12 Ingredients That Don’t Belong in Potato Salad. EVER


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Few things taste like lazy summers and picnics the way potato salad does. While there’s certainly some creativity to be had in this classic side dish, there are also some major no-nos when it comes to ingredients. Add these to your potato salad at your own peril!

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1. Sweet Pickles

Good potato salad is slightly salty and creamy. There’s no room for sweet, and that goes for sweet pickles, also known as cornichons. If you’re looking for crunch, add celery, bell peppers, or onions. Or if you must have pickles, go for dill.

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2. Crunchy Potatoes

Don’t be lazy and undercook your potatoes, or you’ll ruin your potato salad. Potatoes should be slightly firm but still provide a creamy mouthfeel. If you’re in a hurry, cut the potatoes into pieces before cooking to speed up the process.

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3. Overcooked Potatoes

On the other end of the spectrum, we have mushy potatoes. That’s fine if you’re making mashed potatoes, but potato salad is another animal entirely. If you’re using Yukon Gold potatoes, boiling them for 15 minutes should be sufficient. If you overcook them, change gears and make mashed potatoes. Your friends will thank you for not ruining their potato salad experience.

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4. Miracle Whip

There will be those who argue this point, but see #1: potato salad shouldn’t be sweet. Miracle Whip is a far cry from the traditional mayonnaise that helps the ingredients in potato salad shine, so leave it in the fridge. Plus, it’s loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and who wants that at a picnic?

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5. Shredded Cheese

Look online for potato salad recipes and you’re bound to find a few with shredded cheddar cheese listed as an ingredient. The problem is: potato salad is served cold, and there’s nothing yummy about a blop of cold shredded cheese on top of your potatoes.

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6. Overboiled Eggs

While many Southerners add boiled eggs to their potato salad, they know not to overboil the eggs. If the yolks are greenish, the flavor of the salad may be overpowered by the bitter, sulfurous taste and smell of overcooked eggs. Even Sam I Am draws a hard line at this.

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7. Nuts

Again, you can likely find recipes calling for walnuts or other nuts or seeds to fancify potato salad, but steer clear. Potato salad is a comfort food, and you shouldn’t have to exert energy chomping down on nuts to enjoy it.

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8. Fruit

Another aberration of potato salad involves fruit. Raisins, cranberries, dried fruit…it all should be banned from the kitchen when potato salad is on the menu. Back to our first point: potato salad should never be sweet!

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9. Russet Potatoes

Potatoes fall in three categories: waxy, starchy, and all-purpose. While waxy and all-purpose make for that delicious potato goodness we love, starchy potatoes don’t really lend themselves well to the dish. That means you’re better off not using Russet or other starchy spuds.

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10. Fancy Spices

Curry, cumin, coriander…anything you put on dishes from other countries isn’t going to make your potato salad more worldly. Instead, stick to the basics: salt and pepper, and maybe a dash of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or paprika.

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11. Everyday Mustard

That French’s yellow mustard that’s been aging in your fridge door may sound like a decent substitute for the whole-grain mustard that the recipe calls for, but don’t be tempted. Yellow mustard can be overpowering in flavor, and will all but destroy the delicate flavors you’re aiming for. Instead, try just a couple of tablespoons of the good stuff. We promise you’ll taste the difference when you use the fancy mustard.

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12. Too Much Acid

You might think you can just toss ingredients haphazardly into your potato salad without carefully measuring, but if you overdo the vinegar or lemon juice, your salad will be ruined. Add the acid slowly. You can always add more; you can’t take it away.

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Tips for a Tasty Potato Salad

Now that you know what NOT to include in your potato salad, here are a few takeaways for making the best potato salad ever.

  • Salt the potato water
  • Use the right potatoes
  • Chop the potatoes before boiling
  • Let potatoes and eggs cool before combining
  • Peel skins off after potatoes are boiled and cooled
  • Add vinegar to warm potatoes
  • Add a small amount of crunch: celery, onions, bell peppers, or dill pickles.
  • Let it sit in the fridge for a day to meld the flavors
  • Always make more than enough to share!

While dishes will always evolve, making way for new discoveries and leaving others behind (can we bid a fond adieu to aspic?), some classics like potato salad will always be here…and they should always remain unadulterated in their creamy, unctuous goodness.

This story was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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