This BEST EVER Potato Salad recipe from grandma is easy, creamy, loaded with bacon, and a secret ingredient in the dressing puts it over the top! It converted me from being a potato salad hater to a potato salad lover! Please don’t go through the entire summer without making this at least once!

A bowl of potato salad with a serving spoon.

Potato salad falls into the same camp for me as egg salad. It’s a mayonnaise-based salad that I 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.

A pot of quartered red potatoes covered with water.

What Makes This Potato Salad the Best?

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.

Potato salad dressing whisked in a cast iron skillet.

How to Make Potato Salad Ahead of Time

I totally get it… you’re hosting a picnic, or you’ve been invited to a bbq and you don’t want to be throwing the potato salad together last minute, plus we all know that given some time to sit in the refrigerator only makes it exponentially better.

You can safely (and easily) make this potato salad up to 1 day in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator before serving.

A mixing bowl with all of the ingredients for potato salad.

I have served this to people who, like me, claim to hate potato salad because of how gloppy 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 recipe, declaring it the best they’ve ever had.

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

If You Like This Potato Salad Recipe, Try These Summery Salads:

A serving spoon scooping out potato salad from a bowl.

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Best Ever Potato Salad

The BEST EVER Potato Salad recipe from a friend's grandmother, with a special secret ingredient in the dressing! It converted me from being a potato salad hater to a potato salad lover!
4.78 (87 ratings)


  • pounds (680.39 g) red potatoes, cut into small cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 12 ounce (340.2 g) package bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup (168 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ (0.5) medium green pepper, finely diced


  • 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.
  • 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 and remove the pan from heat.
  • Add the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and salt to the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet and whisk to combine.
  • 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.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Nutritional values are based on one serving
Calories: 574kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 1032mg, Potassium: 714mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 250IU, Vitamin C: 19.1mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in April 2011, updated with new photos in June 2016, and refreshed again with updated photos, a video, and extra recipe success tips.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]