Loaded Potato Salad

A loaded baked potato meets crowd-friendly potato salad.

Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad in a serving bowl ready to serve

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

What's better than a fully loaded potato salad served alongside other colorful sides and hearty proteins at a spring or summer barbecue or potluck? Not too terribly much, that's what.

This crowd-pleasing potato salad is cheesy and meaty with a touch of sweetness. The flavors of the potato salad play nicely with the robust onion and savory bacon pieces. It’s just the right level of creaminess and thickness—not too watery or too chunky. And it’s even better when you prepare it ahead of time: The flavors bloom the longer they set. 

Ingredients for Loaded Potato Salad

Consider all your favorite toppings for a loaded baked potato. Now, turn them into toppings for a potato salad. That's this recipe in a nutshell.

To make this loaded potato salad recipe, start with russet potatoes. You’ll also need mayonnaise, sour cream, white vinegar, kosher salt, granulated sugar, black pepper, celery seed, red onion, celery, bacon, Cheddar cheese, and scallions. All of the ingredients are available at conventional grocery stores. 

What Are the Best Potatoes for Potato Salad?

As a category, potatoes range from waxy to starchy, so choose potatoes for potato salad depending on the type of potato salad you like.

Potatoes on the waxy end of the spectrum (like fingerlings and red potatoes) hold their shape even after they're cooked. On the other end, starchy potatoes, like russets and Idahos, can fall apart after being cooked, but they easily absorb other flavors and ingredients like mayonnaise.

How Long Should You Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad?

In general, potatoes for potato salad are done when they are fork tender but not mushy.

For this recipe, that's about 10 minutes. You'll bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Then, add the potatoes, and cook them uncovered for about 10 minutes before draining.

How Long Is Potato Salad Good For?

When it is stored in the refrigerator, fresh potato salad should keep for up to five days. But if you doubt its safety, just throw it out; it’s better safe than sorry with perishables.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much potato salad per person?

    As a rule of thumb, allow about a half cup of potato salad per person. For more generous portion sizes, allow about three-quarters cup per person.

  • Can potato salad be frozen?

    Potato salads made with mayonnaise don’t tend to fare well in the freezer. That's because the freezing and thawing changes the texture of the dairy ingredients, so the consistency of the salad changes, too.

  • How long can potato salad sit out?

    Potato salad is perishable and cannot sit out for more than two hours. It may likely only be able to sit out for closer to one hour or so when the temperature is hot and you’re dining outside.

What Goes With Potato Salad?

This salad goes great with a grilled steak or, more casually, with hot dogs. For inspiration, check out our Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak recipe and our Sweet Heat Hot Dogs.

More Summer Side Dish Ideas

Additional reporting by Alesandra Dubin.


  • 3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces (about 7 cups)

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise

  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream

  • 1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar

  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 3/4 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (from 1 small [4 oz.] onion)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery (from 3 large stalks)

  • 10 thick-cut bacon slices, cooked and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup), divided

  • 9 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups), divided

  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (from 2 large scallions), divided


  1. Cook the potatoes:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Stir in potatoes, and cook over high, uncovered, until fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

    Drain well. Spread potatoes evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cool 5 minutes. Place in refrigerator, and chill until completely cool, about 15 minutes.

    Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad cooking the potatoes

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

  2. Make dressing and stir together salad:

    Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, and celery seed in a large bowl until smooth.

    Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad making the dressing for the salad

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

    Stir in cooled potatoes, red onion, celery, 1/2 cup of the bacon, 1 1/4 cups of the Cheddar, and 1/4 cup of the scallions. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

    Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad stirring in the rest of the ingredients

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

    Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad stirred together ready to chill

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

    Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup bacon, 1/4 cup Cheddar, and 1/4 cup scallions. Serve.

    Southern Living Loaded Potato Salad in a bowl to serve

    Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

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