This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure form more information.

Grandma’s Classic Potato Salad Recipe is a family favorite made with a few simple ingredients — potatoes, eggs and celery in a creamy dressing. Enjoy this delicious side dish at your next summer BBQ, picnic or holiday gathering.

grandma's potato salad with sliced hard boiled eggs in serving bowl

Easy Potato Salad Recipe

My family honestly thinks my grandma’s potato salad recipe is the best potato salad recipe on the planet. But every family has a favorite potato salad, right? This easy recipe is also a favorite summer side dish in my family — my son and husband would happily eat potato salad every day if they could!

This homemade potato salad recipe has been in my family forever. Grandma made it, my mom made it, and now my kids and I make it! It’s a very simple potato salad with few ingredients — no onions, no mustard and no pickles.

Our old fashioned potato salad is the perfect side dish for summer cookouts and potlucks. The mild flavor pairs well with any main dish, especially burgers and ribs, as well as our Easter ham. Serve this summer side salad along with grilled corn on the cob for a delicious meal!

red potatoes, celery, mayonnaise and eggs


You only need a few basic ingredients for this classic side salad. If you don’t have these pantry staples at home, you can find them in your grocery store. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Small red potatoes
  • Celery stalks — diced or thinly sliced for flavor and crunch
  • Hard-boiled eggs — peeled and chopped. You can add sliced eggs for decoration on top if desired.
  • Salt and Pepper — to taste
  • Mayonnaise — I usually use Best Foods, but any brand of mayo works. Miracle Whip will change the flavor.

Best Potatoes for Potato Salad

Mom and grandma always said red potatoes or waxy potatoes are the best potatoes for potato salad since they hold their shape well after cooking.

White potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes will work, as well. Russet potatoes aren’t the best choice since their fluffier flesh is better for baking. However, I know people who love russets in salad, so it really is a personal preference.

How to Make Grandma’s Potato Salad

First, scrub the potatoes well under cold running water. Then, slice them in half or quarters to that they are about the same size.

Grandma always peeled potatoes before cooking, but I like to leave the skins on. Skins add flavor and nutrients, and it’s a lot easier to peel potatoes after cooking!

boil red potatoes cut in half in skins

Cook Time

Fill a large pot with cold water, place the potatoes in the pot, add salt, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook potatoes until just fork tender.

This takes about 10 minutes cooking time depending on how large the potatoes are. Be sure not to over cook potatoes.

You should be able to easily poke a fork or the tip of a knife through the middle of the potato, but it shouldn’t fall apart.

peeled cubed red potatoes on cutting board

When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain them right away into a colander in the sink. You don’t have to run them under cold water.

Place the potatoes on a cutting board or large baking sheet, and allow to cool down until you can handle them. You can chop up the eggs and celery while you are waiting.

Then, peel the skins off and cut potatoes into small pieces or small cubes. You want to aim for bite size pieces here. If you can’t get some of the potato skins off, no worries. It just adds to the flavor!

mix mayonnaise with potato salad ingredients in mixing bowl

Place the potatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs and diced celery into a large bowl. Then, add 1 cup of mayonnaise, and mix until blended.

Stir in additional mayo until you get the texture you like. I usually add more mayo right before serving since the potatoes absorb the mayo.

Stir in salt and pepper, to taste. For best flavor, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight!

This is one of those old fashioned recipes that was never written down. Mom and Grandma always eyeballed the ingredients until it tasted good to them!

old fashioned potato salad recipe with hard boiled eggs and parsley in white serving bowl

Serving Suggestions

To serve potato salad, we like to add sliced hard boiled eggs on top of the potato salad and a sprinkle of paprika, plus fresh parsley. And that’s it.

Substitutions and Variations

I like to keep this classic recipe simple with just mayonnaise, but it is also a good basic recipe that you can easily adjust to your liking. Add a little yellow mustard, or white vinegar for extra tang. Sometimes, I add a tablespoon of milk to thin the mayo for a creamier dressing.

You can also add green onions, red onions, sweet onions, sweet pickles, dill pickles or relish. Instead of regular salt, I sometimes add celery salt for more flavor.

If you want to make this recipe even easier, try my Instant Pot potato salad. The basic ingredients are the same, but you cook the eggs and potatoes in the pressure cooker at the same time!

You can peel and cut your potatoes before cooking if you prefer.

creamy old fashioned potato salad on fork


Store leftover potato salad in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. It’ll last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Do not leave potato salad out for more than 2 hours for safety. Potato salad will not freeze well.

Enjoy your leftovers straight out of the fridge with hamburgers, ribs, hot dogs, or alone as a snack!

Helpful Tips

Always place potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil.

Cook potatoes until just fork tender to avoid a mushy or soggy salad.

Taste before serving to adjust seasoning, and add more mayo if needed. You can also add milk to thin the dressing if needed.

5 from 19 votes

Grandma’s Potato Salad Recipe

By: Dee
Grandma's Potato Salad Recipe is an easy old fashioned potato salad with few ingredients. A delicious side dish for summer and a family favorite! This classic potato salad tastes just like Mom used to make!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 15 servings


  • 8 small red potatoes
  • 2 medium stalks of celery diced
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • paprika optional, for garnish
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and get this recipe sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • Wash the potatoes under running water, and cut or quarter them until roughly the same size
  • Place potatoes in large pot of cold salted water, and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Start testing around 5 minutes so that they don't over cook
  • Then, drain the potatoes, and after they cool down, peel the skins, and cut them into small bite sized cubes
  • Place potatoes into large mixing bowl, and add chopped celery and eggs
  • Add 1 cup mayonnaise and stir until well coated. Add more mayo until creamy or until texture is how you like it — the total amount will depend on how much mayo you like.
  • Add some salt and pepper, to taste, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add sliced hard boiled egg and paprika for garnish, if desired


You can add more or use less mayo depending upon your own tastes. You may need to add additional mayonnaise for extra creaminess before serving.
Do not leave potato salad out for more than 2 hours for food safety. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Calories: 303kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 227mg, Potassium: 541mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 99IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!

There’s nothing better for summer than a good potato salad–and traditional potato salads made with easy, simple ingredients are the best ones! I hope you enjoy this easy potato salad as much as we do!

For more family favorite recipes, subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on social media!


Originally published in 2014 and updated in 2024.

ebook cover.
Download my free eBook!
Fill out the download form to get this collection of easy dessert dips. You'll also receive free recipes each week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Ben says:

    The wife and kids loved this when I made it for Easter yesterday! Normally I make the ham for the holiday but I hurt my wrist and can’t do any heavy lifting, so I made the sides, and this one was loved by all. Reminds me of Memaw’s growing up.
    God bless!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thank you so much, Ben. Hope your wrist gets better soon!

  2. Brad says:

    This is the best ever! Clean and simple! I don’t know why that other person is such a hater? Maybe she really doesn’t like her “family” recipe or potatoes at all if you have to add so much other stuff to make it edible! Another great recipe Dee!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thank you so much for the compliment, Brad. 🙂

  3. Stacey says:

    The first time I made this I followed the recipe to the T, like your supposed to and it was the most flavorless, bland, straight mayo mess I’ve ever had. Nobody would touch it and it cost me to waste about 20 dollars worth of groceries Have any of you ever eaten potato salad?? The main and only flavor is not supposed to just be mayo. No acid? No flavor balancing? Its a mouth full of slimey fats and nothing to contrast it. I’m so baffled. The second run, I went back and used my grandmas recipe so I added minced gherkin pickles, minced bell pepper, white and/or red onion and pimentos, then I made a dressing using mayo, ACV, sugar and mustard, then sprinkled paprika and chives over the top for color and nice presentation. It was incredible and I had zero leftovers. I’m not sure what this is, but it’s not potato salad, it’s mayo salad and it’s gross. Even if you used the very best mayo available, Kew-Pie or Dukes, they can’t save this.

    1. Dee says:

      Hmm. Did you even add the potatoes, celery and eggs, or did you just use mayo? Like the post says, this is my grandmother’s recipe, and it has been a much-loved recipe in the family for years with great results. Readers love it, too. I’m wondering if you already have a favorite potato salad recipe, why would you even try this one, which clearly is much different from the one you have? I personally would never use those extra ingredients in potato salad, but, as the post states, you can add extras to suit your own tastes and thin out the dressing if needed.