Mashed Potato Salads and How to Make Them

Dennis Weaver

“Mashed potato salads are a fun change of pace from the ordinary.  But they are no better than your mashed potatoes.  It has taken me years to figure this out but a potato ricer makes better mashed potatoes.  See my buyer’s guide for potato ricers.”—Dennis Weaver

We started out looking for unusual potato salads to make.  We stumbled upon a recipe for mashed potato salad, something we had never heard of.  It was good.  We started asking visitors to our store if they made mashed potato salad.  (After all, this is Idaho.)  Most had not.  One said that she did it all the time, mostly from leftover mashed potatoes.  So we started reviewing recipes and experimenting.

Here you’ll learn how to make mashed potato salad, how to convert your favorite potato salad recipe to a mashed potato salad recipe, the best way to mash the potatoes, and which potatoes to use.

Potato salads are a delight, especially for summer parties and picnics.  We hope you enjoy these.

We took an informal poll of customers in our store.  Ninety percent of them had never heard of a mashed potato salad.  We invited a number of them into our test kitchen to samples our salads.  Everyone loved them.

“I just make salad out of my leftover mashed potatoes.  I use the same ingredients as I do in my regular potato salads,” said a customer.

That formula works quite well.   We converted a number of recipes to mashed potato salads.  This is what we found:

  • We prefer waxy, new potatoes for both regular and mashed potato salads.  The starchy russet potatoes used for mashed potatoes work but we don’t like them as well.  See “The Best Potatoes for Salads.”
  • The potatoes need to be cooked a bit longer for mashed potatoes.
  • We preferred riced potatoes over mashed potatoes.
  • It took more dressing for the same number of potatoes to make mashed potato salads.
  • Mashed potato salads seemed a little bland without a little extra kick.  We could provide that kick with extra vinegar, lemon juice, or horseradish.  Horseradish was a very nice touch.

The mashed potato salads were a great hit with our testers and guests.

Three Great Mashed Potato Salad Recipes

We tinkered with a number of potato salads converting them to mashed potato salads.  Nearly all creamy potato salad recipes can be converted.  (We did not try to convert European-type potato salads.)  Here are three resulting recipes that we recommend.

Fiesta Mashed Potato Salad

Potato salad is a must in the summertime. This recipe makes a large salad, enough to serve a group of eight to ten.


2 pounds new red potatoes
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups canned whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup red peppers, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and boil them in salted water until they are tender but not mushy. (It’s not necessary to peel the potatoes.)  Drain the potatoes and let them cool.  Mash or rice the potatoes.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise and vinegar together. Stir the dressing into the potatoes until you have a creamy mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the green onions, frozen peas, canned corn, and red peppers.   Stir.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Cheesy Mashed Potato Salad

This is an all-American potato salad.  Everyone that tried this salad liked it.  This recipe is a keeper.


1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1/2 cup sweet onions, minced
1/2 cup sweet relish
2 boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise


  1. Wash the potatoes, place them into a large pan, and cover them with water. Add a tablespoon of salt. Partially cover the pan with a lid and bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain off the water.
  2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, you may either peel them or leave the skins on. Cut them into one-inch cubes. Mash the potatoes in a medium bowl, using either a potato masher or ricer.
  3. Add the minced onions, sweet relish, chopped boiled eggs, and cheddar cheese. Carefully mix the ingredients into the mashed potatoes.
  4. Combine the sour cream and mayonnaise and stir into the potato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Bacon and Mashed Potato Salad

This is a scrumptious potato salad—nothing too exotic but a great combination of flavors. The dressing is made with half sour cream and half mayonnaise. The tang comes from chopped sweet pickles and cider vinegar. This recipe is a keeper.


8 to 10 new red potatoes or russets
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 small sweet pickles, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 strips bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled


  1. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and boil them in salted water until they are tender but not mushy. (It’s not necessary to peel the potatoes.)  Drain the potatoes and let them cool.  Mash or rice the potatoes.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, bell pepper, pickles, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil together. Taste the dressing and add more seasoning or vinegar if desired.
  3. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix until you have a creamy mixture.  Add the crumbled  bacon to the potatoes or sprinkle it on top.
  4. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.