I’m pleased to bring you this summer spectacular Potato Salad with Bacon in partnership with Silver Spring Foods, the world’s largest grower and processor of horseradish. I recommend using their delicious Dijon mustard to make today’s recipe.
Potato Salad is my birthright. As an American and -more importantly- as Edna Shaffer’s granddaughter, I was raised on potato salad. There was at least one good, old-fashioned potato salad at every church potluck, family picnic, and summer barbecue in my youth.
Potato salads were ordinary, but in the way that you knew you could count on them to be tasty. I’m not sure what it says about me as a kid that I remember getting excited when someone brought an “exotic” potato salad to get togethers, but there you are.
I was the weird kid geeking out over the potato salad with extra stuff in it. Wow.
So now, as an adult, I figure it’s my job to be the adult bringing the “exotic” potato salad into weird kids’ lives. Today, I’m bringing you Potato Salad with Bacon.
Maybe that doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, but when I tell you there’s an entire pound of crispy bacon added to 3 pounds of potatoes, it sounds a little less ordinary, right? This is a bacon lover’s potato salad.
How to Make Potato Salad
At it’s most basic, potato salad is boiled potatoes and a dressing. The key to a really good potato salad is to add a generous amount of salt to the water you’re using to boil your potatoes.
This is because you have one chance to get your potatoes seasoned all the way to the center, and that’s while you’re cooking them. It may seem like you’re adding a ridiculous amount of salt, but please remember that most of that salt is going to be carried away when you drain the potatoes.
When you’re doing boiling the potatoes, I find it best to drain and add a splash of cider or rice vinegar while the potatoes are still warm. This helps the vinegar soak further into the potatoes for flavour.
And while we’re talking about delivering flavour, I also toss the warm potatoes with the first dose of onions that’s going into the potato salad. This takes some of the raw bite out of the onions.
Our potato salad with bacon has two different hits of onion to it. The first is diced sweet onion that is (as mentioned above) stirred into the still-warm-from-cooking potatoes.
This helps give a little textural interest and pop to the tender potatoes.
The second addition of onions is in the form of sliced, milder green onions. For this, we’ll use the green parts only.
They add both mild onion flavour, and fresh, bright green to our potato salad. Beauty and style; that’s why I love green onions.
Red Potato Salad
Spoiler alert. I like red potato salad.
Why? Red Creamer Potatoes cook up exactly as they sound; red skinned and creamy. The thin red skin helps the potatoes keep their shape and add some visual interest to a dish that can admittedly be a little one-note-white.
The creamer potatoes -in other words, very small red skinned potatoes- are my first choice. They require less breaking down before cooking.
If you can’t find little red creamer potatoes (or if they’re cost prohibitive), simply substitute red potatoes. They’re usually pretty budget-friendly and they’ll work just as well in our red potato salad.
If red potatoes are unavailable where you live, substitute white potatoes or gold potatoes. Either of those is also thin skinned and will boil up with a creamy texture.
The key, whether using red creamer potatoes or larger potatoes, is to make sure the potatoes are bite sized. For a creamer potato, this might mean cutting a potato in half, quarters, or eighths, depending on the size of the potato.
If you’re starting with larger potatoes, just break them down into relatively equally sized, one-bite pieces. Either way, boil just until tender.
You can test the tenderness of the potatoes by using tongs to pick a piece out of the boiling water. If a toothpick, skewer, fork, or small knife can easily be inserted into the piece of potato, they’re done!
Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander and return them to the hot pan. This is where you’ll add the diced sweet onions and the splash of vinegar.
After this, pop a lid on the pan and refrigerate it to allow it to cool to body temperature before building your dressing around the potatoes. This means the potatoes will still be warm enough to break down a little while you stir, but not so hot that they’ll disintegrate.
Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing for Potato Salad?
Mayonnaise is most definitely my recommendations. I have some very strong feelings about this for my own table, because I do not have a sweet tooth, and salad dressing (a.k.a. Miracle Whip) has sweetness already added to it.
I know that a great many people adore salad dressing, and I’ll tell you now, if you love it, substitute it in here. That’s what making your own food is all about; making it what you love.
I can honestly tell you that the dressing is perfect as I’ve written it; made with mayonnaise. I can also tell you that if the presence of salad dressing is crucial to your enjoyment of a potato salad, you should go ahead and use it here.
Instead of the regular mayo plus yellow mustard, we add Dijon mustard. Dijon mustard adds just the right je ne sais quois to the mayo dressing for our tender potatoes, crispy bacon, sweet onions, and green onions.
I love to use Silver Spring Foods Dijon Mustard. It is the secret ingredient that delivers that little kick you expect from Dijon mustard and it’s from a family owned and operated company right here in the USA- 90 years and running!
It’s a simple swap, and not at all exotic, but it makes all the difference between a classic potato salad and something with a little more character. It’s familiar, but not ordinary.
I love this potato salad with bacon warm or chilled. If you chill it first, stir, and add a little extra mayonnaise if needed before garnishing and serving.
What kind of bacon do I use for potato salad with bacon?
In short, use one you love. The longer version of this is that I recommend a thick cut hickory smoked bacon.
Hickory smoked, thick cut bacon is my first choice for potato salad because the hickory smoke pairs beautifully with the Dijon mustard and the tender potatoes. I don’t advise using maple bacon because I think the maple stands out a bit too much.
Uncured smoked bacon or beef bacon would work quite well in potato salad with bacon, too. And while I don’t love turkey bacon, if that’s what you like, it’s perfectly acceptable to use in potato salad with bacon.
What goes with potato salad?
Life. Life goes with potato salad.
But seriously, if it is a spring, summer, or fall food, it goes with potato salad with bacon. Some great main dish options include Carne Asada, Greek Lemon Garlic Chicken, Grilled Chicken Melt with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Spread, Chimichurri Grilled Meatballs, and Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.
Potato Salad with Bacon
-Bring 4 quarts of water to a boiling in a large pot high heat. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Carefully add the potatoes to the water and return to a boil.
-Boil the potatoes for between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on what size you cut them. Beginning at 8 minutes, use tongs to extract a piece of potato and test for doneness.
Do this until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork, knife, toothpick, or skewer. Drain in a colander, then immediately return to the pan.
-Add vinegar and diced sweet onion to the pan and toss to distribute. Put a tight fitting lid on the pan and refrigerate to bring the potatoes to body temperature.
-Stir in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, green onions, parsley, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and chopped, crispy bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm or chill first.
If you refrigerate it first, stir, and add a little extra mayonnaise if needed before garnishing and serving. Either way, it’s delicious
-Garnish the potato salad with reserved bacon, hard boiled egg, and green onion. Bon Appetit!
Potato Salad with Bacon
- 3 pounds red creamer potatoes cut into bite sized pieces, about 1-inch
- 1 gallon water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1/2 sweet onion, peeled and diced
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 pound bacon cooked til crispy and crumbled or chopped. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon for garnish.
- 6 green onions green parts only, thinly sliced. Reserve 1 teaspoon for garnish.
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped. Reserve 1 teaspoon for garnish.
- 4 hard boiled eggs peeled, and sliced. Reserve 3 slices for garnish.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot high heat. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Carefully add the potatoes to the water and return to a boil.
- Boil the potatoes for between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on what size you cut them. Beginning at 8 minutes, use tongs to extract a piece of potato and test for doneness. Do this until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork, knife, toothpick, or skewer.
- Drain in a colander, then immediately return the potatoes to the pan.
- Add vinegar and diced sweet onion to the pan and toss to distribute. Put a tight fitting lid on the pan and refrigerate to bring the potatoes to body temperature.
- Stir in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, green onions, parsley, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and chopped, crispy bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- You can either garnish with the remaining bacon, hard-boiled egg, parsley, and green onion and serve warm, or cover and refrigerate to chill.
- If you refrigerate it first, stir, and add a little extra mayonnaise if needed before garnishing and serving.