potato! I like to use a baking potato like a Russet for potato salad. A waxy potato, more like a Yukon Gold will hold up better, but the texture is a bit different. And since Mom always used starchy baking potatoes, that’s what I use.
- Don’t skip the vinegar! My trick for adding tons of flavor to potato salad is to sprinkle the drained potatoes with a little white vinegar. It gives the dish a pop of flavor that we just love.
- Salt & pepper to taste! Like I said, I really prefer this salad right after it’s made and still a little warm, but it can certainly benefit from a little time in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop. But like any salad like this, I always recommend tasting it and adding additional salt and pepper if it’s needed after it rests in the chill chest.
Classic Southern Potato Salad
- 5 to 6 medium-sized baking potatoes – like a Russet (about 2-pounds)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablepsoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons pickle relish (I prefer dill, but you can use sweet, too)
- 3 large hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
- 1/2 small sweet onion, minced (about 1/4 cup chopped)
- Wash, peel, and cut the potatoes into about 3/4-inch cubes.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, but still firm.
- Drain the potatoes and immediately sprinkle them with the vinegar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, and pickle relish to make the dressing.
- In a large bowl combine potatoes, eggs, onion, and dressing and lightly toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm or allow the flavors to dvelop further in the refrigerator for several hours. Adjust seasoning to taste after refrigeration before serving.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.