This fantastic loaded baked potato salad plays an awesome sidekick to your finger-licking barbecued meats and travels well as a side dish for a potluck.
Read on for complete directions and tips for making this fun twist on classic potato salad—plus, learn about flavoring hacks that will ensure that you never serve a bland potato salad again!
What makes this potato salad different?
Unlike many potato salads you'll see out there, this one has no mayonnaise. As you'd find IN a loaded baked potato, I use sour cream.
This keeps the calorie count in check despite the addition of bacon and cheese.
ALSO, since I can't imagine adding them to a baked potato, I don't add any hard-boiled eggs.
Why is my potato salad bland?
First, you may be cutting your potatoes into pieces that are too large. I use baby potatoes in my potato salads and cut them into ~½" pieces.
It's a surface-to-volume thing.
Here's what I mean: a whole object has a lower surface-to-volume ratio than that same object cut into smaller pieces.
Why do we care?!
Cutting objects into smaller sizes means that MORE surface area is exposed to flavoring agents. Let's do a visual demo. For the purposes of simplicity (and because I'm a terrible artist), let's think of our potato as a 3-dimensional cube:
So the point is that smaller cubes have more exposed surface that flavor can stick to!
The only caveat with cutting potatoes into smaller and smaller chunks is that they take less time to cook. And if you cut them TOO small, they're no longer recognizable as potatoes. So quartering, which, in baby potatoes, gives about ½" cubes, is as small as I go.
Flavoring in stages
Second, you're probably not salting the potatoes in stages. If you wait until the end, when the potatoes are cooked and cooled, it's too late.
The other flavoring secret to any awesome potato salad is to season and/or dress the potatoes while they're still hot.
This is perfect for vinaigrette-based dressings. However, this rule does not extend to those containing mayonnaise. Or, in this case, sour cream: badness ensues when these substances suddenly encounter heat.
Instead, I toss the hot potatoes with two big pinches of salt and a quarter cup of rice vinegar. I spread the potatoes out on a sheet pan to cool down for about 20 minutes. Then, while the potatoes are still slightly warm, I mix them into the dressing.
Then I chill until I'm ready to take the potato salad to my party.
Remember: if you're taking loaded baked potato salad to a potluck, be sure to take food safety precautions. Keep the salad chilled so that it doesn't grow nasty bacteria and sicken your entire party!
So, without further ado, here is Loaded Baked Potato Salad—my favorite potato salad recipe. Enjoy!!
You'll find tons of side dish inspiration here: my new favorite is an unusual spin on a traditional side dish: Chimichurri Pasta Salad. Or, for more potluck and cookout recipe inspo than you could possibly ever need, check out my Virtual Memorial Day Potluck Recipes Roundup!
Or for a regular-old get-together, you can find our favorite 20 potluck/cookout recipes at Memorial Day Recipes 2021!
- 1 ½ lbs baby potatoes, washed
- ¾ cup scallions or chives, sliced
- ¾ cup crumbled, cooked bacon
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup rice vinegar, unseasoned
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon tarragon
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, halve or quarter the new potatoes into roughly uniform (!½") chunks. Boil the potatoes until easily pierced with a paring knife, 8-10 minutes (less for smaller pieces).
- Mix the herbs, mustard, onion powder, sour cream, pickle relish, two pinches of salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a large bowl to make the dressing. When the potatoes are ready, drain well and toss them with the vinegar and two generous pinches of salt. Spread them on a sheet pan and keep at room temperature to cool for 20 minutes.
- Before the potatoes have cooled completely, mix them into the dressing. Check the seasoning, adjusting as needed.
- Reserve a small portion of each of the baked potato “toppings,” mixing the rest in with the remaining ingredients, then sprinkle reserved toppings over the top. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: ½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!
"Traditional" Potato Salad: A delicious spin on the traditional mayo-based potato salad recipe with flavoring hacks to make sure that the potatoes are well seasoned.