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Better Potato Salads

Cooking tips for the caring cook.

Potato Salad

The right potato salad ingredients can make all the difference in the world between "boring" or exceptional! Red potatoes are the best to use in potato salads; however, just about any potato will do if necessary.

Potato Salad Cooking Tips

  • Choose smooth skinned, waxy potatoes, like a red bliss, when making potato salad. These potatoes hold their shape when cooked vs. baking varieties, which always break up.
  • If you want to leave the skins on the potato - a healthy choice - always cut the potato before boiling or steaming. The skin of a potato will slip off a cooked potato completely, then cut.
  • Add a couple of drops of lemon juice to potato water and it will whiten the boiled potatoes.

Microwave Cooking the Potatoes

If desired, you can cook your potatoes in the microwave. To microwave potatoes, place half of the potatoes in a microwave safe 2-quart casserole dish. Add 3/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Microwave, covered, on high, for 10 to 14 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender, stirring twice. (Time will depend on size of potatoes and power of your microwave). Drain potatoes; set aside. Repeat with remaining uncooked potatoes, using additional water and salt.

Classic Potato Salad Dressing

In a medium bowl stir together 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise or salad dressing, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Red potatoes

Mushy Potato Salad?

  • If your potato salad always looks like a bowl of mayo-coated mush, you are probably using the wrong potatoes. Use the red skinned kind instead. Red potatoes have less starch, which means they will not mash in the salad like high-starch russets, Idahos, or Brooklyn's.
  • If you can't or don't wish to use red potatoes, Idaho white potatoes also make a good potato salad potato.
  • No matter what potato type you use, do NOT peel the potatoes before you boil them. Boil for about 20 minutes or until a knife sticks into them easily.

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