The Right Order to Make Potato Salad

published May 22, 2014
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While potato salad is a year-round dish, it really becomes a staple as the weather turns warm. Whether you’re going vinegar-y or creamy, warm or cold, the order it’s put together makes the difference between a potato salad with great textures and flavors, and one that is just ho-hum. If you remember the right order to do things, you can easily throw together a tasty potato salad with what you have on hand.

  1. Multitask. Start by boiling your potatoes. While they’re boiling, make your dressing and chop up the other ingredients.
  2. Mellow out harsh flavors. If you’re doing a vinegar-based dressing, let the onions, shallots, garlic, or scallions sit in the vinegar while the potatoes are cooking. This will mellow out and more thoroughly distribute the sharp, harsh flavors.
  3. Drain well. When your potatoes are ready, drain, then briefly run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly again, as no one wants a watery potato salad!
  4. Toss together while still warm. Toss the potatoes with the dressing while still warm. Warm potatoes will absorb the dressing better and become more flavorful.
  5. Add herbs and crunchy things last. Add crunchy vegetables and herbs after the salad has cooled down a bit so that they stay fresh and don’t wilt.
  6. Let it hang out. Even if you’re serving your potato salad warm, let it sit for a couple of minutes for the flavors to come together, otherwise throw it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  7. Do a final taste test. Right before serving, give your salad a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Potatoes need a good amount of seasoning, especially when served cold.

Since potato salad is such a versatile dish, take a look at what you have in the fridge, follow this guide, and you’ll end up with something delicious without having to use a recipe!

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