This Potato Salad recipe gives you a mildly sweet and tangy salad with a silken mayonnaise dressing. The smoothness of the perfectly boiled potatoes is complimented by the crunchiness of the onions and celery.
Table of Contents
About this Recipe
My take on the classic American potato salad, this vegetarian recipe includes a homemade egg-free mayonnaise dressing. For a vegan version, simply use a Vegan Mayonnaise when making the dressing.
I love potatoes and so enjoy making various recipes with them. I have shared many Potato Recipes from Indian cuisine as well as world cuisine and this potato salad is a favorite as it is easy to make and tastes great.
Potatoes combine deliciously with both mayonnaise and sour cream. While I make a potato dill salad with sour cream or yogurt, I prefer making this smooth potato salad with a mayonnaise dressing.
I used a batch of homemade mayonnaise (egg-free) to make the dressing in this recipe. However, you can use store-bought egg-free or vegan mayonnaise too. Just make sure that the mayonnaise has a good taste and flavor.
This salad works great as a main dish or as a side to your main course. I always make Salad Recipes to go with my mains dishes as they make great sides and add to the overall nutrition and experience of the meal.
Even when serving an everyday Indian dish as the main course, I will make an international salad to go with it. For example, a beetroot salad pairs wonderfully with the main course of dal-rice or khichdi.
You just need to know your flavors and you will be able to make amazing and nutritious pairings of various dishes.
- Texture: Along with the smooth texture of the mayo and potatoes, the salad also has a great crunch and freshness coming from the onions, celery and parsley.
Do not skip these three ingredients as they are what gives this salad its balanced texture. You can substitute scallions or spring onions for the onions and cilantro (coriander leaves) for parsley.
- Taste: Usually in a classic American potato salad, pickles or pickle relish are added. These pickles are basically cucumbers (gherkins) fermented in brine or vinegar. The pickle adds a sour, salty and umami or savory taste.
In this recipe I have used green olives to get that sour and umami bite. They work beautifully and you get a savory taste here and there when eating the potato salad. Dijon mustard also adds a slightly pungent and sharp taste to the salad.
Ingredients you need
- Mayonnaise: Use your favorite mayonnaise. It can be homemade or store bought, just remember that it is an important ingredient as the main flavor of the salad comes from it. So be sure to use a mayo which has a good taste and flavor.
- Type of Potato: Any potato variety can be used to make this potato salad, just be sure not to overcook them. Depending on the size you chop the potatoes and the variety, the time to cook potatoes will vary (see tips on boiling potatoes below).
- Mustard: If you do not have dijon mustard, then add ground mustard paste or mustard powder.
- Onions: Onions are an essential ingredient in the potato salad so do not skip them. Use onions which are not too pungent. Green onions aka spring onions can be used instead.
- Celery: Apart from a deep herby flavor, celery also adds some crunch in to the salad. For this reason, its best not to skip it.
- Parsley: Parsley adds freshness to the salad. If you do not have parsley, use cilantro (coriander leaves) instead. You can definitely add your choice of fresh or dried herbs.
- Cucumber Pickle or Pickle Relish: You can add cucumber pickles if you prefer them. As a substitute for pickles, I have used green olives. Olives can be skipped altogether or you can add kalamata olives or black olives instead.
How to make Potato Salad
1. Pour 4 cups water in a pan or pot.
2. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Next add 1 teaspoon sugar.
4. Next add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
5. Stir and set the pan aside.
6. Rinse 500 to 550 grams of potatoes or 3 to 4 large potatoes in running water very well. Brush off the mud if any from the potatoes skin and rinse them thoroughly. Then peel them and dice them into 1-inch cubes. You will need 3 cups diced potatoes.
7. As soon as you dice the potatoes add them to the water in the pan.
8. Cover the pan and keep it on a medium flame.
9. Simmer and cook potatoes covered with a lid. A couple of times you can open the lid and check them.
10. Potatoes will take about 12 to 15 minutes to cook.
11. Cook potatoes until they are fork-tender – meaning a fork or a knife should pass easily into them without any resistance.
12. Strain the potatoes in a colander or strainer.
Making mayonnaise dressing
13. While the potatoes are cooking, peel, rinse and finely chop 1 small onion, 1 stalk of celery, some parsley leaves and 5 to 6 pitted green or black olives. You will need ¼ cup finely chopped onions, 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley. Some parsley can be kept for garnishing.
14. In a bowl take 6 tablespoons mayonnaise (vegetarian or vegan) and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. I have used homemade mayo and it had a slight pouring consistency.
Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice or ½ to 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Next add finely chopped onions, celery, parsley and olives. One minced garlic clove can also be added.
15. Season with ¼ teaspoon sugar. Also, add ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika. You can even add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper or red chilli powder instead of sweet paprika.
16. Mix very well. Check the taste of the dressing and add more dijon mustard or lemon juice if needed. Mayo and dijon mustard already have salt in them, so go easy on the salt and add it after you add the potatoes.
Making potato salad
17. Add the cooked potatoes. The potatoes can be warm when you add them. We prefer a warm potato salad so I add potatoes when they are warm, but you can cool them before adding if you prefer.
18. Mix and gently toss the potatoes with the dressing.
19. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and salt as required. Mix gently again. Check the taste and add salt. After taste testing, you can add more pepper if required.
20. Serve potato salad garnished with some chopped parsley and sprinkled with 1 to 2 pinches of sweet paprika or red chilli powder. You can even sprinkle some crushed black pepper if you prefer.
If not serving immediately then refrigerate and serve the potato salad later. You can have potato salad as a meal or serve as a side with your main dish.
- Spiced and Warm: Add your favorite spices or sauces. Worcestershire sauce or red chilly chilli paste can be added. Even Indian spices & herbs like roasted cumin powder, cilantro (coriander) powder, chaat masala, cilantro (coriander leaves) and mint leaves can be used.
- Herby Salad: Adding a lot of fresh herbs or dried herbs with some extra virgin olive oil and a bit of mashed garlic can make a simple, yet tasty salad. I have shared a recipe of this variation here – Herbed Potato Salad.
- Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream: For a sour-tasting salad, both creme fraiche and sour cream work well. You can flavor it up with some herbs and seasonings of your choice.
- Yogurt Salad: A creamy and smooth dressing can also be made with yogurt or curd. Your choice of herbs and spices can be added in the yogurt seasoning.
- Boiling the Potatoes: Typically potatoes are boiled in plain salted water. In this recipe, some vinegar and sugar are added to the water and this infuses a mild sour and sweet taste into the potatoes. Not sweet like sweet potatoes, but rather just a hint of sweetness. The sourness is also faint and not pronounced.
- Do not overcook the Potatoes: While boiling potatoes, first make sure you have chopped or diced them evenly. Usually, chopped potatoes take about 15 to 20 minutes on a medium flame to cook until tender. Use a fork or a knife to check if they are cooked well and be sure not to overdo the cooking. This will result in a mushy or pasty salad.
- Scaling the Recipe: You can easily double or triple the recipe. Use the recipe card below to scale the ingredients.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate the leftover salad and it will stays good for 1 to 2 days. While serving, You can serve the salad chilled or can warm it in an oven.
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for cooking potatoes
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 500 to 550 grams potatoes or 3 to 4 large potatoes or 3 cups diced potatoes
for potato salad dressing
- 6 tablespoons Veg Mayonnaise – vegetarian or vegan
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard or add as required
- ½ teaspoon sugar or add as required
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice – sub with ½ to 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup onions – finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons celery – finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley – finely chopped
- 5 to 6 green olives or black olives – pitted, sliced or chopped
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika or red chilli powder or cayenne pepper – add as required
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or add as required
- salt as required
- 1 teaspoon parsley – finely chopped
- 1 to 2 pinches sweet paprika or red chilli powder or cayenne pepper – optional
- Take the water in a saucepan or a pot.
- Add salt, sugar and vinegar. Stir and keep the pan aside.
- Rinse potatoes in running water very well. Brush off the mud if any from the potatoes skin and rinse them thoroughly. Then peel and dice in 1-inch cubes.
- As soon as you dice the potatoes add them in the water in the pan.
- Cover the pan with its lid. Heat on a medium flame.
- Simmer and cook potatoes covered with the lid.
- Potatoes will take about 12 to 15 minutes to cook.
- Cook potatoes till they are fork-tender – meaning a fork or a knife should pass easily without any resistance.
- Strain the potatoes in a colander or strainer. Drain the water well.
Making mayonnaise dressing
- While the potatoes are cooking, you can peel, rinse and finely chop 1 small onion, half a stick of celery, parsley leaves and 5 to 6 pitted green olives.
- In a bowl take mayonnaise (vegetarian or vegan), dijon mustard, lemon juice.
- Next add finely chopped onions, finely chopped celery, finely chopped parsley and chopped olives. You can even add one minced garlic clove (small to medium-sized).
- Season with ¼ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika. You can even add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper or red chilli powder instead of sweet paprika.
- Mix very well. Check the taste of the dressing and add more dijon mustard or lemon juice or sugar if needed.
Making potato salad
- Add the cooked potatoes. The potatoes can be warm when you add them.
- Mix and gently toss the potatoes with the dressing.
- Sprinkle ground black pepper and salt as required. Check the taste and add salt. After taste testing, you can add more pepper if required.
- Mix gently again.
- Serve potato salad. Serve garnished with some chopped parsley and sprinkled with 1 to 2 pinches of sweet paprika. If not serving immediately then refrigerate and serve later.
- Use your favorite mayonnaise. It can be homemade or store brought.
- Any type of potato variety can be used to make potato salad. Just do not overcook them.
- If you do not have dijon mustard, then add ground mustard paste or mustard powder.
- Use onions which are not too pungent. Scallions or spring onions can be used instead.
- Celery imparts a deep herby flavor in the salad. So do add and avoid skipping it.
- If you do not have parsley, use cilantro (coriander leaves) instead.
- You can add cucumber pickles if you prefer them.
- You can easily double or triple the recipe.
- The leftover salad stays good in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. While serving, you can serve the salad chilled or can warm in an oven for some minutes.