Classic Potato Salad

This classic recipe for potato salad with hard-boiled eggs is a direct inspiration of what I loved to eat at one of my first food industry jobs working for a small grocery store.

And I’ll share with you a major culinary lesson I learned while there:

Mayo. Is. King.

Even though I was a baker for the store, making all the breads, cakes, and pastries, I shared a kitchen that was adjacent to the prepared foods department.

Horizontal top-down image of a large and small bowl of a creamy potato salad garnished with parsley leaves on top of tan towels.

In those early-hour shifts, while waiting for my trays of dough to rise, I would often meander over to the prepared foods kitchen, and observe what they were making.

The grocery store, a small family-owned business, was famous throughout our small-town Pittsburgh neighborhood for its endless collection of salads.

And, bless your heart, I am most definitely not talking about ones with leafy greens and heart-healthy light vinaigrettes.

At this store, lines would form up and down the aisles for customers to get their hands on big, fat scoopfuls of fatty, thick, unctuous, mayo-laden mixes.

Vertical image of a large bowl with potato salad garnished with parsley on a tan towel with a metal serving spoon.

With a pantry stocked full of tubs upon tubs of non-branded bulk mayonnaise, the store was in constant supply of everyone’s favorite creamy concoctions, each row of the prepared foods display case piled high with big batches.

Without ever skipping a beat every single day, there was always the reliable lineup of tuna, egg, coleslaw, chicken, ham, broccoli, macaroni…

And potato salad.

Every one of these offerings were simple and humble – a no-frills, honest-to-goodness style of cookery that any hard-working Pittsburgher could appreciate.

Vertical top-down image of one large bowl and two small bowls filled with potato salad garnished with parsley on tan towels.

But the potato salad in particular was something special, and I can quickly recall repeat memories of working at six in the morning, nibbling on a small ramekin of a freshly made batch one of the cooks would give me, while I would glaze doughnuts and bake sheet cakes.

This cool and creamy recipe is something I want to share with you, one of the ultimate homemade side dishes for easy lunches and casual dinners!

A mayo-based sauce flavored with mustard and white wine vinegar thickly coats buttery chunks of golden potatoes. Crisp bits of celery and sweet white onion add just the amount of textural contrast and refreshing bites of raw, fresh flavor.

Vertical close-up image of a spoonful of potato salad over a large serving bowl.

Chopped hard-boiled eggs dotted throughout the mix offer lovely tender morsels and a little color from the yolks.

Embrace the vibe of a small-town grocery store with this side dish – and don’t forget the bag of chips and cold-cut sandwich to serve along with it!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Horizontal top-down image of a large and small bowl of a creamy potato salad garnished with parsley leaves on top of tan towels.

Classic Potato Salad

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


If you’re looking for a cool and creamy side dish with simple ingredients and flavors, mix up our classic potato salad with hard-boiled eggs.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 pounds baby Yukon Golds
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped


  1. Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil on the stovetop over high heat. Once at a boil, gently place the eggs in the water using a heatproof skimmer. Boil the eggs for 11 minutes. While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  2. Immediately remove the eggs from the pot with a skimmer and submerge them in the ice bath. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before peeling them. Transfer the peeled eggs to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 1 to 2 hours. Roughly chop the eggs.
  3. Place the potatoes and one tablespoon salt in a large pot and fill with water to cover at least one inch above the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop over high heat. Boil the potatoes under they are just cooked through and can be easily pierced by a knife, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour the contents into a colander positioned in the sink. Allow the potatoes to cool thoroughly, about 30 minutes. Depending on their size, either halve or quarter the potatoes.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, the remaining salt, and the black pepper.
  6. Place the eggs, potatoes, celery, and onion in a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing on top, and mix everything together until all of the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  7. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Store potato salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Side Dish

Keywords: classic, potato, salad, hard-boil eggs

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Hard-Boil And Peel the Eggs

Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil on the stovetop over high heat. You want the pot to be large enough for the eggs to have ample space for cooking evenly.

Once at a boil, gently place the four eggs into the water using a heatproof skimmer, a handy tool for safely lifting food out of hot liquid.

Horizontal image of peeling hard-boiled potatoes.

Boil them for 11 minutes – this amount of time ensures the whites and yolks are fully cooked, but still leaves a slightly softer yolk. If you prefer a more jelly-like yolk, cook them for a shorter amount of time, about 9 minutes.

While they are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl next to the stovetop for easy transferring. The ice bath shocks and helps to instantly stop the cooking process, and also helps the shells easily peel off from the whites.

When they have cooked for the full 11 minutes, immediately remove them from the pot using the skimmer and submerge them in the ice bath.

Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before peeling. When they are cool enough to handle after 5 minutes of being in the ice bath, you can now peel them.

Make sure you have a bowl for the peeled eggs, as well as a separate bowl for the shells. You can dispose of the shells, or save them to add to your kitchen compost.

Are there still tiny shell fragments? After peeling, briefly run them under cold water to remove anything remaining on the whites. Tap dry with paper towels.

Place them whole in an airtight container and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator – this will take about 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2 – Boil the Potatoes

As the eggs are cooling, this gives you time to boil and cool the baby Yukon Golds.

Place the spuds and one tablespoon of salt in a large pot, and cover with cold water until it reaches at least 1 inch above them – this amount of water ensures there will be enough liquid to evenly cook them.

Horizontal image of boiled whole golden baby potatoes in a colander.

The large amount of salt is necessary for evenly and thoroughly seasoning the pieces as they cook in the water. No blandness here!

Transfer the pot to the stovetop and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is at a rolling boil, continue boiling to cook them until you can easily pierce through their flesh with a fork or knife. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes for a baby Yukon Gold variety.

If this variety is not available, use any other kind of waxy variety. If they are larger, adjust the boiling time by an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

When they are tender, carefully remove the pot from the heat. Pour out all the contents over a large, heatproof colander in the sink to drain the water.

Allow the them to cool for about 30 minutes. You don’t want them to be too hot when you mix everything together, as this will alter the texture of the dressing and slows down the final cooling and setting time of the composed salad.

Step 3 – Make the Dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, the remaining salt, and the freshly cracked black pepper.

Horizontal image of a creamy dressing in a white bowl next to tan towels.

You can use a store-bought mayo, but if you want to challenge yourself with a new cooking technique, learn how to make mayonnaise entirely from scratch – with our help, of course!

And you can also make your own mustard, too. Way to go, homesteader!

If the freshly cooked ingredients still need some time to cool down, you can cover the dressing and place it in the refrigerator.

Step 4 – Chop and Slice Ingredients

Using a sturdy cutting board and sharp chef’s knife, chop the celery stalks and sweet onion. If you need a brief prep lesson, learn how to properly cut an onion.

Horizontal image of cubed boiled golden potatoes in a large bowl.

Depending on the size of your spuds, slice them in half or quarter them.

Horizontal image of chopped hard-boiled eggs in a large bowl.

Roughly chop the hard-boiled eggs.

Step 5 – Mix Everything Together

Place the eggs, spuds, celery, and onion in a large serving bowl.

Horizontal image of piles of ingredients in a large bowl, with a creamy dressing.

Pour the dressing on top, and mix everything together until all of the ingredients are completely incorporated.

A rubber spatula is best for this step! Try to use a gentle folding motion to avoid smashing the ingredients.

Step 6 – Chill and Serve

Tightly cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap, and transfer it to your refrigerator. Allow the mix to chill and set for at least one hour before serving.

Horizontal image of a bowlful of a creamy mix of vegetables with a parsley garnish next to tan towels.

For some added color, garnish the bowl with fresh herbs, like basil or parsley.

Eat the salad within three days to enjoy it at its best quality. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

The Best Casual Side Dish

This salad is really meant to be enjoyed alongside other dishes for the ultimate cool and casual meal experience.

For lunch, serve it with cold sandwiches like our sprouts, avocado, and cheddar sandwich. For a meatier bite for your midday meal, you’ll like it paired with our New Orleans muffuletta sandwich.

It’s also a go-to side dish to have at any summery barbecue party! For a big crowd, double or triple the batch to serve with your famous pulled pork or garlic rosemary hamburgers. And there’s a special place in our summer dinner plans to enjoy it with hot dogs.

Horizontal close-up image of small bowls filled with a potato salad on a tan towel.

How will you decide to serve this easygoing dish? With a veggie sandwich between work calls during the weekday or with burgers and dogs for a fun weekend barbecue? Leave a comment below!

We have a soft spot for spuds! Here are a few more tasty side dishes among our full lineup of homemade potato recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 2, 2015 by Ashley Martell. Last updated on March 1, 2024.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.