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making potato salad the night before?

cookingofjoy Jun 22, 2012 08:39 PM

We're going to be having a little family get together at our place. We have an old home, so just a couple window units, no central air. If possible, I'd like to make the potato salad the night before (less heat with the boiling). Would there be any problems with making the salad the night before? Or should/could I boil the potatoes and eggs and mix the salad together the day of?

  1. twyst Jun 22, 2012 08:41 PM

    I think potato salad is one of those things that is BETTER the next day.

    Its definitely fine to mix it the night before as far as food safety guidelines go, as a matter of fact I think its fine to go as far as 72 hours with it if you really need to.

    1. porker Jun 22, 2012 09:29 PM

      I agree with twyst - make ahead and let the flavors meld.
      You say things like "couple window units, no central air" and "boil the potatoes and eggs and mix the salad together the day of"
      I'm wondering if you wanna make the salad the day before and let it sit on the counter?
      Or are you saying if you boil stuff during the night, it won't be so uncomfortable?
      Not quite sure of your meaning, but I think you can easily make the salad 1-2 days ahead - just mix the ingredients when they are cold (potatoes & eggs& mayo & rest of ingredients) and keep in fridge until ready to go.
      PS: add some cayenne for kick and/or some Old Bay for interest and/or some pickle juice just because you can.

      4 Replies
      1. re: porker
        twyst Jun 22, 2012 09:33 PM

        "PS: add some cayenne for kick"

        Most definitely. I actually like to boil my potatoes with some louisiana crawfish/crab boil seasoning every now and then to really kick it up a notch!

        The absolute BEST potato salad I ever had was made with leftover potatoes from a crawfish boil, along with the boiled onions and garlic from the boil. Getting hungry just thinking about it!

        1. re: porker
          coll Jun 23, 2012 03:37 AM

          I love my own potato salad, but on a whim just bought some made at Whole Foods that incorporated a bit of chipotle. A nice change, especially for a BBQ.

          1. re: porker
            cookingofjoy Jun 23, 2012 10:56 AM

            Gosh, sorry I was unclear. Definitely no counter sitting! I was thinking if it wouldn't work to mix with the dressing the day before, I'd at least be able to get the potatoes and eggs boiled, and then in the fridge to cut for the salad the day of. The air conditioner comment really was just about trying to keep the house more comfortable.

            "I think you can easily make the salad 1-2 days ahead - just mix the ingredients when they are cold (potatoes & eggs& mayo & rest of ingredients) and keep in fridge until ready to go."
            This is perfect! Thanks!

            1. re: cookingofjoy
              coll Jun 23, 2012 11:49 AM

              I just made cole slaw for dinner tonight and am annoyed I didn't get to it earlier. Ditto potato and macaroni salad. They really need to sit and absorb the brine, preferably eight hours or more.

          2. greygarious Jun 23, 2012 03:44 AM

            It will be fine in the refrigerator for at least a week so feel free to pick the coolest day to make the salad. Keep in mind that the general consensus is that it is best to sprinkle the vinegar onto the potatoes while they are still hot and will absorb it. Wait for them to cool before adding mayo, egg, etc. This allows the potato to be flavored with the dressing rather than just bathed in it.

            1. r
              ricepad Jun 23, 2012 10:04 AM

              I ALWAYS make potato salad the night before. Like twyst, I think it's better after a night in the fridge.

              1. c
                cookingofjoy Jun 23, 2012 10:52 AM

                Thank you for all the replies and tips! It'll definitely be made today (at 84) and not tomorrow (in the nineties and storming). I'll have to try the sprinkling vinegar first - I've not tried that before,but it makes sense. And the cayenne or Old Bay sounds like a really good idea, too, along with the boiling in the seasoning. These potatoes will get special treatment :)

                6 Replies
                1. re: cookingofjoy
                  coll Jun 23, 2012 11:51 AM

                  I was taught to sprinkle with olive oil while still a little warm, but that's my Italian MIL talking. (Wish she could still talk to me about food!) Now I do a little oil and a little vinegar, it definitely intensifies the results.

                  1. re: cookingofjoy
                    porker Jun 23, 2012 06:42 PM

                    Congrats & happy birthday! I hope I'm still making potato salad at eighty-four!

                    1. re: porker
                      twyst Jun 23, 2012 06:58 PM

                      pretty sure she meant it was 84 degrees unless she has a time machine that will put her into her 90's tommorow :p

                      1. re: twyst
                        porker Jun 24, 2012 04:56 AM

                        Just imagine what that time machine can do for her potater salad!

                        1. re: porker
                          cookingofjoy Jun 24, 2012 08:08 PM

                          That was very kind, though, porker - It was my kids' birthday party, so I'll take the wishes for them :)

                          Again, thanks for the tips! I've only made potato salad maybe twice before, so not much experience, but I love the vinegar and I tried the cayenne this time, which I really liked. And the texture today was much better with the rest than last night. I could see the difference between 'flavored' and 'bathed'.

                          And the weather was great! Instead of storming in the nineties, by party time it was clear and eighties - perfect!

                          1. re: cookingofjoy
                            porker Jun 25, 2012 06:42 AM

                            You said up-thread: "Gosh, sorry I was unclear......" so I was just funnin and trying to expound on the theme...

                  2. q
                    Querencia Jun 23, 2012 06:59 PM

                    Why is making it ahead of time problematic if you are going to refrigerate it? I would make it at least a day ahead of time so the flavors can blend. Just make sure your fridge is holding to a temp no greater than 40* Fh. Boil your potatoes, boil your eggs, cool all of them ASAP, mix the salad, and get it into the refrigerator. Absolutely don't let it sit around unrefrigerated.

                    1. weezieduzzit Jun 23, 2012 07:01 PM

                      A local place that has potato salad that people rave about told me that they boil the potatoes whole with their skins on and let them cool overnight in a colander over a bowl. They peel and dice/smash the potatoes the next morning. It has the nicest, creamiest texture- you would think there are far more ingredients in it than there are because of the texture.

                      Now I always start making it at least a day early.

                      1. k
                        kseiverd Jun 25, 2012 07:17 AM

                        A little OT... on holding food... if fridge space is at a premium. I'd probably go overboard on ice and coolers. A decent cooler will keep ice from melting and keep food cold nicely for quite a while. Hadda LIVE outta coolers a few years ago for about 5 days when original fridge/freezer died. Only hadda buy ice 2-3 times during almost a week to keep fridge perishables nice and cold.

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