Your Air Fryer Gives Leftover Potato Salad A New Lease On Life

Homemade potato salad can be enhanced with plenty of flavors, but in its simplest form, it's just cooked potatoes tossed in mayonnaise. Potato salad is commonly made with boiled potatoes, but you can roast the potatoes for added texture as well. And while it makes a perfect side for any outdoor barbecue, an air fryer can surprisingly transform it into a crispy, delicious variation of its former self.


This tasty side dish has been an American staple since long before the United States was a recognized country. Rumor has it that potato salad made its way here from Europe after Spanish explorers brought the dish across the Atlantic sometime during the 1500s. The original variations were tossed with oil and vinegar — and while the timing of the eventual switch to mayonnaise remains a bit unclear, the latter is the primary way to make it in the U.S. these days.

And as it turns out, when you pop the leftover salad into the air fryer, that mayonnaise coating transforms the dish from a softer salad to a crispy snack — all thanks to the oil within the condiment.

How mayonnaise turns potato salad crispy

Mayonnaise contains three main ingredients: Eggs, oil, and acid. Together, these ingredients are emulsified to create that creamy consistency we know and love. We know oil as a great ingredient for frying food; that's actually because its ability to conduct heat causes water to evaporate from the food's surface in a short amount of time. When you coat the surface of a dish in mayonnaise, you're effectively helping it crisp because the oil in mayo draws that water out so quickly.


If you have a mayo-based potato salad that's tossed in the air fryer, the high heat combined with the mayonnaise's oil will rapidly cause those potatoes to crisp up, creating a crunchy, delicious variation of the salad. A little oil goes a long way, so don't add the potato salad to the air fryer with large chunks of mayo on it; you can always wipe some of it off. Quick air fryer hack: To prevent mayo from getting all over the air fryer, you might want to add some foil or parchment paper to the basket. This new, crunchy salad will be done in less than 30 minutes when fried at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but give the potatoes a toss halfway through to make sure they fry evenly.