Flavor packed, spicy Texas Potato Salad will become your go-to recipe for all your Southern potato salad cravings. It’s mouthwateringly tangy with a kick! This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and easily vegan without the eggs.
Some years ago I caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and spied this recipe. Being from Texas, I knew Texas Potato Salad was a recipe I had to investigate. After all, jalapeños are my food love language!
As I watched the show, I took copious notes and decided it was a recipe I needed to make posthaste! With a few tweaks, it’s become a favorite around here when BBQ and picnic season is upon us.
A New Favorite
I have more potato salad recipes than I know what to do with. Mam-maw, had a favorite Southern potato salad she swore by that included all the ingredients you’d find in a fully stuffed baked potato.
Mom’s preference is a mustard potato salad with pickles, a recipe we love too. My friend Mikel makes a crunchy olive potato salad Rob adores. In fact, he protested at the thought of my making a different one when I first made this recipe.
I’m smitten by this Texas Potato Salad and Rob can’t keep his fork out of it.
Potato Salad Ingredients
Since German Butterball Potatoes are grown locally, that’s typically what I use in this recipe. However, I also make this potato salad with Yukon gold potatoes as in ATK’s original recipe. Both have thinish skin, so there’s no pealing the potatoes. Simply scrub, dice and boil.
What I love most about Texas Potato Salad is the red wine vinegar quick pickling method used to draw out tangy yet spicy flavors in the onions and jalapeños. It renders them a bit more mellow, yet gives this creamy potato salad pops of crunch and flavor and it’s signature Texas flair.
I’ve come to adore a bit of runny nose and mouth burn this potato salad imparts.
I do declare this Southern potato salad the official potato salad recipe of Summer. Nothing else will do.
How to Make Texas Potato Salad
A tip I learned from ATK: after the potatoes are drained, sprinkle a bit of pickling brine over the hot potatoes for maximum absorption. I’ve increased the amount of brine I use over the years to add just a bit more flavor to this already flavorful salad.
There are several steps to the recipe, yet each of the cooking and prep steps overlap, so while one ingredient is cooking, another can be mixed or sliced. Here’s how to do it:
- First, put the potatoes on to boil.
- Second, while the potatoes are boiling, put the eggs on to cook and pickle the onions and peppers.
- Third, whip up the mustard-mayo dressing.
- Next, drain the potatoes, and chill them in the fridge.
- Last, chop the celery and hard boiled eggs, then mix all the salad ingredients in a big bowl.
I like to sprinkle a bit more pickling brine into the mix, tasting as I go. Top with the remaining diced jalapeños and chives then refrigerate for at least a few hours before sharing. A sprinkle of paprika is optional, but it adds just that little extra.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Make this salad ahead of when you need it to allow the flavors to marry. It gets better with a little time.
- Type of potato matters! Look for German butterball or Yukon Gold potatoes to use in this recipe.
- Keep an eye on the potatoes when cooking. You want them just tender, not mushy, so that they hold their shape in the salad.
- You’ll have a bit of pickling juice leftover. Drizzle a bit more for extra tang in this potato salad or use it in a salad dressing for a bit of a kick!
More Side Salads for Sharing
- Broccoli Slaw with Raisins and Walnuts
- Carrot Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing
- Green Olive Potato Salad
- Asparagus and Pea Macaroni Salad
Texas Potato Salad
- 2 lbs (930g) German Butterball or Yukon Gold Potatoes sliced into 1" cubes, skin on
- 3/4 Tbs + 1 3/4 tsp fine Sea Salt divided
- 2 Whole Eggs leave out for Vegan Option
- 1/3 C (70g) Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbs Cane Sugar
- 1 C (130g) Red Onion sliced thin into 1/2 moons, about 1/2 an onion **.
- 2 Fresh Jalapeños , medium, 1-sliced into rings, 1 minced (seeds included) with 1/2 the minced reserved for garnish**.
- 5 Tbs (78g) Yellow Mustard
- 5 Tbs (68g) Mayonnaise I like Vegenaise
- 1 tsp Ground Pepper
- 1/16 tsp Cayenne Pepper ground
- 1/2 C (65g) Celery thinly sliced, about 1 rib
- 2 Tbs Finely Chopped Chives for garnish
- Smoky Paprika (optional)
For the Potatoes:
- In a large stock-pot, add potatoes and cover with cold water filling to 2 inches (5 cm) above potatoes. Add 3/4 Tbs sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for between 8-15 minutes. Butterball potatoes take about 8-9 minutes and Youkon Gold take between 12-15 minutes to cook. Simmer until just fork tender, but not mushy. Drain. *Keep an eye on the potatoes. If they're cut smaller, they'll cook faster.
- Transfer potatoes into a large mixing bowl and add 3 Tbs of pickling brine (see below - quick pickle). Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
For the Eggs:
- In a small sauce-pan, add the whole eggs and cover with 2 inches (5 cm) of water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and put lid on. Set aside and set timer for 12 minutes.
- Drain eggs, place in a small bowl, cover with cold water and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Peel eggs, dice and place in large bowl with potatoes.
To Quick Pickle:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp salt. Add onions and jalapeños to the brine (reserve 1/2 the minced jalapeños for garnish). Marinate for at least 20 minutes stirring occasionally (the pickling juice will not cover the onion and jalapeños). Drain, reserving pickling brine*, and add pickled jalapeños and onions to the mixing bowl with the eggs and potatoes.
For the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, ground pepper, 3/4 tsp sea salt, and 1/16th tsp cayenne.
- Pour the dressing over potatoes reserving a few tablespoons to taste. Top with drained pickled onions and jalapeños. Add the eggs and celery to the potato salad. Use a silicon spatula to gently mix potato salad together, making sure to scrape bottom of the mixing bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Taste for seasoning adjustment, adding the reserved dressing if desired and sprinkling in a bit more pickling brine to taste. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the remaining minced jalapeños and chives. Flavor development will improve as the salad chills in the fridge, and the spicy will increase in intensity. Keep this in mind when adjusting flavors or adding that last bit of jalapeños as a garnish (I add them all). Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle just a bit of paprika over the top. This is optional but gives the salad a nice finish.
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.