Monday, June 25, 2012

Mustard Potato Salad

Mustard Potato Salad

This Southern-Style Recipe Is Perfect for Cookouts and Barbecues

With summer here, it’s cookout time.  In fact, next week brings one of the biggest and best barbecue opportunities of the year:  Fourth of July.

And what would a cookout be without potato salad?  One of the tastiest — certainly the tangiest — is Mustard Potato Salad.  It goes particularly well with long-cooked barbecue or meat that has been grilled over hot coals or an open fire (hamburgers, anyone?). 

Mustard Potato Salad is no more difficult to make than Mayonnaise Potato Salad. And you know how easy that is.

Mustard Potato Salad

Recipe:  Mustard Potato Salad

Although you can use dry mustard or fancy Dijon or other imported mustards when making this potato salad, I prefer good ole ballpark yellow mustard.  It’s convenient to use, it has a nice sharp taste, and it gives great color.  Plus you probably already have a container of it in your refrigerator.

This dish is really nothing more than a jazzed up Mayonnaise Potato Salad — the kind we often call “American” Potato Salad (although mayonnaise-based potato salads are quite popular in other parts of the world too, particularly in Europe).

This recipe will serve 12 to 16 as a side dish, so you can heap it on at a big summer get-together. It can easily be halved (or doubled). In fact, I usually make a half recipe. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days (they’ll be safe to eat for at least a week, but after about 3 days, their quality starts to diminish).

This recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare (perhaps a bit longer if you need to hard-boil the eggs).  This is one of those recipes where measurements need not be exact; adjust quantities to suit your taste.

  • 5 pounds of potatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices or ½-inch cubes, cooked and still warm (see Potato Salad Basics Recipe for notes on what type of potatoes to use and how to cook them) 
  • 1½ to 2 cups diced yellow onion (may substitute red onion)
  •  2 to 3 ribs celery, cleaned and diced
  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish (may substitute finely diced dill pickle; if you do so, you may need to add a touch of sugar to the potato salad)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (white vinegar will work, but cider has better flavor; you may increase this amount somewhat if you wish)
  • ¼ to ½ cup additional liquid (reserved potato cooking water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock; see Notes)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ~1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 to 1½ cup mayonnaise (less if you want a salad that’s on the dry side, more if you like a bit of dressing)
  • ~¼ to ½ cup commercial yellow mustard (the ball park kind; I like a lot of mustard in mine, but see Notes for measurement discussion)
  • 5 or 6 diced hard-boiled eggs (see my hard-boiled eggs post if you need instructions for this) 
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley (Italian works best, although curly is fine)
  1. Cook potatoes using the Potato Salad Basics Recipe. After the potatoes are cooked and you’ve drained them and let them sit from 2 to 4 minutes to firm up (as described in the recipe), place warm potatoes in a large bowl (wider is better than deep). 
  2. Add diced onion, celery, sweet pickle relish, cider vinegar, about half the additional liquid (add more if necessary once you mix everything together), salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).  Gently mix everything together.  You want the warm potatoes to absorb the liquids and the flavor of the onion, celery, and seasoning.  
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, tossing gently 2 or 3 times (gently because you don’t want to break up the potatoes).  Ideally, the potatoes will absorb all the liquid, though a small amount may remain at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise and mustard together.  Peel and dice hard-boiled eggs, and mince parsley.
  5. After 10 minutes, add the diced hard-boiled eggs, about ¾ cup of mayonnaise and mustard mix, and minced parsley.  Gently mix, and taste.  Adjust the quantity of mayo/mustard to suit your taste.  If the mixture is too thick, you may thin with milk (though I never bother with this).  Add more salt, pepper, and (optional) cayenne if necessary.  You can serve this salad right away, or chill for an hour or more before serving.
Mustard Potato Salad

  • Although this is a traditional Southern dish, it tastes so good (and is so easy to make) that you can now find it in deli cases in many parts of the US.
  • When I make this recipe, I like to use 1 part of mustard for every 3 parts of mayonnaise.  I don’t like a ton of dressing in my salad, so typically I’ll mix a cup of mayonnaise with a third of a cup of mustard. 
  • You may find that this ratio of mustard-to-mayo makes the taste too sharp.  So I suggest trying a bit less mustard at first — perhaps 1 part of mustard for every 4 parts of mayonnaise.  As you mix the potato salad, you can always add a bit more mustard if you find the flavor too wimpy.
  • I’ve seen recipes that call for half mustard and half mayonnaise.  That’s way too much mustard for my taste; but you make think differently.
  • You can use homemade mayonnaise in this recipe if you have it.  But ready-made works fine too.  I generally use Hellmann’s (it’s sold as “Best” in the west).  In the south, many people prefer Duke’s mayo.  You can also use Miracle Whip, if that’s your preference.  I almost never use homemade mayo when I make potato salad.
  • Some people like a hint of sweetness in potato salad.  Sweet pickle relish helps with this.  But if you want more sweetness, you can add sugar to taste.
  • In this recipe, you want the flavors of potato, mustard, and mayonnaise to dominate.  You also want the taste and crunch of onion and celery, but their flavors should be understated (so less is more).  The hard-boiled egg pieces add a nice creaminess.
  • The techniques for this recipe are basically the same as those used in French Potato Salad So how does this dish differ from French Potato Salad? In this American version, you use mayonnaise instead of olive oil (while also adding eggs and sometimes other ingredients). In addition, I don’t recommend using wine or dry vermouth as you would in French Potato Salad; the flavoring just doesn’t work. 
  • This recipe calls for adding cider vinegar and additional liquid (like potato cooking water). Why? Because the warm potato slices will absorb it, and it will enhance their flavor. 
  • For the added liquid, I often use chicken or vegetable stock — it adds nice flavor. But use potato cooking water if you don’t have stock on hand. Why potato cooking water? Because you salted it well when cooking the potatoes, and some of the potato starch leeched out into the water — giving it a mild, pleasant flavor. 
  • This recipe specifies potato slices or cubes. Both work well, though I tend to prefer cubes for this dish. 
  • Which potato to use in this recipe? Any of the waxy potatoes we discussed in the Potato Salad Basics Recipe will work well, but for this recipe I favor Yukon Gold potatoes. 
  • Some mustard potato salad recipes call for cooked russet potatoes. They break up easier than waxy potatoes, which works for people who like a creamy potato salad. I like the firm little chunks of potatoes that waxy potatoes yield, but you may want to experiment. 
  • For serving, I’m usually a dump-it-in-the-bowl-and-dish-it-up kinda guy. But you may want a fancier presentation for a special occasion. If so, you can mound the potato salad into a bowl, smooth the top, and spread a thin coat of the mayonnaise and mustard mixture on it. You can then decorate it with hard-boiled egg slices, bacon pieces, pimento — or anything else edible that strikes you as decorative and colorful. 
  • You can also add pimento or bacon to the potato salad itself. Say, ¾ cup canned pimento cut into pieces, or 4 to 5 strips of bacon cut into small pieces and crisply sautéed. (But if you want to use bacon in potato salad, I would strongly suggest making German Potato Salad.)
Mustard Potato Salad

Other Potato Salads

Mustard Potato Salad is a tangy, tasty dish, and one I learned to love when we lived in Florida.  But if it’s not your favorite, I have plenty of other potato salad recipes to offer. 

You might first want to take a look at Potato Salad Basics Recipe, where I discuss what I consider to be the best method of cooking potatoes for potato salad.

A version that almost everyone likes is the basic Mayonnaise Potato Salad, a/k/a American Potato Salad. If you need an easy way to hard-boil eggs for that recipe (or for Mustard Potato Salad), my post on Hard-Boiled Eggs is worth your time.

Want a jazzier potato salad? My recipe for German Potato Salad with Bacon is hard to beat. It can be served hot, warm, or cold — very versatile.

And if I could have only one potato salad? I’d choose French Potato Salad. This is also the potato salad that is used in Salade Niçoise, a classic summer dish.

So there are lots of potato salads to choose from. But at the moment, I’m liking Mustard Potato Salad the best — because I have leftovers in the refrigerator that are calling out to me.

Who can resist that siren song?

You may also enjoy reading about:
Potato Salad Basics
Mayonaise Potato Salad
Hard-Boiled Eggs
German Potato Salad with Bacon
French Potato Salad
Salade Niçoise
Creamy Cole Slaw
Grilled Hamburgers
Barbecued Pork Steaks


Laura @ Family Spice said...

My dad, a non-Southerner, loves to add some mustard to his potato salad. It gives a great "zip" to an otherwise ordinary potato salad.

Kelly said...

Mustard is its own food group in this house. We're on our weekly rotation of this 'tater specialty. I see you use vinegar as well (a must--don't you think?). As always, inspiring food foto and post!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Laura, I've gotten to the point where I find the typical mayo-based potato salad a bit dull - I need my mustard fix! Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Kelly, isn't mustard great? Such flavor. Adding vinegar really adds such a nice undertone of flavor - it's really more important than the salt and pepper, IMO. Thanks for your comment.

This is How I Cook said...

I love potato salad and especially the mustard kind. Like the tip about the vinegar though I have never tried pickle relish. You must be planning a giant picnic! Nice to be reading your recipes again. May have to scoot over to the Tom Collins!

CJ - Food Stories said...

We've always used mustard and mayo in ours ... yum.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi This is How I Cook, vinegar really adds something nice to potato salad. Glad you've got time to read blogs again (and write your own) - with 2 kids graduating from college at the same time, you've been busy! Thanks for taking time to comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi CJ, it's good, isn't it? Love that tang. Thanks for your comment.

Deanne said...

When I am in the mood for potato salad, I used mashed potatoes, still warm (I know!!), chopped sweet pickles, onions, hard cooked eggs, miracle whip and mustard. I call it my deviled egg potato salad, but it definitely has it all - creaminess, tanginess, sweet, crunch. I would put celery in it, too, but I hate it. :D

Carolyn Jung said...

I love mustard in potato salads. I often include a few kinds in it, too: Dijon, whole-grain -- you name it. This version looks especially creamy and irresistible.

Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef said...

This is MY kind of potato salad. Creamy with just the right amount of mustardy goodness and tang. As always - perfect photos.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Deanne, I've read of that method! Never used it myself, but it's why some people like russet potatoes - because they'll break down. You're just taking it one step further! I'd skip the celery, too, if I hated it! Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Carolyn, a mix of mustard is an interesting idea - I'll have to give that a try. I do sometimes make this with Dijon, but the plain yellow is so handy. Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Maureen, it's really a nice recipe. And of course you can alter the mustard ratio to deliver just the tang you want. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

Alessandra said...

This looks like an extremely creamy and delicious potato salad, perfect for Summer barbecues. I was wondering if you'd mind me putting a link to your recipe on my blog for a list of go to Canada Day & Fourth of July recipes. Great photos and blog as well, thanks for sharing.

Katherine Martinelli said...

My husband will absolutely go nuts for this - he loves potato salad and mustard just about equally (and much more than I). I do like a nice zing in my potato salad, which the mustard surely provides. Thanks for sharing!

mjskit said...

I'm a huge fan of the good old southern potato salad but because I'm not a huge mustard fan, I probably would cut back on the mustard to this recipe. On the other hand, Bobby would love even more mustard! Great kitchen notes!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Alessandra, it's a super dish! By all means, link to my post so your readers can read the recipe. Thanks for your kind words, and your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Katherine, I hope your husband enjoys it! And you, too, of course. Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi MJ, this is one of those recipes where you can really adjust the ingredients, particularly the mustard, to your liking. Thanks for your comment.

Terra said...

Hubby and I were just talking about making potato salad and tuna noodle salad, our favorite Summer side dishes! I love that you used sweet pickles, my Grandma loves using dill:-) This sounds delicious, Take care, Terra

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I love mustard (especially Dijon) and put a little bit in my potato salad, so this "mustard" potato salad sounds already good! I love your picture today - making me wish to have BBQ with those table cloths and BBQ dish. Very nice red-white-blue theme too! ;-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Absolutely scrumptious! A droolworthy combination. I am a mustard and potato freak.



Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

This potato salad looks insanely beautiful my friend, perfect flavours :D

Choc Chip Uru

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling over your pics

Pencil Kitchen said...

Potato salads are best for summer! It gives you carbs and can be eaten cold! I've always been interested in "mustard".. Maybe add a bit of shredded crab meats.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Terra, I always crave those same 2 dishes in hot weather too! Dill can be great in potato salad, particularly one that uses sour cream. Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Nami, mustard is good stuff, and usually I automatically reach for Dijon, too. Although in this application I like the cheap stuff! ;-) Thanks for noticing the red-white-blue theme! And thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Rosa, droolworthy indeed! Mustard + potato = taste bud heaven! Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Choc Chip Uru, thanks for your kind words, and your comment!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi love2dine, drool away! They were fun to take, but the potato salad was more fun to eat! Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Pencil Kitchen, I like them best in the summer too. Good point about their nutritional value. Interesting idea with the crab - I've never tried that, although I can see how it could be interesting, particularly with the mustard. Thanks for your comment.

Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake said...

That recipe looks absolutely delicious! I love a good potato salad and I always love to add mustard. Mmmm...I can almost taste the creaminess!

Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies said...

Potato salad is such a classic. My grandmother actually makes a fantastic version with mayo and mustard, very similar to yours.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jenny, it's a great recipe. And one I'll always take over a regular mayo potato salad. Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jen, mustard potato salad is great, isn't it? This recipe is actually based on the mayo potato salad my wife's grandmother used to make - I just added mustard and made a few other adjustments. Thanks for your comment.

Marina@Picnic at Marina said...

I love potatoes. I think it says it all. :) Great salad, and beautiful pictures!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Marina, who doesn't love potatoes? ;-) Certainly a wonderful food, and potato salad brings out a lot of their flavor. Thanks for the comment.

Tania @ A Perfect Pantry said...

Such a gorgeous side dish, especially at BBQs. Thanks for sharing.

Jeanne said...

I like mustard much better than mayo, so I think I'd really enjoy this potato salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe - now I'm looking forward to summer cookouts!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Tania, excellent for BBQ! My favorite side with slow cooked meat. Or with a burger. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jeanne, I prefer it to mayo too - I just like the zip it delivers. Glad you're now looking forward to summer cookouts! Thanks for your comment.

Raymund said...

I usually use mayo on my potato salad, this will be my next must try

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Raymund, for years I used only mayo, and still do make mayo potato salad quite a bit. But after I tasted the mustard variety, that became my preference. But I'll gladly eat either one! Thanks for your comment.

Holly | Beyond Kimchee said...

I like potato salad and I always add mustard on mine (not as much as yours though). I think the mustard adds very nice zing to the salad. I don't mind mayo at all with potato salad. Thanks for all the tips. You are so knowledgeable.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Holly, mustard is one of those ingredients that you definitely have to adjust to suit your own taste! I like mayo too (but mustard more!). Thanks for your kind words, and your comment.

Kristy @ the wicked noodle said...

I love variations to the traditional potato salad. My favorite is chipotle (I'm posting my recipe soon!) but mustard is DEFINITELY a close second, if not a tie for me. Looks so good and perfect for summer!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Kristy, chipotle is a great addition to a potato salad - I look forward to reading your recipe. Anything spicy/tangy, which is why I like mustard. Thanks for your comment.

~~louise~~ said...

So there I was seeking a recipe to include on my Pinterest Board for National Mustard Day (Aug 4th this year) and what to my wondering eyes should appear (after an extensive search mind you, finally found it on tastespotting) but your delicious looking recipe for Mustard Potato Salad! (one of my personal favorites I might add)

Thank you so much for've been pinned!

P.S. I can't find you on Pinterest, did I miss something?

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Louise, I am on Pinterest, but I'm so bad - I haven't even pinned anything! I really need to get with it. Thanks for the pin! Mustard potato salad is great - wonderful flavor. I like the mayo one too, but this is better. Thanks for the comment.