6 Potato Salad Recipes Perfect for Summer Picnics
‘Tis the season for potato salads, and as the July 4th holiday approaches, you need to be sure you’re armed and ready. White potatoes, mayonnaise, and paprika are of course a match made in heaven, but don’t count out sweet or purple potatoes either. Those varieties are the foundation for shining stars on the picnic table, too.
The best thing about potato salads is that they are incredibly customizable and versatile, and that way you can dress them up or down, make them healthy or indulgent, and/or keep them simple or go sophisticated. The crowd you’re feeding should dictate which route you take with the spiced up starchy carbs, and we’re confident that one of these six recipes will yield exactly what you’re looking for — no matter who you’ll be serving. Potato salad certainly isn’t a new plate, but it’s stuck around so long for a reason, and now that it’s in season, it’s time to flex your muscles and get peeling. Six perfectly delectable potato salads await.
1. Mom’s Classic Potato Salad
We’re kicking it off with a classic potato salad recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, because although we’re due to highlight a few recipes that take the traditional dish up a notch, everyone knows that the classic is hard to beat — especially when it only requires three main ingredients: potatoes, eggs, and mayonnaise. The dressing takes a little more effort of course, but all you need is a good muscle to mix everything together, and after one taste of this dish, you’ll decide it’s worth it.
Traditional potato salad never fails to get eaten first at summer picnics, and if you make this dish, your experience will be no different.
- 2 1/2 pounds medium-sized potatoes (about 4-5 potatoes — make sure all are same size)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- Dash of salt
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Dash of paprika
Directions: Place potatoes in a very large pot of cold water then bring to a boil. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until a knife can be inserted all the way into the centers. Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan then cover with cold water 1-inch above the tops. Bring to a boil, place a lid on top, and then remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Drain then plunge into ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes. Peel eggs then chop and place into the refrigerator. Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl then set aside.
When potatoes are tender, remove to a colander with tongs. When cool enough to handle, but still warm, use a paring knife to help peel potatoes then chop into large pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle 3/4 of the dressing over the warm potatoes then toss to combine. Cover then place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight. Before serving add remaining dressing to potatoes then add 1/2 cup mayonnaise, chopped hard boiled eggs, and salt. Mix to combine, adding more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency. Refrigerate until service.
2. Perfect Potato Salad
Next we move to a little more sophisticated potato salad recipe from The Pioneer Woman. This savory summer dish hits all the taste buds, and leaves guests continually coming back for me. The potato salad formula is still all about the white potatoes, mayo, and eggs, but it also pulls in the green onions, sweet pickles, and mustard. Sprinkle that with some salt and pepper and you have the perfect accompaniment to your other picnic fare.
- 5 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium russets)
- 1-1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 5 whole green onions, sliced up to the darkest green part
- 8 whole small sweet pickles
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 whole hard boiled eggs
Directions: Cut potatoes in halves or thirds, then boil until fork tender. Drain. Mash potatoes or run them through a ricer or food mill to make them extra fluffy. Fold potatoes together with mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and other seasonings you like. Fold in pickles and eggs, then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture.
3. Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Moving on to a different variety of potato, we come to the ever popular sweet potato. Luckily for us, superfoods do well in summer starchy salads, too. If you feel like going the Southwestern route with your next picnic contribution, try your hand at this Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. Everyone loves the flavors of corn, black beans, pepper, cilantro, and avocado blended together, and when you add sweet potatoes to the mix, then you really take this salad’s taste profile up a notch. What’s more, dare we say this salad is … healthy?
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 ear sweet corn, husked
- 1 (15 ounces) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 avocados, pit and skin removed, chopped
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sweet potatoes on a grill over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes on each side. When the sweet potatoes are close to being done, place the ear of corn on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating so the kernels get slightly charred. Let the sweet potatoes and corn cool to room temperature.
Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and place in a large bowl. With a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the cob. Add the corn to the bowl. Stir in black beans, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the lime juice over the salad and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.
4. Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad
Another sweet potato salad is coming at you, but this time it’s from Martha Stewart, and it involves farro. It’s high time you introduce a new kind of grain into your life, especially this healthy one. Whip this salad up for your next summer potluck and prepare for your fellow partygoers to be impressed. Sweet potatoes and farro will make your mature palate shine, and we’ll keep it our little secret that eating healthy can taste this good.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup semi-pearled farro (about 7 ounces)
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup radish or arugula sprouts or baby watercress, plus more for garnish
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide sweet potatoes and garlic between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread into a single layer. Roast, flipping once, until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cover farro with 4 inches water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain; toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Season with salt.
When cool enough to handle, remove garlic from peels and mash with lemon zest and juice in a small bowl. Add garlic mixture, sweet potatoes, dill, and sprouts to farro; stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with sprouts.
5. Purple Potato Salad
Buckle up your seat belt — Purple Potato Salad from A Couple Cooks is next, and yes you can make it and like it, too. The best potatoes aren’t always white or even orange; sometimes they’re a rich shade of purple. You’re welcome in advance.
All you need for this recipe are purple potatoes, radishes, green onions, sour cream, and olive oil, so don’t be intimidated by this salad’s bright purple hue. Purple potatoes are a cinch to prepare, and they’re guaranteed to impress, too. Tis the season to step up your potato salad game.
- 2 pounds purple potatoes
- 8 radishes
- 4 green onions
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half lemon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Directions: Rinse and scrub the potatoes. Fill a large pot with water and add a generous pinch of kosher salt. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes until tender (test one with a fork to see if it slides through easily.) Drain the potatoes and run them under cold water. Slip the skins off of the potatoes (if desired; it takes a bit of time but makes for a polished look) and cut them into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the radishes and the green onions.
In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice of half lemon, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Pour over the potatoes and add plenty of fresh ground pepper. Mix to combine, and add additional kosher salt to taste. Serve immediately at room temperature. If eating leftovers, allow to come to room temperature and add a bit more fresh lemon juice and kosher salt prior to eating.
6. Veggie Potato Salad
Last but not least, we revisit the tried and true white potatoes, but partner them with some veggies to keep this Veggie Potato Salad dish from Southern Living on the healthy side. Fresh vegetables always taste best in the summer, and when paired with some salty carbs, you really can’t go wrong. If you want a vibrant, colorful dish, but are still scared of purple and sweet potatoes, go the Veggie Potato Salad route and still keep your contribution tastebud and waisteline-friendly.
- 2 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise with olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup sliced radishes
- 1/2 cup steamed, cut fresh green beans
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Bring potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle with vinegar and oil, and toss gently. Cool completely (about 1 hour.)
Whisk together buttermilk and next 3 ingredients. Stir in carrots and next 6 ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon buttermilk mixture over potato mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours before serving.