Thursday, July 22, 2010

Potato Salad

Thank you so much for coming to our cookout! We have a lot of fun blogging here, and we appreciate all the wonderful friends we've made over the last year. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

I'm honored to be part of this group of talented writers, and love to see what
they've created every day.

As promised, we're giving away prizes every single day this week and we're giving away an ice cream maker as our grand

Today's winner will receive 12 adorable laser cut cupcake wrappers. Whether you bake your own cupcakes or buy them (shh, we won't tell), these wrappers will be the talk of your gathering.

Not planning a party right now? You get to choose the design. Pick Happy Birthday wrappers, Christmas wrappers with reindeer prancing, or this wonderfully spooky Halloween wrapper.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment! Good luck! Don't forget to check back every day to see if you won.

When we decided to throw this barbecue, I was undecided about what to bring. Frankly, I love potato salad, but wasn't that too expected? So, without mentioning a specific dish, I asked on Facebook what dish people look forward to most at cookouts. There were lots of fascinating responses, but potato salad and baked beans definitely dominated the answers. (And you thought I didn't pay attention to what you say on Facebook!) Sometimes the expected food is the most appreciated. What's Thanksgiving without turkey?

There was another reason I wanted to make potato salad, too. I wanted some! Potato salad is one of those dishes that everyone makes a little bit differently. It seems like the last few times I've eaten potato salad, something was missing and it wasn't quite right -- not to my taste anyway. Either someone didn't like pickles, or vinegar, or eggs, or decided to forgo the mayo! So, today, I'm throwing in all the things that I love in potato salad. Like Julie's pasta salad, there's room to make this your own. Add the things you love and remove the ingredients you hate.

When I told my mom I would be making potato salad, she got excited and asked if I would be making it like her sister did. Yup. My aunt had a secret! It's coming up.

It's hard to go wrong with potato salad. Probably the worst thing that will happen is it will become mushy (but the flavors will still be great!). Two little things can help you avoid that.

First, pick the right potato. Russet potatoes are great for baking, because they become so wonderfully flaky on the inside. But for potato salad, you want a firm potato, like a red-skinned potato.

Second, cut the potatoes when they're cold. They're easier to handle, but they also keep their shape better so there's less chance of the mush factor. The great news is that you can boil the potatoes the day before, or in the morning, and refrigerate them until you're ready to use them.

Cook them with the peel on. Whether or not you peel them is up to you. I like the peel, but not everyone does. While you're at it, go ahead and hard boil the eggs, too, to save time later.

Here's my aunt's clever secret. Take the time to cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. That way, the dressing is spread throughout the potatoes better, and each mouthful has more of the yummy ingredients in it. So simple but what a difference!

Krista's Favorite Potato Salad

5 pounds of red-skinned potatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 Vidalia onion
5-6 large ribs of celery
6 pickles
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup pickle juice
3 tablespoons mustard
salt to taste

Cook the potatoes and cut into small pieces when cold. Peel and cut the eggs. Slice the onion, celery and pickles (I like the pickles in little chunks). Place all in a large bowl. Add the pickle juice (if you're unsure about this, add slowly to taste), mayonnaise, mustard, and salt, and mix well.

Mmmm. This is great with those ribs!


  1. I had to laugh reading your post because I'm in the same boat pretty much that you are! I love my sister's potato salad and my sister made it for my hubby not long after we married. Once my hubby tried it, he now asks 'will you make your sister's potato salad?' So mine is no longer interesting. LOL. But shh, I too prefer my sisters than mine! One thing I don't add is the chopped onions. My sister doesn't like them either but loves the onion flavor so her recipe is different because it uses onion powder instead! (And I do have chopped onions if anyone wants to add them or I make some separate just for me without the chopped onions in them but still add that onion powder! Its great.

    I think we love to have it because when we do, its usually in the summer time, not something most make all year round. I so want some now too! I shall go email my sister for the recipe again so I don't make a mistake making it. Thanks on the tips on the potatoes! I never thought of that, but makes so much sense! I now got this one written down!

  2. I love for a simple dish, there's so many ways to make potato salad and each one is delicious.

  3. love the pickles... and the vidalia onion is so overrated, except in recipes where the onion is eaten raw... Like this.

    Of course everyone has a favorite tater salad recipe. Fortunately, mine is so much better than my mother's, no conflict there. Mine has a bit of Blue Cheese added.

    That photo is perfect for a summer picnic!

  4. I enjoy this dish as there are so many variations. Sometimes we add more mustard for a different taste and some spices and cheese. Thank you Krista for sharing this recipe. You gals are doing such a great job and making us all hungry :)
    The World of Book Reviews

  5. That look sooo delicious. It's 6:30 a.m. and I'm now craving potato salad. I think one key to this is the vadalia onion. And I've never tried it with red potatoes. I will now! Thanks.

  6. Yes, potato salad is key at cookouts and picnics! Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Krista. I love your tips for making it, too.

    And those cupcake wrappers are so cute that I want to win them myself!

  7. Krista - it's genius to cube the potatoes! We love potato salad here and I agree with Caffey. Part of the enjoyment probably stems from the fact that it's mostly a summer dish and serving it conjures up feelings of relaxation and fun with friends. Thanks, Krista!


  8. I let my husband do the potato salad for the family--he really gets into it.

    Where do you find those cupcake wrappers? They're adorable. My daughter makes a lot of cupcakes, and shares them with her co-workers at her bookstore (thank goodness we aren't supposed to eat all of them!).

  9. Sounds yummy, except for the celery. I'd have to leave that out. I hate celery and I hate picking out things even more.

  10. I haven't made potato salad in years! My mom makes the best potato salad and even though I try to make it the same way it's just not hte same. I may have to try agian though!

  11. I made potato salad for my mother's birthday get together last Sunday. I can count on one hand the times I have made it, because I'm not really fond of PS. But, it was a success. I just made up the recipe from past experiences. But next time- I want to put celery in it.

    I will keep this recipe so I won't have to stress over making up one.


  12. Love my potato salad, it's not summer without it! I add dill to mine.

  13. My mother always made her potato salad differently - the potatos were always whipped smooth instead of left chunky. She also added egg, green olives, mustard, and mayo. Although I've never known anyone else to make potato salad in this way, it's still my favorite and the way I make it myself today - on those rare occasions I opt to prepare the dish. ~Michelle Mabry

  14. I think potato salad is one of those dishes that always reminds me of my mother, because she was famous for hers. Good memories along with good food makes those times special.

    Natalie (

  15. Ooh, I love a good potato salad recipe! My favorite way is to make it with red onion and chopped garlic and parsley--served while the potatoes are still warm, drizzled with melted butter and olive oil. And yes, red potatoes are a great secret! They hold their shape so you can chop them into fairly small dice.

    Dreaming about potato salad is evidently my favorite way to procrastinate.

  16. I love potato salad, with lots of boiled eggs!

    My mom's potato salad secret: add a few chunks of onion to the potatoes as they are boiling. This adds a subtle onion flavor without adding big chunks to the salad. This works best when you cut the potatoes into chunks before boiling, though. :)

  17. I am a crummy bakers, so these amazing wrappers would make up for my hideous baking skills. No one will notice how bad my food tastes. :)

  18. I love the cupcake cups. I've never seen them, of course I haven't make cupcakes in years either. How cute. The potato salad looks amazing. I might just have to change my dinner plans.

  19. Caffey, you are so smart to put the onions on the side. I'm such a sucker for pickles, and I think the pickle juice is a wonderful substitute for viegar (well, it *is* vinegar), but that's a little bit harder to work in on the side.

    Dru, I had a feeling you would be a fan of potato salad!

    Dave, I can't say I've ever had bleu cheese, or any cheese in potato salad. I might have to try that. Avery, are you listening?

    Babs puts cheese in her potato salad, too! Babs, what kind of cheese do you use?

  20. Minus the onion, that does sound good!

    Those laser-cut wrappers are adorable; my daughter's 3rd b-day is in a week and she wants a "tea-party" theme; those'd be perfect!! :)

  21. Finely chopped dill pickle and fresh tarragon from my herb garden are the secrets to my potato salad.

    I LOVE those spider web cupcake wrappers.

  22. Sounds delish!! My Mom makes the best potato salad.

  23. Helen, you know potato salad makes a great breakfast! I hope you like it with red potatoes.

    Elizbeth, I feel the same way about those cupcake wrappers. Too bad we can't win!

    Julie, you wouldn't think cutting the potatoes so small would make a big difference but it does! And I think you're right -- there are some things we look forward to at special times of year. Our food defines the season.

    Sheila, how lucky to have a potato salad making husband! The laser cut cupcake wrappers are available at loads of sites on the web. My favorite is because they have such a huge selection -- almost too many. The winner gets to choose the pattern!

    ~ Krista

  24. Bookwoman, it will be slightly less crunchy without the celery, but the nice tang of the pickles will still be strong.

    Kathi, isn't it odd that we often can't quite get a recipe to taste like mom's?

    Journaling Woman, the celery adds a nice crunch to the texture.

    That's so sweet, Natalie. We associate so many wonderful memories with food.

    ~ Krista

    Karen, I think you're right. It's not summer without potato salad, pasta salad, ribs, and ice cream!

    Michelle, I've never heard of that, but doesn't it sound creamy and wonderful! I have to try it!

  25. Butter and olive oil, EF? Wow, sounds fabulous.

    Very clever, Janel. I'll have to try that!

    LOL, Jessica. Why don't I believe you? But they would dress up any cupcake!

    Mare F, they would be the talk of any party. Instant decoration.

    Sapphire Saavy, Happy Birthday to your little girl!

    Pattie T, your garden sounds great. I love those spider web cupcake wrappers too.

    Runner10, be sure to tell your mom. I bet she'll be thrilled. : )

    ~ Krista

  26. Sounds good. I'm the only one in my family who likes potato salad, so I never make it for myself. Glad I came to the party today!

  27. My husband loves to cook so he makes the potato salad for the barbeques and picnics. Now on the other hand I love to bake so I am thrilled the cupcakes are today's gift. I love Halloween and thought the holders were adorable.
    Pamela James

  28. How do those wrappers work? Why doesn't the batter ooze out the sides?

    Now, can I get my husband to make me some potato salad this week?

  29. thanks for sharing your recipe :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  30. The potato salad sounds delicious! I'm not a big fan of celery, but I love pickles... what a great idea!

    The cupcake wrappers are adorable. I love the different, unique designs. I've never seen anything like them!

  31. Krista it all depends on my mood I use cream cheese, blue cheese and mozzarella. The boys like sharp cheddar but I don't like the taste too much.

  32. My favorite is hot potato salad with bacon bites. That is especially good with bratwurst.

    I make some just for myself about once a month - yum yum!

    Helen Kiker

  33. I do the same recipe for potato salad that my Mother did. No pickles or pickle juice or vinegar. Mayo, hard bold eggs, bell peppers, onion, pepper and celery seeds. some times add cut up celery.

    I have tried cooking the potatoes then cutting but for me I get a big mess so always cut first then cook.

    Even if I don't win I will be getting some of those cups, they will go to my daughter. but then again may get some for myself too.

  34. Ahh, the magic of Vidalia onions and pickles:) For those who don't cook potato salad often because of time constraints, we've discovered that cooking good baking potatoes to *slightly* underdone in the microwave, let stand until cool enough to peel and cube, is a handy shortcut. ~Molly

  35. Krista, what you said tht most struck home with me is to let the potatoes cool. I'm sometimes to impatient for this step, but I also end up with mush. Pickles and pickle juice? Hmmm. Never thought of it--don't put it in tuna or egg salad either, but I love pickles so I may try. Dill, I presume.

  36. Awesome! Maybe I will make potato salad now. I never thought of making it with the skin on. We do mashed potatoes like that, though. I love potato salad but always seems like too much work for so little in return. :-)

  37. The real "secret" to good potato salad, regardless of the ingredients is to toss the cut up potatoes with a vinaigrette while they're HOT. That way, the flavors permeate the potatoes. Then, when it's cool, you can go ahead and make your favorite dressing recipe and add the other ingredients. Try it. It makes a big difference.

  38. Mmm. Looks good to me. I really need to try making potato salad. (Yeah, I know, how did I go this long and never make my own - we didn't barbeque much in England.)

  39. I love this potato salad recipe. It is so my Little Rock, Arkansas Gramma's recipe (rest her soul).

    Her trick was to do the pickle juice, mayo and mustard separately til smooth and till the right taste combo, then lightly toss with the potatoes, pickles, eggs and celery. DIVINE!

    I'm like Patti ~ I love dill pickle just a tad more than sweet in my own salad.

  40. I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe for red-skinned potato salad but leave out the hard boiled eggs.

  41. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY, Krista! It's been a great year blogging with you. Your recipes are always outstanding, including today's. I am lovin' this lively discussion you sparked on a classic cookout food--and a great "day-after" morning meal, too. A bowl of tater salad for a summer breakfast is all right by me.

    Cheers and Happy Year 1!!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  42. Pickle juice! What a great addition!!!!! Krista, it's been a delight blogging with you, too. I adore this group and I've learned so much from each and every one of you today.

    Note: I would have voted potato salad, too. Love it!


  43. Sounds super yummy! I heard the secret is the pickle juice!

    kelly heet at aol dot com

  44. LSUReader, I will gladly share! Too bad no one else in your family likes it.

    Lucky you, Pamela Sue, to have a husband who makes potato salad! I think the Halloween cupcake wrappers are adorable, too. About your husband, you would have to ask Sheila and Pamela Sue how they got their husbands to make potato salad. : )

    Thanks, Karen!

    Dawn, you don't bake the cupcakes in the wrappers. You slide them in when the cupcakes are done. So they dress up store bought cupcakes as well as homemade ones!

  45. Amanda, I think I happened upon the cupcake wrappers when I was researching The Diva Takes the Cake, which involves a wedding. There are so many fun options, I don't know how brides can decide on anything!

    Thanks, Babs. Cheddar doesn't seem right to me, either, but the other three would be interesting to try.

    Oh yum, Helen! German potato salad and bratwurst. Delicious!

    Nancy, celery seeds would be a nice addition, but I do love my pickle juice!

    ~ Krista

  46. Great tip, Molly. Thanks!

    Judy, the pickle juice takes care of vinegar and dill at the same time. : )

    Lauri, I usually make a big batch of potato salad. It makes great leftovers. And if you cook the potatoes and the eggs a day in advance, it doesn't feel like it's much work at all.

    Terry, there must be a million ways to make potato salad. You're quite right about the warm potatoes soaking up the oil!

    Sheila, you have to give it a try!

    Mickie, your Grandmother and I certainly agree -- it's the pickle juice that makes it!

    Simple as Pie, I love Cook's! I'll have to read their recipe to find out why they decided to leave out eggs.

    Cleo, what a wonderful summertime breakfast. With coffee, of course. : ) Happy Blogoversary to you, too!

    Avery & Hippy Mama, as far as I'm concerned, the pickle juice is the thing that adds that little tang I love so much.