Potato salad recipes that will please a crowd

Warm air and higher temps are your cues to get your potato salad game on point ASAP. With countless barbecue cookouts, picnics in the park, and sultry dinner parties on the horizon, this popular side dish is bound get a lot of play. 

Potato salad can be prepared in any number of ways. That said, glorious potato salads have a few traits in common. The best of them call for waxy potatoes—like Red Bliss or fingerling—that hold up during cooking. They should be cooked until they're easily pierced with a fork, not more and not less. For creamy dressings with a mayo base, potatoes are best dressed once they've cooled. Alternatively, dress them while they're warm if you opt for a vinaigrette, since warm potatoes can absorb more flavor.

To help you get started, I want to share some of my personal favorite recipes for potato salad—the ones that I have tried, modified over time, and used over and over and over again. Some are traditional with a small twist, a few are wildly creative and veer further from the familiar, and others are made for customizing. In a transient mixed-up world of food fads, these are the keepers. Without further ado.

Potato salad and egg salad are a match made in Heaven

This recipe from The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, is an incredibly creamy take on potato salad that keeps the elements simple and streamlined. Russet potatoes are rendered fine using a ricer or masher and combined with hard-boiled eggs, crunchy sweet pickles, and green onions. Mustard and mayo keep things zesty and rich, respectively. With its short ingredient list, humble preparation, and outstanding flavor, this potato salad is one you'd be proud to bring to any picnic.

Classic is always in fashion

Another classic and always good recipe comes from the fine folks at Food & Wine. Naturally sweet and creamy baby potatoes are boiled until tender and halved. They join forces with scallions, parsley, and celery for a medley that bursts with natural flavor. To enhance the simple ingredients? An easy dressing made with mustard, vinegar, and mayo. The result is potato salad that strikes just the right balance between vibrant and rich.

Potato salad and bagel and lox mashup

If you love turning classic dishes on their head, then this recipe from Bon Appetit is just the one for your bold spirit. A bagel with lox and cream cheese is a Brooklyn brunch favorite of mine, so when I came across a potato salad recipe inspired by those flavors, I had to test it out. Oh, it's good. Peanut potatoes are tossed with smoked salmon and dried garlic, onions, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds to replicate the taste of an everything bagel. Lemony creme fraiche approximates cream cheese and perfectly coats the salad ingredients. Brilliant.

Rosanne Cash has a potato salad recipe!

Um, did you know Rosanne Cash—as in Johnny Cash's daughter—has a potato salad recipe? I didn't either until I came across this version of it from Smitten Kitchen. The colorful and textured dish brings to mind patriotic summer celebrations and good times. Red potatoes get an assist from crisp celery, a flavorful helping hand from red onion, and some extra oomph from kicky dill pickle. The mayo-based dressing has the perfect amount of mustard and vinegar in it to turn this potato salad into dreamy perfection a hot summer's day.

Secret ingredient potato salad

Let's get the most important fact out of the way. The secret ingredient in this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker? Bacon drippings. Someone please cue Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Respect." Red potatoes are combined with celery, hard-boiled eggs, and onion for layers of textures and flavor, while a dressing made with mayo, mustard, and bacon drippings just elevates everything. I love the way the mayo isn't overwhelming at all. Instead it adds just the right touch of creaminess to an incredibly savory, mouthwatering dish.

Healthy take on a favorite

For you health nuts, I've got you covered. This recipe from Eating Bird Food eschews mayo, yet still yields a pretty darn tasty potato salad. I can respect that. With only a few ingredients, this dish is as easy to whip up as a casual side any day of the week, but it's also terrific for feeding a crowd. Fingerling potatoes are paired with sundried tomatoes and shallots, both of which lend depth of flavor. Herbaceous helpers like chives and parsley add pops of color. A subtly sweet vinegar-based dressing keeps the dish on the lighter side of the potato salad spectrum.

And for the vegan crowd

There are some vegans in every crowd. Why not please everyone with this dairy-free potato salad recipe from Minimalist Baker? The truth is, you won't be able to tell that this take on the picnic side dish doesn't have dairy because it's simply delicious. That's saying a lot about a dish known for its generous use of mayo. Raw chopped veggies like bell pepper, onion, and celery pair especially well with red potatoes. The dressing is made with cashews, which replaces mayo as the creamy component. Blended with vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, and spicy mustard, the sauce almost steals the show. Dairy, what?

A French take on the American picnic go-to

This recipe from Food Network belongs to the lovely Ina Garten, so you know it's a keeper. Red and white potatoes are boiled, then tossed with chicken stock and wine and set aside to absorb the flavors. Yes, genius stuff. They are then dressed in a perfectly light vinaigrette, as well as herbaceous green extras like dill, scallions, parsley, and basil. The result is a side dish that threatens to steal the show at every turn. Oh, Ina, you've done it again.

One with Southwestern flair

Give your next potato salad some Southwestern flair with this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. It's the perfect side dish to share with friends at your next cookout. Grilled sweet potatoes give this salad an undeniably appealing that's flavor at once delicate and smoky. Corn, beans, and avocado bring the whole dish together, while splashes of fresh lime juice lend tons of vibrancy. Perfect for a hot day, this potato salad is unique yet familiar, making it a dish sure to become a summer staple.

Can you say CA-PRAY-SAY?

This dish from Domestic Superhero is potato salad with a twist: It boasts the fresh, bright flavors of Italian caprese salad! The traditional salad combo of tomato, mozzarella, and basil is artfully combined with red potatoes and creamy pesto. I love that the richness comes from tangy Greek yogurt rather than the usual mayo—a nice surprise that also makes this dish lighter than other potato salads. If you're looking for a fun summery dish that gives you an excuse to go out and buy really stellar mozzarella, do not hesitate to whip up this one.

 

Fancy-pants potato salad

For more grownup dinner parties in the warmer months, you can't go wrong with this excellent recipe from Food & Wine. In addition to tasting like a dream, this potato salad is beautiful to behold—totally Insta-worthy. Everything is grilled, which lends the entire dish deep smoky flavors. Fingerling potatoes are tossed in one of my all-time favorite dressings. Made with grilled scallions, olive oil, rice vinegar, and fresh lemon juice, this elevated potato salad is incredibly elegant. Time to impress.

Smashed and proud of it

Yeah, yeah, there are mashed potatoes and there's regular potato salad, but smashed potato salad?! Yes. This recipe from Bon Appetit is delightfully irreverent and looks vaguely like a modernist painting. Baby potatoes are boiled, then literally smashed underneath a glass. Tossed in a ridiculously good dressing made with buttermilk, mayo, brown sugar, thyme, and oregano, this dish is one that's sure to please everyone at the party. Watercress adds the perfect crunch, while scallions lend fragrance and bite.

Moroccan vibes

This recipe from Saveur is right up my alley. Short ingredient list. Check. Clean, simple flavors that let the flavor of the potatoes shine. Check. Quick to make and short on cleanup. Check. Yep, this dish is one you can easily make with a moment's notice and be ready for your party. New potatoes are combined with parsley, garlic, red onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. So easy to make, so delicious. This is one life choice you can feel confident about.

Lemony potatoes for the win

Try this recipe from Bev Cooks if you're still in search of a worthy potato salad to bring to a party or serve at your own. Roasted potatoes bring depth, while celery adds crunch. A simple dressing made with tangy Greek yogurt, olive oil, and a lot of lemon juice doesn't need mayo to taste creamy and rich, too. Garnish with fragrant, refreshing mint leaves and you have yourself a dish that strikes that coveted balance between hearty and light with aplomb.

Texas does potato salad

This recipe from She Wears Many Hats gives plain old potato salad a Texas spin. What is Texas style anyway? Well, in this case, the modifier connotes a combination of smoky ingredients from the grill, unabashedly bold seasonings, distinct heartiness, and a little heat. This potato salad brings together potatoes, bacon, and delicious grilled onions. A light and kicky red vinaigrette coats every ingredient and flavors the dish lightly, complementing the heavier components.

Your potato salad

This recipe from Foodie Crush comes with handy tips for your realizing potato salad goals. Amazing! I love the way the dish uses standard potato salad ingredients in just the right proportions, turning a side that can be plain into something spectacular. Creamy potatoes, crisp celery, perfectly boiled eggs. Sound familiar? Well, yeah, that's the point. This recipe lets you use basic ingredients, adapt them, and transform your potato salad into one worthy of the crowd you plan to feed.

That's all she wrote! While these featured potato salad recipes each have something distinct and spectacular about them, they all meet the basic requirement for pleasing a crowd. Each one bursts with flavor, highlights the glory of potatoes, and are a cinch to make. Whether you're hosting a party or attending one this season, I'm certain you'll find some inspiration nestled in these recipes. Since there are great varieties of potatoes to choose from and many ways to cook them as well as a plethora of directions to go in dressing-wise, you are explicitly encouraged to experiment and have fun. Swap out ingredients, season the way you want to, and taste everything. No one will be upset that you served them a flavorful, carefully considered potato salad to go with their burgers and hot dogs. Promise!