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Potato Salad Using Baking Potatoes?

Hi All,
I would like to make potato salad to accompany bbq chicken and baked beans. I have 2 large baking potatoes here at home, and don't feel like going out to get red or other waxy potato.
Has anyone done potato salad with this less than desirable type of potato? What was your method of cooking the potato?

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  1. How about just taking extra care when mixing the salad? You could, for example, mix the dressing and other ingredients, and just pour it over the sliced potatoes without any further mixing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      Thank you--I was very careful when tossing. See below for report!

    2. I didn't have potato salad with anything but the baking potatoes (Russet) until I was an adult. The "other" potatoes aren't the norm in most parts of the country, particularly the midwest. :)

      They do taste fine, the trick is not to drown them. You may consider steaming them to cook instead of boiling them.

      Otherwise, they are just fine!

      1. I boil them whole and the peel and cube, tastes great!

        1 Reply
        1. re: lseavey

          Yeah, I do this too, and am careful not to overcook. I can rarely get anything other than baking potatoes.

        2. Thanks for the reinforcement!
          I don't think Mom ever made it with anything other than russet, but I've been using red for so long, I just wasn't sure if I'd be OK using these.

          1. Bake the potatoes on the grill and slightly undercook. The char gives a lovely flavour to potato salad (I usually dress the potato salad while potatoes are still warm to they absorb the other flavours better).

            1. OK, so I used 2 large russet taters. I peeled and sliced them into cubes and brought them to a boil until tender. Dressed with a mayo/yogurt/mustard concoction and mixed with celery and green onion.
              While the potatoes are on the soft side, it will certainly hold together. Big, huge improvement over grocery store salad.

              16 Replies
              1. re: monavano

                I'll give a belated vote in favor of russets. They were what we always considered normal for potato salads back in the Midwest, and for a long time it really puzzled me that so many recipes would call for the "wrong" kind.

                Most of your serious potato-salad mavens insist on boiling the potatoes whole and then peeling them. Unless I'm using the smaller russets, well under what we'd call baking size, I've had no luck doing that without a soft outer and rocky inner result, and I don't like to peel a cooked potato and find it's black inside! But I do get better results by cutting peeled ones into quarters and then dicing them when hot. This is why we have rubber gloves …

                1. re: Will Owen

                  I'm hesitant to boil potatoes in their jackets (Irish gasp!) for the reasons you mentioned. I peeled and cut them down to size out of pure laziness! I think they'd be a bit firmer if I'd quartered them, which I normally do when mashing.
                  Overall, it's a thumbs up and thanks to all for your advice and encouragement. My DH adores potato salad, so he's going to be especially happy tonight!

                  1. re: monavano

                    Yeah, after many episodes of hearing "Nice mashed potato salad, Will!" I learned that you want them a little harder than you think you do - still firm enough to want a sharp knife to cut them up. They keep that potato flavor better, too - not as well as when boiled in their jackets, but it's a good compromise.

                    Golly, I hope we've lost some significant weight by the time serious potato salad weather gets here. I do love it so, and despise the low-cal versions …

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Now wait!! I made mine low cal today!!
                      I used 1/2 C. low fat mayo, 1/2 C. 0% Fage, dijon, paprika, celery and hard boiled egg. It soooo creamy and guilt-free. Well, almost guilt free.
                      I sub in the fage all the time and the heft and taste just really makes it. Now, German potato salad--there will be no short cuts!

                      1. re: monavano

                        I agree with everything but the low fat mayo. If you read the labels for both kinds, you'll see that instead of fat they've loaded it up with carbohydrates, and those are the simple kind that add a major glycemic load. The healthiest mayonnaise would be a homemade one with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, unless you're squeamish about raw egg, but a decent bottled one - especially at the small quantities you're using - is better for your bod than the low-fat.

                        Thanks for the Fage tip; my tendency is to go with sour cream, and I really need to stop doing that.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          complaining about the carbs in low-fat mayonnaise on potato salad seems to be a little pointless.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            You know...I think I'll have to take a look at the label!

                        2. re: Will Owen

                          I like full-fat Best Foods mayonnaise-dressed Russet potato salad absolutely better than any other kind: Potatoes, hard-boiled egg, diced celery, pickle relish, and a mayo dressing tarted up with just a touch of mustard, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Whenever there's any left over, it's almost a guarantee that you will find me on the couch at 1 a.m. watching cooking show reruns and loving the creamy, crunchy, tangy deliciousness of it.

                          1. re: mamachef

                            I was raised where it says Hellman's on the label, but I'm with you. Dill took the place of celery seed (just a little) but yum.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Honestly, sunshine842, my first mayo association is the Hellman's name too. I have to remind myself that we're WEST o' the Rockies now, not in the Heartland. : ) And I'm with you on the dill, especially if the relish is dill relish, not sweet.
                              An awesome salad (we call it bean and potato, to differentiate it from the classic) is to toss green beans and halved new potatoes in a tarragon/chive dressing, tossed with crumbled hardboiled egg. Definitely not classic picnic salad, not what I'd bring if I offered to "bring the potato salad" but worth remembering when you're trying to head uptown with the 'taters.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I actually used a squeeze of dill (Gourmet Garden) in my salad yesterday. I'm really loving this substitute in lieu of the real thing, which can be scarce and $$ this time of year.

                                1. re: monavano

                                  monavano, those garden gourmets ARE handy, aren't they? they have a nice variety, and now do "blends" like "thai" and others.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I make a delicious Asian-style soup with the Lemongrass tube. Who has lemongrass just laying around? Just sayin'!

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      ramona, i even use that lemongrass (and some fish sauce and green onion) to doctor el-cheapo ramen soups when it's 3 am and i don't want to miss the opening scenes of law & order. ;-).

                              2. re: mamachef

                                mamachef, your potato salad sounds perfecto.

                                git in ma belly, 'tater salad!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  LOL girl I LOVE that commercial!

                      2. Cook's Illustrated taught me that sprinkling the vinegar directly onto the hot potato slices makes a big difference, really melding the flavors of the potato and the dressing. Mix up the rest of your dressing ingredients and stir into the potatoes once they are cooler (if you want warm potato salad) or cold.

                        I never boil potatoes, for anything. Steaming them whole, unpeeled, maximizes the potato flavor. Stick a fork into the hot spud, and slide a sharp or serrated knife over the skin to peel it easily.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: greygarious

                          I definitely think I'll steam in the jackets next time. Dressing with vinegar while warm is genius. Thanks!

                          1. re: greygarious

                            I also sprinkle the potatoes when they are warm, but I use pickle juice instead of vinegar.

                          2. I love Russets for potato salad. I've found the best way to get consistent results is to steam the potatoes AFTER they're cubed. I cube peeled raw potatoes to 1/2" and put into a steamer insert over boiling water in a saucepan. About 13 minutes they're right where I want them.

                            I also love baking them first -- when we have baked potatoes I bake extras to save in the refrigerator. Cube them skin and all for a great Baked Potato Salad.

                            Tip #2: Dump the hot potatoes from the steamer into a large mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup vinegar for 4-5 potatoes (I like rice wine vinegar, but cider or white works too). Mix gently every 10 or 15 minutes until cooled then add rest of the goodies. The vinegar gets absorbed into the hot potatoes much better than cold.

                            1. I eat "baked" potato salad all the time. Russets slightly under baked, cooled, refrigerated, Peel, dice, and fold....


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                Wow! I generally have russets on hand and now I'm confident that they are wonderful for a potato salad. Great tips!

                              2. Another thing I like is "whipped potato" salad. Basically you whip up the potatoes leaving some small chunks for texture but it's otherwise smooth. Add in your other ingredients and incorporate. I have no idea why I like it this way but I think it's because every bite then has flavor, you don't get large bites of just potato.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: eperdu

                                  one of my grandmothers made this regularly with leftover mashed potatoes. It wasn't my favorite, but I never turned it down, either.

                                  The other grandmother made traditional potato salad with baking potatoes, and dressed it while the potatoes were still warm (she eventually quit peeling them before she boiled them, as peeling them after boiling was far less painful for her arthritic hands, and the warm, steamy potatoes actually helped with her dexterity).