If you're not a fan of mayo or want an alternative, you're about to discover a fantastic way to enjoy your potato salad. It has bacon and a tangy mustard dressing, so you won't miss the mayonnaise. It can be made ahead and served warm, at room temperature, or cold. The perfect side dish for barbecues and potlucks.
This herbed potato salad without mayonnaise can be as delicious and crowd-pleasing as its creamy counterpart.
We're a baking blog at heart, but we're talking about potato salad people, one of my favorite dishes of all time! Some recipes need to be shared.
If you don't like mayo, this might be the perfect potato salad.
Why make this recipe
- A flavorful but lighter option: although it's packed with flavor, the lack of mayo makes it lighter and less heavy than a regular mayonnaise-drenched salad.
- Customizable: play with different combinations of herbs, mustards and vinegar to get a different potato salad every time.
- Dietary restrictions: it's an excellent option for those with egg allergies.
- Make it in advance: you can assemble it a day up to a day ahead. Some claim it's better the next day when the flavors meld and mellow.
- Baby potatoes: use one kind or a mix like we do to make a colorful salad.
- Thick-cut bacon: any type you usually use.
- Green onions or chives.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Wine vinegar: red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar, both work.
- Mustard: we favor whole grain mustard, but dijon mustard can also be used.
- Black pepper.
- Herbs: fresh parsley and fresh dill.
See the recipe card towards the end of this post for quantities.
Variations & substitutions
- Potatoes: use regular ones, peeled and cut into chunks. The cooking time might vary.
- Herbs and spices: use other herbs or add spices (like smoked paprika) to make it your own.
- Onion: cook some onion slices with the bacon or add chopped raw red onion or shallots in addition to the green onion.
- For a creamy potato salad, add a tablespoon of natural Greek yogurt or sour cream to the dressing if you want some creaminess. Blend it well before serving so it doesn't separate.
- Potato egg salad: add a few hard-boiled eggs in quarters to the salad before serving.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Consume leftover potato salad within a few days: it will generally stay fresh for 3 to 4 days when stored correctly in the refrigerator. The exact duration may vary depending on the specific ingredients used, so use your judgment and check for any signs of spoilage before eating.
- Best potatoes for salad: choose waxy potatoes like red potatoes, Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes. We use baby or new potatoes because they're creamier and maintain their shape well. Starchy potatoes like the popular russet potatoes are not recommended.
- When are the potatoes ready? Boil them until they're just tender (insert a fork; it should easily go through without breaking the potato), then immediately drain, cut in half or in chunks, toss with some of the dressing and spread them on a dish to cool. This prevents overcooking and maintains their texture.
- Can I make the salad ahead of time? Yes, and it's a good idea as the flavors meld and improve when allowed to sit for a few hours in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container, and add any delicate ingredients like fresh herbs just before serving to keep them vibrant.
- Can I customize the dressing to my taste? Absolutely! One of the benefits of no mayo potato salad is the flexibility to customize it. Experiment with various ingredients, ratios, and flavors until you find the perfect combination that suits your palate.
How to make potato salad without mayo
Cool down potatoes properly: after adding the first few tablespoons of dressing to the hot potato chunks, let them cool on a wide plate or dish to prevent them from continuing to cook and becoming mushy. This is essential for the potatoes to retain their shape when tossing them with the rest of the ingredients.
First: make the mustard dressing. If making it in advance, transfer it to an airtight jar or bottle and keep it refrigerated.
Second: boil and cut potatoes into chunks while still hot. Add a few tablespoons of the dressing, toss slightly to coat so they absorb as they cool.
Third: when potatoes are at room temperature, add the herbs, onions, more dressing and toss to mix. Don't overdo it or the potato chunks will start to break.
Fourth: cook bacon until crisp. If eating the salad warm, add it immediately. If not, wait until it cools down. Use some of the bacon fat for extra flavor.
Vintage Kitchen tip: always add a few tablespoons of dressing to the hot potatoes after cutting them into chunks. It will seep into them, boosting the flavor of the salad. This goes for any potato salad you make, not just this one.
- Airtight Container: transfer the potato salad to an airtight container once the potato salad has cooled. Glass or plastic containers with well-fitting lids work well. This helps prevent the salad from absorbing any odors from the fridge and keeps it from drying out.
- Refrigerate: cold storage is crucial to prevent bacterial growth. Aim to refrigerate the potato salad within two hours of making it, especially if it contains any perishable ingredients.
- Avoid freezing: it can affect the texture and taste of the salad, as potatoes tend to become mealy when thawed.
Troubleshooting common issues
- Salad is too dry: it might be lacking dressing and you might've mixed it in while the potatoes were still hot and they kept absorbing it. To fix this, gradually add more of the mustard vinaigrette when the potatoes are barely warm or at room temperature and mix gently.
- Mushy potatoes: they were overcooked or mixed too much while still hot.
- Overpowering dressing: add it gradually while you check flavors and adjust if needed. Or try diluting it with a bit of water before using to make it lighter. Make sure you adjust the salt if needed.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 2 pounds baby potatoes, washed
- 3 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped very finely
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
For the dressing:
- ⅓ cup light flavored extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- A few grinding of black pepper
Prepare the dressing:
You can double the amount and serve some extra dressing on the side.
- Add olive oil, white wine vinegar, whole-grain mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Check and adjust to your taste.
- Keep refrigerated in an airtight jar until ready to use.
For the potatoes and bacon:
- Wash the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water. Add salt and bring to a boil.
- Once the potatoes boil, cook for 8-10 minutes or until they are fork-tender.
- Drain the potatoes, place them in a shallow dish and halve them while still hot.
- Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing on top, toss them slightly and let them cool. Don't touch them until they're at room temperature. This way they'll absorb flavor, hold their shape and not turn mushy when mixing in the rest of the ingredients.
- While the potatoes cool, pan-fry the bacon bits over medium heat in a large skillet for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
- Transfer the room-temperature potatoes to a large mixing bowl or serving platter and add half the chopped onions, herbs and bacon bits.
- Drizzle the remaining dressing and toss gently to combine.
- Taste and check seasonings. Adjust if necessary.
- Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes. If you plan on serving it cold, refrigerate it, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the remaining green onions, herbs and bacon on top and serve.
- If you want to serve it warm, follow the same instructions but add the bacon (with some of the rendered fat for extra flavor) at the last moment while still warm.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard is generally stronger than whole-grain or ancienne, so start with a smaller amount and add more if needed.
- Not creamy enough? Add a tablespoon of natural Greek yogurt or sour cream to the dressing if you want some creaminess. Blend it well before serving so it doesn't separate.
- Best potatoes for a salad: choose waxy potatoes like red potatoes, Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes. We use baby or new potatoes because they're creamier and maintain their shape well. Starchy potatoes like the popular russet potatoes are not recommended.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Salads - Side dishes
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: potato salad no mayo, potato bacon salad