I Made Ina Garten’s Potato Salad and I Can’t Wait to Share It

With this Ina Garten potato salad recipe, you'll make a star out of a humble side dish.

Before the weather even begins heating up, I’m already dusting off the grill and scheming which of our favorite barbecue recipes I want to make first. I love the ritual of grilling a meal, and of course the signature smoky flavor that ensues. But what I secretly love most about a barbecue are the side dishes: pasta salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad! So when I heard about the famous Ina Garten potato salad, I knew I had to try it. Ina’s recipes are famously reliable and easy to follow: I figured it might become my new go-to.

How Does Ina Garten Make Potato Salad?

Glancing at the ingredients list, it might seem like Ina’s salad is pretty standard. What’s special is her method for cooking potatoes. First, she parboils the potatoes in salted water, and then she steams them until tender. I had never used this method, but it works quite well. The benefit is that the potatoes don’t disintegrate in the water, which is easy to do if they’re over-boiled. Instead, they hold their shape nicely once chopped and mixed with the remaining ingredients, but they’re still tender enough to absorb the dressing.

Give it a try yourself with this step-by-step process.

Ina Garten’s Potato Salad Recipe

Ingredients

ina gartens potato salad ingredientsJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

  • 3 pounds small white potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion

Directions

Step 1: Cook the potatoes

cook potatoes Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just slightly tender when pierced with a knife.

Drain the potatoes into a colander. Set the colander over the empty pot and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for another 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re tender but not mushy.

Editor’s Tip: Here’s how to pick the right type of potato for every recipe.

Step 2: Make the dressing

potato salad dressingJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

Step 3: Toss together

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, cut them into bite-size chunks. Place the cut-up potatoes in a large bowl and immediately pour the dressing over them. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss until the dressing coats every bite. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Editor’s Tip: We don’t recommend freezing potato salad like this because it has a creamy dressing.

Here’s What I Thought

Lepage Food & DrinksJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the parboil and then steam method, but I ended up really loving it. The texture of the potatoes was just tender enough to win me over on this technique.

Two other important techniques in this Ina Garten potato salad are to dress the potatoes while they’re still warm, and to let them sit for a few hours in the dressing before serving. These are both key to the final product, as the dressing will absorb into warm potatoes better than cold ones, and the flavor really does develop best once it has sat for a while. It also lends for a really wonderful texture for the potatoes, and not the dried-out, undercooked bites of potato salads past.

I think this recipe also lends itself well to additions, so if you prefer a more jazzed up potato salad you could use this as a base and add whatever you like. Capers, pickles or chopped hard-boiled eggs would all be great additions, so you can make it week after week.

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Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.