How to Make Potato Salad (Recipes Kids Should Know Before Leaving Home)

One of the most classic American side dishes is Potato Salad. While potato salad is definitely great for barbecues and picnics, the ingredients are such that you can make it all year and this dish goes great with many different meals. Plus you almost always have leftovers, which is my favorite kind of recipe! That’s why we’ve added it to our growing list from our series of Recipes Kids Should Know Before Leaving Home.

Knowing how to make a good, classic potato salad will be a skill you’ll be grateful to have. Perfect for potlucks but also home eating, you’ll be happy to know how to whip up a potato salad whenever you need it!

Picture of mixing potato salad in a bowl for Teach Kids How to Make Potato Salad

The recipe below has a few good tips woven into the directions.

Pro Tips: One of the best ways to make your potato salad extra delicious is to add salt to the water while the potatoes are boiling and then to immediately toss the cooked potatoes in vinegar. Both steps make the potatoes extra tasty and give a good base for your salad.

Picture of classic potato salad on a dinner plate from Recipe of Teach Kids How to Make Potato Salad

The recipe below is pretty classic and should appeal to all tastes. You’ll see that the celery and relish are both optional. Some people love celery in their potato salad for extra crunch, but there are definitely those who don’t want to go near celery. You can go either way with the celery in this recipe and the salad will still be delicious! If you want to add a little sweetness, then definitely include the relish, too. I personally like a saltier potato salad so I usually skip the relish, but sweet is a preference that many have and the relish is a quick way to do that.

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The recipe below calls for two hard boiled eggs. Click here to learn how to perfectly hard boil an egg!

How to Make Potato Salad

Classic Potato Salad

Homemade potato salad in a red mixing bowl

    • Serves:


    • 4 pounds waxy potatoes (red, new, and fingerling all fall into this category)
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped into small pieces
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 cup mayonnaise (alternative: or you can do a split of mayonnaise and plain greek yogurt, either 1/2 cup each or 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt)
    • 1/4 cup sweet or red onion, chopped fine
    • 2 celery rib, chopped fine (optional)
    • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling over the serving bowl for garnish
    • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (this is a powdered spice)
    • 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (optional)


    1. Chop potatoes into evenly-sized cubes, about 1″ square (no need to peel the potatoes, unless you do not want peels in your potato salad – we think the peels are nutritious and delicious and leave them on!). If you buy very small potatoes, you can skip chopping them as long as all the potatoes are the same size.
    2. Place potatoes in a large pot and add cold water, covering the potatoes so there is about 1 inch of water above them. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 2 tablespoons salt to water then reduce heat to medium and lightly boil 5-10 more minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork but not falling apart.
    3. Place a colander in the kitchen sink and then carefully pour the potatoes and water into the colander to drain the potatoes.
    4. Put potatoes in a large mixing bowl and then pour the vinegar over the potatoes. Using a rubber spatula, stir carefully to evenly distribute the vinegar. Let potatoes stand about 20 minutes to cool down.
    5. While potatoes are resting, in a small or medium sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt (if using), onion, celery (if using), yellow mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard and relish (if using). Stir until well mixed.
    6. Add the mayonnaise mixture and the chopped eggs to the large bowl with the potatoes. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir everything together until evenly mixed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving.
    7. Transfer potato salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle the with paprika. Enjoy!
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    Find more in our Series on Recipes Kids Show Know Before Leaving Home here.

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