Old-Fashioned Potato Salad


This potato salad recipe is for the traditional creamy type of potato salad, with eggs, celery, and relish. It's perfect for making ahead to let the flavors develop.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
8 servings

There are many ways to make potato salad, but if you're looking for a traditional, mayonnaise-based potato salad made with hard-boiled eggs, celery, and a little pickle relish for zing, you've landed on the right recipe. With more than one thousand ratings and nearly a thousand reviews from our Allrecipes community of home cooks, this recipe for Old-Fashioned Potato salad is a proven winner. And it's so easy to make using everyday ingredients. I'll show you how to make Old-Fashioned Potato salad, with loads of tips all along the way. Plus, I'll share tips for storing and freezing potato salad. (Yes, you can freeze potato salad!)

More: The Best Potato Salads From Around the World

How to Make Potato Salad

Most of the work that goes into making this potato salad recipe is preparing the ingredients. After that, you simply combine them gently in a large bowl, cover, and chill to let the flavors develop.

What Goes Into Potato Salad

The best potato salads are a balance of flavors and textures, where creamy, tangy, sweet, salty, tender, and crunchy meet in perfect harmony. Here are the ingredients for this top-rated potato salad recipe:

  • Potatoes: It's not potato salad without potatoes. The recipe doesn't specify what size potatoes or what kind, so choose medium-size potatoes, or enough to serve eight. As far as what kind of potatoes to use for potato salad, I'll cover that in the next section.
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a must-have for this kind of old-fashioned potato salad, but you can leave them out if you really want to.
  • Celery: Celery adds a crunchy element to balance the softer texture and creaminess of the potatoes.
  • Onion: You can use any onion you like, including yellow, white, or red onions. Chop the onion into small, uniform pieces so no one bites into a big chunk of raw onion.
  • Relish: Use your favorite sweet pickle relish. Some reviewers chopped up sweet gherkin pickles, or substitute relish or pickles that are less sweet.
  • Mayonnaise: This is the creamy element that brings all the ingredients together. For best results, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, relish, and seasonings together in a separate bowl. Give it a taste test and adjust the seasonings before adding to the potatoes, eggs, and onion.
  • Mustard: Use your favorite mustard. Some reviewers like to use yellow mustard and some prefer Dijon.
  • Seasonings: This recipe calls for garlic salt, celery salt, and ground black pepper to taste; some reviewers added extras like paprika and garlic powder. You can add minced herbs, too, like dill, chives, parsley, and tarragon.

More: Our Best Creamy Potato Salads

What Potatoes Are Best for Potato Salad

The kind of potatoes you use will affect the texture of your potato salad. The recipe does not specify what kind of potatoes to use, but here are some guidelines to help you choose the best potatoes for potato salad so you get the results you're looking for.

  • Waxy potatoes, like red potatoes and fingerling potatoes, have a smooth texture and will hold their shape even after boiling. And with their thin, delicate skins, they might not even need peeling. Use waxy potatoes if you like firm potatoes in your potato salad.
  • Starchy potatoes, like Idahos or Russets, break down when they're boiled but their starchy texture soaks up dressing beautifully. Use starchy potatoes if you like softer creamier potatoes in your potato salad, but you'll have to peel them because of their thicker skins.
  • All-purpose potatoes, like Yukon Golds, hit the sweet spot between waxy and starchy potatoes, and are reliable choices for potato salad.
assortment of potato varieties - yukon golds, russerts, and red potatoes

How Long to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad

This recipe for Old-Fashioned Potato Salad instructs you to boil unpeeled potatoes in salted water until they're tender but still firm. You'll drain them and let them cool a bit, then peel and chop into bite-sized pieces. (Boiling helps the potato skins slip off easily.) Depending on how large your potatoes are, boiling could take between 10 to 15 minutes or more. Start testing for doneness at about 10 minutes by piecing a potato with a sharp paring knife. If it slides in easily all the way to the center of the potato, the potato is cooked and ready to drain.

Flavor-boosting tip: Potatoes have a very mild flavor on their own; that's why you add salt to the boiling water. To add even more flavor to the boiled potatoes, lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet after peeling and chopping, and while they're still warm. Sprinkle them with a little vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let the potatoes cool until they're not steaming anymore, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

More: How to Make the Best Potato Salad

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

How to Store Potato Salad

Potato salad should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. Do not let potato salad sit at room temperature for more than two hours, or even less on a warm day. If you're serving potato salad at a picnic or BBQ, place the serving bowl in a bed of ice to keep it very cool.

How Long Does Potato Salad Last

Properly wrapped and chilled, potato salad will last in the refrigerator for three or four days.

Can You Freeze Potato Salad

Yes, you can freeze potato salad. For best results, cool it completely then spoon it into an airtight freezer bag and lay it flat. Squeeze out as much air as you can without crushing the potato salad. If you have a lot of potato salad to freeze, use two or more bags. Thinner layers are best both for freezing and thawing. Properly frozen potato salad will last in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You might have to add a little more dressing before serving potato salad that has been frozen and thawed.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"We love this recipe, says Allrecipes home cook cakesnthings. "I have made it several times. The only thing that I do differently is use sweet pickles chopped up instead of using sweet relish. I really like the flavor that the celery salt gives this dish, I would not leave this spice out."

Leslie Landreth says, "This was my first attempt at homemade potato salad and it turned out remarkably well. I made it for 4th of July and it went over well with the family. The only thing that I did different was I doubled the mayo and added 1 tablespoon of milk to make it creamy. It was very good and full of flavor!"

"This recipe is just what it says it is, old fashioned potato salad. My guests and I LOVED it. I made it the night before and let it meld overnight. This made it much easier to concentrate on the Fourth of July slow cooked baby back ribs. If you are looking for grandma's potato salad, look no further," says George Van Aken.

Editorial contributions by Vanessa Greaves


  • 5 potatoes

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt

  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt

  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. Gather all ingredients.

    Overhead view looking at all ingredients for old fashioned potato salad.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.

  3. Drain, cool, peel, and chop potatoes.

    Overhead view of cooked potatoes, peeled and chopped.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. While potatoes cook, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes.

  5. Remove from hot water, cool, peel, and chop eggs.

    Overhead view of hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion, relish, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic salt, celery salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix together well and refrigerate until chilled.

    Overhead view of potato salad ingredients mixed together.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  7. Enjoy!

    an overhead, close up view of a large bowl of potato salad


Nutrition Facts (per serving)

206 Calories
8g Fat
31g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 206
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 335mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 28mg 138%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 647mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love