Best Ever Southern Potato Salad Recipe + Video

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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! You’ll want to make a large bowl of this creamy potato salad! 

bowl of southern potato salad


This just might be the best potato salad recipe. It’s my personal preference – and one of my top Southern recipe picks.

It’s not only a classic side dish, but it’s there’s nothing quite like those fork tender potatoes paired with the rest of the simple ingredients. 

I like to refer to this as soul food potato salad, but it’s the first thing that I think of when I need a side for fried chicken or a flavorful addition for the dinner table.

I know that there are a lot of versions of potato salads out there, but the creamy texture of this one makes it the best when it comes to the taste test. 

I’ve made this for family gatherings, and everyone always raves about my classic Southern potato salad recipe. And yes – it’s still delicious on the second day, too!

When it comes to a classic recipe that is a great way to feed a crowd, you’ll be making and taking this to the next family reunion and all the family get-togethers from here on out. 

boiling potatoes for potato salad

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!

chopping hard boiled eggs with a large knife

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!

You can always mix things up and add diced dill pickles, sweet relish, diced sweet onion, yellow mustard, green onions, or anything else that you want to this classic potato salad.

But I do think that the first time you make it, you should follow the recipe card below! 

base ingredients for southern potato salad in a bowl

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. 
mixing potato salad ingredients together

Serving Suggestions

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.

Southern style potato salad goes with just about anything — burgers and hot dogsribssteak, and even pulled pork sliders

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

Can I make Southern potato salad in advance?

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.

How long does potato salad last in the fridge?

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.

What can I add to this Southern potato salad recipe?

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.

close up: spoonful of southern potato salad with tray of hot dogs in the background

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.

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colorful striped bowl of potato salad

bowl of potato salad

Best Ever Southern Potato Salad Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
Nana’s Southern Potato Salad Recipe tastes like home to me. It's so good that it's bound to become a tradition in your house too!
4.50 stars from 4 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 16



  • 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!



Serving: 1 | Calories: 512cal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 858mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled southern potato salad collage

Originally published June 2014, updated and republished May 2024

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  1. I love this post, Donna and I have tears in my eyes now. I remember sitting around the kitchen table in our house playing spoons with your parents, your mom smiling and laughing as we flung spoons all over the place. ~hugs~

    1. That is such a great memory. You, me and my mom drove to Costco and did some light shopping and picked up pizza. What an awesome day. I am so happy you got to meet her. <3

  2. Donna, please accept my heartfelt sympathies regarding the passing of your mother! Prior to reading today's blog, I first noticed the picture realizing just how very much you resembled that smile. Much gratitude for sharing such cherished treasures as your mom's recipes, thank you 😉

  3. Pinning this and remembering my Wonderful Mother!! She made the best potato salad!! I would have to cut this in half at least…just cooking for two. Thanks!!

  4. Donna this is truly one of the nicest stories I have ever read. Actually it brought tears to my eyes.
    Boy how we cherish those things that our loved ones have shared with us! Well my mom and sister have both passed and have given me recipes that I will cherish and pass on to my children.
    I know that your moms potato salad is delicious because this is the same exact recipe my mom had taught me(other than using some chopped celery also). Keep up the good recipes I love them!

    1. 3 stars
      I jumped 2 this after reading the macaroni salad. I keep telling myself I won’t follow her anymore: she doesn’t respond to comments, her videos with the arrow on the left never play(I’m a visual learner so videos are important to me) and for some reason the videos NEVER get fixed. But darning she has some awesome recipes so I keep following her. I sometimes think she’s only reposting older recipes just for the $$$ clicks!

  5. to make a healthier potato salad, quit using all that mayonnaise and miracle whip. Instead us half mayo and half plain yogurt. Delicious!!!

    I'm sorry for your mom's passing, but it appears as if you are her mini me, so you really didn't lose anything because it's already within you. GOD Bless!

  6. I love this tribute to your Mom, Donna. And those hand-written recipes from her are treasures that you'll be able to pass along to Munchkin. xo

  7. Ahhh, Donna, such a joyous tribute to your mom!! I have only a few of my mother's handwritten recipes — the few that survived the years. She had the most beautiful penmanship and it gives me such pleasure to read her recipes. I will some day soon frame this few recipes and hang them in my kitchen.

    As for your mother's potato salad — I too mix mayo and Miracle Whip — in the same proportions. I think it gives the dressing just the right tang. I never make my potato salad the same, though the dressing remains constant (mine is just like your mom's dressing!) I will give her salad a try with my meatloaf this week. It sounds the perfect side dish.

    Thank you for sharing her recipe and your memories. 🙂

  8. Thank You Donna for reminding me of these memoriesof your Mom…..I loved her like a sister and I will Miss and Love her everyday for the rest of my life…..We had such great times together….and the pot that we made the salads in was your Great Grandmothers and now it hangs in mykitchen as your mom wanted me to have that pot just weeks before she passed away…..and when I'm gone it is yours…..I am going to use this recipe this weekend….and will keep watching….Love you all

  9. Deepest sympathies on the passing of your mom Donna, I am going through a similar experience with my mom right now. Can t wait to try this recipe and would LOVE if you would include her macaroni salad recipe in your blog. Hello & thank you all the way from Nova Scotia, Canada.

  10. One of my most cherished recipes is for the BBQ sauce to the first bbq I ever ate. My grandmother got the recipe for me shortly before she died. I have the recipe still but sadly the index card in her writing is misplaced somewhere inside of this house. I have been looking for it for 6 years now. I know it is stuck in some pages somewhere of some cookbook or something like that. 🙁

  11. Thanks for sharing, my Mom who has also passed away made a very similar potato salad recipe. I never knew exactly how much mayo or miracle whip to use, just take a guess by how it looks. I actually think that is what my Mom did too! 🙂 The amount you show in your recipe seems like a lot! Do you really use 45 ounces total for 5 pounds of potatoes?

  12. Beautiful tribute to a loving mother. I made the potato salad yesterday and didn't like the flavor Miracle Whip gave it. Back to my old recipe.

  13. Only 1/2 of a large onion for 5 lbs of potatoes? Needs a lot more!! I was also taught that Russet potatoes were for baking or making soup, and too starchy for cold potato salad. Maybe I'll break with tradition and try it. But to me it's seems as bad as baking a regular white potato…it just doesn't work.

  14. I love this recipe as I've gotten older I like mine cold also. As long As I can remember we always ate ours warm. We always put bacon fried nice and crisp. Then we cute back alittle on mayo and use some of the bacon drippings mustard sweet relish lots of eggs. I also now use the gold potatoes. Oh my the flavor its out of this world. I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your MOM. I loved cooking with my DADDY. He was such a wonderful man. He sure could cook. I thank God everyday I was lucky to of had him for my father. He's been gone 3 years now.

  15. 5 stars
    Who doesn’t like a good potato salad… this came out great, my family ate all of it… may have to make a double batch next time.

  16. 5 stars
    this is exactly how I make my potato salad except I’ve never used both may and Miracle Whip, just the mayo. I’m from the south…Dallas. Thanks.

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss. I truly mean that. However, this is very different than any of the Southern potato salad I have eaten in the South. I’ve lived in MS, AL, TN, LA – so I’m curious to what part of the South this recipe came from? I mean that question with respect. You learn something new everyday 😊!
    Thanks in advance!

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