Classic Potato Salad – A Summertime Standard

With summertime BBQ season upon us, what is the best side dish to bring to the party? Potato salad, of course. There are so many variations of potato salad out there, but I prefer the classic American, creamy, potato salad. My grandmother made this recipe, then my mother made this recipe, so naturally, I make this recipe, too. I do not have children to take over the recipe, so I hope someone else finds it and makes it a tradition in their family, too.

In my opinion, the star of the show is the dressing. The dressing is where the flavor is packed. Adding different toppings, such as bacon crumbles or hard-boiled eggs are delightful, too. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about what type of potato to use in your salad. Pick the wrong potato and they could end up getting smooshed during mixing when you add your dressing. Then you’re left with mashed potatoes with mayonnaise.

TUBER OR NOT TUBER?

Yes. A potato is a tuber, specifically a stem tuber. A stem tuber is basically an enlarged structure of the plant where it stores its nutrients it will need for winter and for regrowth. In order to pick out the right kind for your dish, you’ll need to know a few things. Essentially, there are three categories of potatoes based on their texture. Starchy, All-Purpose, and Waxy. Potato salads need potatoes that will hold their shape after cooking. So, understanding what happens during the cooking process will help when making your selection.

Starchy potatoes, such as Russets are good for baking, mashing or French fries. The highly dense starch cells swell and separate from one another when cooked which give these potato items a fluffy texture.

Waxy potatoes, such as Red Bliss, have the least starch, so there is less cell separation and are best for boiling, stews, and salads. There is less breakdown, so these potatoes will hold their shape very well.

All-purpose potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, have a moderate amount of starch and are ideal for au gratins, roasting or steaming. As the name implies, they can also be used for any purpose, but just note that your results may vary slightly.

Potato Salad

The creamy, classic American potato salad. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Potato Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds Red Bliss potatoes
  • 2 tbsp salt for potato water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Splenda or sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste for dressing
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonaisse
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery

Instructions

  1. Scrub potato skins then cut into bite-size cubes.

    Potato Salad
  2. Place in a large pot, cover with cold water, add 2 tbsp of salt to the water. Cover the pot with a lid. 

  3. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Remove lid, lower temperature to medium/high heat and continue a slow boil for 8-12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. 

  4. Drain the liquid from the potatoes and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. (Spreading them out over a cookie sheet will speed up the cooling process.)

  5. In a large bowl, add the vinegar, Splenda, salt, pepper, milk, and sour cream.

  6. Add the mayonaisse, a little at a time until the dressing reaches the desired thickness. 

    Potato Salad Dressing
  7. Add the celery and onions.

  8. Once the potatoes have cooled completely, add them to the dressing and lightly toss the dressing to coat the potatoes. 

    Potato Salad 3

Recipe Notes

I use Splenda instead of sugar because I have diabetics in my family and try not to use sugar where it doesn't make a difference to the outcome of the dish. It also dissolves a lot quicker than sugar. But, sugar absolutely works too.  

What is your favorite summertime side dish? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin

It’s Easter time. I love this time of year. The weather is getting warmer and even though it is officially Spring, we still have about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Not to mention piles of immeasurable snow that will probably take until May to melt. But, the days are getting longer. The sun is shining and there are many blessings to celebrate. Which leads me to Easter dinner. This easy Easter side dish, Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin are an excellent companion to your ham or pork roast.

Do you have a big family dinner on Easter? Do you dread when you have to bring a side dish to a family gathering? Well, here is a side dish that will be a star at any dinner gathering, not just on Easter, but anytime of the year. Scalloped or au gratins can tend to be a bit bland, so I like to add some seasonings that add a little zing to the dish. It quickly became a favorite in my household and among friends. This dish goes well in place of mashed potatoes with any meal. It’s easy to prepare and travels well if you need a dish to take with you. It reheats in just a few minutes, so it’s a good choice to make ahead, too.

Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin

This easy to make side dish is easy to take along for a potluck or other gathering. It could serve as a meal by itself. It's full of flavor and the buttermilk and cheese make it extra creamy too.

Course Casserole, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cup cheddar cheese divided

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes. It is not necessary to peel them unless you don't like the peel. 

    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin ingredients
  2. Slice the potatoes approximately 1/4 inch thick. I prefer using a mandolin over a knife because you get a more uniform thickness. Place the sliced potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Heat over medium/high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside to cool.
    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin sliced
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium/low heat. Add the next 8 ingredients (all the dry ingredients). Stir until the ingredients are well blended and a small ball of dough is formed. Gradually add the buttermilk, stirring constantly. Be careful not to bring the buttermilk to a boil as it could curdle. Heat the mixture over medium/low heat until it is warm enough to melt the cheese. Add two cups of cheese and continue to heat the mixture until the cheese has melted and is well blended. (Reserve the remaining cheese for topping the casserole.)

  5. Grease the bottom and sides of a casserole dish. (This should make a 4 layer casserole, so you may want to roughly divide the potatoes into 4 portions before starting so you don't have a thicker layer at the top.) Start layering the potatoes so that they overlap until the bottom of the dish is completely covered with potatoes. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the layer of potatoes and carefully spread the sauce until they are well covered. Next, cover the sauce with another layer of potatoes, then more sauce. After your third layer of sauce, layer the last of the potatoes then sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. 

    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin layering
  6. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and is starting to brown. 

What are your Easter dinner traditions? Please comment below. I’d love to hear your home cooking experiences.