Flex your potato salad strength with our best way to dress up spuds. No summer gathering is complete without a creamy, spud-based salad to get those mouths watering. From grilled potatos, to warm creamy dips, to crunchy green bean salads, there's no limit on how you want to spin this ultra-hearty side dish. Make it ahead of time for a head start next time your hosting.

By Briana Riddock and Briana Riddock
Updated June 16, 2017

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.

Smoked Potato Salad

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.

Potato Salad Carbonara

Credit: 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.

Sour Cream Potato Salad

Credit: 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.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip Potato Salad

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Davick; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

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.

New Potatoes with Shaved Celery, Buttermilk, and Dill

Credit: 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.

Pascagoula Potato Salad

Credit: 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

Warm Lentil-and-Potato Salad

Credit: Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

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.

Green Bean Potato Salad with Lemon-Soy Vinaigrette (Wade's Potato Salad)

Credit: 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.

Mushroom-Potato Salad with Miso "Mayo"

Credit: 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.

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

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.