Nana’s Southern Potato Salad Recipe tastes like home to me — true comfort food at its finest. This summer side is so good that it’s bound to become a tradition in your house too!
Southern Potato Salad Recipe
At every family gathering I can remember (at least since I was about 10), there was always my mom’s potato salad and macaroni salad.
And every time I went back home it was one of the first things I asked her to make.
Rich and creamy with eggs and bits of onion throughout — this is the best Southern potato salad, in my opinion, and I am sure it will become a favorite of yours too!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Potatoes – You’ll want Russets for this Southern style potato salad recipe. Any other variety won’t hold its shape as well and will affect the overall flavor.
- Onion – I prefer a yellow onion, but red onion would be tasty too.
- Mayo and Miracle Whip – These are two different ingredients! Both create the creamy base for Southern style potato salad, but Miracle Whip has added sugar and spices for a little extra flavor.
- Hard-boiled eggs – Extra flavor, texture, and color all come from these! Be sure to chop them up really well before mixing with the other ingredients.
- Salt and pepper – Keep the spices simple for this Southern potato salad recipe and season to taste!
Tips for the Best Southern Potato Salad
- Leave the skins on. Give the potatoes a good scrub before boiling, but don’t remove the skins until after they have cooked and cooled.
The texture will be perfect, and the potatoes will hold their shape in the Southern potato salad much better.
- Multi-tasking is your friend. Make the hard-boiled eggs on the stove or in the air fryer, plus chop the onions, while the potatoes are boiling. Then, all you have to do is assemble!
- Chill it first. While you can serve this dish right away, it’s downright addictive if you refrigerate it overnight first.
- And keep it chilled! Since it contains mayonnaise, Southern style potato salad cannot sit out for longer than 2 hours.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just eat this straight out of the bowl sometimes! Seriously, making it ahead of time for barbecues and potlucks creates the biggest temptation.
If you can cook it on a grill or smoker, then this is the perfect side dish.
That’s why it’s included on every summertime menu and holiday table I can manage!
Southern Potato Salad FAQ
Sure! In fact, I typically prepare this Southern potato salad recipe the night before I plan on serving it.
That extra time really allows all of the flavors to meld together in the most wonderful way.
Any leftover Southern potato salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If it looks a bit dry towards the end, simply mix in a little extra mayo.
Pickles are a popular choice — dill or sweet — as are red bell peppers. If you choose to include these, be sure to chop them up really small before mixing them in.
Story Behind this Southern Style Potato Salad
Funny thing is, as the story usually goes… This Southern style potato salad recipe was slightly adapted from my mom’s best friend of 30 years, Susie Q ❤
We spent just about as much time at Susie Q’s house as we did our own growing up, and she is like a second mom to me.
On one of my mom’s last visits out to Arizona — probably our best vacation ever — she wrote down her Southern style potato salad and macaroni salad recipes for me.
Need I tell you, I cherish those handwritten recipes, especially now that she has passed. My mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after that visit.
The things I learned from my mom (Nana to her grandkids) in the last year of her life will stick with me forever.
She truly lived as an example, and I miss her every day. You see that big beautiful smile?
It was a permanent one that graced her face, and I tell you — it lit up the room.
Thankfully, she passed that fantastic feature on to me and Munchkin. Every time my daughter laughs or I look in the mirror, I see her.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Summer Salad Recipes
Best Ever Southern Potato Salad Recipe + Video
- butter knife
- 5 pounds Russet potatoes, unpeeled and washed
- 30 ounce jar Hellman’s/Best Foods mayonnaise
- 15 ounces Miracle Whip salad dressing spread, 1/2 of a 30 jar
- 3 large eggs, hard boiled and diced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- Optional: replace 1 teaspoon kosher salt with 1 teaspoon celery salt
- Paprika, garnish
- Place potatoes in a large pot covered with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove cover and continue boiling for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Pierce with a fork to check doneness. Drain and cool potatoes.
- In the empty pot add mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, eggs, onion, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Smash the eggs while mixing. If you like the egg chunks you can just stir.
- Using the back of a butter knife peel skins from potatoes and cut potatoes into bite size chunks and add to mayonnaise mixture as you cut them.
- Mix to combine. Sprinkle with paprika. Chill until ready to serve.
- Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published June 2014, updated and republished May 2023
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