Picnic Perfect: Potato Salad

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Dear Home Ec 101:

My neighborhood will soon be throwing its annual block party. I don’t want anyone to know that I can’t cook for beans. Do you have a recipe for me? Please don’t tell me just to go to the deli and put it in a new bowl. I want to try, but I’m busy and I need something I can make the night before. Oh, and I’m vegetarian, but eggs and dairy are fine.


Persnickety Picnicker

Heather says:

I recently talked my mother into giving up her potato salad recipe. Everyone needs a go-to dish for events like this, and as long as you promise she won’t be there, you are welcome to bring this dish. This recipe is easily halved and makes a great side dish for BBQ dinners.

Picnic Perfect Potato Salad


  • 8 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold for best results)
  • 5 hardboiled eggs – (save two for garnish), and here’s How to Hard Boil Eggs
  • 1 medium sweet onion – diced
  • 2-3 green onions – chopped or diced finely
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped or diced
  • ½ cup canned olives – green and black or either, depending on your preferences, sliced (save a few for garnish)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping TBSP sweet pickle relish
  • 1 or 2 dill pickles, diced or chopped + 1 – 2 TBSP dill pickle juice
  • 1 TBSP yellow mustard
  • 3 TBSP honey mustard or honey mustard salad dressing
  • Salt / Fresh Ground Pepper to taste (at least 1 tsp of each)
  • Paprika for garnish/color

Peel and cut up the potatoes, letting them sit in a bowl of lightly salted water during preparation.  Rinse several times and place into a deep pot, cover with water. Bring to a simmer or low boil on medium heat until potatoes are cooked but not mushy, between 10 – 15 minutes. Check with a fork, you should be easily able to pierce it, but it should not be falling apart. If you aren’t quite sure if it is done enough, cool off a cube and bite it. How is the texture? You aren’t going to get a chance to cook the potatoes further, so in this case, slightly over-done is better than under.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. In a separate, medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, honey mustard, pickle relish, diced dill pickles, dill pickle juice, celery, diced sweet onion, green onions, and salt/pepper. Taste this mixture (use a clean spoon, not your fingers, please!). Please note that there will be a mayonnaise taste when you first mix the dressing. This taste will fade as the flavors combine. It takes about an hour. I have a moment every time where I wonder if I ruined it because I hate mayonnaise, but it always comes together in the end.

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, place the potatoes in a large bowl.  Peel and cut up the hardboiled eggs (reserving two). Add these to the potato mixture.

When you are satisfied with the taste of the dressing, fold it into the potato and eggs. To do this, slide your spoon or spatula down the side of the bowl and then scoop the potatoes to the center. Turn the bowl a little after each scoop. Doing this prevents the spoon from mashing the potatoes. It’s ok if you mash them a little. The starch from the potatoes will thicken the dressing a bit and keep it from being runny.

Cover tightly and refrigerate. It’s best if the flavors have several hours to blend.

Just before serving, add slices of eggs or olives for garnish and sprinkle with paprika for color, if desired.


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11 thoughts on “Picnic Perfect: Potato Salad”

  1. Oh my — does that potato salad look awesome! I have a difficult time getting potato salad to taste better than just wet, bland mayo flavor. I bet the addition of the honey mustard and pickles and relish makes a big difference; can’t wait to give this a try!


  2. My husband is not a fan of potatoes, but I caught him going back for seconds the next day. This version is not at all mayonnaise-y. I can’t stand mayo and wouldn’t recommend it if it was a predominant flavor.

  3. This looks real good. One can never have too many potato salad recipes. There is always something different about each one, and I can’t wait to try this.

  4. For inexperienced cooks here is a way to hard cook eggs (one of several ways): Place eggs in pot and cover with cold water with water about 1 inch over the eggs. Bring to a full boil and turn off stove. Let stand for 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs to cool and then peel. It is easiest to peel eggs that are not fresh.

    Good luck with the recipe. Remember everyone was new to cooking at one time or another and this recipe looks very good.

    PB from MN


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