This old-fashioned potato salad with homemade dressing is the perfect addition to summer BBQs, lazy picnics, family gatherings, holidays and more! Loaded with fresh herbs, chopped eggs and crispy pancetta, it makes a creamy, zesty and comforting side dish that everyone will love.
Summer is here – at last! Finally, we’re beginning to approach the perfect weather for backyard barbeques and picnics! And no barbeque, cookout, picnic or holiday feast is complete without a giant bowl of potato salad on the table.
Reading: Old fashioned potato salad recipes
This deliciously creamy version is one that you should absolutely try! Whenever I need an easy salad, this simple recipe is always my go-to. It is written in my cookbook as the “best ever potato salad” and when you try it, I think you’ll see why.
Chunks of perfectly seasoned, tender baby potatoes, loaded with herbs and pancetta and tossed in a dressing that is creamy, savoury, salty and sour. This side works well with any other foods on your plate and is a warm weather staple!
SO easy to make, this recipe contains an ultra-creamy, 2-minute homemade potato salad dressing that will make you want to lick the plate clean or use some bread to mop up every last bit! But there is a small risk…once you try it, you’ll never want to buy store-bought dressing again!
I hope that this recipe will become your go-to recipe for Christmas, holidays or special occasions too. Serve this classic, nostalgic side with your family BBQ favourites and watch it disappear. Grab some potatoes and let’s make a batch together!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Quick and easy; using simple pantry staples, this recipe can be made and ready to eat in less than 20 minutes!
Customisable; keep it vegetarian by omitting the pancetta, make swaps to suit your needs and use this recipe as a base to build on your dream potato salad!
Read more: Greek Pasta Salad – FeelGoodFoodie
Make ahead; are you entertaining or have a special event? Make this recipe ahead and store it in the fridge, ready to serve without any extra effort.
What you’ll need
* This post contains tips and instructions to achieve the best possible results. For full ingredient quantities and methods, see the detailed recipe card below.
- Red baby potatoes: I use baby red or Russet potatoes and prefer to leave the skin on. Feel free to remove the skin if you choose, but it adds extra texture.
- Pancetta: Or crispy bacon. Pancetta adds a deliciously salty flavour.
- Hard boiled eggs: Simply cook them on the stove – they can be prepared ahead of time if required.
- Red onion and spring onions: For a little crunch and bite.
- Mayonnaise. I prefer to use full fat mayo for the rich, creamy flavour, but you can also use light or low fat mayo if you prefer.
- Sour cream: This adds to the creaminess of the dressing and tastes AH-MAZING.
- Fresh herbs: Dill, chives and parsley are all classic potato salad herbs.
- I also use a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika for seasoning and flavour.
Which potatoes are best?
Not all potatoes are created equal when it comes to making potato salad! There are generally three types of categories for potatoes based on their texture;
- All purpose
Steer clear of starchier potatoes, as they have a tendency to fall apart and become mushy during the cooking process. Ideally, look for all-purpose or potatoes that are waxier and have thinner skin, as these potatoes will hold their shape when boiled. Red, Russet, baby or Desiree, Kipfler and Nicola are great choices. Or in the US, try Yukon, New, Red or Fingerling potatoes. I love using red or small baby potatoes for their size and flavour.
Step by step instructions
Prepare the potatoes: If using baby potatoes, leave them whole or chop them in half depending on their size. If using larger potatoes, cut them to desired sized chunks. Add them to cold water and cook until tender, but still holding their shape (around 10-15 minutes). Drain and allow to cool. If you need this salad in a hurry, you can run the potatoes under a very cold tap to speed up the cooling process.
Prepare the dressing: Mix the ingredients together and store the dressing in the fridge until the salad is ready to prepare.
Mix together: Mix the cooled potatoes, dressing, chopped red onion, cooked pancetta and chopped hard boiled eggs.
While amazing on its own, you can also use this recipe as a base to build your favourite side dish! Include your add-ins to suit your own personal taste. Try adding some finely sliced pickles or gherkin relish, or use wholegrain mustard instead of Dijon, if you prefer. You could also add some finely chopped celery for extra crunch. Capers add a nice, salty and sour hit to balance the creaminess. A little finely chopped mint works too.
As much as pancetta or bacon adds the perfect finishing touch, you can leave it out if you need a vegetarian version, or try a vegetarian bacon instead.
FAQs and handy tips
Storage; keep it in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Potato salad does not freeze well, as the potatoes will continue to soften in the freezer. Therefore, it is best made on the day, or within five days of requiring.
The potatoes should be cooked until they are soft and tender, but still have a little resistance when they are pricked with a fork. Don’t let them become too mushy, or they will fall apart when mixed into the dressing. Depending on the type of potato and size of the pieces, this will take around 10 minutes, give or take a couple of minutes. Keep the skin on, or off, depending on your preference.
Don’t start the potatoes in boiling water. When cooking potatoes, I recommend starting them in cold water and bringing the water to the boil, rather than putting them straight into boiling water. Adding boiling water direct to the potatoes can cause the outside of the potato to become soft and mushy before the middle of the potato has had a chance to cook through. Mushy potatoes are best avoided in potato salad!
Ensure that the potatoes are cooled before adding the dressing. Hot potatoes will make the dressing oily. If you are in a hurry, the potatoes can be run under a cold tap for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.
Season your potatoes! For a well-seasoned dish, add a little salt to the water while the potatoes cook. This will season them inside and out, making the overall result more flavourful.
Looking for some more summer salad recipes? Why not give these ones a try?
- Italian style salami pasta salad
- Orange and rocket salad with hazelnut
- Pumpkin and goats cheese salad
- Asian style noodle salad
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment or review below, or send me a message and let me know how you went!
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