This potato salad recipe (NO MAYO) is simple to make yet extraordinary in flavor! Made with a vibrant herb vinaigrette (and not a drop of mayonnaise in sight), this crowd-pleasing salad will become your go-to recipe for every occasion! Can be served warm, cold or at room temperature! (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan)
If you are a regular around here you already know I prefer a mayo-less version of creamy salads, as seen here – no mayo pasta salad and orzo salad. Don’t get me wrong, I will eat a mayo-based salad! I simply favor vinaigrette, yogurt, hummus or other non-mayo based salads where the ingredients really get a chance to shine!
My better half, however, is a die-hard lover of creamy, heavy, mayo-laden salads. Obviously, it came as no shock when he was (more than) a little hesitant to try this mayo-free herb potato salad. But, truth be told, he absolutely loved this version as much as the traditional, creamy one! And, by ‘loved it’ I mean he ate this potato salad for 4 days straight and then asked me to make him more. I’d definitely call that a huge win.
So, if you are on the fence about mayo-free potato salads, you absolutely must give this one a try! I can basically guarantee it will get rave reviews from even the pickiest of eaters in your family!
Potato Salad Recipe (No Mayo)
Tender, buttery, red skin potatoes, crunchy celery, pungent red onions and delicate scallions tossed with a silky, fragrant, luscious, olive oil-based dressing studded with garlic and packed with fresh herbs.
Rich, creamy, crunchy and herbaceous, this mayo-free potato salad checks all the right boxes! It’s lighter than the traditional mayo-laden potato salad yet 100 times fresher and jam packed with texture and flavor!
This salad is simple to make, can be prepared in advance, feed a crowd and travels well! Plus, it can be served warm, at room temperature or cold which makes it perfect for any occasion from backyard barbecues and picnics to potlucks and family dinners!
What is potato salad?
Potato salad is a popular side dish made of cooked, chopped potatoes, a variety of vegetables, seasonings and dressing.
There are many versions of potato salads ranging from old-fashioned American, mayo-based salad which is served cold to traditional German, vinegar based salad which is served warm.
The exact ingredients in potato salad can widely vary from recipe to recipe and can include celery, onions, bacon, mustard, hard boiled eggs and avocado.
Where was potato salad invented?
Potato salad is generally recognized as originating in Germany. However, the potato originates in South America.
After Spanish explorers discovered the potato in South America, it was introduced to Europe by Spanish merchants. From there, potato salad spread in popularity throughout Europe and was likely brought to the United States when European and German settlers immigrated to the United States in the early 19th century.
How to make Red Skin Potato Salad?
Red skin potato salad is simple to make and packs tons of flavor and texture. Waxy red skin potatoes hold up better to boiling than starchy russet or Idaho potatoes, so they are also stress-free to prepare!
- Cook the potatoes: Add potatoes to a large saucepan or pot and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 1/2-inch. Bring the water to a gentle boil over high heat. Add in salt, sugar and vinegar. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, vinegar, Dijon, crushed red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of sugar. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Whisk until fully combined. Add in the parsley, dill and cilantro. Stir until combined.
- Finish the potato salad: Drizzle half of the dressing over the warm potatoes and gently toss to combine. Add in the scallions, celery and red onion. Toss again. Drizzle in the remaining dressing to taste. Gently toss until everything is coated. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
How long to boil red skin potatoes for potato salad?
When boiling potatoes for salad, it is imperative you follow a few easy tips and tricks to ensure a perfect potato salad every single time!
- Clean potatoes by rinsing them in cold water and gently scrubbing off dirt.
- Quarter or half potatoes so they are uniform in size. Potatoes need to be similar in size so they cook through at the same time. You don’t want under or over-cooked potatoes. Pro-tip: If you are nervous about potatoes breaking apart or becoming crumbly, boil the potatoes whole.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by 1 ½ inches.
- Bring water to a gentle boil. Do not rapidly boil the cut potatoes or they will fall apart.
- Season the water with salt, sugar and vinegar. Seasoning the water ensures your potatoes will be flavorful inside.
- Reduce heat under water to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook potatoes until they are just fork tender – the tines of a fork should easily slide out of the potato when pierced. Quartered or halved red skin potatoes will take about 10-12 minutes to cook. Whole red skin potatoes will take about 15-20 minutes.
Can no mayo potato salad be made with russet potatoes?
You can absolutely make potato salad with russet potatoes! The type of potato you use in potato salad will depend on personal preference and taste.
Russet potatoes have a grainy, fluffy, open texture and are fantastic at absorbing potato salad seasoning! However, waxy potatoes – such as red skin or fingerling – have less starch and retain their shape better during boiling. If you are using russet potatoes, make sure you do NOT continuously boil the chopped potatoes or they will fall apart.
How to make no mayo potato salad dressing?
Using a vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise in potato salad results in a healthier, lighter salad where the individual ingredients really shine!
To make no mayo potato salad dressing:
Vinaigrette based dressing for potato salad is incredibly easy to make! Simply whisk together extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and seasonings together in a small bowl until fully combined. Whisk in fresh herbs (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
When to add potato salad vinaigrette?
When to add dressing to potato salad depends entirely on the type of dressing you plan to use.
When using a vinaigrette, you need to dress the potatoes right away, while they are still warm! Warm potatoes will absorb the vinaigrette and become more flavorful.
When using a mayonnaise-based potato salad, you need to let the potatoes cool before dressing. Warm potatoes will cause the mayonnaise to break and your salad will become very oily.
What seasonings for potato salad?
Seasoning the cooking water is key to a great potato salad. Since potatoes will absorb some of the seasoning while cooking, it is imperative your cooking water is generously seasoned with salt, vinegar and sugar (more on that below). A flavorful potato salad has potatoes that are seasoned from the inside out, and that all starts with the cooking water!
Potato salad can be seasoned with as much or as little flavor as you like! You can either let the potatoes shine with just a few seasoning additions, or jam pack your salad with tons of flavor and texture! It’s your potato salad, so you should make the rules and use the seasonings you prefer!
Seasonings for potato salad?
- Fresh Herbs or Dried Herbs
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Celery Seed or Celery Salt
- Italian Seasoning
- Everything but the bagel seasoning
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Mustard – plain yellow, stone ground, spicy or Dijon.
- Lemon juice
- Pickle juice
- Hot sauce or Sriracha
How to customize potato salad? What ingredients to add to potato salad?
- Crumbled Bacon
- Diced ham
- Chopped Fruit – pear, pineapple, apple
- Cheese – parmesan, goat cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Pickles or relish
- Diced bell pepper
What herbs in potato salad?
Herbs are a delicious, easy way to add fresh flavor to potato salad! Try mixing and matching herbs to create a salad that is perfect for you and your taste buds!
Fresh herbs to add to potato salad:
- Cilantro (Coriander)
Herb combinations to try in potato salad:
- Parsley + Dill + Cilantro
- Basil + Oregano + Rosemary
- Tarragon + Parsley + Chives
- Mint + Scallions
What goes with potato salad?
Potato salad is an extremely versatile side! Whether you serve potato salad at a family gathering, summer barbecue or weeknight dinner, dill potato salad is a delicious compliment to any menu!
What main dish to pair with potato salad?
- Barbecue Chicken or Turkey
- Barbecued or Smoked Meats
- Skewers and Kebabs
- Grilled Beef Tenderloin or Steaks
- Pulled Pork or Pulled Chicken
- Roasted Chicken or Roasted Pork
- BBQ Ribs
- Fried Chicken
- Hotdogs or Sausages
- Breaded Fish
What sides pair with potato salad?
- Vegetables – grilled, roasted or sautéed
- Corn on the Cob or Corn Salad
- Pasta Salad
- Tomato Salad
- Bean Salad
- Baked Beans
- Avocado Salad
- Cucumber Salad
Why vinegar in potato salad? Which vinegar for potato salad?
Potato salad will taste bland unless the potatoes are properly seasoned. Adding acid, specifically vinegar, to potato salad will help brighten up the flavor. You should layer the vinegar and add it to both the cooking water and to the cooked potatoes while they are still warm.
The type of vinegar in potato salad depends on personal preference, but you should use an all-purpose vinegar such as white wine, rice wine or even apple cider vinegar. Steer clear of flavored vinegars such as balsamic.
Pro-tip: Vinegar is especially needed if you are serving your potato salad cold! As a rule of thumb, cold foods need to be seasoned more generously than foods served warm.
Why sugar in potato salad?
Potato salad should be balanced in flavor. Adding a sweetener, in this case – sugar, to the cooking water helps balance the vinegar.
While properly cooked potatoes do not need extra sugar in the potato salad dressing, you can certainly add more sugar when dressing the potatoes if desired.
Can potato salad be made in advance?
Potato salad actually tastes best if made in advance so the flavors have a chance to meld. Since the flavors will intensify with time, I recommend making potato salad at least 1-2 hours in advance.
Pro-tip: If leftover red skin potato salad has been stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, add more fresh herbs to brighten and freshen up the salad!
How long will potato salad last?
Potato salad should be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, potato salad will keep for up to four days.
If you are serving potato salad at a party, it will keep at room temperature for two hours.
If you are serving potato salad at an outdoor barbecue or picnic, it will keep for about 1 hour.
Pro-tip: If serving potato salad at an outdoor event, I recommend storing the salad on ice in a cooler for a longer shelf-life.
Can no mayo potato salad be frozen?
While vinaigrette based potato salad can be frozen, it isn’t recommended. Once thawed the liquids in the potato salad will separate and become soupy.
If you would like to freeze potato salad, I recommend cooking, cooling and freezing just the potatoes.
Can no mayo potato salad be eaten cold?
Potato salad without mayonnaise can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled depending on your preference!
Why potato salad gets watery?
There is nothing sadder than a watery potato salad! To avoid a water-logged salad, follow these tricks:
- Cut the potatoes into chunks, halves or quarters. Cut potatoes will cook faster and more evenly than whole potatoes. Whole potatoes have a higher chance of the outside turning to mush before the inside is finished cooking which can result in a watery potato salad. With that said, do not cut your potatoes too small or they will have a higher chance of overcooking and turning mushy!
- Drain the potatoes thoroughly. Make sure you thoroughly drain the potatoes in a colander before adding any dressing. If your potatoes still seem watery, drain the potatoes and then return them to the pot. Place the pot on stove over LOW heat for minute to cook out any extra water clinging to the potatoes. Make sure you stir the potatoes and be careful to not overheat the potatoes or they will turn mushy.
- Add vinaigrette dressing to warm potatoes. Do not allow the potatoes to cool completely before adding the olive oil based dressing. Warm potatoes will soak up the dressing better than cool potatoes. Cool potatoes will repel the dressing and result in a ‘watery’ salad.
How many calories in red skin potato salad?
The exact amount of calories in a vinaigrette based potato salad with no mayo will depend upon the brand and amount of ingredients used. This potato salad no mayo recipe serves 10 to 12 people and has 211 calories per serving based upon 10 servings.
How much potato salad per person?
The exact amount of potato salad needed to serve a crowd will depend on various factors such as how many other sides you are serving and your guest’s appetites.
As a general guideline, you can assume each person will eat ½ cup or 4 ounces of potato salad.
- 4 people – 2 cups or 1 pound
- 8 people – 4 cups or 2 pounds
- 10 people – 5 cups or 2 ½ pounds
- 12 people – 6 cups or 3 pounds
Perfect for any and every occasion, this mayo-free herb potato salad will become a household favorite!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to mayo-free salads!
The best Potato Salad recipe (No Mayo)👇
Potato Salad No Mayo
- Saucepan or Pot
- Small mixing bowl
- 3 pounds Small Red Potatoes – scrubbed, washed and quartered
- 2 TBS Granulated Sugar – PLUS a pinch for dressing
- 4 TBS White Wine Vinegar - divided
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2-3 cloves Garlic – minced
- 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- ¼ - ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – to taste
- ½ Cup Fresh Parsley – gently packed & chopped
- ¼ Cup Fresh Dill – gently packed & chopped
- 3 TBS Fresh Cilantro – gently packed & chopped
- 4 Scallions (green part only) – thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 3 Ribs Celery – finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small Red Onion – finely diced (about ¾ cup)
- Cook potatoes: Add 2 ½ quarts of COLD water to a large saucepan or pot. Add potatoes and bring the water to a gentle boil over high heat (SEE NOTE). Add in 2 tablespoons of salt, all of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, Dijon, crushed red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of sugar. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Whisk until fully combined. Add in the parsley, dill and cilantro. Stir until combined. Set aside.
- Finish the potato salad: Drizzle half of the dressing over the warm potatoes (SEE NOTE) and gently toss to combine. Add in the scallions, celery and red onion. Toss again. Drizzle in the remaining dressing to taste. Gently toss until everything is coated. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. If serving warm and right away, let it sit out on the counter for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to marry together.
- Do NOT continuously boil the potatoes or they will be more susceptible to falling apart and becoming mushy.
- Make sure the potatoes are still warm when you toss them with the dressing. Warm potatoes will soak up the dressing much better than cool potatoes!
- Potato salad can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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