The key to making potato salad at home is choosing the right potatoes. See the ideal types and how to prepare them. There are various styles of potato salad to try - cold and creamy or German style - warm and savory with added bacon. Try the variety of recipes that are provided to help you decide what is the perfect potato salad to make at home.
Homemade Potato Salad Recipes - German, Baked, Boiled, Red Potatoes
Homemade potato salad can be a delight because you can choose just the style that you like. See the guides, tips and recipes for making a perfect potato salad.
Potatoes can seem mysterious and confusing as there are so many varieties available and its hard to know what to choose. For all practical purposes, there are three types of potatoes - baking, boiling and general purpose potatoes. The major difference between the various types of potatoes that governs their use is amount and type of starch each contains:
- Baking potatoes are rich in starch and floury, and the type of starch called amylose starch.
- Boiling potatoes are poor in starch, and the starch present is amylopectin. This pectin starch helps the potato hold their shape when boiled.
Baking potatoes - tend to have an elongated shape and often have a coarse skin with a cork-like texture. Because of their high starch content they turn light, floury and fluffy when cooked. They are ideal for mashing,baking and French fries. When baked they are light and fluffy, mashed they are light and creamy and are they are ideal for frying as chips, fries and potato wedges. Some of the varieties of baking potatoes are Idaho, Long White (or California Long White or White Rose), Norkotah, Goldrush, Norgold Russet, Russet Arcadia and Russet Burbank.
Boiling potatoes - These are often referred to as 'waxy' potatoes. They can be round or oval shape and generally have thin, smooth skins when washed. They are very moist and waxy when cut, sometimes sweet, but are low in starch. These potatoes are perfect for casseroles, potato salad, soups, roasting, boiling, steaming and barbecuing because they retain their shape in water or liquid mixtures. They can be mashed but they tend to be thick and lumpy rather than smooth and creamy like the baking potatoes. Varieties include: Australian Crescent, Ruby Crescent, Yellow Finnish, Red Bliss, Red Nordland, Red Pontiac, Red La Rouge, La Soda, Salad Potato, Red Potato, Yellow Potato, Round Red and Round White.
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General Purpose Potatoes - These potatoes have much more moisture than baking potatoes and tend to hold together better when boiled. They are very well-suited to roasting, pan frying, and use in stews, soups and gratins. They can be mashed, baked and fried, but will not produce the same results for these purposes and the genuine baking potatoes. The general purpose varieties are Peruvian Blue, Superior, Yukon Gold, Kennebec and Katahdin.
What are the Ideal Potatoes for Making Potato Salad
For potato salads the ideal potato is one that holds its shape well when cooked. This means you want to choose a waxy, boiling and low-starch type of potato. Generally the red-skinned potatoes are a good choice, but check out the lists above to choose a variety that will suit. The French, just to be different, have traditionally preferred starchy potatoes for their salads. Included in the recipes below is one based on baked potatoes.
What are the Main Varieties of Potato Salad
There are two main types of potato salad: creamy or vinegar-based:
- Creamy potato salads - are mostly made with a dressing based on mayonnaise. But the recipes can also include yogurt, sour cream and creamy types of salad dressings, to provide the creamy texture. These potato salads are generally served cold.
- Vinegar-based potato salads - (often called German-style potato salads) are dressed with a combination of vegetable oil, cider vinegar and sugar. These potato salads are often served warm with finely chopped and crisp bacon pieces.
Rich Boiled Potato Salad Recipe
- 600 gm (1.5 lb) waxy boiling potatoes
- 2 anchovies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon capers, chopped
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 115 gm (4 ounces) good quality mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Handful of parsley, finely chopped
- Handful of mint, finely chopped
- Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Boil the potatoes (brushed with skin on, or peeled) in plenty of salted water for about 15-20 minutes until just tender (test with a fork, and don't over cook). Mix the mustard and vinegar together with a pinch of salt, then slowly whisk in the oils. Slice the cooked potatoes into quarters or halves, mix with the dressing, and set aside to cool.
Combine the rest of the ingredients into the mayonnaise. When the potatoes are cool, drain off any excess vinaigrette, and combine them with the mayonnaise. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
German Stye Potato Salad Recipe
- 3 cups diced peeled boiling potatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 4 pinches of ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 slices bacon
Transfer the diced potatoes to a pot, and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and then cook for about 10-12 minutes until they are just tender (test with a fork and don't over cook). Drain the potatoes and put aside to cool.
Fry the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and let cool. Cook the onion in the bacon grease over medium heat until browned and starting to soften. Add the water, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to the pan with the onions. Bring to the boil, and then add the parsley and potatoes. Crumble about half of the well-cooked bacon into the pan and heat through. Transfer to a serving dish and crumble the rest of the bacon over the top, and serve while warm.
Potato Salad Recipe using Baked Potatoes and Sour Cream
- 1 pound (400 gm) cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 pints (1 litre) sour cream
- 1/2 pound (230 gm) butter, softened
- 2 pounds (1 kg) bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 7 pounds (3.25 kg) baking potatoes
Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce the potatoes with a fork to stop them breaking up when baking, and brush the surface with oil. Bake until tender (test with a fork). This will generally take about 60 minutes. Let the potatoes cool and then cut into quarters or bite-size pieces (depending in your preference). Using a skillet, fry the bacon thoroughly until crisp (generally requires about 10 minutes). Then using a large bowl, combine the sour cream and butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked and sliced potatoes, scallions, bacon and cheese. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve at room temperature.
Potato Salad Recipe using Red Potatoes and Eggs
- 3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 4 eggs
Heat a large pan of salted water until it boils. Add the whole red potatoes, and boil until just tender. Generally this takes about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put aside to cool and then slice into 1 inch (3 cm) cubes. Transfer the potatoes to a medium-size bowl. Next transfer the whole eggs to a medium-size saucepan and just cover with cold water. Bring the water to the boil and immediately remove from heat. Put the lid on the pan and let eggs keep cooking in the hot water for about 10 minutes. Then remove the eggs from the hot water and when cool, peel and then dice or slice. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, green onions, mayonnaise, white vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the potatoes, and add the celery and eggs. Cover, and cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and serve cold.