Classic Southern Style Potato Salad

$5.56 recipe / $0.70 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 12 votes
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People take their potato salad very seriously here in the south. I learned that quickly after moving to southern Louisiana twenty years ago (omg, how has it been that long??). I was never a fan of potato salad in my youth but it quickly became my favorite after eating it made the southern way—with mayo and mustard. It’s rich, creamy, tangy, and with just the right amount of crunch. Southern Style Potato Salad is what comfort food dreams are made of. 

front view of a bowl full of southern style potato salad

What is “Southern Style” Potato Salad?

Southern Style Potato Salad has a creamy and tangy dressing that has both mayonnaise and mustard, plus plenty of texture from the finely diced celery and sweet relish. I do like my potato salad with slightly less dressing, rather than super heavy or goopy, so if you like yours more “wet” you may want to make more dressing.

What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Potato Salad?

Waxy potato varieties, like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, are best for potato salad because they hold their shape and don’t break down quite as easily as russet, which are great for mashed potatoes. Waxy varieties also tend to have a creamier texture, rather than mealy, so they’re extra luscious in this potato salad.


Potato salad is pretty flexible and every family has its own special way of making it. In general, here are a few items that are pretty easy to substitute without straying too far from the southern style potato salad roots:

  • Red onion in place of the green onion
  • Apple cider vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar
  • Lawry’s or another seasoning salt in place of the Tony’s Chachere’s
  • Dill relish or chopped sweet pickles in place of sweet relish
  • Creole mustard or Dijon mustard in place of yellow mustard
  • Miracle Whip in place of mayonnaise for a sweeter finish

How Long Does it Stay Good?

Potato salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. If you can not finish a full 8-cup batch within that amount of time, consider making a half batch instead. Simply change the number of servings in the recipe below and all the ingredient amounts will adjust accordingly.

What to Serve with Potato Salad

Potato salad is a potluck and summer BBQ classic! You really can’t beat the creamy combination of potato salad with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. This week I ate my potato salad along side my BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken and Three Bean Salad, but it would also make a great side dish for Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin, Glazed Ham Steaks, hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, Black Bean Burgers, Classic Homemade Meatloaf, or Blackened Salmon with Zucchini.

potato salad on a plate with bbq chicken and three bean salad
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Classic Southern Style Potato Salad

4.92 from 12 votes
This classic Southern Style Potato Salad uses both mustard and mayonnaise for a super flavorful dressing that is rich, tangy, and creamy.
overhead view of a a bowl full of potato salad with celery, relish and eggs on the sides
Servings 8 1 cup each
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 35 minutes


  • 3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes ($3.49)
  • 1 tsp. salt ($0.03)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.42)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise ($0.75)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp sweet relish ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning* ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 green onions ($0.22)
  • 2 ribs celery (1 cup chopped) ($0.32)


  • Peel, wash, and chop your potatoes into one inch cubes. Briefly rinse the cubed potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove excess starch. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt to the water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they are tender (about ten minutes). Pierce the potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender, then drain in a colander. Briefly rinse with cool water to cool the potatoes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, cook the eggs. Place the eggs in a small pot and cover them with cold water, then bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Let them boil for one minute before turning off the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 15 minutes, then carefully pour out the hot water and run cool water into the pot to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel and dice the eggs.
  • While the potatoes and eggs are cooking, make the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, relish, red wine vinegar, Tony’s (or seasoning salt), and freshly cracked pepper.
  • Finely dice the celery, and slice the green onions.
  • Add the cooked, cooled, and drained potatoes to a large bowl along with the diced celery, sliced green onion, diced eggs, and dressing. Stir until everything is combined and coated in the dressing. If you prefer a softer, less chunky potato salad, mash the potatoes slightly.
  • Taste and adjust the mustard or seasoning to your liking, then serve.

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*Or your favorite seasoning salt


Serving: 1CupCalories: 297kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 5gFat: 17gSodium: 583mgFiber: 4g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

overhead view of a a bowl full of potato salad with celery, relish and eggs on the sides

How to Make Creamy Southern Potato Salad – Step By Step Photos

Peeled and diced potatoes in a colander
Peel and cube 3 lbs. of potatoes. Rinse the potatoes briefly with cool water to remove excess starch. This will help prevent your potato salad from getting dry and gluey.

Cooked potatoes in a pot

Add the cubed potatoes to a large pot and cover with cool water. Add 1 tsp salt to the water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they’re tender (about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes). Use a fork to pierce one of the larger pieces to test the doneness and make sure they are fully tender. There’s nothing worse than hard potatoes in your potato salad! Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander and rinse again briefly with cool water to cool the potatoes and rinse away excess starch. Let them drain well.

Eggs in a pot with water

While the potatoes are boiling, cook the eggs. Add your eggs to a small pot (I cooked extra just to have on hand) and cover with cool water. Bring the pot up to a boil and then let the eggs boil for one minute before turning off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water with a lid on top and the heat turned off for 15 minutes, then carefully pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process. Once the boiled eggs are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and dice them.

potato salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

Make the dressing for the potato salad by combining 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp mustard, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sweet relish, 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s or your favorite seasoning salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Whisk the ingredients together, taste, and add more seasoning salt if desired. Remember, you want the dressing to be heavily seasoned because the flavor will be less pronounced once mixed with the potatoes.

bottle of tony chachere's seasoning

This is the Tony Chachere’s seasoning that I use in my potato salad dressing. If you don’t have access to this, you can use any sort of basic seasoning salt, like Lawry’s

Diced celery and sliced green onion on a cutting board

You can also finely dice 2 ribs of celery and slice 2 green onions while waiting for the potatoes and eggs to cook.

Potatoes, eggs, green onion, and celery in a bowl

Place the cooled potatoes in a large bowl along with the diced celery, sliced green onion, and diced eggs. 

Dressing being poured into the bowl with the potato salad ingredients

Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and then stir until everything is combined and coated in the dressing. To make the Southern Style Potato Salad slightly less chunky, mash the potatoes as you stir.

Finished potato salad in a bowl with a spatula

Taste the potato salad and adjust the mustard or seasoning to your liking.

Finished potato salad in a serving bowl with ingredients on the sides
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  1. I have a number of potato salad recipes I love, but this is my family’s favorite and the one I grew up with in Iowa. It always disappears fast from pot luck tables! I’ve never tried Tony Chachere’s with it, but used it for a seasoning–more a topping to add color instead of my usual paprika and since first reading this recipe have been using it. I like more egg–both Nana and my mom used 1 egg for every potato, but depending on the size of the potato, that varies and my rule is more like 1 egg per 12-16 oz of potato. I also use more relish or pickle juice instead of vinegar–I use Wickles for more taste, which actually doesn’t really make the salad taste spicier. I never add raw onion, but sometimes serve it with a side bowl of chopped sweet onion for those who like it.

  2. It doesn’t get more classic than this! This has been a hit at family picnics and work potlucks, as well as at home. I did end up doubling the seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s), but that might have been because my container is…pretty old by now, lol.

    Thank you for a(nother) great recipe!

  3. I made it tonight and we really enjoyed it. Lots of levels of great flavors. Thanks!

  4. The potato salad,.southern style it’s so easy to make and comes out great Everytime.
    Your recipe is very simple and easy to follow.
    Thanks friend…..great work

  5. As an North Carolina native, I’m very particular about my potato salad (like barbeque, potato salad is serious business in my home part of NC) and NO ONE has ever beaten my grandma’s potato salad. But, this recipe is as close as I’ve ever tasted to how my grandma used to make it. Fantastic!

  6. I live in Australia and don’t have access to the seasoning, can you give me an idea of the spices and herbs in it so I can replicate at home. Thanks 

  7. My mom made her potato salad just like this but she mashed her potatoes.  I loved her potato salad.

  8. Delicious & wonderful recipe! If I try YOUR recipe, I do not add “a little of this, a spoonful of that” to YOUR recipe! However, you have me the option of Tony’s, Lawry’s, or “my favorite”…..I used Emeril’s! Dynamite! Best potato salad I have EVER made! Thanks so much!

  9. I love this potato salad and my “go to” recipe involves adding sliced black olives, some bacon bits & I also leave the skins on like Mara. I mostly eyeball it as well, adding more mayo if it’s not creamy enough. This one is my son’s favorite and we all love it! Thank you for such great recipes!!!

  10. This has been my potato salad recipe for the past 8 years, Beth. I do dill relish but make no other changes. Fun but trippy to see some of the classics get photo updates and realize how long I’ve been following the site! :S

    1. Haha, I still can’t believwe it’s been 12 years! And it’s painful to look at some of those old photos. 😅 Thanks for sticking around all these years! <3

  11. I liked this. Born and raised in SC, I feel like there’s dozens of variations that people claim are the most authentic ha. Either way, I’ll hold on to this recipe.
    I halved the recipe, used Dutch baby gold potatoes (what instacart gave me), didn’t peel the potatoes, and pretty much eyeballed the condiment measurements. I was feeling lazy and it still turned out delicious.