Potato salad is a classic American side dish made by mashing boiled potatoes. Today I’m sharing my grandmothers recipe which has no hard boiled eggs in it, just potatoes, mayonnaise, celery, onion and spices.
If you google “potato salad” on the internet you will quickly discover that there are several ways this recipe can be made, add depending on who you ask and what part of the country they were raised in. A good majority of potato salad recipes, I have found, include eggs. And a bigger majority have bacon.
This is my mom’s (from her mom’s) classic potato salad recipe. I watched her make it a hundred times.
Our family potato salad does not contain:
- hard boiled eggs,
- or bacon
- or dill pickles
- or pickle relish … just tons of potato flavor, which is what we want, right?
Ingredients in (an eggless) Classic Potato Salad:
- Potatoes – I have always used Russet potatoes for my potato salad and I just asked my mother why my potato salad isn’t exactly like hers and it turns out it was the potatoes. She only uses little red potatoes and now they are the only potatoes I use and the recipe has been updated in 2022 to reflect that.
- Onion and Celery – raw onion for some reason just makes this potato salad that much better. Don’t ask me why since I hate raw onions. It just works.
- Mayonnaise and Sour cream – you can use all mayo if you wish, I have found the 2 combined is a nice balance and doesn’t create that mayo heavy dressing taste.
- Mustard – this adds a little unexpected zip. I use yellow mustard but if you like more zing, try a Dijon mustard instead.
- ACV – here lies the KEY to this recipe. The secret is to put your finger over the bottle of vinegar and just shake it all over the HOT UNTOUCHED potatoes, a few tablespoons or so. Stir them around and let the potatoes absorb the vinegar for a few minutes. This step makes ALL the difference!
How to Make an Easy Classic Potato Salad:
- Peel and cut the potatoes into half (smaller cut potatoes will release too much starch and make the potatoes ‘gummy’). Boil them VERY GENTLY in HEAVILY SALTED WATER until they are fork tender. Here’s another Mom tip: she does NOT peel the potatoes before boiling them. Once they are cooked, she uses a fork to pierce the potato and peels the skin while they are hot. For some reason hers always comes out better, but I still peel them first.
- Place the peeled potatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle apple cider vinegar all over the potatoes.
- Slightly mash with a fork or potato masher (they will continue to break up as you stir).
- Add the diced onion, celery. The onions are another sticking point with specifically my daughter because she detests onion. I put them in raw just like my mom did. I do not find them to be too offensive and add a little crunch.
- Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing as the potatoes are cooling and stir to combine.
Recipes that go with Potato Salad
- The juiciest Burgers you’ll ever eat!
- Our #1 Grilled Chicken recipe
- Huli Huli chicken
- Healthy Grilled Salmon
Easy Simple Classic Potato Salad
A classic easy potato salad using nothing but potatoes, celery, onion in a mayo and sour cream dressing.
- 4–5 lbs. Red Potatoes, peeled and cut half (approx. 10-12)
- 1 Cup Sweet Onion, diced
- 1 Cup Celery, diced (2 or 3 stalks)
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
DRESSING: (you may or may not use it all)
- 1 ½ cups Mayonnaise
- ½ Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp White Pepper
- Peel the potatoes and cut in large chunks depending on the size of the potato.
- Place them in a large pot of cold water covered by at least 2 inches.
- Heavily salt the water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the stove down to medium and simmer the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until a fork easily goes through.
- Meanwhile, dice the onion and celery and set aside.
- Drain the potatoes and let them cool about 5 minutes or until they stop steaming.
- Putting your finger over the top of the bottle, pour about 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar all over the potatoes. Stir to combine. Allow to absorb for a minute or two.
- Mash very lightly with a potato masher keeping some larger chunks. Add the onions and celery and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
- Make the dressing in a small bowl and add enough until the potatoes are fully coated.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS:
The only change I made was I used yellow potatoes, since that’s what I had on hand. The results were perfect. I have been looking for the best potato salad without egg…and this is most definitely it! Thank you!
HA ! I love your post. I live in NY and totally get it. Supermarkets are so hit and miss, deli salads are the best. I tried this recipe and it was amazing Deb. My family loved it. I gave your website to my Aunt and cousins who wanted the recipe.
I like this potato salad and so did my family. It was easy to make and made a lot. I will share this recipe.
I hate store bought salads, they have this weird taste to them. Is it the vinegar they use? I’ve been looking for a potato salad recipe and this one is it! It is perfect in every way. I added a little fresh parsley before serving and some paprika. Other than that I made this just as described. It was perfect.
I made this using red skinned potatoes and I left some of the skin on. Delicious!
I make potato salad only twice a year. Made this for Labor Day weekend to go with brats and cheesesteaks…Delicious! I did not have sour cream so I used full fat plain Greek yogurt. I also used dry mustard because I was out of regular. I added dried thyme and dried parsley. The apple cider vinegar gave an awesome punch of flavor. I used extra organic celery because I like a decent crunch and only 1/4 onion. Saving this recipe….thank you!!
Definitely creamier than the just mayo taste but a bit lacking in flavor. I made it for a potluck and brought most of it back home. It wasn’t much of a hit. If I try again I may adjust down the sour cream or add carrot bits.
Awesome!!!!!! Thank you.
I had leftover potatoes and didn’t know what to make. Found your recipe and am thrilled how good it tasted. I did add some diced yellow & red paper for color and it really added to the whole thing. I’m perplexed about the apple cider vinegar but followed your recipe to a “tee”!!! Super YUMMY!!!
thanks Debbie! I appreciate the feedback.
This is excellent !!! I just added some boiled eggs but other thank that I stuck to the recipe.
Have you ever served this warm
No I have not
Can I use red skin potatoes instead? I have a bunch I need to use up.
well Meagan, funny enough, I am sitting right next to my mother now and she said that’s all she uses are red potatoes. How did I not know this? LOL
Dorothy M Del Maestro
I haven’t made potato salad in years! I also have a lot of red bliss which I plan to use. I really think you can combine some either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and stir in a tad of mayo after they are completely cooled. I am using green onion, but I’m skipping on the parsley, which many recipes use, skipping hard boiled eggs. There’s 3 types that I know of: German, which has a lot of vinegar & parsley, egg potato (self-explanatory), and regular potato salad. We have fresh celery from our garden too!
Hi Debi, how many people does this recipe serve? Want to make it for son in law’s b’day this
Hi Marta – I would say it comfortably serves 8. When I make it at home for the 4 of us I always have enough leftover for at least 2 more meals
Super easy, super quick and super tasty! If you like sour cream and mayo, this recipe is great
I brought this potato salad to a cookout where half the people said they don’t like potato salad. They tried this, loved it, and I didn’t have leftovers! So tasty.
that’s awesome Sarah – thank you so much trusting our recipe enough to bring it to a cookout! Speaks volumes!
Can I use red onion in this recipe? Or will it totally change the flavors?
I have never used red onion in this recipe before – I’m curious to your thoughts if you try it.
Thank you for sharing this simple, yet tasty recipe.
I make mine exactly the same way…. I use white vinegar however. NO HB eggs either. That is a Southern recipe in my opinion. Delish!
Best potato salad recipe! So easy and flavorful!
Perfect! thank you!!!!
Made this today for a gathering tomorr ow. Couldn’t resist trying some for dinner tonight. Outstanding!
This is AMAZING!!! I have been looking for foreverrrrr for a SIMPLE potato salad recipe.. and finally found this. I only like a few ingredients in my tater salad as well as does my husband. And I also love vinegar.. yummmmm! What a god send you are to simple recipe lovers thank you oh sooo very much. I know my family and I love it!!
OMG Hunter! Thank you so much. What a great way to start my day!
One question did your mom peel the potatoes post-cooking or leave them on in the salad?
Hi Audrey – my mom will let the potatoes cool until she can handle them and she lifts each one with a fork and peels the skin off. Hope that helps!
Very similar to my mom’s recipe. It was a best foods mayo recipe from way back when….sooo simple, so good!