The Only Store-Bought Potato Salad Worth Buying, According To Our Readers

Y’all don’t trust just anyone to make this treasured Southern side dish.

No one’s arguing that homemade isn’t better, but when our readers find themselves in a potato salad pinch, there’s only one store-bought brand they’ll buy, and it comes from everyone’s favorite Florida-based grocer, Publix.

Recently, one of our What’s Cooking With Southern Living Facebook group members polled the community asking for everyone’s favorite store-bought potato salad. While a lot of great things have come from this group—recipes, camaraderie, community—we love that we can always count on our members to give helpful advice and their honest opinion. And boy, do y’all have some thoughts about potato salad.

potato salad with pickles

Southern Living

The simple request solicited 70 comments, and while there were a few callouts to other brands like Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Walmart, the far and away favorite was Publix. This comes as no surprise to us considering y’all trust Publix for everything from key lime pie to fried chicken. And don’t get us started on how much y’all love the bakery!

Located in the grocery chain’s deli section (yes, the same place where you order your beloved Pub subs), the prepackaged party staple is sold in half-, one-, or two-pound tubs. The ingredients are fairly standard for classic Southern potato salad. In addition to potatoes, mayonnaise, celery, pickle relish, onion, and mustard, Publix’s recipe also pays respect to Southern grandmas everywhere by including hard-boiled eggs. There are a couple outlier ingredients like green and red peppers, but I’ve never noticed them and y’all must be giving them a pass, too.                                                    

Publix brands this version of their potato salad as Southern-Style, and they definitely make good on that promise. They’ve got other versions like Homestyle Red, Baked Potato, and New York-Style, but y’all are adamant that Southern-Style is the way to go.  

Some of you do a little doctoring to the store-bought base, adding in extra egg, relish, and celery once you bring it home. At least one of y’all admitted to spooning the salad into a bowl, topping with paprika, and passing it off as homemade.  

As a rule of thumb, Southerners consider mayonnaise-based salads (egg, potato, chicken, and the like) homemade-only items. They even topped our list of 10 Prepared Foods Southerners Would Never Buy At The Grocery Store. So, if you’re asked to bring any of the above to a party, your first move should be to whip out your best family recipe. But if it’s a last-minute request and time is of the essence, you now have our readers’ blessing to sub in a tub of Publix’s finest Southern-Style.

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