Potato salad is certainly one of those things that no two cooks make quite the same way. If you were to bounce from barbecue to barbecue all across America, you’d likely come across it in a number of different forms, from the eggy, to the vinegary, to fanciful versions decked out in spices, pickles, and more. But if you travel even further afield to the taverns of Germany and the izakayas of Japan, you’ll find that potato salad comes in seemingly endless iterations, adapting to local customs and tastes with each stop.
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Not just for pasta, this pot makes draining boiled potatoes a cinch.
Although potato salad styles run the gamut, it’s possible to break them down into a few regional or ingredient-based categories. Here are 11 potato salad recipes to know and have at the ready during summer entertaining season.
1. Creamy and Classic: Basic Potato Salad
A creamy, mayonnaise-based potato salad with egg and diced celery is as essential to a barbecue spread as the main meat itself. In fact, some might argue that it tastes best when you let it mix and mingle a bit with the runoff sauce from your ribs or chicken. Get our Basic Potato Salad recipe.
2. Flavor Forward: Herbed Potato Salad
If brats, sausages, or grilled meats are on the menu, however, a vinegar-based salad with plenty of herbs is the way to go. The tang helps balance out all of those rich and robust flavors. Get our Herbed Potato Salad recipe.
3. Old School: Swabian Potato Salad
Germany is home to a plethora of potato salad styles, many of which influenced the those you see in America today. You’ll often find that German recipes, however, call for letting the potatoes soak in a beef broth (along with vinegar), a step that seems to have gotten lost on this side of the Atlantic. This Swabian-style recipe shows you how it’s done. Get the Swabian Potato Salad recipe.
4. Newfangled: Warm German Potato Salad with Bacon
A lot of potato salad recipes try to riff on more traditional versions by bringing in a hodgepodge of add-ons. This one really runs with that idea. Featuring bacon, capers, onion, bell pepper, spices, and more, it’s about as fully-loaded as can be. Get our Warm German Potato Salad with Bacon recipe.
5. The Seasonal Favorite: Swedish Potato Salad (Farskpotatissalad)
Farskpotatissalad is Sweden’s way of celebrating the arrival of new potatoes in the summer. Using a bare minimum of dill and mustard, it lets the flavor of the seasonal spuds shine through. Get the Swedish Potato Salad recipe.
6. Spuds in Translation: Japanese Potato Salad
Japanese potato salad has an everything goes philosophy to it: it’s not uncommon to find carrots, peas, and even quick pickled cucumbers tucked into the mix. Based around kewpie mayo, it’s especially sweet, creamy, and easy on the palate. There’s a nice fluff factor too. Get the Japanese Potato Salad recipe.
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This beloved Japanese mayo is a must (and comes in a fun squishy bottle).
7. À la Russe: Olivier Salad
Olivier salad is a favorite throughout Russia, yet its origins are thought to lie in the ingenuity of one Belgian chef. Although its recipe has morphed over the years, nowadays, the salad is reliably stuffed with meat, pickles, and carrots, though it doesn’t need to be as beautifully composed as the one above to taste phenomenonal. Get the Olivier Salad Russian Potato Salad recipe.
8. The OG: Causa Rellena
Potatoes were first domesticated in the area around modern day Peru. Naturally, the country has an endless array of ways to prepare the tubers. Causa rellena is a sort of cold potato and chicken terrine dressed with mayo and lime, possessing all the basic flavors of a potato salad, if not the shape. Get the Causa Rellena Peruvian Potato Salad recipe.
Related Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Peruvian Food
9. Spicy and Saucy: Malaysian Potato Salad
Perhaps “salad” isn’t quite the right word for this dish, yet it’s not completely wrong either—taste it and you won’t care about calling it anything but delicious anyway. Tender potatoes are cooked in a flavor-packed sambal of onions, tomatoes, ground chiles, fish sauce, palm sugar, and coconut cream for a luscious dimension. Sweet, spicy, salty, and deeply savory, this is like the food equivalent of fireworks, and therefore definitely deserves a place on your 4th of July plate. Best served warm, it’s still addictive at room temp. Get the Malaysian Potato Salad recipe.
10. Korean Fusion: Kimchi Potato Salad
Compulsively edible gochujang and fermented cabbage kimchi bring Korean style to this creamy potato salad, which also boasts crisp bacon, scallions, and black sesame seeds. Try it with Spicy Korean Smoked Pork Barbecue to stay on theme, or pair it with any ribs recipe or fried chicken. Get our Kimchi Potato Salad recipe.
11. Italian Influence: Marinated Potatoes and Fennel
Native to the Mediterranean, fennel lends a crisp bite and fresh anise-inflected flavor to potatoes marinated in red wine vinegar and olive oil (use the good stuff). Flat-leaf parsley adds another herbal note. If you want to go even further, try this Italian potato salad with olives, tomatoes, capers, basil, and oregano, or add any of those extra elements to our more stripped-down version. Either way, try it with grilled fish. Get our Marinated Potatoes and Fennel recipe.
Related Reading: Mayo-Free Potato Salads Perfect for Picnics | What’s the Best Type of Potato for Potato Salad?
This post was originally written by Miki Kawasaki on July 30, 2015 and was updated by Jen Wheeler with additional links, text, and images on June 27, 2019.