Today’s hassle-free loaded potato salad recipe makes an ideal side dish for any barbecue, gathering, or picnic. The potatoes are boiled until tender and creamy, then dressed evenly with mayonnaise-based dressing, and toppings of your choice.
With smokey bacon, sweet red onions, creamy dressing, and tangy sour cream, this loaded potato salad ticks every flavor box you can dream up. And did we mention— it takes only 15 minutes to make!
Loaded Potato Salad Ingredients
Our loaded potato salad recipe is simple and requires just a few simple ingredients.
- Potatoes: Waxy potatoes steal the show in this recipe. They stay firm throughout the cooking process, and their waxy, creamy texture makes an excellent base for any savory protein you want to add.
- Bacon: Bacon is baked in the oven until it is crispy and golden brown. If you prefer something other than bacon, substitute in ham or salami. They also work well in potato salad.
- Scallion: We add some greens to the dish for a pop of color and additional nutrition.
- Red onion: Raw onion adds a nice bite of texture to the salad. We chose red onion since it has a less pungent — and thus sweeter — flavor than other types.
- Cheese: We used cheddar cheese in this recipe, but you can go with any type you choose.
All these ingredients can be tweaked and adjusted to your liking. Our basic recipe always has some room for experimentation. Have fun and let your imagination run wild!
Is Potato Salad Healthy?
Given all the nutritious ingredients mentioned above, our potato salad is relatively healthy.
Each serving of this loaded potato salad yields 226 calories. Plus, the dish is packed with a solid amount of protein (5.3 grams), vitamins A and C, and other essential nutrients.
If you are looking for another healthy potato salad, don’t hesitate to check out our mustard potato salad recipe and give it a try at the next cook-out.
Best Potatoes for Potato Salad
The secret to a great potato salad is to use the right type of potatoes. They can create a creamy foundation from which other elements like bacon or cheese can shine in the salad bowl.
Potatoes can be divided into three basic categories:
- Waxy potatoes: These thin-skinned potatoes have the least amount of starch and therefore retain their shape well when boiled. The thin skin also reduces the prep time since peeling potatoes is optional.
When used in potato salad, waxy taters stay tender but still firm and make for a less fluffy texture than other types of potatoes.
- In-between potatoes or all-purpose potatoes: These offer medium moisture content and more starch than the waxy versions. The in-between varieties work well in most potato recipes, including soups and salads.
- Starchy potatoes: Coming with thick skin and a drier texture, starchy potatoes quickly absorb water and fall apart during the cooking process. This makes them ideal for smooth and creamy mashed potatoes.
For this loaded potato salad recipe, waxy spuds such as Red Bliss, New, or Fingerling potatoes that keep their shape and creamy texture are the best option. They also tend to have a more distinctive flavor, giving you a palatable salad.
Loaded Potato Salad Dressing
The combination of salt, pepper, mayonnaise, and sour cream never goes wrong in a loaded potato salad recipe. Mayonnaise is used for its creaminess, while the sour cream’s tanginess tags along to balance out the final flavor.
Since the red onions provide a nice touch of sweetness, salt and pepper are the only additional seasonings you really need. This classic rich and savory dressing coats the tender potato chunks evenly, yielding a satisfying and irresistible mouthfeel.
How to Prepare Potatoes
Any tasty potato salad starts with a similar first step— prepare the potatoes.
If you are using starchy potatoes like Russet or Idaho potatoes, you need to peel their thick skin. For other varieties, peeling is optional.
The next step is to dice up the potatoes into similar bite-size chunks. This helps potatoes cook through at the same time and also makes the salad more visually appealing.
Microwaving potatoes is one of the easiest ways to cook these veggies. All you have to do is place potato chunks in a covered bowl without added water and microwave for about 8 – 10 minutes.
Microwave wattages vary, so the potatoes don’t always respond to the same cooking time. Check your batch regularly to ensure the potatoes cook until tender but don’t fall apart.
How to Make Loaded Potato Salad
This is a brief how-to overview for our loaded potato salad recipe, please go to the recipe card below for the detailed instructions.
Make the sauce
Combine potatoes, dressing, and toppings
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- Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Set aside.
- Make the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix potatoes, sauce, red onion, bacon, scallions, and cheese. Toss gently toss to combine thoroughly.
- Transfer the salad to plates to serve.
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Is Potato Salad Gluten-Free?
Gluten is a type of protein that can be found in grains like wheat, rye, or barley. Potatoes aren’t a type of grain, so the short answer is yes, our potato salad is gluten-free.
1. How Long Does Loaded Potato Salad Last?
The loaded potato salad is best consumed within 2 hours. If you need to keep the salad longer, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 3 – 5 days.
2. Can You Freeze Loaded Potato Salad?
You can freeze loaded potato salad, but you should consider some care since the salad can get mushy in the thawing process. To avoid this unpleasant situation, we advise freezing the potatoes and sauce separately.
When ready to use, reheat your potatoes in the oven or microwave instead of letting them thaw at room temperature. Heated potatoes give the salad a new and delicious spin.