Red Potato Salad Recipe: A Refreshing Explosion of Flavors!

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Last Updated on January 2, 2024

red potato salad in a red bowl on a cutting board

The red potato salad is one of the easiest recipes to prepare. As someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen making nice meals for myself and my loved ones, I also know there are times when I want to get in the kitchen and come out in 30 minutes.

Days like these are why I’m grateful I can make delicious yet easy recipes, like the red potato salad!

My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can cook it ahead of time, preserve it in the fridge, and serve it chilled. It’s straightforward and saves you a lot of time and stress, especially if you’re hosting a dinner party. Pair this with Kalua pork for some delicious eats.

Not only that, but it’s also ideal for a hot summer day because of its refreshing taste and texture. If you want to give it a try, check out my delicious red potato salad recipe!

The Origin of Potato Salad

Before we jump right into the kitchen, I’ll tell you a few interesting facts about the origin of potato salad.

Historically, the first people to serve potato salad were the Germans, so it’s believed to have its roots in Germany before spreading to the rest of Europe, the US, and Asia.

However, it’s likely that ingredients such as fresh dill, fresh parsley, and other fresh vegetables were first added in other places, like America. The American variation of the potato salad may have started with European immigrants in the early nineteenth century.

The American variation of this recipe is mostly served with lemon juice and prepared with raw vegetables, such as green onion, dill pickle, and crunchy celery.

It’s also traditionally served at an outdoor picnic or summer cookout (check out my pork spare ribs recipe). While mayonnaise is commonly used as a dressing, some people prefer greek yogurt because it’s healthier.

The original German variation of this easy recipe is made with more vinegar and is mostly served warm in a dish. It doesn’t use the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing. Instead, it uses a vinaigrette, which offers a good level of saturated fat and little to no trans fat.

The Asian variation of this recipe is made with red wine vinegar and boiled eggs.

Preparation Time

This red potato salad recipe won’t take you a long time, so you can easily fit it into your busy schedule.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes

Kindly note that the cooking time might differ according to the size of your potato pieces and how high your heat is. If you cut the potatoes small, they’ll take about 10-15 minutes to cook, but if they’re large pieces, they may take up to 40 minutes.


You should know the ingredients you’ll need to cook your red potato salad before entering your kitchen. Here’s a list of the things you need:

Ingredients to make red potato salad
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds of waxy red potatoes
  • 1/2 an onion (I prefer red, but you can use white onions if you want)
  • 2 stalks of chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet relish
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 a teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of celery salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dill weed (fresh or dried)
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of paprika (optional)

How to Make a Classic Potato Salad

Mixing mayo mixture with cooked diced red potatoes in a cooking pan

It’s easy to cook the best red potato salad if you know your way around the ingredients and the steps to follow. For your first-time try, here are the instructions you should follow:

  1. Cut potatoes into smaller pieces and put them in a large pot. Fill it up with enough water to completely cover them, and add a pinch of salt. Place the pot over the fire to boil.
  2. Cook the red potatoes over high heat until they’re fork-tender. You want them to be soft but not too mushy that they look like mashed potatoes. The potato pieces should take about 10 or 15 minutes to cook, and if you put them in boiled water, they’ll take even less.
  3. Drain potatoes in a colander after they’re ready, and leave them alone for a while till they cool slightly.
  4. While the potatoes cool down, grab a large bowl and mix your mustard, spices, mayonnaise, and sweet relish.
  5. Chop your celery into thin slices and your onions into small pieces.
  6. After your potatoes are cool enough, dish them in a large bowl and add the chopped celery, onions, and the mixture you prepared in the previous step.
  7. Stir gently to avoid mashing the boiled potatoes.
  8. Taste the salad to make sure that you’re satisfied with the taste. If you find it too bland, add as many spices as you want.
  9. Refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving, and that’s all!
mixing mayo mixture with cooked red potatoes

Tips and Tricks to Make an Exceptional Potato Salad

Here are a few tips and tricks that you can try from time to time to make an exceptionally delicious potato salad!

  • Instead of adding salt directly to my dishes, I add salt heavily to the water I’m using, similar to when cooking spaghetti. This ensures that the salt penetrates the potatoes better and seasons them inside. It significantly improves the taste of my red potato salad. 
  • Sprinkle some smoked paprika on the top of your potato salad for a dash of extra spiciness
  • Chop some red chili peppers and add them to your salad to make it spicy
  • Add apple cider vinegar to the mayonnaise mixture for an acidic kick
  • Add green onions to the salad for extra crunchiness and flavor
  • Boost the sauce’s flavor with a tablespoon of sweet onion relish
  • You can make this meal ahead of time and preserve it in the refrigerator, but eat it within a day to maximally enjoy its flavor and freshness. Red potato salad leftovers can last 4-5 days in the fridge, but the taste reduces the longer it takes to eat it. 
  • Add sour cream to the mix to boost the tanginess of the dressing and makes it more creamy. However, don’t overdo it because a tablespoon of sour cream can go a long way and change how your entire salad tastes like

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Ditch the Regular Mayonnaise for Low-Fat Mayonnaise?

Yes, you can. If you want to make a healthier version of the salad and stick to your low-fat diet, you can use low-fat mayonnaise without an issue. It has the same consistency and flavor as regular mayonnaise, so it won’t affect your salad in any way.

Is the Red Potato Salad Gluten-Free?

Most of the ingredients are gluten-free, yes, including potatoes. However, some of the canned ingredients, like mayonnaise and sweet relish, differ from one brand to another. So while shopping for the recipe ingredients, check each pack to ensure you don’t buy a product that has gluten.

Can I Freeze My Red Potato Salad?

Red potato salads can be preserved and served cold when you put them in the refrigerator. However, freezing them can be a step too far. From my experience, I’ve discovered that potato salad becomes watery when you freeze it, which affects its texture and flavor.

The best way to preserve your salad leftovers is by putting them in a covered container and placing them in the refrigerator. They can last up to 5 days.  

How Do I Know My Potatoes Are Done Cooking Before Taking Them off the Fire?

The best way to know this is to put a fork through a piece or slice of potato. If it’s soft enough for the fork to go through it easily, then it’s done cooking. If there’s some resistance or crunch, it’s not done and needs to boil for more minutes before you test it again.

Can I Make Red Potato Salad Ahead of Time?

If you don’t intend to serve your red potato salad hot, then you can make it ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator to chill. Keep it in an airtight container before putting it in the fridge, and stir it before serving. You can also add fresh herbs on top to make the dish more aesthetically appealing.

red potato salad in a red bowl
Yield: 8

Red Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This traditional picnic staple is great outdoors or in.


  • 1 pounds and 1/4 of red potatoes
  • 3/4 cup celery, about 2 stalks
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 T . sweet relish
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 T . mustard
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried or fresh dill weed


  1. Dice the potato into cubes about 1/2 inch wide. Thinly slice the celery and chop the onion.
  2. Place the potatoes into a pan of water and cook until tender, but not mushy. You want them to feel just a little undercooked.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, stir together the relish, mustard, mayonnaise and spices.
  4. Once the potatoes are done, remove from heat and strain all of the water out. Add the potatoes, celery and onion to the sauce mixture and stir gently to combine.
  5. Adjust spices as necessary to fit your taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 603mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

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