Mom's Potato Salad Recipe ♥

graphic button small size size 10 My mother's recipe for a traditional American-style homemade potato salad – it's the one potato salad I make again and again without needing a "recipe". And while not "diet food," the recipe calls for cooked eggs and cottage cheese so the potato salad contains a good measure of protein too. Fresh herbs really brighten the flavors! I make other potato salads on occasion but this is the one I come back to again and again, the one I make almost without thinking. graphic button small size size 10

WAY BACK IN 2006 A few weeks back, Michelle from the food blog "Je Mange la Ville" shared her Secrets to Amazing Potato Salad (scroll down, they're near the end). It got me to wondering why I'd yet to post my mother's potato salad "recipe" here on A Veggie Venture, despite making a big batch several times a summer.

So. Without further ado, here are my Mom's tricks for a classic potato salad and now, as mothers pass important things to daughters, my own "recipe" and tips too. Always.

graphic button small size size 10 The potatoes are cubed, skins on, to cook more evenly and quickly.
graphic button small size size 10 The dressing base is equal measures of mayonnaise (for me, reduced fat Hellman's, for Mom, her ever-lovin' Miracle Whip) and low-fat cottage cheese. (Update: In 2018, my new favorite mayonnaise is Duke's!)
graphic button small size size 10 The dressing includes three hard-boiled eggs plus sweet pickle relish.
graphic button small size size 10 Use a large wide bowl to make it easier to mix the dressing and then stir in the potatoes.
graphic button small size size 10 Add the potatoes to the dressing while they're still hot, so they soak up some of the liquid.

UPDATE So this is "my" go-to potato salad recipe, the one I can make almost in my sleep, no need for a recipe. This year, I used the same concept but substituted low-calorie and low-carb cauliflower for potatoes, making it a good choice for dieters and diabetics – and all who love cauliflower! See Cauliflower Potato Salad. It makes a big batch so is good for a crowd – but keeps for a good week, too, so is great for cooking ahead for family gatherings. Plus – I'm so pleased to know that this is the potato salad served at The Smiling Moon, the little coffeeshop and lunch cafe in my hometown in Minnesota!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups (with 2 pounds potatoes) or 10 cups (with 3 pounds potatoes)

Salted water to cover
2 – 3 pounds new potatoes, skins on, in small cubes

3 eggs, hard-boiled (see Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs), diced small

3/4 cup (175g) low-fat Hellman's mayonnaise
3/4 cup (185g) 1% cottage cheese
1 generous tablespoon good mustard
2 generous tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 a large sweet onion or yellow onion, chopped very fine (about 1 cup)
3 ribs celery, chopped very fine
Fresh dill or other fresh herbs, optional but wonderful
Salt & pepper to taste

POTATOES & EGGS Start the water to boil. Add the potatoes as they're prepped and cook, covered, until they're done. Hard-boil the eggs.

DRESSING Stir together the dressing ingredients, if you use a scale you can save a few dishes! Stir in the hot potatoes and eggs. Taste and adjust seasonings.

graphic button small size size 10 POTATOES In 2013, I used a mix of purple, red and white potatoes, very pretty! I wondered if the purple would seem “too weird” but there were just enough of them to add a little color without going overboard. In 2016, I used 3 pounds of potatoes instead of just 2 pounds. Yay, there was still plenty of sauce!
graphic button small size size 10 ADD-INS In that same batch in 2013, I added a half pound or more of cooked corn, very good! It added a texture contrast and a touch of sweetness that people really liked. In 2016, I stirred in some chopped radish and some bacon. Oh lordy, lordy.
graphic button small size size 10 COTTAGE CHEESE In St Louis, I adore Pevely 1% cottage cheese and the Dierberg's store-brand 1% cottage cheese which I'm quite sure is made by Pevely. The Trader Joe’s low-fat cottage cheese is great too.
graphic button small size size 10 COOKED EGGS Much to my surprise, I love using an inexpensive wire egg slicer, the neat little cubes are so cool!
graphic button small size size 10 NUTRITION NOTES This isn't diet food. But because a good portion of the calories come from high-calcium cottage cheese and high-protein eggs, as potato salad goes, it's relatively low in calories and even carbs.

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Still Hungry?


~ Warm German Potato Salad ~
~ Warm Sweet Potato Salad ~
~ Southwestern Potato Salad ~
~ more potato salad recipes (scroll down the page a bit) ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ~
~ Confetti Potato Salad ~
~ Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad ~
~ more salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2011 (repub), 2013, 2015 & 2018
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I like the shorthand. While I have all my recipes typed up and on my computer, I don't have a system like that to take with me. Cool and clever idea! I wanted to let you know I made the creamed turnips tonight (yum!) and posted about them, with links and reference back to you.

  2. This sounds great. I love my own mom's potato salad but I'm sure I'd like this one, too! Never used cottage cheese but it looks great.

  3. AnonymousJune 20, 2008

    I am trying to do WW on my own starting this week and came upon your site. It is fantastic! Your mom's potato salad recipe looks divine but I was wondering about the portion size. Is it one-half cup per serving?

  4. It is, so sorry, I work hard to make that clear but do sometimes overlook the serving size detail. But it's consistent throughout the site.

  5. Since this is so long after you posted the recipe, I'm sure I won't get a response, but I'm wondering why "~ horrors, I know ~ sweet pickle relish..." What's wrong with sweet pickle relish? Home made is especially good. Also, just wanted to let you know I grew up in Wyoming, and my Mom's standby also was Miracle Whip. I still prefer it myself.

  6. Hi GreenGrannie ~ Ha. Two years later and I have no idea. Maybe because sweet pickle is a little declasse? Hmm, not sure! But have also never had the pleasure of homemade sweet pickle, maybe this year! Thanks for taking a minute to write!

  7. ah, looks great..i just love potato salad~ never tried it with mustard though, should give this a try~ thanks~

  8. AnonymousJune 28, 2011

    I'm reading this today for the first time--it's my mother's recipe too, almost. She always added some Shedd's Old Style Sauce--a sort of mayo type sauce spiked with horseradish and mustard--I don't know if you can still buy it, i think not but not to worry--just add some horseradish to taste (not too much). And as for the cottage cheese, I guess it is mostly to extend the mayo without adding more calories from fat, she definitely would have done that if she had known--she was always trying to cut calories from everything.

  9. This recipe really reminds me of my grandmother's potatoe salad. I was never a fan of sweet pickles but in her memory I am up for a nice walk down memory lane. Thanks for the memory!

  10. AnonymousJuly 08, 2011

    Your Mom's potato salad looks lovely! I will have to try it. We grew up with Cain's mayo (New England!) onion and lemon and no egg, no cottage cheese. Also nice, very fresh. But the reason I had to comment is the photo. My mom has that same dish!

  11. Sounds wonderful! And, I always tell my friends and family that the very special seasonal or holiday recipes I prepare are not diet, they are fun, fabulous and are only enjoyed for short periods of time, so relax and just enjoy!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna