Southern potato salad with mustard and egg should be a bright balance of sweet and tangy relish, crunchy celery and soft potatoes that are perfectly seasoned and ready to eat by the serving spoon full. Here’s how to make it taste so good you’ll say “Well I’ll be!”Jump to Recipe
Have you ever had bad potato salad? I bet you have. It’s about as awful as bland, boring deviled eggs. (Since they have almost the exact same ingredients.)
There are fundamentals in cooking–steps you should take to make sure that a recipe has a balance of acid, salt and fat. When this balance is right, the food tastes delicious. When the balance is off, it just doesn’t.
And while I wish I could tell you that every southern grandmother who created their own spin on potato salad had a good grasp on this, I can’t. ‘Cause Lordy mercy I’ve eaten some potato salad that, had I not been at a table with 40 other people, I would have spit in my napkin.
Can potato salad be made ahead?
Yes, and you’d be smart to do so. I find that potato salad needs a day or two to meld–or let the flavors come together. If you can make yours a day or even two ahead and let it sit covered in the fridge until you need it, it will taste even better.
How to it for a crowd (30, 50, 100 people or more)
There are a lot of recipes you can’t multiply. Baking recipes being the most persnickety. But with potato salad, first estimate how much you think people will eat. Are there going to be other side dishes to choose from or will your potato salad be one of two or three sides?
If it’s just one of a few, estimate for people to take about 1/2 cup per person then take the recipe you have and it’s servings (my recipe feeds about 6 people) and multiply it to get enough servings for your crowd.
I’d recommend making a regular size amount by the recipe I have written if you’ve never made potato salad before so you can get a feel for how it should taste before you make a huge batch.
Is potato salad gluten free?
It should be, yes. Assuming you’re using a gluten free mayonnaise the rest of the ingredients are all naturally gluten free. I would just recommend making sure by reading all of the labels on the brands you use.
How to make the best southern potato salad with mustard and eggs
- Don’t overcook your potatoes. I do my best to give you exact timings for cooking yours, but just use a fork and poke one. It should go through, but the potato shouldn’t fall to bits. They are going to cook more after you drain them and you don’t want everything to turn to mashed potatoes.
- Use salt. Take the time to get flavor in to every layer of this dish. Make sure to salt the water your potatoes will cook in. This is the only time to get flavor in to the potatoes themselves so don’t skip that step. You’ll also want to add a bit of salt at the end. Add a little at a time, stir and taste until the balance is right.
- Use good mayo, not “salad dressing” or Miracle Whip. This recipe was written for mayonnaise. You can make your own or use your favorite jarred version. Please don’t use Miracle Whip here.
Southern Potato Salad with Mustard and Eggs
- 3 eggs
- 5 medium russet potatoes peeled and cut in to 1″ cubes
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 small yellow onion about 3/4 cup, diced in to 1/2″ pieces
- 2 ribs celery about 3/4 cup, diced in to 1/2″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 6 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- In a small pot or sauce pan, add the eggs and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 10 more. Drain and cover with cold water and allow to sit until ready to use.
- While the eggs simmer, fill a large pot with cold water. Add 2 teaspoons salt, and the potatoes. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until just fork tender–12 to 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool in the strainer for a few minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the onions, celery, mustard, relish, and mayonnaise and stir gently to combine.
- Taste for seasoning and add the last 1/2 teaspoon of salt a little at a time. You may not need all of it.
- Peel and rinse the eggs and chop into 1/2″ pieces. Gently stir in to the potato salad.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve. It’s best made up to two days in advance, but if you can let it sit about 8 hours that’s fine.