Perfect Potato Salad


This is my mother Pauline's recipe. It's pretty much a classic American salad but remember, if you add onions, use sweet onions and chop with a very sharp knife, allow potatoes to cool to room temp before dressing them, and always taste for salt.

Prep Time:
15 hrs
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
15 hrs 40 mins
12 servings


  • 3 pounds large russet potatoes

  • ¼ cup kosher salt

  • 10 cups cold water

  • ½ cup finely diced celery

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced sweet onion (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives for garnish

  • 1 pinch paprika for garnish


  • 1 ¼ cups mayonnaise, or more if needed

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Place whole potatoes in a pot with 1/4 cup kosher salt. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tender, about 40 minutes (depending on size). Transfer cooked potatoes to a plate. Allow them to cool to room temperature.

  2. When potatoes are completely cooled, peel off the skin. Cut into larger than bite-size pieces as the pieces will break down slightly when you toss with the dressing. Transfer potato pieces to a mixing bowl. Add celery, onions, parsley, chopped hard-boiled eggs. Combine ingredients, breaking up larger pieces of potato.

  3. Place mayonnaise in mixing bowl. Add cider vinegar, mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until well combined.

  4. Pour mayonnaise mixture onto potatoes; stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, 2 to 3 hours. Taste for seasonings and texture. Salad may need a bit more salt and another spoonful of mayonnaise.

    close up view of Potato Salad garnished with chives on a white platter
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Choose potatoes of uniform size so cooking time is the same for all.

You can make the dressing while waiting for the boiled potatoes to cool. But remember, they absolutely must be room temperature before you dress them.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

279 Calories
20g Fat
22g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 279
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 2282mg 99%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 519mg 11%

* 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.

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