Introduction: How to Make a Bonafide Southern Potato Salad

About: Human who loves learning from others and sharing what she knows

Being Southern born, I know how to make a potato salad. This is a food group all it's own. You will find at least a half dozen at any and all church dinners and family reunions.

Actually doing an instructable on this was difficult for me because, I have made so many, I don't even think about it. Muscle memory seems to take over when I am fixing this dish.

So gather up the groceries, rattle those pots and pans and let's make a potato salad.

Step 1: What You Will Need - Groceries List - Must Haves

You will need several ingredients to make a potato salad.

  • Ummmm....first you will need potatoes. When I make a potato salad, I generally use a 5 pound bag of white potatoes.
  • Three (3) Large eggs
  • A Medium Yellow Onion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Okay, you got everything together? Good, now we can move on to the utensils you will need.

Step 2: Utensils Needed - Must Haves

Any masterpiece is as wonderful as it's individual parts. So I am particular about what pots and pans I use for certain things.

So here is the list of equipment I use for my potato salad.

  1. A pot to boil the potatoes
  2. An enamel pan to boil the eggs
  3. A good sharp pairing knife to peel the potatoes
  4. A colander to drain the potatoes
  5. A "cabbage chopper" to chop up the eggs
  6. Wooden Spoons
  7. Measuring Spoons

Step 3: Boil Your Eggs

Like I said, it was hard for me to write down how to do this because I am multitasking when I make a potato salad. I will be working on different steps at the same time.

First thing I do is to put my eggs on to boil. See the red egg shaped blob in the photo above? That is my egg timer. I just drop it in and once the entire thing turns purple, the eggs are hard boiled.

When you boil the eggs, make sure you put them in cold water. Turn your stove eye on high and let them boil. Doing some research, if you don't have the handy dandy drop in the pan egg timer, it takes approximately 10 minutes.

Once the eggs are boiled. Allow them to cool. This process can be aided by running cold water from your faucet into the pan. Once they are sufficiently cooled, you can crack and peel the shells. Rinse them again and chop them with the cabbage chopper. They don't need to be pulverized just chopped well.

Step 4: Preparing the Spuds

They say a watched pot never boils, so while the eggs are boiling, I start peeling my potatoes.

I always use a sharp paring knife. I peel the potatoes, then I cut them into cubes. There are no precise dimensions for the size of the potatoes. I just make nice small chunks.

After I have peeled and cubed them all, I put them into the colander and rinse them off. Just to make sure they are good and clean before cooking. Then into the pot they go.

Step 5: Cooking the Potatoes

I put the potatoes into the pot and once again fill it with cold water. I fill the pot up with potatoes and enough water to fill the pan 3/4 way up. The pot I use is a gallon 18 gauge stainless steel.

I put the pot onto the stove, and a palm (I don't normally measure for this recipe) of salt, turn the burner up between med high and high and move to chopping the eggs.

Make sure you stir the potatoes. Once they start boiling steadily, the starch will cause them to scorch more quickly and you will have to start over. Once potatoes are scorched, nothing you do can make them taste any better (Don't ask how I know this).

You will know the potatoes are done when you can easily pinch them in two with your fingers.

While the potatoes have been boiling I have been chopping my eggs and my onion.

Step 6: Let's Mix Things Up

Once your potatoes are boiled, you drain all the extra water/starch out of them. Usually it is more starch than water.

Pour them from the colander back into the pot. I do this simply because, I don't like to wash dishes. If you really like to wash dishes, you can mix it in a mixing bowl.

Then I add the chopped eggs, chopped onion, 4 heaping tablespoons of relish, 5 wooden spoons of mayonnaise, another thing I don't measure is the amount of mustard, this is because, some people like a lot, some like a little, so more can be added so start with a little bit, you can always add more, you can't take it out. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 7: And There You Have It.

You have just made your first Bonafide Southern Potato Salad, which will be welcome at any and all church socials or family reunions, along with all the others. You can even make one whenever you want to and share with those people you love, that's what I do.

So you did it, eat up and enjoy!!! Just make sure to leave room for dessert.