This Easy Southern Potato Salad made with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Pickles is a summertime favorite. It has a creamy, flavorful mayonnaise dressing and is topped with Creole Seasoning for a perfect finishing touch.

I grew up eating all kinds of potato salad, from the classic creamy potato salad to warm German potato salad. Southern Potato Salad is different than traditional potato salad, but it has become my favorite recipe! Served alongside a bowl of Southern collard greens and some fried chicken tenders – you have a perfect Southern meal! You could even top your potato salad with some pickled red onions to make an over-the-top meal.

❓What is Southern Potato Salad?

Southern Potato Salad is kind of like if deviled eggs and potato salad came together and made a delicious baby. It starts with gently boiled Yukon gold potatoes that are mixed with diced hardboiled eggs.

Then you add homemade potato salad dressing – mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. Then you add the usual mix-ins of celery, onions, and our favorite – diced dill pickles.

A bowl of southern potato salad topped with a pinch of creole seasoning.

🥘 Ingredients Needed

The ingredients in southern potato salad, laid out and labeled.
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs – I like to cook my hard-boiled eggs in an Instant Pot. They peel so easily and are cooked perfectly every time.
  • Mayonnaise – We love Blue Plate Mayonnaise, but Hellman’s and Duke’s are also good. Do not use Miracle Whip for this recipe – not hating on Miracle Whip, but it is too sweet for this recipe.
  • Yellow Mustard – I have used Heinz or Publix brand yellow mustard. This is one of the ingredients that I think just about every brand tastes the same.
  • Dill Pickles – I like to use Mount Olive Hamburger Dill Chips.
  • Pickle Juice – We use pickle juice in place of vinegar in potato salad and in deviled eggs because it’s delicious.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

🥒 Dill or Sweet Pickles?

Pickles in potato salad is a personal preference thing. We like to use dill pickles, but you can use whatever your family likes. If you use sweet pickles, you may need to use more salt to balance the flavors.

🥔 The Best Potatoes for Potato Salad

We personally love Yukon Gold Potatoes for potato salad. They are soft and creamy but also hold up well. I like to use red potatoes for German Potato Salad.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Large Pot
  • A Colander
  • A Cookie Sheet
  • A Mixing Bowl (or Two)

🥣 How to Make Potato Salad

Here’s how to make a good potato salad. It doesn’t take long, and it is really delicious. The first step is cooking the potatoes.

🥘 Cook the Potatoes

Begin by getting a pot of salted water boiling on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, start washing, peeling, and cubing potatoes. (Picture 1)

Once the water is boiling, drop the potatoes into the water and boil until just barely fork-tender. (It should take 8 – 12 minutes.) You want these potatoes to be a little less soft than if you were making mashed potatoes – you don’t want the potatoes to turn to mush when stirred around in the dressing. (Pictures 2 – 3)

Once cooked, drain the potatoes and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process, then rinse off extra starchy water. (Picture 4)

🧊 How to Quickly Cool Boiled Potatoes

Pour the potatoes onto a cookie sheet and spread them out to let them cool. (I like to put a flexible cutting board under my potatoes so they are easier to pour into a bowl.) (Picture 5)

A collage of images showing how to cook potatoes for potato salad, steps 1 -5

While the potatoes cool, prepare the dressing. Combine mayonnaise, yellow mustard, & pickle juice. Whisk until well mixed. (Pictures 6 – 7) Then mix in salt, pepper, & Creole Seasoning. (Pictures 8 – 9)

The next step is a little different, but it is a fun little tip that I like to use to thicken up my potato salad dressing. I like to mash up about a handful (maybe half a cup or so) of the cooked potatoes. (Picture 10)

A collage of images showing how to make dressing for potato salad, steps 6 - 10.

Then, mix that into the dressing. This will thicken it up a little bit and make the dressing/sauce a little more creamy without having to add any more mayonnaise. (Pictures 11 – 12)

Now, stir in diced onion, celery, and pickles. These measurements can be subjective – I gave a baseline of what our family likes. We like the crunch of celery, and we LOVE pickles. We also don’t really love raw onions, but they do add a nice flavor, so we add a little. (Pictures 13 – 14)

Dice up the eggs (I like to add 4, then slice two over the top as a garnish) and combine with the potatoes in a bowl. (I’ll show you my favorite egg dicing method below.)

Pour half of the dressing over the top and gently mix together. (Picture 15)

A collage of images showing how to make dressing for southern potato salad, steps 11 - 15.

Now, another fun tip – I like to flip this into another bowl to pour the rest of the dressing over the top, gently stir it together, then pour it into a serving bowl or storage container. I find that by making it this way, I am less likely to mash up the potatoes.

A collage of images showing how to mix southern potato salad with mustard dressing and hard-boiled eggs.

Top with the remaining hard-boiled eggs, sliced if desired, and top with a sprinkle of Tony’s Creole Seasoning or paprika – then refrigerate or serve.

A white serving bowl of southern potato salad with yellow mustard, topped with hardboiled eggs.

🥚 How to Quickly Dice a LOT of Eggs

I like to cook eggs using an Instant Pot, then peel them and push them through a cookie cooling rack. Use a paring knife if needed to cut up any big pieces if needed!

A collage of images showing how to quickly dice eggs using a cookie rack.

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🍱 Recipe Yield

This recipe should make enough to serve 10 – 12 people. If there are a lot of other sides, it could serve up to 15. I would double it to serve a group of 20.

A bowl of southern potato salad with mustard dressing and hard-boiled eggs on the side.

🥗 Potato Salad Variations

Everything these days is so polarizing, and recipes are not excluded from this. I recently saw a thread on Facebook where people were fighting about potato salad. *facepalm*

I am a big believer in cooking what you love. If your family likes a certain food, serve it – who cares? I did, however, learn a lot from reading those comments, so here are all of the things people like to add (or not add) to potato salad:

  • Bacon – I’ve not ever tried this, but it sounds delicious.
  • Celery – We always add celery to potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, & chicken salad.
  • Dill & Egg – We add dill pickles and hard-boiled eggs, so I imagine extra dill would be yummy!
  • Dill Pickles – Yes. Always. Dill pickles make everything better. (You can also use dill relish if you don’t want to dice up a bunch of pickles.)
  • Dill Pickle Juice – We like to add pickle juice instead of vinegar to potato salad. I like the flavor better than the strong vinegar flavor of using just straight white vinegar.
  • Eggs – Always! Yes. This is a huge part of what makes this southern potato salad so good. Creamy yolks from hardboiled eggs and soft egg whites are so good mixed with the mayonnaise and mustard – it’s like a potato-deviled egg salad.
  • Gherkins – You can use Gherkin pickles for sure! Just cut them up into smaller pieces so they are easier to eat.
  • Mustard – Also very important for the flavor of southern potato salad. We use yellow mustard, but you can use Creole mustard or spicy brown to try a new flavor.
  • Onions – We add a little onion, but I’m not a huge fan of the taste of raw onions. Add onions at your own discretion.
  • Red Potatoes – You can absolutely use red potatoes in place of Yukon Gold potatoes. They are also really delicious in potato salad. I just love the richness of the yellow, creamy, Yukon potatoes.
  • Sweet Pickles/Sweet Relish – If you prefer sweet pickles, you can definitely use them. I would add more salt or dill to the dressing of the salad if you use sweet pickles to balance out the sweetness.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

Can potato salad be served hot?

You can serve this potato salad warm, but it’s better cold. I would recommend German Potato Salad if you are looking for a warm potato salad.

How do you keep potato salad from getting watery?

If you cook the potatoes properly and care for them, they won’t be watery. I always salt the water before boiling, then after cooking, run the potatoes under cold water. Drain the potatoes and let them sit in a strainer for a bit, then spread them out to dry out and cool. Make sure they are completely cooled off before adding them to the mayonnaise/pickle juice mixture. Also, be sure to not overcook the potatoes.

Should you peel potatoes for potato salad?

This is totally a personal preference thing. If you use Russet potatoes, you should definitely peel then but for Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes it doesn’t matter. We like them peeled in Southern Potato Salad but not in German Potato Salad.

How long can potato salad sit out?

Potato salad can sit out at room temperature for one to two hours. If it is really hot out, I wouldn’t push it past 1 hour. If it is really hot out, sitting the potato salad in a bowl on top of a bowl of ice will help keep it fresh for longer. (Otherwise, keep it in a cooler until serving, then return to the cooler as soon as you can.)

Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

🥓 What to Serve with Southern Potato Salad

A tray with baked beans from scratch, baby back ribs, and southern potato salad.

Potato salad goes with so many things. We love to serve it with summer barbecues – as a side dish with baby back ribs, fried catfish, chicken tenders, and burgers – along with baked beans, homemade collard greens, pasta salad, and fried okra.

⏲ How Long Can Potato Salad Be Made in Advance?

Potato salad can be made several days ahead of an event – just store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with sliced eggs and paprika or a sprinkle of Tony’s Seasoning and cover with plastic wrap before heading out the door! (Keep it in a cooler if it is going to be outside for a long time.)

🥡 Storage/How Long Does it Last?

Potato Salad is good for 5 – 7 days if stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. It is best eaten fresh but can definitely be made a few days in advance of an event.

A bowl of homemade potato salad with pickles and celery topped with hard-boiled eggs.

✏️ Helpful Tips

  • I like to put diced eggs and potatoes with half of the dressing in one bowl, then gently toss it together. Then, turn it over into another bowl and pour the remaining dressing over the top. Gently toss again and pour into a serving bowl or storage container. Mixing this way will keep you from squishing the potatoes.
  • Cook the potatoes until they are just fork-tender. A touch less than you would for mashed potatoes – if they are too soft, they will crumble in the potato salad.
  • Mash a few cooked potatoes into the dressing by mashing them with a fork and stirring that into the dressing before pouring it over the potatoes.
  • Spread potatoes onto a cooking sheet to cool. I use a flexible plastic cutting board underneath to just dump the potatoes right into the bowl.
  • Try a sprinkling of Tony’s Creole Seasoning instead of paprika on your potato salad. Tony’s has some paprika in it, so you won’t be without the paprika, but it also adds some other flavors that are really good!

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A bowl of creamy southern potato salad with a mustard based dressing.

Easy Southern Potato Salad

5 from 11 votes
This Easy Southern Potato Salad made with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Pickles is a summertime favorite. It has a creamy, flavorful mayonnaise dressing and is topped with Creole Seasoning for a perfect finishing touch.
Author: Kari
Servings: 10
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt for boiling potatoes
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 6 hard boiled eggs

Potato Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise Blue Plate, Duke's, or Hellman's
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning + more to garnish with
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ¾ – 1 cup dill pickles diced
  • ¼ cup onion, diced

Instructions 

  • Begin by getting a pot of salted water boiling on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, start washing, peeling, and cubing potatoes.
    2 tablespoons kosher salt, 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Once the water is boiling, drop the potatoes into the water and boil until just barely fork tender. (8 – 12 minutes.) 
  • Once cooked, drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then rinse off extra starchy water.
  • Pour the potatoes onto a cookie sheet and spread them out to let them cool.
  • While the potatoes cool, prepare the dressing. Combine mayonnaise, yellow mustard, & pickle juice. Whisk until well mixed.
    1 cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup yellow mustard, 3 tablespoons pickle juice
  • Then mix in salt, pepper, & Tony's Creole Seasoning.
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ – ½ teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
  • The next step is a little different, but it is a fun little tip that I like to use to thicken up my potato salad dressing. I like to mash up about a handful (maybe half a cup or so) of the cooked potatoes.
  • Then, mix that into the dressing. This will thicken it up a little bit and make the dressing/sauce a little more creamy without having to add any more mayonnaise.
  • Now, stir in diced onion, celery, and pickles.
    2 stalks celery, diced, ¼ cup onion, diced, ¾ – 1 cup dill pickles
  • Dice up the eggs (I like to add 4, then slice two over the top as a garnish) and combine with the potatoes in a bowl. If you don't want to put any on top, dice them all up.
    6 hard boiled eggs
  • Pour half of the dressing over the top and gently mix together.
  • Now, another fun tip – I like to flip this into another bowl to pour the rest of the dressing over the top, gently stir it together, then pour it into a serving bowl or storage container. I find that making it this way, I am less likely to mash up the potatoes.
  • Top with the remaining hard-boiled eggs, sliced if desired, and top with a sprinkle of Tony's Creole Seasoning or paprika – then refrigerate or serve.

Notes

Pickle and onion measurements are subjective – I gave a baseline of what our family likes. We like the crunch of celery and we LOVE pickles. We also don’t really love raw onions, but they do add a nice flavor so we only add a little. Use less pickles if you don’t like them and add more onions if you like raw onions.
If you don’t want to use Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, you can leave it out, but I love the flavor it adds. (You can add a pinch of cayenne if you want a little bit of heat.)

Tips

Cook the potatoes until they are just fork tender. A touch less than you would for mashed potatoes – if they are too soft, they will crumble in the potato salad.
Mash a few cooked potatoes into the dressing by mashing them with a fork and stirring that into the dressing before pouring it over the potatoes.
Spread potatoes onto a cooking sheet to cool. I use a plastic flexible cutting board underneath to just dump the potatoes right into the bowl.
Use two bowls and a large spoon to stir the dressing onto the potatoes, that way the potatoes don’t get squished when you mix everything.

Special Equipment Needeed

  • a large pot
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • a strainer or colander
  • a large bowl

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 350kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 8gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 2046mgPotassium: 872mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 281IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: creamy potato salad, egg and potato salad, southern potato salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for your great detailed instructions! Finally somebody mentions brand names too! Looking forward to trying this and more of your recipes!