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Savory or sweet?

best potato salad

I guess that all depends on who in my family you ask. My dad has always referred to potato salad as “candy”, and many times will forgo dessert and have another bowl of potato salad if there is any left. I do love the stuff, but you all know that I have the sweetest sweet tooth in the world and would never pass up the opportunity to consume sugar.

How many of you like to eat your potato salad in a particular way? When I ask people this question, I have found that it’s ritualistic for most–similar to asking how they eat an Oreo. With brats? A burger? Or maybe right next to a scoop of beans? The way I prefer to eat my salad is with a nice handful of potato chips, so it’s really more of a potato dip. I tried to take a picture to demonstrate this, but my husband had to “help” and I ended up with his big man hand in the photo. Get your hand out of there! You’re ruining my money shot!

potato salad dip

Here is where I admit that I am a total and complete potato salad snob. It has to be just right or I will turn my little pig-nose up in the air at it.

There are just a few things that need to happen in order to have a potato salad worthy of my approval.

First, the potatoes need to be boiled long enough to have a fork easily slide into them, but not so long that they become waterlogged. Who wants crunchy potatoes in their salad? This is one of the primary reasons why I just can’t stomach the variety that is sold in the deli department of most stores.

Next, use decent mayonnaise or make your own. Best Foods/Hellmans is where it’s at and we all know it. Ina Garten says so and I agree. Unless you are one of those weirdos who eats Miracle Whip. I grew up on the Whip and thought mayo was disgusting for a long time. My grandma, Judy, was a big fan of the stuff as well but the “tangy zip” doesn’t do a thing for my taste buds anymore. However, if that’s what you like then use it. Just don’t tell me!

Finally, boil your eggs properly. Everyday Food (Martha Stewart’s former publication that I’m still mourning the loss over not receiving anymore) has the perfect method–put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. When the water begins to boil, put the lid on and remove the heat. Set the timer for 12 minutes. Let them sit in ice water until cool. Done! I haven’t had an egg with a gray ring since I started making them per these instructions.

On top of these minor details, I like a certain ratio of eggs, celery, green onions, and pickles to the potatoes. Oh yeah, and the dressing must be a perfect blend of tangy (but not in the MW way), with the right balance of heat and sweetness.

potato salad recipe

That’s ALL I ask for in a potato salad.

And this recipe is all that and waaayyyyyy more. You may just want it for dessert!

potato salad

Potato Salad aka “Candy”


5 lbs russet potatoes

5 hard boiled eggs

2 stalks of celery

1 bunch of green onions

1/2 cup dill pickles

2 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (not-so-secret ingredient!)

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Boil potatoes until fork tender and let cool. Into a large bowl, dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Finely dice the boiled eggs, celery, green onions, and pickles and add to the potatoes.

In a medium size bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over the salad, reserving about 1 cup. If serving immediately, you may not need the additional dressing. I find that the potatoes absorb some of the dressing, so I prefer to add it all at once. Stir well to combine.

Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Don't forget the potato chips!