Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 29, 2006 01:52 PM

while we're on the subject of potato salad...

Sometimes when I make potato salad, after it's refrigerated for a while it gets watery. This is for a mayonaise based salad, with onion, celery, hard cooked egg, etc, and even though I do drain the potatoes well, this sometimes happens. Any ideas on how to prevent?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I wonder if your mayo isn't reacting with the onion and celery? These are the only juicy ingredients in your list. Salt and acid can cause the juices to leach out. I would add the mayo just before serving. Hope this helps.

    1. I think you have a point about onion and celery reacting with the salt...but what if one needs to make the salad ahead, and I actually like it when it's been well-chilled. There must be a way, without adding the mayo at the last minute, no?

      1 Reply
      1. re: JPomer

        If you want to mix all the ingredients together well before serving you have to treat the onion somehow - my guess is this is the main culprit. There are a few ways to do this:

        (1) macerate the onion with salt before adding it to your salad. A heavy sprinkling of salt rubbed into the onions will draw out most of the liquid in about 15 - 30 minutes. Drain off, rinse if you have salt residue, put into salad. This will have less crunch than untreated onions but shouldn't be watery.

        (2) cook the onions. This definitely changes both taste and texture, but most German potato salads do this so it's not totally crazy. A quick saute in oil will seal in the onion juices.

        (3) substitute for the onions. Again this changes the salad, but another member of the onion family with less juice will give you a similar flavor - I'm thinking of scallions or green garlic.

      2. If you are using a low fat mayo, that may be your problem. It does tend to get watery

        1. No. Regular Best Foods/Hellman's

          1. This only happens to me sometimes. I am convinced it has to do with the freshness of the potatoes and the onion. Probably more likely the onion.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Subee

              I actually always thought it was the celery, because it happens occasionally with my egg salad. Interesting that you use egg & celery in the potato salad- maybe it's the eggs, because I've never had the problem with chicken salad.

              1. re: pamd

                I just ate a chicken salad sandwich. I made the salad last night. It happened to this batch. I don't know how long that red onion has been in my fridge. Regardless it was delicious!