When Betsy and I used to live in DC, I remember springtime, which is hands down the best time of the year in the district. Unfortunately, it usually only lasts a few weeks before we would move into what I like to call the Unbearable Swamp of Summer which lasts about 5 months. But these few weeks were always some of my favorite DC weather. Perfect temperatures, blue skies, and lots of barbecues for which you can bring wonderful potato salads like this Red Bliss Potato Salad!
Now we live in Denver and we have traded the Unbearable Swamp of Summer for the Unbearable Smoke of Summer. But either way, this potato salad is a great salad for a BBQ!
Some people have some really strong opinions about potato salad. Many hate mayonnaise. Some people dislike mustard. Some hate dill. Trigger warning: My salad has all of those things in it so it might not be for you.
Have no fear though. The great thing about potato salad is that you can customize it to your liking on the fly. There’s really only one ingredient that’s essential: potatoes.
What are Red Bliss Potatoes?
Red bliss potatoes or red-skinned potatoes are usually smaller potatoes and have very thin skin. Most of the time I don’t bother peeling these potatoes because the skin just folds into whatever you are cooking without too much trouble and peeling them would actually be tricky since the skin is so thin.
Red bliss potatoes tend to be less starchy than Russet potatoes. I love to use them in potato salads because they aren’t fussy and cook quickly. I also like to use them in dishes like these Parmesan Smashed Potatoes.
These days you can find red bliss potatoes in most supermarkets and markets in the US. They are usually sold in 3-pound bags or 1 1/2 pound bags so you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly if you are making a smaller version.
Other Potatoes you can use for this potato salad
If you can’t find red bliss potatoes, don’t just X out of this recipe. It’s still makeable with many kinds of potatoes. I would stay away from starchier potatoes like Russets, but any smaller, waxy potato that you don’t need to bother peeling works well.
Prepping the Red Bliss Potatoes
Ok. So most of this recipe, as with most salads I guess, just involves a lot of chopping. But the one thing you need to cook is your potatoes.
Spend some time to make sure you scrub them all well and cube them into roughly the same size. That’ll make sure they cook evenly and also make the salad easier to eat since the potatoes will all be the same size.
Cooking the potatoes is maybe the only tricky thing about this recipe. Here are the things to remember:
- Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water (1 Tablespoon kosher salt per gallon of water is a good start).
- Depending on the size of your potatoes, they’ll take somewhere from 8-10 minutes to become fork tender.
- Don’t want to overcook your potatoes. Mushy potatoes don’t make great potato salad. Just keep an eye on them and try one every few minutes.
- When you’re done cooking them, put them into salted ice water. This will shock them and stop the cooking. It’s a really important step. I do this by putting all my potatoes in a colander and then submerging the colander into a very large bowl of ice water. You could obviously just add the potatoes to ice water and drain them afterward if you don’t have this set up.
Other Potato Salad Ingredients
Besides the potatoes, you really just need to chop up a lot of stuff.
Earlier when I said that the only thing I think potato salad has to have is potatoes, I was kind of lying. I also think that potato salad has to have red onion in it. Everything else can be changed or substituted, but red onion is pretty important in my book. It gives a great bite to the finished salad.
Some people hate dill. Some people love it. You won’t be able to make everybody happy. Personally, I love it and I was the one making the salad so I added it!
If you’re worried about the flavor of the dill, just go light on it. It can definitely overpower the salad if you use too much.
The light dressing
Yet another contentious issue involves the dressing for potato salad. Some people just don’t do mayonnaise and that’s fine. I’ve had potato salad with olive oil or honestly you might be able to just use all Greek yogurt if you’re looking for something creamy. For me though, mayonnaise is fantastic (and homemade mayo is the best in potato salad). I don’t eat it very often, but sometimes it really hits the spot.
I added spices to mine like mustard, cayenne, and some paprika. You could leave any of these out or adjust to your tastes. Mix up your dressing first and then add your potatoes. Make sure they are well coated.
Then just add in all your other chopped veggies and herbs and stir it up! Be sure to taste for salt and pepper at this point. Mine definitely needed a good pinch of both.
Chilling and storing the potato salad
Ideally, you could make this a day before you need it. This salad only gets better after some time in the fridge. At a minimum I’d recommend 3 or 4 hours in the fridge, but the day before would be best honestly. Once it is made it keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.
So there ya go. My red bliss potato salad which has basically every ingredient that people tend to have a problem with. What can I say… I like to start trouble.
What’s essential for a potato salad in your mind? Leave a comment!
Red Bliss Potato Salad
- 3 pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
- ½ large red onion, diced
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- ½ green pepper, diced
- 3-4 radishes, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 2-3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ⅔ Cup mayonnaise
- ⅔ Cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon dried mustard
- 2 Teaspoons paprika
- Big pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ Teaspoon cayenne, very optional
- Scrub potatoes and cube them so they are roughly the same size. About 1/2 inch cubes is best.
- Boil potatoes in salted water (1 Tbsp/gallon) until they are fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and dunk them in ice water to stop the cooking.
- Chop up all your other ingredients and herbs.
- Stir everything together and whisk together your dressing in a separate bowl (mayo, yogurt, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper).
- Mix dressing with salad and chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.