For The Best Potato Salad Of Your Life, Try Roasting Your Spuds

A summer picnic or cookout is not complete without the quintessential side dish: potato salad. A standard potato salad recipe starts with boiled potatoes that are mixed with seasonings and a creamy condiment, usually mayonnaise. Then, the salad is chilled before serving. While that's all fine and good, a new way of preparing this dish amplifies the flavor of your potatoes — and it's all in the way you cook your main ingredient. Instead of boiling potatoes, roast them with your seasoning blend before adding mayo and any accouterments. When potatoes are roasted, the high heat helps them get crispy and browned, imparting more flavor.

When making potato salad, you first need to use the right potato. While Yukon Golds are the crème de la crème, any waxy potato will do. When potatoes are cooked at high heat, it creates a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. This reaction produces the savory, browned, almost caramelized flavor that makes roasted potatoes extra delicious. Conversely, when boiled in water, potatoes release much of their starch and become soft, which is great for recipes like mashed potatoes. However, if you aim to add texture and extra flavor, we think roasting is the way to go.

Play around with seasonings in roasted potato salad

One TikToker makes a roasted potato salad recipe by cubing red potatoes, seasoning, tossing them with olive oil, and roasting them in the oven. Once the potatoes were perfectly browned and crispy, they were tossed with hard-boiled eggs, crispy bacon, seasonings, herbs, and mayo. Since the potatoes are warm from the oven at this stage, the mayo combines more easily with everything else. According to the creator, "It melts into every nook and cranny of every ingredient." After everything comes together, you can serve it warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Potato salad recipes typically call for mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, pickle relish, and a variety of seasonings. For example, fresh and dried dill is a popular seasoning that can be added for extra oomph. If it seems bland, try to amp up the flavor of your potato salad with bacon, pickle brine, and even some spice from chilies. 

While it may seem necessary to use mayo in all potato salads, if you're a mayo hater, you might like German potato salad. German potato salad relies on a vinegar base for its sauce, but it's also packed with flavor from bacon fat and mustard. No matter how you season this essential summer side, leave yourself enough time to get those potatoes nice and roasted first.