Best Ever Potato Salad

Potato salad falls into the same camp for me as egg salad. It’s a mayonnaise-based salad that I have long disliked because of how over the top mayonnaise-y it typically is. Until this recipe. It was a life changing experience and I neeeeeed to share it with you. This recipe comes from a friend’s grandmother and on the recipe card she gave me it is titled “Best Ever Potato Salad”. A bold statement and one that always gives me pause, but it is absolutely, 100% warranted in this case. First of all, I tend to trust old-school family recipes over others, second, the grandma was confident enough to call it the best, and lastly, it has a secret ingredient that takes it over the top. So I am totally comfortable in telling you that it is, indeed, the best ever.

The secret ingredient? Bacon drippings. Ahhhhhh.

Along with all of the great ingredients that give this salad a great depth of flavor and lots of texture, the dressing on this potato salad is what makes it insanely special. After frying up the bacon, you save a couple tablespoons of the bacon drippings and whisk in a modest amount of mayonnaise, some Dijon mustard, a bit of sugar and smidge of salt. It is ah-mazing. The flavor is robust, not terribly mayonnaise-y (huge bonus in my book), and a perfect accent to all of the flavors and textures in the salad.

I have served this to people who, like me, claim to hate potato salad because of how glumpy it can get with mayonnaise. I have also served it to people who claim that they only like their mom’s/grandma’s/aunt’s recipe and no others. All of these people? They have tripped over themselves raving about this potato salad, declaring it the best they’ve ever had.

So there you have it. The best potato salad, ever. You’ll want to keep this stashed away somewhere special for all of your summer parties and picnics! And be prepared for lots of recipe requests!

Two years ago: Pigu (Italian Gougeres)

Best Ever Potato Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour


4 cups cubed red potatoes
10 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, chopped
½ medium green pepper, chopped


1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. (If you're not sure how to boil the potatoes, this is a good resource.) Drain the potatoes and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet.

3. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and salt to the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet and whisk to combine.

4. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion and green pepper. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and gently stir to evenly coat. Stir in the bacon.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.


135 Responses to “Best Ever Potato Salad”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Katrina on April 18, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Neat idea! I can’t try it because I’m vegetarian, but I know my boy would love this!


    • brittney on January 9th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Make it vegetarian, i am also a ,vegetarian You could use veganaise instead of mayo smart bacon and tofu in replace of eggs.


  2. Silvia on April 18, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I was just wondering, is there no substitute for mayonnaise? Maybe greek yoghurt?


    • Michelle on April 18th, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Hi Silvia, I’ve never made potato salad with Greek yogurt or any mayo replacements, but you’ve done it in other recipes you could give it a try here.


    • Jo on April 22nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      Over “mayonnaisey” potato salad has always been a problem for me too – I do half mayonnaise and half sour cream. It retains the consistency pretty well but its not mayonnaise. :) I’ve never tried it with only sour cream but it seems like could work well!


    • brittney on January 9th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Veganaise is a mayonnaise replacement


  3. Ruth on April 18, 2011 at 5:26 am

    This really does look good. Bacon makes everything better!


  4. Puppydogs on April 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

    This sounds so yummy! except for the green pepper. Can’t eat it, so I will try it with out the pepper.


  5. Kim on April 18, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Bacon. Drippings. Oh yeah. This is soooo going on my Easter menu. I’ll put it next to my bacon mac & cheese and then everyone can pass out in a bacon coma.


  6. The Food Hound on April 18, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I JUST posted on potato salad! Bacon totally does the trick, doesn’t it? I’m with you on mayonnaise-y salads… I love ’em if I make ’em the way I like ’em! This looks awesome, and I love the celery addition. I made mine with BBQ seasoning for a new twist. YUM!


  7. Debbie on April 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I am trying this tonight! I have been trying to pry my friend’s grandmother’s recipe for over a year, IT was the best potato salad I have ever and it did contain bacon! Thank you so much…my hubbie will be much appreciative!


  8. Jenny Flake on April 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I absolutely love potato salad! Yours looks divine!! Bring on the crackers, I am ready!


  9. Maria on April 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Great potato salad recipe!


  10. susan@doughmesstic on April 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Of course it’s wonderful! Bacon drippings? Yes, please!


  11. Kristy on April 18, 2011 at 10:42 am

    This sounds amazing. Bacon drippings give everything such a better flavour, I will have to try it for sure.


  12. Marisa on April 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Hey, you had me at bacon drippings.


  13. Dana Salvo on April 18, 2011 at 11:12 am

    This is fabulous! I love everything about this recipe. From the bacon to the fact that you left the potato skins on! I make a similar recipe and add cubed chicken yum!


  14. HmarieK on April 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Bacon!! I love love love bacon! I am so glad you shared this :)


  15. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle on April 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

    This is so similar to my best potato salad recipe and what I love the most? No pickle relish! Mine does mix some sour cream with the mayo so in answer to Sylvia’s question I wouldn’t hesitate to mix it up a bit with yogurt; especially Greek yogurt since it’s got such body.

    Makes me want to make some . Now.


  16. Maris (In Good taste) on April 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Oh the secret is out! Hard to go wrong with bacon drippings! Can’t wait to try this!


  17. Kelly on April 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    This recipe looks great and, AS ALWAYS, your pictures are gorgeous!!


  18. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen on April 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Sinful! And I LOVE it!! :)


  19. hobby baker on April 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Oh yeah. Bacon drippings. They make just about anything better. With all deference to Benjamin Franklin, it is not beer, but bacon (and butter) that is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.


  20. Gwenevere on April 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Just yesterday I had a facebook conversation with a friend who let us all know that her daughters favorite FAT is bacon. I’ll be sending this recipe her way. It’s nice to see a recipe that uses the bacon grease…do you have other such recipes? it’s so flavorful that it’s kind of strange that you don’t see more recipes for it.


    • Sandra Witherington on December 19th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      If you aren’t too concerned about the fat content, Bacon is absolutely the best flavoring, for Potato salad and for Collards too. In the interest of health, you could substitute smoked turkey parts( leg or wings) in the collards. Remember to cook them long time befre the frost hits them. Afterwards 30 min to 1 hour will do.


  21. on April 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I LOVE anything with bacon! My mom made pilaf and would brown the rice first in a tablespoon of bacon grease. SO good! I’m looking forward to making this salad for sure. Oh—love the pictures too.


  22. Dave aka The Male Baker on April 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t know if this is weird but what about artichoke in these as well?! Great photos and post.


  23. Kate on April 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Heavenly! You had me sold at bacon drippings before I even saw the rest of the ingredients! My friend is having a bbq Friday night and was going to use Ina’s potato salad recipe. I think I must forward this along to her :-)


  24. Aleida on April 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I’m intrigued. I swear by my grandmother’s potato salad recipe which is savory and sweet. I’ve never heard of using bacon in potato salad though so I’d like to give this a try and see how it goes. I don’t know if this will be able to beat out my grandma’s recipe though, it lacks our tasty spices and secret ingredient. I don’t keep actual measurements (I do it all by sight and taste) or I would send it over for you to try out.


  25. The Mistress of Spices on April 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    You have this vegetarian drooling and actually wanting to try this…”best ever potato salad” is a bold claim but this sounds like it could be it! Maybe I’ll try it with veggie bacon. Thanks for the recipe!


  26. Stefanie on April 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Have you ever tried warm German Potato salad? My hubby is like you and dislikes mayo – this is our go-to potato salad at our house! And it has meat so it makes a quick and easy ‘skillet’ dinner too!! :)


  27. Devi @ Diddles and Dumplings on April 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    This recipe is EXACTLY what I was looking for!


  28. The Farmers Wife on April 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Bacon, Potatoes… Yes Please!!! Looks amazing!


  29. Tracy on April 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Okay, this looks incredible!! I love potato salad so I’m definitely going to try it!


  30. Kooky Girl on April 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    The bacon’s not for me. I prefer mine tasting really fresh with lemon juice and fresh herbs, and chives and black pepper, with a mix of greek yoghurt, garlic and mayo. Maybe I could take my bacon on the side, just not mixed in with the salad. :o)


  31. Tina From Pa on April 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    This sounds like my kind of Potato Salad.I’m not big on gloppy mayo salads, my 82 yr old Dad makes THE BEST GERMAN POTATO SALAD!!!!!!!!!! So I’m really spoiled,I have to make this soon!


  32. Cookin' Canuck on April 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    This does indeed sound like a fabulous potato salad – you can’t go wrong with bacon drippings. Your photos are looking really good, Michelle!


  33. Sarah @ The Pajama Chef on April 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    my husband might even like this potato salad! yum!


  34. Martha in KS on April 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Bacon – YES!!! Have you tried sour cream-dill potato salad? It’s basically dill dip with potatoes. You might like it. I found your blog last week & you’re in my Favorites.


  35. Alaska Food and Wine on April 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    You have once again proven my theory that anything – virtually anything – can be improved with the addition of bacon. Thanks for this perfect keeper recipe.


  36. Fran {The Flavorful Fork} on April 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Bacon makes everything better, doesn’t it? :)


  37. Erin on April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve only started liking potato salad in the past few years or so, and am picky about what I like, but this sounds like a great recipe! I will definitely have to try it.


  38. Alexandra on April 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I, too, am not a fan of the mayonnaisse-laden potato salad, but this recipe sounds delish! Your blog and Annie’s from Annie’s Eats are my favorite food blogs. I used to click on the link from Annie’s blog to view yours, but now I’ve just bookmarked your page :)


  39. Parsley Sage on April 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I always give potato salad a pass because of the ick-may factor. Bleh. ‘Modest mayo’ still sounds a bit dodgy but the fact that it gets mixed with FRAPPING BACON DRIPPINGS means I’ll suck it up. Well done!


  40. Tracey on April 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    You had me at bacon drippings :) I can’t wait to try this recipe this summer!


  41. Brittany on April 19, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I love potato salad, (we only have it at Christmas time though), and this looks super delicious. Bacon all the way.


  42. pink_dawn on April 19, 2011 at 8:33 am

    My mom makes it this way and its a huge hit!


  43. Gastronome Tart on April 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I love potato salad! The ultimate comfort food. I will have to give this recipe a try!


  44. Carri Ann on April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Is the skillet hot when you add the mayo and fixings to the bacon grease?


    • Michelle on April 19th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Carri Ann, Yes, the skillet is still hot when I add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the bacon grease. I use cast iron, so it takes quite some time for it to cool off.


  45. Joy on April 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I love love potato salad. This is a great recipe.


  46. The Waspy Redhead on April 21, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Bacon drippings – you are an evil genius!


  47. Erin on April 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    We have a very similar family recipe but we cut up sweet pickles instead of green peppers. It’s delish. And agree, it’s the bacon drippings that are the secret weapon.


  48. Eat and Write on April 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

    You clearly know how to get to a southerner’s heart! Potato salad is always awesome around here :) I saved your recipe in my inspiration notebook so I can remember to try it ASAP:


  49. Esther on April 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    i’m actually pretty excited to try this, and i don’t even like potato salad! there’s been maybe one kind ever that i can tolerate. so thank you!


  50. Wende on April 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    We love potato salad….especially with brisket. Can’t wait to give this a try….

    I shared your recipe on my Must Try Tuesday post…

    Thanks for sharing!


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