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Mama's Potato Salad Recipe

Mama's Potato Salad Recipe

This old-fashioned potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. YIELD:12 servings


  • 3 to 3-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 10 medium)
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Additional hard-boiled large eggs, sliced
  • Paprika


  • 1. In a large kettle, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and cool. Peel potatoes; cut into chunks. Separate egg yolks from whites. Set yolks aside. Chop whites and add to potatoes with onion.
  • 2. In a small bowl, mash yolks. Stir in mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes; toss well. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with egg slices and paprika. Chill until serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • To prevent potatoes from mushing out and losing their shape, add a small amount of vinegar to their cooking water: 1/2 teaspoon is plenty.
  • For salads, we find that firm and flavorful Yukon Golds, new potatoes and redskin potatoes yield great results. Starchier russet potatoes can work, but they tend to fall apart.
  • The beautiful thing about this type of salad is that it's very easy to customize. Start with half the amounts of ingredients such as sugar, mustard and vinegar, then adjust levels to your personal taste.
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 cup: 231 calories, 11g fat (2g saturated fat), 113mg cholesterol, 323mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.

    Reviews for Mama's Potato Salad

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    justkathere User ID: 8870035 267603
    Reviewed Jun. 3, 2017

    "Very close to my potato salad - but have never used milk nor sugar in mine. I do use 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar that is poured over the hot, peeled and slashed potatoes and then put into the fridge to marinate over night. Then I add the rest of the ingredients. I only use 1/2 teaspoon of mustard though or it takes over the salad. Oh - I dice my onion and it's a red one. My hard-boiled eggs are sliced and then stirred into the salad with some placed on top for presentation."

    PamalaSusan User ID: 7561948 267428
    Reviewed May. 29, 2017

    "I made half the recipe and it did not taste good. The mustard over took the taste of everything in salad."

    Babsy_Boop User ID: 6209926 267390
    Reviewed May. 27, 2017

    "Made this for the first time today with company coming over. Everyone loved it!"

    Psalm127-3 User ID: 7749892 267379
    Reviewed May. 27, 2017

    "this looks like something our family will LOVE. it's getting made for tomorrow's picnic :)

    unfortunately husband said "stick to your own recipe this one has no flavor"
    he was right, it got dumped"

    gmachelle User ID: 8944722 265417
    Reviewed May. 1, 2017

    "This was good. I subbed onion powder for the chopped onion so it wouldn't overpower and added a bit of sweet relish and celery seed. Thumbs up!"

    Laurie73 User ID: 7632634 250305
    Reviewed Jul. 11, 2016

    "I feel like if I would have omitted the milk, sugar and vinegar it would've been sooo much better. It was extremely runny even after refrigerated."

    C1PNR User ID: 87128 250120
    Reviewed Jul. 5, 2016

    "We Really Love this version. Reminds me a lot of the potato salad I had growing up in Oklahoma."

    sscovey User ID: 8108644 249095
    Reviewed Jun. 5, 2016

    "Too sweet! But I like this recipe and will make it again. Next time I will reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons.. I will also add some things to give it a little color. Probably a couple sliced green onions and a can of sliced olives. Good salad and less work than my old way of making potatoes salad."

    KristineChayes User ID: 1441542 248862
    Reviewed May. 31, 2016

    "Excellent Penn-Dutch style potato salad. I made 1-1/2 times the dressing for 14 potatoes, but kept the sugar at 1/4 cup. A definite keeper!"

    hotfudgesundae User ID: 3463962 248827
    Reviewed May. 30, 2016

    "Very good recipe, had many complements on this potato salad!"

    kmolina6 User ID: 8417293 248764
    Reviewed May. 29, 2016

    "My mother made a potato salad that was very similar to this recipe with the exception of the evaporated milk. This is a great retro recipe for potato salad that I tried for memorial day with my church family and friends. The only addition I made was tossing in a small can of sliced black olives,and a ample sprinkling of paprika."

    tsuop User ID: 6274346 248648
    Reviewed May. 26, 2016

    "I don't like the taste of evaporated milk, I use cream. The rest is the same. Delish!!"

    LynCast User ID: 8483078 248646
    Reviewed May. 26, 2016

    "Fantastic! Very similar to what my mom made when I was a kid. Made it last night, and will make it again. Thank you!"

    Marticook User ID: 1483683 248628
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "I haven't tried it yet but I have never heard of evaporated milk added so it would fun to try"

    Dlaboriel User ID: 6778126 248624
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016 Edited May. 26, 2016

    "I made a test run of this recipe and my family decided it would be the one we use for the holiday. It is very good."

    Halfthere User ID: 7881328 248622
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "This is the first time I have ever seen a recipe where the yolks are beaten into the dressing. Very good. I did put sweet pickles in it though, just a few."

    bmance User ID: 2630405 248619
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "My family loves this potato salad, it has become the only one I make now"

    mruggier0 User ID: 8413655 248614
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016 Edited May. 26, 2016

    "There are thousands of potato salad recipes, some excellent some so so. This one wasn't my favorite but I stuck to the recipe only I didn't garnish with egg. Not saying it wasnt good, I just prefer my version."

    clblonde User ID: 1274664 248610
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "This is one I've made countless times I the last 50 years. I do leave out the vinegar as my husband always complains about the least amount o vinegar in something."

    Rauenberg User ID: 1881212 248609
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "This is almost identical to my potato salad. The only difference is I cook my potatoes the night before and after peeling and cutting them up, I pour a small amount of Italian salad dressing over the warm potatoes and refrigerate. Add everything else the next day. Really gives the potatoes a good flavor."

    ladyhenry User ID: 158060 248607
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "I too make potato salad the way my mom did. It was not like this and of course I think hers is the best. This sounds very good and I will try it. It is almost Memorial Day. Great time for potato salad"

    timneidig User ID: 3311989 248603
    Reviewed May. 25, 2016

    "Yes this is how my grandma made hers and it's the best! I've been making it for years and every potluck I take it to everyone always compliments on how good the potato salad is. Hopefully a tradition that will carry on forever!!"

    Clock.Watcher User ID: 7430985 246804
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2016

    "Is this a universal recipe? My mother and grandmother made it this way. Occasionally would add some chopped green or red pepper."

    nosralc User ID: 3697127 232280
    Reviewed Sep. 4, 2015

    "Just like my family has made for as long as I can remember"

    vickiz15 User ID: 8410302 228982
    Reviewed Jul. 4, 2015

    "I made this potatoe salad today and it was great! Everyone loved it. Thanks"

    dublinlab User ID: 1682119 228703
    Reviewed Jun. 29, 2015

    "Very good but l just couldn't put all that sugar in. I made 11/2 times the recipe with 2 times the dressing. I put in some chopped chives for colour. I put in 1 tbsp of sugar. Janet. FE"

    AimeeMae User ID: 7061221 226351
    Reviewed May. 15, 2015

    "This was how my Gram made hers - and in 33 years I have yet to find one that compares. Thank you for posting this!"

    Rakhshandah User ID: 8349969 226168
    Reviewed May. 10, 2015

    "it was a hit with my family."

    Gluttongoose User ID: 8197461 226167
    Reviewed May. 10, 2015

    "The evaporated milk is an unusual addition, but I'll give it a go. You could also make it with plain yogurt instead of milk or salad cream instead of mayo and the other ingredients."

    Zwaantje User ID: 985636 216762
    Reviewed Jan. 3, 2015

    "I wasn't crazy about the consistency. The flavor was good but I made this early afternoon, and when it was time to eat it, the mayo sauce had turned a LOT thinner than it was when I first made it. I was embarrassed; even though it wasn't tasting bad, the thin sauce was not how I had expected it to be. I will not make it again."

    germanycook User ID: 6411056 70700
    Reviewed Aug. 9, 2014

    "Very yummy salad! I did think the sauce needed more salt, and I added some dill. And letting it sit really helped the flavours blend - this technique of adding mashed egg yolks to the dressing is really good and different."

    CookingUSA User ID: 7138853 17042
    Reviewed Jun. 23, 2014

    "This potato salad was absolutely delicious; I will definitely make it again. Follow the recipe, and you will have a wonderful side dish. Only one thing I would do differently: let the salad sit and cool overnight, to infuse the potatoes with flavor as well as absorb the extra juice."

    kjones76 User ID: 5020820 41209
    Reviewed May. 18, 2014

    "This is a great classic potato salad recipe. Even better the second day. I left out the evaporated milk because I didn't have any and added a tbs of sweet relish."

    Wingsy2002 User ID: 7331977 17447
    Reviewed Jul. 20, 2013

    "My husband and I loved it. I left out the evaporated milk because we didn't have any, and used red potatoes. Yum yum yum."

    justmbeth User ID: 1196484 11870
    Reviewed May. 28, 2013

    "This potato salad was just ok, which surprised me after reading all of the great reviews. It seemed to be missing something. I have several other recipes that I prefer over this one."

    missmarley User ID: 7042231 42665
    Reviewed May. 25, 2013

    "I just finished making this, took my first taste. It was AWESOME! Will make again and again."

    kerisovery User ID: 3828360 37595
    Reviewed Oct. 15, 2012

    "This is the potato salad recipe I've been looking for! It's delicious!"

    kfreedman427 User ID: 6849410 17445
    Reviewed Sep. 6, 2012

    "Made it for my boyfriend, roommates and friends for a birthday dinner: WHAT A HIT! As someone who doesn't normally like potatoes or any creamy salad recipe, I loved it."

    countrygirl-86 User ID: 5964777 17443
    Reviewed Aug. 9, 2012

    "This is the way my mom always made it. Love it!"

    Michele R User ID: 5948281 13676
    Reviewed Apr. 30, 2011

    "Very good. Will make it again. My husband is very picky when it comes to potato salad. He really liked this one. I did add a little more mayo and mustard than what the recipe called for."

    Motz1953 User ID: 2561410 70699
    Reviewed Apr. 17, 2011

    "My mom passed away without writing down the recipe and this is as close to what she made as I have ever found. I take it everywhere I go and it is always devoured!"

    cutnwrap User ID: 2798967 37594
    Reviewed Jul. 20, 2010

    "Best potato salad ever - just like my husband's mama makes. Now that's saying something!"

    smalltowngirl_VA User ID: 783822 17469
    Reviewed Jun. 10, 2010

    "This recipe is fantastic!! Made it just the way it was written and I wouldn't change a thing!!"

    richlinKy User ID: 14256 17468
    Reviewed Apr. 22, 2010

    "This is how our family makes potato salad........we don't use the evaporated milk, however. We also add some celery seed and chopped celery."

    plumshoe User ID: 923064 33193
    Reviewed Apr. 22, 2010

    "Oh my goodness, I love this recipe! It's better then my mothers tator salad, but don't tell her I said that :)"

    lilgrannymac User ID: 3243163 70697
    Reviewed Apr. 26, 2009

    "sounds like the way my mom made it also.simple is the best way. if its not broken lol"

    simsdiva User ID: 2121985 39689
    Reviewed Dec. 20, 2008

    "Sounds like mine, except no evaporated milk, and add a little celery seed."

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