The best potato salad we've ever had
May 30th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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Admittedly, I'm not the best photographer in the universe, but in my defense, potato salad ain't pretty. It is, however, delicious and my husband Douglas makes the best rendition of it I've ever had.

A few subtle touches - fresh thyme, a kiss of smoked paprika and crunchy celery leaves - elevate this picnic staple from side to stand-out.

Douglas' Summer Potato Salad


  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 stalks fresh celery with leaves
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion
  • 3 fresh green scallions
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 fist full kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves

Cooking Directions

  1. Quarter and boil the red potatoes for about 20 minutes, until tender to a fork or paring knife.

  2. Finely chop the celery, onion, scallions, and thyme leaves, and mix together with mayonnaise and mustard in large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper and paprika.

  3. When potatoes are cool to the touch, dress them in the mixture and cover. Let ingredients set up together for an hour. Eat.

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Filed under: Best in Life • Holiday • July 4th • Make • Recipes • Salad

soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. jonathan

    I am really surprised that no one has suggested replacing the mayo with greek style plain low-fat yoghurt combined with a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard (and if you want, a little olive oil, if you need a little fat). It's really not too different, especially once all the other ingredients are blended in, and a lot lighter, also yoghurt keeps better on a hot day. I can't stand mayo, and yoghurt is a great substitute!

    August 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
  2. May

    This recipe has got to be wrong. A TABLESPOON of smoked paprika?! I tried the recipe and it was horrible.

    June 25, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
  3. Maty

    Horseradish, anyone? Ya?

    July 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  4. Mordecai

    One word: buttermilk. In posted recipe, you have about a cup total liquid (1/2c mayo and 1/2c dijon). Reduce one or both and replace with buttermilk so you still end up with a cup of liquid. Trust me. Works especially well with Yukon gold.

    June 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  5. jmspdx

    I made this. I ate it. And it made me appreciate how good my mom's potato salad is.

    June 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    Smoked paprika is my JAM!! YUM! Oh man...bacon too? Phenomenal.

    June 9, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  7. jj

    My mother's potato sald was the best, and she added French dressing to it. Try it, you'll like it!

    May 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  8. RichardHead

    Where's Da Ketchup?

    May 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • I gat dat gold!

      You can have that ketchup cuz I got dat gooold!

      May 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Snowbunny@RH

      I use mustard in both potato salad and chicken salad! Aren't you proud of me!! :P

      May 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
      • RichardHead@Snowbunny

        You've been using that same jar for two years right?:))))

        May 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
      • Snowbunny@RH

        LOL, probably!

        I forgot to include that I also use a couple of teaspoons of pickle juice to my ingredients for my potato salad.

        May 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • AleeD@Snowbunny & RH

      Ever tried mustard in tuna salad? Sounds weird, but it's pretty good if you add sweet relish to balance the flavor. Gives you a low-fat option, too.

      May 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
      • Snowbunny@AleeD

        Yep! See my list of ingredients above. I use it in all of my cold salads. :)

        May 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
      • AleeD@Snowbunny

        Capeche. What I meant to say was mustard in place of mayo (I'm not a miracle whip person). Gives it a nice bite.

        May 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  9. Snowbunny

    Potato salad is yummy.
    Yukon potatos, celery, green onion, radishes, egg, a little mustard, miracle whip, salt and pepper! :)

    May 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  10. C Smythe

    Mine is best . . . make it any way you want but include the eggs and at least one cup of grated chedar! To DIE for, A cup of chopped bacon hurts nothing either. Goes good with any beer or red wine.

    May 31, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  11. mr potatoe head

    glad you shared – i am amused by all these yo-yo's clamering that they make the best po-po salad... whatever...

    May 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  12. Missy

    The nice thing about potato salad is that you can customize it to your own liking or go with whatever you happen to have on hand. My favorite is pretty standard fare, I guess. Potatoes, eggs, mayo, a little mustard, onion, celery, bell pepper, salt, paprika.

    Living in the southeast, the mayo *has* to be Duke's, of course. It's just so much better than other brands and makes a huge difference in foods with a heavy mayo presence like deviled eggs, coleslaw, potato salad, salad dressings, etc.

    Sometimes I'll throw together a hot potato salad using a drizzling of olive oil and squirt of lemon juice over quartered and baked new potatoes that have been seasoned with herbes de provence.

    It's funny to me to see people boasting (or arguing, even) that their potato salad is the best. It's such an individual taste. What may be your best loved version may not be considered all that great by others with their own favorite recipe. So chill out and remember it's just potato salad...and it's all good!

    May 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • C Smythe

      too many wurds go make salad – use bacon and chedar

      May 31, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  13. Goat Bottoms

    You should add a bit of wee in there too. Preferably from a camel.

    May 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  14. debbie

    I think all your recipes are great I must add my two-cents in and that is add 7up like 1/3 a cup what a zing especially with vinegerate recipes. A little fresh thyme is me all the way! You wouldn't believe it but I met an ole Greek lady and that was her secret to good ass potato salad rest in peace and thank you.

    May 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  15. Jane Marie Law

    My mother used to add chopped dill pickles, dill pickle juice and coooked egg yolks and cut up egg whites. Then lots of salt and pepper. I am making this tomorrow for friends visiting from India and we are going to try some adjustments. I have to skip the eggs, because of their dietary restrictions.

    May 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  16. Renata

    Chris I was stupid enough to make it!
    It is the worst potato salad ever!

    May 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  17. Renata

    This recipe sucks!
    I tbs of smoke paprika? The salad is red like ketchup don't put more than 1 tsp.
    Too salty even for 4 lbs of potato (I just did a pinch of kosher salt).
    1/2 cup of fresh thyme? It's too much, thyme is very aromatic.

    May 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Chris

      I am a chef, this is a ridiculous recipe with tablesppoons of spices and A HALF CUP OF FRESH THYME...who ever wrote this is a dim wit.

      June 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  18. pinkpony

    if yours is in the "awesome" category I wonder if there is some kind of potato salad competition I can take mine to.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  19. Fiona

    That photo looks like dog urp.

    I deeply dislike may-based potato salad, ever since I got a serious case of food poisoning from the potato salad at a well-known deli-restaurant in the Bay Area (not naming names...). You do not want to see that stuff a second time. when I make potato salad it's the German way - oil and vinegar sauce, some dill....yum. And it is not a perfect petri dish for harmful bacteria, as those mayo-based ones are.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • pinkpony

      being from germany, let me assure you that mayo based potato salad is very common. in the north where I'm from overwhelmingly so.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Goat Bottoms

      Are you sure you didn't get sick from humping the mailbox?

      May 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Fiona

      Goat, no one wants to read about your hobbies.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • C Smythe

      I know a german family does it with sour cream! I improved it with chedar and bacon – the Canadian way.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  20. Emeril


    May 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • pinkpony

      bacon and eggs. plus a few other things. the posted recipe is a very basic and somewhat boring potato salad...

      May 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  21. Ronin

    Leave the celery and onions out. Why must all potato salads have celery and onions? That's just gross.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  22. Marla

    Ahhh, the potato salad best recipe conundrum. Who knew throwing down the "best" challenge would elicit such passion! I want to try them all.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  23. erich2112x

    Mine didn't come out that good. Thanks for the recipe tho.

    May 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  24. Irving M. Terzich

    Hey, no garlic?? My wife is always asked to put in MORE. The test, open the lid to the closed container after it has been sitting for a couple of hours, if you cannot smell the garlic, your need more"


    May 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  25. nicrocks76

    Try 6-7 potatoes, 1 medium onion. 1/8 cup sweet relish, 2 tbsps spicy brown mustard, 3 tblsps white vinegar, 2 tblsps of sugar, 2 tsps of oregano and basil. Salt and pepper to taste and the final ingredient....4 strips of crispy bacon coursely chopped......YUM YUM!

    May 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • nicrocks76

      opps I forgot, 4 hard boiled eggs diced :)

      May 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • nicrocks76

      oops again also forgot 1/2 cup of mayo

      May 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  26. geraldina/oregon

    Thanks everyone for sharing on this they of reflection. I liked all the recipes! Wish I could meet the chefs too. I am not able to have any type of fat, sugar or salt anymore. In the days when I was allowed to eat anything I wanted I added a bacon and garlic dip with blue cheese crumbles when the potatoes were still warm and refrigerated for several hours before serving. I always came up short.

    Enjoy this Memorial Day and your potatoe salad. I can't eat any of it.

    May 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • ZweiStein

      Sorry you can't enjoy the potato salad geraldina. Try a couple of tomatoes, some finely chopped onion, chopped cucumber. Let it sit in the fridge a couple hours. Enjoy. You can even add a bit of vinegar if you like. It's good.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  27. Chris

    Seriously? One half cup of fresh thyme? A fistful of salt? A tablespoon of paprika? A tablespoon of freshly ground pepper? .........all for 3 pounds of potatoes? I am a professional chef and can taste this without making it. This is ridiculous!

    May 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Renata

      Chris, I was stupid enough to make it!
      I didn't put a lot of salt, but I did put 1TBS of paprika.
      The worst potato salad ever!

      May 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
      • Chris

        It is shameful for the editors to even allow something so stupid. One half cup fresh thyme? I have never used more than 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme in any one dish. The person that wrote this is a moron.

        June 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  28. Lisa

    Um, whose fist? I'm guessing that Douglas' hand is a lot bigger than mine. (Still, it sounds yummy.)

    May 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  29. Amy R.

    My aunt used to make a version that had crushed potato chips on top. Sooooo yummy!

    May 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  30. Sandy

    The best potato salad I ever ate used a simple trick that would work for most recipes. A vinaigrette was added to the potatoes while still warm. Other ingredients and the creamy base were added after the potatoes cooled down, and then the whole salad was chilled until serving time and served cold. The tang of the vinaigrette infused the potatoes with much more flavor than a standard recipe. I'll never go back to the Dump and Chill method.

    May 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Evelyn

      Right on!

      May 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  31. Booger

    A FISTFULL of Kosher salt!!?? Sheesh, hope your bloodpressure is good, otherwise, just eat the salt, 'cause that's ALL you'll taste.

    May 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  32. Mary Ellen

    Are those secret ingredients ? Yes – they could have been in there!

    May 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  33. Ray in Vegas

    It really does look like someone was carrying this dish and tripped .. then scooped it back up and put it on a plate. And how about cutting up those potatoes so you don't have to use a fork and knife? And the writer is talking about her HUSBAND's potato salad. We need to take all this with a .. yeah, I said it .. with a grain of salt.

    May 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
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