This classic soul food, Southern Potato Salad is a staple to Black people and truly a recipe that screams southern comfort. Flavorful and perfectly textured with that tangy, distinct creaminess we all love. A potato salad recipe that is cookout-worthy!

southern potato salad in white scalloped bowl on gold platter

Listen, there are many things that Black folks take seriously, and our potato salad is one of them! Haha. Real talk, it’s a cultural favorite and such an important piece of African American/Black culinary history. Whether it be served at cookouts, a family reunion, a holiday side dish, or whenever the craving strikes; southern-style potato salad is the absolute move. Whew!

Classic Southern Potato Salad 🙌🏾

What makes this recipe specifically Southern? Now, everyone’s potato salad is different. For this recipe, we’re highlighting potato salad through the lens of Black people, to be specific. You may have seen some memes about others putting raisins in theirs among other atrocities (lol- I kid, I kid! 😆).

The heart of this recipe lies with very simple pantry staples, a little texture, and the key spotlight of mayonnaise. This one is plain and simple, yet a very timeless low-effort/high-reward side dish. Classic southern elements like smoked paprika, hard-boiled eggs, relish, and more can be found here. You’ll love it!

⇢ Other BBR recipes: baked beans, perfect collard greens, hearty smothered pork chops, cozy red beans and rice, this sweet potato pound cake, creamy black-eyed peas, and favorites like cabbage and sausage and shrimp with grits!

classic southern potato salad in white scalloped bowl with gold spoon on the side

What You’ll Need For This Potato Salad

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Potatoes: My potato of choice is usually Yukon Gold potatoes for whenever I’m making potato salad. It’s the one I grew up on and honestly prefer.
  • Chicken stock/broth: This chicken base adds an additional flavoring that is pure chef’s kiss. Boiling in water is fine but trust me on the stock/broth.
  • Mayonnaise: Full-fat mayonnaise for that luscious, signature twang. Ayeee, my real Southerners likely already know that *Duke’s* mayonnaise is the one and only, ha! However, Miracle Whip, Hellman’s, and others will get you by.
  • Sweet salad cubes: This is a condiment that is like relish only cut a bit larger, thus giving a crunchier texture. You can use regular relish in place of.
  • Celery: Adds more crunch and texture to the potato salad.
  • Mustard: I love creole mustard from Zatarain’s! While I like coarse mustard, you can absolutely use yellow mustard for this recipe.
  • Vinegar: Contributes to tanginess, moisture, and a pop of acidity. I often use white vinegar, but rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar would do the trick, too!
  • Hard-boiled eggs: We’re making southern potato salad, ya heard! 😏…therefore, hard-boiled eggs are a must. They signify a legit and authentic, “Black people potato salad recipe.” Hallelujah, amen.
  • Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and celery salt. Additionally, basics like salt + pepper- as needed to preference. Love these simple pantry spices that yield a flavorful result.
  • Dill: A nice, herbaceous pop of flavor, delish. >> Not a fan of dill? It’s all good, use chopped chives or thinly sliced scallions (green onion) instead.
  • Hot sauce: An added touch of heat for serving- totes optional!

⇢ This Southern potato salad recipe uses minimal ingredients that truly pack a punch while being flavor-forward. It’s a quick situation that’s cookout-worthy!

ingredients for southern potato salad on table

How To Make Southern Potato Salad

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. PREP WORK. First, this recipe starts with a bit of prep work like boiling the eggs and peeling the potatoes. I recommend getting your eggs ready, first, that way everything else is a smooth-sailing process from there.
  2. BOIL THE POTATOES. Add the peeled/chopped potatoes into a large pot and cover with the stock/broth. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat to cook until the potatoes are fork-tender but not mushy.
  3. DRAIN. After boiling, drain the potatoes and then set aside to cool.
  4. COMBINE THE SAUCE. In a medium bowl, add in the mayonnaise, sweet salad cubes, celery, mustard, dill, vinegar, eggs, onion + garlic powder, paprika, and celery salt- stirring everything well to fully combine.
  5. ADJUST THE TASTE. Give the potato salad sauce a taste test and adjust with salt/pepper, to your desired preference. Feel free to use more of the above-mentioned spices to suit your taste, too! ♡
  6. BRING IT TOGETHER. Yasss, let’s bring it all together, y’all! Put the potatoes into a large bowl and pour the sauce over, mix to combine.
  7. LET IT CHILL. Cover and refrigerate the potato salad for at least an hour.
  8. ENJOY! Garnish with more dill and smoked paprika. Serve this southern potato salad immediately alongside your favorite main entrees!

⇢ There’s a funny saying/question in the Black community that goes like this: “Who made the potato salad?” It shows how critical we are about the hands that made our potato salad, ha! Rest assured that this southern style potato salad recipe is one that ticks the cultural box and won’t get any side eyes! 👀 ✊🏾

To this day, I love this article and also this one that go into more detail!

Tips + Tricks, & More For The Best Southern Potato Salad You Will Ever Have 😛

  • Chopping potatoes: I recommend chopping potatoes that are not too big and not too small either, aim for between 1-1 1/2″ pieces. Also, try and chop them evenly for each bite to get coated well in the potato salad.
  • Stock/broth recommended: Boiling the potatoes in stock contributes to more flavor in the potatoes. If not using, be sure to boil the potatoes in heavily salted water to ensure some level of seasoning/flavor.
  • Careful not to overcook! We’re not making mashed potatoes, we’re making potato salad, y’all. Keep an eye on the potatoes and check for doneness when the potatoes have a soft center, but still somewhat firm and holding shape.
  • Sweetness: I find using sweet salad cubes/sweet relish to give just enough sweetness to my potato salad. However, some like a touch of granulated sugar in the mix and that’s cool, you do you. Go with what you prefer.
  • Use full-fat mayonnaise: In my opinion, potato salad deserves to be respected. This is a side dish that is what it is- full of richness, mainly from the mayonnaise, in all its glory. Therefore, no “light/low fat” mayonnaise, please.
  • Crunch factor: Potato salad needs some crunch; I like that the celery and the salad cubes achieve just that. Although, you can certainly add about 1/3-1/2 cup of raw, chopped white/yellow/red onion to the mix. Additionally, if you like big, bold dill pickle flavor: add in some finely chopped dill pickles!
  • Let the potatoes cool: Allowing the potatoes to cool down some before adding the mayonnaise is important! Adding the mayo to hot potatoes will result in oily potato salad. In addition, when the potatoes cool, it allows for any residual water to evaporate. Thus, properly cooling ensures that you don’t have an oily or watery potato salad…oof, I’d hate that for you.

The Best Potatoes For Southern Potato Salad?

As I mentioned earlier, Yukon Gold potatoes are one of my top favorites for when I want to fix me some potato salad. They’ve got a creamy, buttery flesh that absorb all that bomb mixture. These are waxy potatoes which are low in starch, have smooth skin, and retain their shape after cooking.

Alternatively, it’s best to stay away from high-starch potatoes that often disintegrate (get flaky and easily turn to mush) after cooking: like popular russet potatoes. All in all, for the best southern potato salad, aim for the waxy potato variety: yukon gold, red potatoes, or a mix of them! & Also…

Peel the potato skin or leave it on (but rinse!), it’s up to you!

Serving Potato Salad & More Notes

Southern potato salad is best served as a cold side dish. More specifically, because this style of potato salad contains eggs, it needs to be cold. Furthermore, it is also a mayonnaise-based dish that can only be out of the fridge for no longer than 2 hours. This goes for general safekeeping.

Bacteria can grow rapidly if the potato salad reaches certain temperatures when left out for too long. This is crucial for cookouts and gatherings in which food is often on the table for long periods of time. Keep all of that in mind.

How To Store Potato Salad

Keep this potato salad stored inside of an airtight container. When properly stored, it will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. This homemade southern potato salad recipe gets even better as it sits!

black hand small white bowl with southern potato salad and gold spoon on the side

Y’all, can’t wait for you to try this Southern Potato Salad recipe. Nothing at all beats this comforting, classic side dish! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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southern potato salad in white scalloped bowl on gold platter

Best-Ever Classic Southern Potato Salad

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 25m
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern

Description

This classic soul food, Southern Potato Salad is a staple to Black people and truly a recipe that screams southern comfort. Flavorful and perfectly textured with that tangy, distinct creaminess we all love. A potato salad recipe that is cookout-worthy!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 11 1/2” cubes
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup full-fat mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 1/2 cup sweet salad cubes
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard (we use Zatarain’s)- see notes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped- plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 45 hard-boiled eggs, chopped or sliced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for garnishing
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, for serving- optional

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, toss in the potatoes. Pour the chicken stock/broth over the potatoes, making sure the potatoes are fully submerged. If not, add a few splashes of water into the pot until all potatoes are covered.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Allow the potatoes to cook for 10-15 minutes or until they’re fork tender, but not mushy!
  3. Then drain the potatoes off into a colander. Let the potatoes cool down for at least 10 minutes before assembling the potato salad.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet salad cubes, celery, mustard, fresh dill, vinegar, eggs (feel free to reserve some for garnishing the top), onion + garlic powder, paprika, and celery salt, stirring everything well to fully combine. Give the potato salad sauce a taste test and adjust with salt/pepper (or more of the other listed spices), to your desired preference.
  5. Add the potatoes into a large bowl and pour the sauce over. Gently toss the mixture well to fully coat and bring it all together.
  6. While you can enjoy right away, I recommend covering the potato salad and refrigerating for at least 1 hour- for best results.
  7. Then garnish the potato salad with more fresh dill, smoked paprika, and a few pieces of the reserved hard-boiled eggs.
  8. Serve potato salad immediately with a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired. This southern potato salad is best when stored in the refrigerator and served as a cold side dish. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. For mustard, use any mustard of your choice: stone ground or yellow mustard.

Keywords: southern potato salad, potato salad, best potato salad, southern food, black people potato salad, southern sides

classic southern potato salad in white scalloped bowl