Prepping Memorial Day potato salad? Avoid russets, and use these in your recipe

Russet potatoes are best for french fries, hash browns and tater tots. For a potato salad recipe use potatoes that are not as waxy as a russet.

The best homemade potato salad recipe needs the best potatoes.

Now, most people think russet potatoes make a good choice. They’re easy to find, cost-effective, and versatile. They’re great as leftovers. Russets make delicious french fries, tater tots, hash browns, breakfast potatoes and more.

But for potato salad? Nah. Without the right potatoes, you might as well not make it at all.

What are the right potatoes? Yukon Gold and red skins top the list.

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Yukon Gold Potatoes. (Source: Adobe Stock)

Potatoes are indeed high in carbs, about 26 grams for a medium potato, and that makes some people avoid them. But the tubers have many health benefits. Potatoes are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C. These nutrients help keep cholesterol in check, flush sodium out of your body, and act as a prebiotic, which helps with large intestine bacteria.

Potatoes with colorful skin, like Yukon Gold and red skin, contain extra antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage linked to cancer.

That’s one of the benefits of using Yukon Gold or red skin potatoes. Here’s another good reason – their skins, which are soft enough to eat and a timesaver since you don’t have to peel potatoes. Plus, they provide color to the bowl, an essential aspect of any dish because first impressions matter. You may make the best potato salad ever, but if it looks like something a baby spits up, no one will want it.

Of course, the health benefits will give way once you add all the ingredients you need to make Auntie proud.

Yukon Golds and red skins are equal in producing outstanding potato salad. Red skins have a slight advantage if you want to make a roasted, warm homemade potato salad.

Say what? 

That’s right. With holidays, cookouts, family reunions, and more around the corner, you can create various potato salad variations without resorting to tricks that would result in endless mocking from the family, like using walnuts, raisins, and peas.

These aren’t traditional “true” potato salads because the recipes contain cheese, which, as theGrio previously mentioned, doesn’t belong in a true potato salad recipe. Cheese, “throws the taste off, especially when someone tries to get fancy and uses gorgonzola, which is a blue cheese, which is feet stinky,” said theGrio’s previous story that examined what not to put in potato salad.

But mixing the cheese with the other ingredients, like bacon, creates a potato concoction that’s not true potato salad but tasty enough to have a place at the table.

All the recipes call for three pounds of potatoes, making eight large servings.

You can use russets if you like, but these waxy, starchier potatoes can turn to mush if you overcook them. Yukon Gold has a little more sweetness, which adds to the potato salad character, and the round red skins are perfect for roasting.

Basic Potato Salad Dressing

My go-to recipe with a tangy taste because of the relish and vinegar.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 tablespoons pickle relish

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store for up to five days in the refrigerator. The recipe is easy to double. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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New potato with red skin. (Source: Adobe Stock)

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold or red skin potatoes, skin on, cubed

  • Potato salad dressing (you’ll probably need to use the entire recipe above)

  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled

  • 4 bunches scallions, chopped

  • 4 ounces blue cheese crumbles (gorgonzola works, too)

Cook the potatoes until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool completely.

When cooled, add in the potato salad dressing, bacon, and scallions. Gently fold your dressing into the potatoes until well coated. Then, add in the blue cheese a little at a time, folding after each addition. I recommend this step because blue cheese can have a strong, pungent odor, so you should adjust for your taste.

Warm Roasted Red Potato Salad


  • 3 tablespoons stone ground mustard (Yellow is OK)

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (apple cider is OK)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • 3 pounds roasted red skin potatoes, cut in half, skin on, roasted

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and mixing. Adjust to taste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place the cut potatoes in a bowl, toss in the olive oil, and then roast on a roasting pan for 25 minutes or until golden and fork tender.

While the potatoes cook, cook the bacon until crisp. (You can place the bacon on a cookie sheet and cook it in the oven.) Let the bacon cool, and then crumble.

To assemble:

  1. Add the warm roasted potatoes, crumbled bacon, celery, onion, and feta cheese in a bowl.

  2. Add in the dressing and gently toss.

  3. Serve while warm.

Loaded Ranch Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold or Red Skin potatoes, cooked and cubed

  • 1 pound precooked bacon (you can buy the microwave variety)

  • Your favorite bottled ranch dressing

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon pepper

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 2 stalks celery, diced

  • 2 scallions, diced

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Cook the potatoes until tender and the bacon until crisp. Let the potatoes and bacon cool. Crumble the bacon.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss and then add about 8 ounces of the ranch dressing. Add more if you want a creamier salad.

Then, on top of the dressed potatoes, add, in order: the crumbled bacon, celery, scallions, and cheddar cheese. Top with the sour cream and serve.

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