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Homemade Classic Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad is a must make for just about any BBQ, potluck or summer picnic. This classic recipe is made with eggs, celery, and onions in a creamy dressing.

When it comes to summer cookouts, picnics and BBQs it doesn’t get anymore classic than a potato salad. Throughout the years, this classic recipe has been handed down from generation to generation. There are so many different variations out there, I even have a couple on my blog like Dill Pickle Potato Salad, and Red Potato Salad

Today I’m sharing this recipe for the Classic American Style Potato Salad that was always present at my BBQs growing up. Potatoes, celery, eggs and onions tossed in a creamy mayonnaise/mustard dressing. It’s going to bring back memories for sure. 

Let’s talk about what you’ll need to make it: 

Potato Salad Ingredients: 

Potato salad ingredients on white background.
  • RUSSET POTATOES: Russet potatoes work great in this recipe. I like to mash them a little bit which the starch in russet potatoes helps with. 
  • HARD BOILED EGGS: Not always a classic in potato salads, but one of my favorite additions. My mom always added hard boiled eggs to hers so I love it. 
  • CELERY: Helps add crunch. 
  • YELLOW ONION: I recommend mincing the onion small so that you get oniony flavor but not big bites of raw onion. 
  • GREEN ONION: Adds a little more oniony flavor but also a pop of bright green color that brightens the salad.
  • SWEET RELISH: Adds a bit of sweetness. 
  • MAYONNAISE: The base of the dressing for the potato salad. 
  • YELLOW MUSTARD: This will give the dressing and the salad it’s classic yellow color and a slight mustardy flavor. 
  • GRANULATED GARLIC: You can also use garlic powder if that is what you have on hand. If you only have garlic salt, omit the extra salad in the recipe. 
  • DISTILLED VINEGAR: Will help thin the dressing and add some acidity to cut the creaminess. 

Step by Step Instructions: 

The hardest thing about making potato salad, at least for me, is letting it sit it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This gives all of the flavors and chance to meld and for the potatoes to soak up all of the dressing. 

Other than that, it’s easy peasy! Let me walk you though it: 

  • STEP #1: Boil potatoes until they are just fork tender. Drain. 
  • STEP #2: Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Whisk together until well combined. 
  • STEP #3: In a large bowl, add potatoes. Use a potato masher to slightly mash the potatoes. You’re not making mashed potatoes here so leave some chunky. 
  • STEP #4: Add in onions, celery and hardboiled eggs. Pour dressing over the top. 
  • STEP #5: Gently mix the potato salad together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. Serve. 
Wooden spoon with scoop of potato salad.

Do you have any favorite ingredients that you like to add to your potato salad recipe? Come on over to my Facebook page and let me know what you think of MY recipe!

Recipe FAQ:

Why is my potato salad bland?

This could be caused by overcooked potatoes. You only want to cook them just until they are fork tender. It’ll take about 10 minutes. Also, be sure to season the water that you’re boiling the potatoes in liberally with salt.

Can potato salad be made the day before?

Yes! Potato salad is even better the next day after all of the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Note: This post was originally published in 2009. It was updated in 2023 with a new recipe, photos, nutrition information and step by step photos. 

Homemade Classic Potato Salad Recipe

Potato salad plays an important role in any summer cookout or picnic. Make this easy potato salad recipe, then expect people to ask you for the recipe!
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 280 kcal



  • 4 medium russet potatoes peeled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 green onions diced


  • Place potatoes in a large pot of liberally salted water (I used 2 tablespoons). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Transfer to a colander and drain.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and use a potato masher to gently mash the potatoes. Leave them a bit chunky.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, granulated garlic, vinegar, sweet relish, salt and pepper.
  • Add celery, yellow onions, green onions and hard boiled eggs to a bowl. Pour dressing over the top. Gently mix. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  • After the flavors have had a chance to meld, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Serve.


Like many dishes, I find that this tastes better the longer the flavors have to mingle. If you are planning an afternoon BBQ, make this salad that morning. It'll be perfect!
Nutrition information for estimation purposes only. 


Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 416mgPotassium: 669mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 241IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: 4th of July Recipes, bbq, classic, Food, Labor day recipes, potato, potato salad, potluck, russet potatoes, side dish

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Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    September 3, 2009 at 11:06 am

    that looks so good! comforting.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I can’t believe summer’s almost over too! I totally wanted to cry when I saw the fall decorations coming out and *gasp even CHRISTMAS decorations! I’m SO not ready for sweaters and neon lights yet! I agree that potato salads should just be simple with not many extra additions. I usually only add some bacon and onions and call it a day!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Hi Des

    When you seasoned the water with 2 tablespoons of salt, what kind of salt did you use.

    • Reply
      September 1, 2009 at 11:39 am

      Hi Jackie, I used 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Thanks for catching that :)


    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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