Let’s be real, the most important question at the weekend cookout is, “Who’s bringing the potato salad?”. This is a make or break dish. You are either greeted with high-fives and crowned potato salad queen/ king, or you’re pulled to the side and discreetly asked to bring drinks or ice next time. Yes, it is that serious.
Surely, no one wants to be banned from potato salad duty indefinitely. If you are a traditionalist, the creamy mayo and boiled eggs base is the route to go. If you want a modern uptake, roast or grill a few other vegetables, dress the salad in a light vinaigrette, and/or spruce it up with some fun accessories, like crispy bacon or pancetta crumbles. Whatever potato path you prefer to go down, here are a few recipes to help you become the cookout hero you’re destined to be.
Stunning purple potatoes and purple radishes bring a royal flair anywhere they are served. The spuds char on a grill with burning cherry wood chips to deliver a bold smoky taste to this summery salad. A grainy mustard and cumin-spiced vinaigrette lightly coats the potatoes and radishes for a glossy finish.
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Styling: Blakeslee Giles and Audrey Davis
If you are a fan of pasta carbonara, swap out the spaghetti with Yukon gold potatoes. The crispy pancetta provides a pleasant contrast to the starchy potatoes and egg yolk for a delightful balance of flavor and texture.
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
Tangy sour cream outweighs mayonnaise for a more loaded potato vibe in this recipe. Naturally, other typical baked potato fixins’, like fresh chives, parsley, and bacon, are also tossed in.
Get a double dose of potato with this spinach-artichoke dip mashup. It’s hearty and super rich with cream cheese, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. In other words, this potato salad is not for the faint of heart.
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Though this recipe is traditional-ish in its components, it assembles stunningly when presented with thick potato rounds, thinly shaved celery, and finished with freshly cracked pepper.
Photo: Becky Stayner; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Mosey down to Mississippi for this regionally inspired potato salad usually served with Gumbo. It features cheddar cheese and a dollop of honey for a Southern touch.
Watch: How to Make Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites
For a highly comforting, feel-good potato salad, leave out the heavy dairy and add lentils. Bacon drippings combined with olive oil make the base of the robust mustard vinaigrette used to coat your salad.
Photo: Hector Sanchez Styling: Heather Chadduck
This fun, vibrant potato salad should show up on a weeknight dinner table addition to cookouts. Crunchy green beans, bright mint, tangy lemon-soy vinaigrette, and not a sight of mayo sets this salad apart as a seriously lighter, brighter version of the classic.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
The combination of white miso and low-fat yogurt acts as a faux mayo swap in this recipe. The wild mushrooms add a meaty texture and a depth of umami goodness.
Switch up the potato variety and opt for petite fingerling potatoes instead of the usual red or russet. The vinegary pickled shallots and handful of fresh herbs balance the flavors delivered by the smoky grill.