Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Southern Style Potato Salad

A basic and traditional southern potato salad - simply potatoes, onion, celery, eggs, just a bit of mustard, some pickle and mayonnaise, shown here plated with my BBQ menu, including grilled ribs, baked beans, macaroni salad, marinated tomatoes and Silver Queen corn on the cob.

Southern Style Potato Salad

Potato salad reminds me so much of my Mama. This recipe is basically the same as hers - simple, basic, southern potato salad. Nothin' fancy or highfalutin' - just potatoes, eggs, onion, celery, a little bit of mustard, some sweet pickle relish, salt & pepper. Oh, and mayo, of course!

Now I know a lot of people in the south like to use Miracle Whip salad dressing in their potato salad - but that is one condiment that never graced the doors of our house when I was growin' up. I don't know why for sure, except that Mama said that Miracle Whip wasn't mayonnaise and that was that, but I do know that I bought it once when I was older just to see what all the hype was about, and it was far too sweet for me. Can you imagine? Me? Saying that? But it's true. Not a thing wrong with Miracle Whip - personally I just don't want my mayo sweet, well... unless I'm intentionally making it sweet as a salad dressing that is!

No, Mama was a Kraft Real Mayonnaise woman and though I also love Kraft, Blue Plate and Hellman's, I'm more of a Duke's mayo gal these days and I'm pretty sure that Mama would approve. Sometimes I use the lighter versions these days, but never fat free. I mean, mayonnaise is a fat. Why on earth would you use a fat free version? What is fat free mayo anyways? I don't get it. Kind of like that fat free half and half. Half and half is half milk, half cream. How could that be fat free and still be half and half?

When Mama would make her potato salad, I could smell it across the house. She'd mix it all together, give it a taste, smooth out the top all nice and flat, cover the bowl with some plastic wrap so tight that you could bounce a coin off the top of it, and stick it in the fridge to cool in time for dinner.

None of this is why potato salad reminds me of my Mama though. It's because every time she made it, and I mean every single time, I would sneak in the kitchen as soon as she finished makin' it, snatch it quick outta that fridge, grab a big ole serving spoon out of the drawer, sneak out a huge scoop of it all hot and creamy still, grab another clean utensil of some sort, and smooth over that top again, so as to cover up the evidence.

Than I'd run off to the other room with that big spoon and slowly savor that potato salad, because you see, while I liked it chilled just fine, I liked it best when it was warm and freshly made. Every once in awhile Mama would catch me like she had eyes in the back of her head or somethin' and she'd holler out my first and middle name like southern Mama's do when you're in trouble, and come and search me out. But, then she'd just smile at me that way that Mamas do, because she knew that was just one of my many little quirks.

{And ssssh... don't tell Mama, but I like to sprinkle just a little bit of paprika on top, just cuz it puts some nice color in with all that white.}

Here's how to make it like my Mama did.

Rinse and scrub potatoes and place whole in a large pot of salted water; bring to a boil. {okay... Mama peeled and cut her potatoes like most all of us have done. I have found that cooking them whole, keeps them dryer and less likely to absorb water as they boil.) Boil until tender but still firm, about 15-20 minutes. Test by piercing with a sharp knife.

Remove the potatoes from the hot water and set aside until cool enough to handle, but still warm. Peel

Cut into chunks (or cubes if you prefer) and place into a large serving bowl. Add the onion, celery, salt, pepper and eggs; toss.

In a separate small bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard and sweet pickle.

And mix until blended.

Spoon over the potatoes

Toss again until all the potatoes are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer to storage or serving container and sprinkle top lightly with paprika, if desired.

Be sure to check out my Cajun Potato Salad. It's a different but delicious potato salad I think you'll love. I also have a Cold Baked Potato Salad that I'm sure you're gonna love too. Made from baked potatoes that are sliced into rounds and tossed with a ranch dressing ... oh my goodness it is yummy too!

Recipe: Southern Style Potato Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 7 medium sized russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of onion, minced
  • 1 large stalk (rib) of celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 10 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
  • 3 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup of real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet pickle or pickle relish
  • Paprika to garnish, if desired

Rinse and scrub potatoes and place whole in a large pot of salted water; bring to a boil. Boil until tender but still firm, about 15-20 minutes. Test by piercing with a sharp knife.

Remove the potatoes from the hot water and set aside until cool enough to handle, but still warm. Peel and cut into chunks (or cubes if you prefer) and place into a large serving bowl.

Add the onion, celery, salt, pepper and eggs; toss. In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and sweet pickle, and spoon over the potatoes; toss again until all the potatoes are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Sprinkle top lightly with paprika, if desired.

Cook’s Notes: I use russets the most but it's okay to substitute your favorite potato. Mama always used Kraft, but I like Dukes, Blue Plate and Hellman's too. Any good real mayonnaise will work, even olive oil and lower fat products. Don't use a salad dressing like Miracle Whip unless you prefer a sweeter potato salad. Substitute dill pickles if you prefer.

Variation: Slice and cook 3 slices of bacon until crisp. Add bacon with the drippings to the cooked and drained potatoes and proceed with the recipe. More potato salads can be found here.

Potato Salad for a Crowd: For approximately 30 servings you'll need about 10 pounds of potatoes, about a dozen boiled eggs, one quart of mayonnaise, 1 to 1-1/2 cups of chopped onion, about 3 ribs of celery, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped pickles, use mustard and seasonings to taste.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Check These Recipes Out Too!

Cajun Potato Salad
Cold Baked Potato Salad
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
Southern Style Baked Beans

Posted by on May 19, 2009
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  1. That is how I make mine too but I have to use Hellman's. I love potato salad with gumbo too--but then I like it to have onions in it. Thanks for the reminder--I don't make it nearly enough. Sheila in NC P.S. I like it warm too--it just tastes better to me!!

  2. I love my potato salad when it's warm. That's usually the only time I eat, is right after I make it. Then everyone else in the family eats it cold.

  3. I haven't made a lot of potato salad (don't know why), but this looks easy and good. Thanks

  4. I tend to make it more in the summer than any other time of the year. It's sort of a summertime staple I guess with all gatherings.

  5. Hey Mary, I luv poatato salad. I loved reading your memory of your mama, for some reason it brought tears to my eyes, I know how much she meant to ya.


  6. Yum, Yum, Yum, and sprinkled with paprika is a must!

  7. That is exactly how I make potato salad, and my mom did too. No miracle whip at my house either!

  8. I sure miss her Brandi!

    I don't know why Mama never sprinkled paprika on hers - it sure would have thwarted by spoon thievery LOL!

    Nanette, I guess a lot of folks in the south like really sweet potato salad, but I like mine with mayo for sure!

  9. Mine is a bit different with more eggs in it, we all have our way of making it don't we!

  10. Oh, meant to say that potato salad with gumbo is really good, too. I just tried that for the first time this year. Good stuff.

  11. Warm potato salad is the best! I love it, but it has to be Duke's.

    Isn't it funny how potato salad brings out all our quirks? LOL

  12. What a great memory. The potato salad's great, too.

  13. Hi Betsy! Yeah, it's really that way about a lot of food especially in the south. I also like Dukes.

    Thanks Mary!

  14. Your potato salad is calling my name! I haven't made it for a while, so I'd best get busy. This is how I make potato salad too, Mary, just like my Mom did! And, yes, it must be mayo. It's so special, making dishes that our mothers made; the memories are priceless!

  15. Hi Lynda! Every time that I make this, I always still lift a big spoon right out of it just as soon as it's done and all smoothed down. And I smile. Old habits die hard.


  17. You just can't beat a good potato salad recipe.

  18. Hi Trish! I think the nuances are what make southern cooking what it is!!

    Sherri, I swear I could eat it daily! I don't but I could.

  19. I just put up potato salad at my blog today :D hubby and I made some up for a bbq later. My mom never had miracle whip in the house either so when I moved out I started buying it for sandwiches :D I rarely use it for anything else though. My mom and I both use Best Food mayo at least she used to :D I still do. I havent tried it with relish or mustard. Hmm, may have to try it that way, Carmen

  20. Welcome!! I don't have anything against Miracle Whip at all and I know a lot of people love it. Heck, I haven't tried it in years, so maybe my tastes have changed. I'm one of those southerners that likes my cornbread just a little sweet {gasp!} so who knows??!!

    It's the time of year for potato salad isn't it? Love the stuff, so I'll have to swing by and check out your post.

    Thanks for swinging by to visit!

  21. We never had Miracle Whip either. My mom always bought Hellman's and so do I.

  22. This is the way I make My Potato salad..I just use red potatoes tho...Love it

    1. I love those red potatoes too. They hold up so nicely. I usually use the regular baking potatoes for this potato salad, but on the cold baked potato salad recipe I use here, the reds are perfect!

  23. Your recipe is very similar to mine too, except I mash my potatoes just to where there is a little bit of "lumpiness" to them. To me, when you have chunky potato salad, the refrigeration makes the potato chunks kinda hard. Also, I appreciate your "no Miracle Whip in this house." I can't stand the stuff, way too sweet. I also do not like sweet cornbread. My cornbread has to be just like Cracker Barrel's corn muffins.

    1. I imagine Miracle Whip has its place - lots of Southerners love the stuff! But Mama did not like it at all so I didn't grow up eating it. Mama also made her potato salad on the chunky side but my Mother in law makes her potato salad almost like mashed potatoes. I have a gumbo potato salad that is more like what you make, somewhere in between. Truth is, I love them all! Thanks for stopping by Jeff & for taking the time to comment! Hope that you visit again.

  24. I tend to make my potato salad the same way except I mash my potatoes. To me it tends to taste better that way after refrigeration. I think that if you cube or chunk the potatoes and then refrigerate the salad, the potatoes tend to be hard. I appreciate your "no Miracle Whip in this house." I am the same way. Miracle Whip is just way, way too sweet for me.


    1. Sometimes it's just those simple things isn't it?

  26. Only thing missing is some radish's, got to have those babies in your potato salad. That's a Canadian thing but it just adds that zip and crunch to the salad.

    1. Yeah, no radishes in our Southern potato salad - though I really like radishes in my green salads, so hey, I might even like that!

  27. This is exactly how I've always made my potato salad, the only difference is I add 2 cans of tiny shrimp (rinsed).

  28. Just made this and still waiting on my boyfriend to come back with the celery but this is simply FANTASTIC! I cannot even believe that I made this. This will absolutely become one of my staple go-to dishes! Thank you so much!

    -Ambyr, Valencia, CA

  29. I too make my potato salad this way....same as my mom use too! And have to have Kraft Mayo....same as my mom use too again! Can't stand miracle whip....same as mom! Isn't it funny how we turn out like our moms! Oh and just a comment on your German potato salad.....it is one I have never liked.....guess what....same as mom, lol! But yours looks and sounds so good that I'm going to try it...I'll let you know. Thanks for so many good recipes.

  30. OMG ! ! I was thrilled to find this recipe. Almost made me cry. My Mother made the best potato salad also using Duke's for a long time. She tried other mayo's but Dukes was best! She didn't have a recipe, she just knew what to do. These are the ingredients I remember her using. I so much hope this tastes like her's (may she rest in peace)! I just lost her in February this year. I miss her so much! THANK YOU!! I pinned it!

  31. Just perfect.. Thank you

    1. Aw, thanks so much! I reckon my Mama is smiling too, to know that you enjoyed her potato salad. Thank you especially for taking the time to stop by and let me know!!

  32. I make mine the same way, but leave a small bowl aside without the celery since I don't like celery. (I know, I am way too picky)

    1. Oh I love celery in mine but I don't think that's picky at all Sharon - I would do the same, only my bowl would have to be a LARGE one LOL!! ;)


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