Granbobbie’s Potato Salad

August  5, 2022
10 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

I’m never not looking for an excuse to make this potato salad, especially when it’s hot out (just ask my husband!). It’s my favorite thing to bring to picnics, barbecues, and basically any summer potluck because it’s tangy with just the right amount of crunch, plus it’s big-time nostalgic. I remember my mom and my grandma—who we called Granbobbie—making it during our summer trips to Baltimore, my mom’s hometown and where my grandma lived. They’d whip out Granbobbie’s huge stainless-steel stock pot (which she also used to make her famous crab soup), and I’d see a big sack of potatoes on the counter and know that this meant potato salad was in my future.

There are a few secret ingredients that make this recipe stand out: yellow mustard, finely diced celery *and* sweet relish, plus super finely diced sweet onion. And Hellman’s mayonnaise—it always had to be Hellman’s, Granbobbie would insist. She passed away this March and making her potato salad a few weeks ago made me feel like she was still here, like I could call her on the phone to ask her for the hundredth time, “How much onion should I add? What kind of mustard should I use? How long should I cook the potatoes?” I knew the answers to these questions, but I loved calling her to ask just the same, because I got to hear her voice.

Now that I can’t pick up the phone and call her for help, this version of her recipe means even more to me. Every time I set potatoes to boil in my own big stainless-steel pot, I’m transported to her kitchen and it’s almost like we’re together again. —Madison Trapkin

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Pinterest as part of their Golden Recipe Contest, a call for recipes treasured by your family or community. To enter, submit your recipe by August, 15. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided (plus more to taste)
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s preferred), plus more to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1/4 cup sweet relish
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add 2 tablespoons salt to a large pot of water and set to boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, carefully add potatoes one at a time to avoid splashes. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
  2. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, place a colander in the sink and empty the pot into it. Leave the potato-filled colander in the sink to cool for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour. You can also boil the potatoes ahead of time and transfer to the fridge to store overnight if you plan to assemble the following day.
  3. While the potatoes cool, add mayonnaise, onion, celery, relish, mustard, remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and a big pinch of freshly ground black pepper to a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, delicately remove the skin using a small paring knife. Granbobbie would do this by holding a potato in her non-dominant hand and the knife in her other hand, then peeling the skin off one side at a time using the knife and pressing it against her thumb as she peeled. I do it like this too, but if you’d rather not risk your hands, you could use a cutting board instead.
  5. Cut all peeled potatoes into ½-inch cubes and add to the bowl with the sauce. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed.

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1 Review

brushjl July 4, 2023
I love the back story and can't believe I'm the first reviewer. I've had better and worse potato salad, bit none with a more endearing history. My family already loves it.