Lemon-Tarragon Potato Salad

If you're in charge of bringing the potato salad to the potluck, consider this your new go-to.

Lemon-Tarragon Potato Salad
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

Potato salad doesn't have to be heavy. Case in point: this herby, zingy Lemon-Tarragon Potato Salad. Our fresh take on the picnic essential keeps things light and breezy for the summertime.

While we certainly love a classic Southern potato salad—dressed with plenty of mayo and sour cream—our Test Kitchen sought out to develop a potato salad recipe that defies creamy conventions. This bright and zesty potato salad has a creamy texture from the potatoes (one-third of which are mashed to add contrasting texture to the cold salad), while maintaining crunch from the fresh celery. This lemon potato salad is tossed with quick-pickled shallots and a lemon vinaigrette, imparting lovely notes of acid and keeping the whole thing super-light. We add a touch of mustard to the vinaigrette to add body to this dressing, which soaks into the potatoes without rendering them soggy. Finely chopped fresh tarragon brings the final herbal note to this potato salad.

Just 10 minutes of active time will result in this instant picnic favorite, which can be enjoyed warm or chilled.


  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (½ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 (24-oz.) pkg. small (about 1½-inch round) red potatoes, quartered

  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery (from 1 celery stalk)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, plus more leaves for garnish


  1. Stir together shallot and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside. Place potatoes and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large saucepan. Cover with 10 cups water; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, undisturbed, until potatoes are fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove shallot from vinegar, and transfer to large bowl with potatoes. Reserve vinegar in small bowl. Add lemon juice, Dijon mustard, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to vinegar; whisk together until combined. Gradually whisk in oil until combined.

  3. Add lemon-vinegar mixture, celery, and tarragon to potato mixture. Toss to coat, using back of a spoon to gently smash about one-third of potatoes. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 12 hours). Garnish with additional tarragon leaves before serving.

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