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Southern Style Potato Salad

A classic Southern Style Potato Salad is a creamy, tangy, and delicious side dish that graces our table often. This recipe is my mom’s, and it is the one that my husband likes the best.

Go-To Side Dish Recipe

When I think of a backyard cookout or potluck dinner, we always seem to find room for a big bowl of potato salad. It just seems to go with everything we make.

There are many recipes for potato salad and each one has a little more or less of an ingredient or a special ingredient, but one thing we know for sure is that we love this version. Well, to be honest, there are a couple of potato salad recipes we love. I am sharing this one with you first because this is my husband’s favorite.

It is an old-fashioned recipe with its classic creamy texture and slightly tangy flavor. Learn all the secrets to the perfect side dish that will come out exactly right every single time.

Southern Style Potato Salad
Southern Style Potato Salad

Here is what I use in this delicious potato side dish that is simply perfect for so many occasions

The list might look long, but it really takes just a bit of time to make the sauce. If you are short on time, make the hard-boiled eggs the day before. While the potatoes are cooking get the rest of the ingredients ready.

  • Potatoes
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Miracle Whip
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika for garnish
Potatoes Eggs Celery and Onions
Potatoes Eggs Celery and Onions

Learn the Secret to Cooking the Potatoes

Using Various Potatoes for the Salad

My favorite potatoes to use for potato salad are Russet. They are starchy, which helps with the creamy texture of this salad.

However, you can use White, Yukon Gold, or Red. They are all very flavorful, have a thinner skin, which can be left on if they are scrubbed well. The potatoes are all creamy and hold their shape nicely.

Southern Style Potato Salad In a Serving Bowl
Southern Style Potato Salad In a Serving Bowl

Achieve Potato Salad Success

Have you ever had the potatoes turn to mush when mixing?

Here is your solution. Cube the potatoes before cooking. The potatoes cooked extremely fast. Once cooked, just drain the potatoes in the colander and let sit to cool. That is it.

Start with cold water when boiling the potatoes. Add the potatoes in the water when it is cold and bring to a boil. Boiling until fork-tender takes approximately 20-25 minutes.

When making potatoes for the cold potato salad, do not salt the water. This tends to make the potatoes sweat water and the potato salad can become watery.

Paprika and Sliced Egg Garnish
Paprika and Sliced Egg Garnish

Making our Favorite Southern Style Potato Salad

While the potatoes are cooling in the colander, combine all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Be sure to make the dressing either when the potatoes are cooking or cooling as the hot potatoes absorb the dressing and flavors better.

Add the cooked potatoes, diced eggs, celery, and onion. Fold in.  

You can dice celery ahead of time and freeze it. Then use it in salads like this. I find that it is a budget-friendly time saver.

Garnish with a dash of paprika. 

If you can, let this sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating as the flavors tend to marry together a bit more the longer it sits. Overnight is even better. Actually, you can make this recipe several days ahead.

This will last in the refrigerator covered for up to five days.

The potato salad does not freeze well. It will become very mushy.  

If your family does not like onions, just leave them out. Our family does; therefore, I include them in this recipe.

Potato Salad Side Dish
Potato Salad Side Dish

Side Dish Recipe Variations

Some folks use Miracle Whip and others use Mayonnaise. They both have a unique taste, and the Mayonnaise is a bit creamier tasting too. Therefore, this potato salad recipe uses both for their delicious qualities. 

Crumbled Crisp Bacon

My son-in-law loves his Crumbled Bacon added to his as a topping and stirred throughout. If you have a bacon lover in your family, they will appreciate this one.

Cooked Crisp Bacon Pieces
Cooked Crisp Bacon Pieces

Celery Seed

You can add 1 Teaspoon of Celery Seed to this recipe if desired. It adds a delicious flavor and an occasional crunch to the salad.  


Today, this recipe uses yellow mustard in this recipe. However, a Dijon, or stone-ground mustard will give this potato salad even more zing if you desire that.

Southern Style Potato Salad In a Serving Bowl
Southern Style Potato Salad In a Serving Bowl

How Long Should Potato Salad Sit Out?

A lot of people ask this question. However, for food safety, make sure that it is in the refrigerator in a covered container until served. If serving in the hot weather, I try and set the bowl in another container that has ice in it. The ice will help keep the salad cold.

It is best to stick to the two hours max rule. Make sure to use your own judgement though. If it is extremely hot, do not let it sit out for more than an hour.  

Southern Style Potato Salad
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Southern Style Potato Salad

A classic Southern Style Potato Salad is a creamy, tangy, and delicious side dish that graces our table often. This recipe is my mom’s, and it is the one that my husband likes the best.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brunch, comfort food, make ahead
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 315kcal

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  • 6 Medium Potatoes Peeled if you wish, and diced
  • 2 Stalks Celery Diced
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced
  • 5 Large Eggs Hard Boiled
  • 3 Tablespoons Cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Celery Seed Optional
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika


  • In a large kettle of cold water, add the diced potatoes and bring to a boil. When fork-tender, drain. This will take about 20 minutes. Set aside. Boil the hard boiled eggs ahead of time or when the potatoes are cooking. Quickly cool the eggs down until you can handle and peel. Set aside.
    Potatoes Draining in Colander
  • Dice the hard boiled eggs, the celery and onion.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the Miracle Whip, Mayonnaise, cider vinegar, yellow mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and celery seed if you are adding that.
  • In a large bowl, add the warm potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion.
    Potatoes Eggs Celery and Onions
  • Pour the salad dressing over the potatoes, celery, onion, and eggs. Gently fold in to incorporate.
  • Transfer the potato salad to a serving dish, place the last sliced egg on top and sprinkle with paprika to garnish.
    Paprika and Sliced Egg Garnish

Your Own Private Notes


Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 785mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg


You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.

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