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Southern Potato Salad

Whip up a delicious batch of Southern potato salad. Toss the fork tender potatoes in a creamy, well-seasoned sauce with hard-boiled eggs. It comes together in 30 minutes and is my go-to potato salad recipe for any cookout, picnic, or family get-togethers.

Southern potato salad in a bowl.

What is Southern Potato Salad?

Southern potato salad is a classic side dish. Like other Southern meals, no two Southerners make potato salad the same way! It commonly features cooked potatoes mixed with simple ingredients like mayonnaise, yellow or Dijon mustard, hard-boiled eggs, celery, pickles, onions, and various seasonings, depending on the region. The salad is a favorite for picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings.

I love drawing inspiration for recipes from my friends and family, and this potato salad recipe is no different. It comes from a friend’s mom. One taste of hers, and I knew I had to recreate it. While I think my version does the original justice, making this dish was big shoes to fill since she is the one they call on to make potato salad at family gatherings in Georgia.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Potatoes: Normally, I use small waxy potatoes like red potatoes to make potato salad, but I prefer russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes to make this recipe. I cut them into larger pieces to maintain their structure as they boil. Once they cool down, cut them down into smaller pieces before including them in the salad.
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a classic ingredient in potato salad. Make Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs for perfectly cooked eggs every time.
  • Vegetables: Add finely diced celery, dill pickles, and red onion for texture and flavor.
  • Potato Salad Dressing: I love the combination of mayonnaise (Duke’s mayonnaise if you’re from North Carolina), yellow mustard, and sour cream to create the base for the dressing. Flavor it with fresh dill and warm spices like salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried parsley.

Additions and Substitutions

Potato salad is a versatile dish, so don’t be afraid to use this recipe as a starting point and make it your own. Here are a few ideas for how to change things up:

  • Include sweet pickle relish if you want the potato salad to be sweeter.
  • Stir pickle brine into the dressing for a more tangy flavor.
  • Add chopped green onions, chives, radishes, pickled onions, or green bell peppers.
  • Crumble crispy bacon over the top of the salad.

How to Make Southern Potato Salad

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Wash the potatoes before you begin. Transfer them to a stockpot with a teaspoon of salt and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.

Potatoes cooling in a colander.

Step 2: Reduce the heat and cook them at a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool.

Potatoes cooking in a pot.

Step 3: Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, yellow mustard, fresh dill, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried parsley in a large mixing bowl until combined. Then, stir in the diced onion, celery, and pickles.

Dressing in a bowl.

Step 4: Peel the skins off the potatoes (if you prefer) and cut them into ½-inch pieces. Add the hard-boiled eggs and dressing. Gently stir to combine.

Dressing and potatoes in a bowl.
Southern potato salad in a bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Cut the potatoes the same size to ensure they cook at the same rate. You can quarter small potatoes, but consider cutting large potatoes, like russets, into smaller pieces to speed up the cooking time.
  • Ordinarily, I use waxy potatoes for potato salad because starchy potatoes such as Yukon gold potatoes and russet potatoes easily fall once they cook. However, you can prevent this by removing the potatoes from the water as soon as they are tender to halt the cooking process.
  • Start the potatoes in cold chicken broth or cold water. Let it boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the potatoes until tender to ensure they cook evenly. 
  • Let the hot potatoes cool, and peel the potatoes under cold water. Then, cut the potatoes into smaller pieces before including them in the salad.

If you enjoy this side dish, pair it with one of these dinner recipes!  

Southern potato salad in a bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Whether you are hosting a family reunion, a backyard barbecue, or craving classic Southern comfort food, pair the delicious potato salad with one of these potluck favorites.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Can I make potato salad in advance? Potato salad is a great make-ahead dish. I highly recommend making it the day before you plan to serve because second day potato salad tastes even better since the potatoes have had more time to absorb the dressing.
  • How long can it sit out? You can let the dish sit at room temperature for 2 hours, maximum. If the weather is warm, trust your instincts and refrigerate it earlier.
  • Refrigerate: Store leftover Southern potato salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing potato salad. The texture of the potatoes will change, and the dressing will become watery once frozen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Southern potato salad have eggs?

Yes. Hard-boiled eggs are a perfect addition to the tender, creamy potatoes.

Is southern-style potato salad sweet?

Potato salad can have a slightly sweet flavor, but it is not necessarily a defining characteristic of the dish. Mine is more savory and tangy than sweet. If you prefer a sweeter side dish, I recommend adding sweet relish.

What kind of mayo makes the best potato salad?

It’s a personal preference, but I live in North Carolina, so Duke’s mayonnaise​ is the likely choice. Hellman’s mayonnaise is a great alternative. Some recipes call for Miracle Whip, but I don’t love the taste. 

What kind of potatoes are best?

The best potatoes for classic potato salad are waxy potatoes, like I use in my healthy potato salad. However, I prefer the creaminess of Yukon gold or russet potatoes in this recipe. 

More BBQ Side Dishes:

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Southern potato salad in a bowl.

Southern Potato Salad

Tressa Jamil
Old-fashioned Southern potato salad features fork-tender potatoes and hard-boiled eggs dressed in a well-seasoned and creamy sauce.
5 from 5 votes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 280 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, small diced
  • 2-3 dill pickle spears, small diced
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Instructions
 
  • Wash the potatoes before you begin. Transfer them to a stockpot with a teaspoon of salt and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and cook them at a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, yellow mustard, fresh dill, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried parsley in a large mixing bowl until combined. Then, stir in the diced onion, celery, and pickles.
  • Peel the skins off the potatoes (if you prefer) and cut them into ½-inch pieces. Add the hard-boiled eggs and dressing.
  • Gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Cut the potatoes the same size to ensure they cook at the same rate. You can quarter small potatoes, but consider cutting large potatoes, like russets, into smaller pieces to speed up the cooking time.
  • Ordinarily, I use waxy potatoes for potato salad because starchy potatoes such as Yukon gold potatoes and russet potatoes easily fall once they cook. However, you can prevent this by removing the potatoes from the water as soon as they are tender to halt the cooking process.
  • Start the potatoes in cold chicken broth or cold water. Let it boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the potatoes until tender to ensure they cook evenly. 
  • Let the hot potatoes cool, and peel the potatoes under cold water. Then, cut the potatoes into smaller pieces before including them in the salad.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 280 kcal | Carbohydrates: 18 g | Protein: 6 g | Fat: 21 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Cholesterol: 106 mg | Sodium: 1062 mg | Potassium: 474 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 254 IU | Vitamin C: 19 mg | Calcium: 44 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
4.60 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




SAM

Monday 18th of July 2022

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana and your potato salad has too many ingredients To be Southern.

Tressa Jamil

Monday 18th of July 2022

I appreciate your feedback. I look forward to checking out potato salad recipes from your region and looking into other variations. My recipe is based on potato salad my friend's mother made for us. She is from Georgia, and this is how her family has always prepared potato salad for gatherings.