Classic Potato Salad

How does the tang get in the tater? Read all about it here.

Note: Cornichons are small salty pickles that can be found in most grocery stores. If unavailable, regular dill pickles or pickle relish can be used in its place.

About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife, where he runs a private chef business, KA Cuisine, and co-writes the blog about sustainable food enjoyment.

Classic Potato Salad

About This Recipe

Yield:about 2 quarts, serving 8 to 12
This recipe appears in: Serious Entertaining: Backyard Burger Bash The Food Lab: Potato Salad Done Right


  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup, optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, washed and minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cornichons (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (more or less to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. 1

    Add 2 quarts water to large saucepan. Add potatoes, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Spread into even layer, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons vinegar. Allow to cool to room temperature, about thirty minutes.

  2. 2

    Combine remaining sugar, remaining vinegar, celery, onion, scallion (if using), parsley (if using), pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise in large bowl. Stir with rubber spatula to combine. Fold in potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and rest in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to three days before serving.


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