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May 4, 2014 04:55 PM

Potato Salad - dressing question

Spring means I start making potato salad, so I made my first batch of the season yesterday. Now, I really like my potato salad recipe, but occasionally think the dressing could be a little thinner so the salad would be a bit looser on the plate.

For reference, I use red potatoes (cooked in salted water & dressed while still warm with vinegar), hard-cooked eggs, celery, red onion, mayonnaise, a very small amount of brown mustard, a pinch of sugar, and black pepper. Garnish: parsley & paprika.

I've been looking over various recipes, and read a few threads here on the HC board. I see a variety of ingredients used to thin the dressing, and almost as many recipes that don't bother to do so.

Water, milk, pickle juice, lemon juice, more vinegar, oil; all have their adherents. I'm wondering what do you use? Or is your potato salad just fine as-is? Maybe mine is too, and I'm just over-thinking this.

The only thing I won't add is sour cream; that goes in my cole slaw dressing, and I like the salads to have different flavor profiles when they get served together.

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  1. I love a little sweet pickle juice added to my potato salad. Gives it an unidentifiable little extra something! And a pinch or two of celery salt.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      I might try that with the juice of some bread & butter pickles I have in the fridge.

    2. I use mayonnaise sparingly and add a little extra oil to thin it.

      1. Maybe a splash of buttermilk will do what you want.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          There's something I hadn't thought of. Now I love buttermilk in baked goods, but haven't made any salad dressings with it. Will it change the flavor much?

          1. re: mcsheridan

            Maybe a little tangy. Since you use vinegar in your recipe, I doubt it will be that noticeable.

          2. re: Uncle Bob

            I use a splash of heavy cream or half and half. Mine is mainly mayo, but thinned with oil and Heinz white vinegar plus the dairy, whisked until it has the consistency of whipped cream. I also put powdered mustard in there, but the salt and pepper is on the cooked potatoes, along with another dash of oil, while they are warm so it absorbs.

            I use olive oil, but hey, I'm in NY!

          3. My go to potato salad is potatoes (not too particular as long as they're white potatoes), salad dressing (yeh, I use Miracle Whip in this) or mayo + a bit of sugar, yellow mustard, chopped onions & celery, chopped hard boiled eggs, a little salt, pepper and paprika....and sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles with their juices.

            I like my potato salad on the thick side but if i need to thin it out, I use extra pickle juice. Once, I didn't have quite enough salad dressing so I whisked some thousand island dressing with it; it was delicious. Now, I sometimes make the potato salad with thousand island. If I'm out of celery, I use a little celery seed.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Cherylptw

              I grew up w/Miracle Whip too; however I now like mayonnaise, Dijon mustard & capers in the mix.

              1. re: Taralli

                I like mayo too, usually with whole grain mustard, a little grape seed oil, roasted & pureed onions & garlic and herbs like chives, parsley and thyme mixed with roasted red potatoes..totally different potato salad.

              2. re: Cherylptw

                That's two mentions of pickle juice and celery seed. Worth thinking about, even if I already have the celery (of course, there are those people who don't like celery at all, poor things.)

                1. re: mcsheridan

                  I used chopped celery and onion and a bit of grated carrot; tried the seed once but didn't seem to add much. If you didn't put fresh I could see it though.

              3. I prefer for my PS to bind together. Maybe save some of the salted cooking water to add back into your finished product.