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Old-Fashioned Potato Salad With Cooked Dressing

The secret to the yumminess going on in this Old-Fashioned Potato Salad is the cooked dressing. Don’t worry. It’s really easy if you make the dressing in the microwave, although you can make it on top of the stove if you prefer.

Kay's Potato Salad in a bowl

Recipe Inspiration

Potato salad is right up there with meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cream pie. Everybody likes their mama’s best. But just in case you don’t have a favorite already, try this one.

The same sister who makes a wonderful chocolate cake also makes a tasty potato salad.  It’s possible this potato salad is another recipe she got from her southern mother-in-law. I’m not sure.

Kay’s recipe is unique in that the dressing is cooked. It has much more flavor than potato salad made with straight mayonnaise. 

Why cook the dressing?

Isn’t this more trouble? A little, but the flavor is worth it! Pull out your blender, food processor, or a good whisk to mix up the ingredients for the dressing.

Follow the easy directions for cooking the dressing in the microwave. It’s foolproof–unlike the original recipe that called for cooking on top of the stove with constant stirring.  It was easy to burn or curdle the old way.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • MILK: Use your favorite milk or whatever milk you have on hand.
  • CORNSTARCH: If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use arrowroot as a gluten-free substitute.
  • VINEGAR: Apple cider vinegar is my favorite. White vinegar would be a good substitute.
  • EGG: I always use large-sized eggs.
  • ONION: White or yellow onions are perfect.
  • CELERY SEED: This is an important ingredient for this recipe. I can’t think of a substitute except for celery salt. Not the same, but kinda close.
  • MAYONNAISE: My favorite mayonnaise is olive oil mayonnaise. If you prefer, Miracle Whip could be used instead.
  • POTATOES: The potatoes you choose will affect the texture of your salad. Russets will make a more mealy texture–good if you like your potato salad to be “mashed.” Small red potatoes or waxy potatoes will hold their shape better after boiling. Yukon gold potatoes are a nice compromise.
  • SWEET PICKLE RELISH: I’m a sweet relish girl. Sweet pickle relish goes with the sweetness of the cooked dressing. If you prefer dill relish, I would decrease the sugar in the dressing.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes. It needs to chill before serving. The day before is not too soon to assemble this potato salad. Refrigerate.

This recipe should be kept in the refrigerator–up to 4 days.

Related posts for Kay's Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

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    Yield: 8

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad with Cooked Dressing

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad with Cooked Dressing

    A classic potato salad with homemade cooked dressing-- tangy but no mustard.

    Prep Time 25 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes


    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
    • 3/4 t. celery seed
    • 1/4 c. mayonnaise (I like the olive oil type)
    • 7 medium potatoes, diced and cooked
    • 3 hard-cooked eggs, diced
    • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish


    1. Blend first 6 ingredients in a blender, food processor or with a whisk until smooth. Add butter and onions.
    2. Pour into 2 quart batter bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 4-5 minutes, whisking well after every minute (important so sauce will be cook evenly). Mixture should be thick like pudding.
    3. Add celery seed and mayonnaise to cooked dressing. Whisk till smooth. Fold in potatoes, eggs, and pickle relish. Garnish with smoked (or regular) paprika and chill. Serves 6


    Do you have smoked paprika in your refrigerator? If not, use regular paprika. However, the smoked paprika adds a subtle bacon flavor that is delicious. Good on deviled eggs too.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 451mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 8g

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    Rich E

    Saturday 5th of September 2020

    Sep 2020.. 98% Correct.. Since I was looking for a lost recipe that contained mustard I did add some. Celery would be a great addition. I will cook "MY" hard boiled eggs my way thou>>>> I also like the review of adding apples to the salad as I would normal due.


    Saturday 1st of September 2012

    I made this potato salad a month ago and I loved it as did my guests. I did augment it with diced apple (a must for my potato salad) as well as a few other crunchy veggies (celery and red pepper), But it was the dressing that made it so delicious., I am making it again for a Labour Day gathering. I do have one question for you though. Would you put the dressing on hot or cold potatoes? I have seen recipes calling for both. It doesn't really indicate in your recipe. Thanks for this one. It is a keeper.

    Nancy Toronto, Ontario


    Saturday 5th of September 2020

    @Nancy, 2012???. I just made this today Sep 2020. I didn't add apples. BUT, I too add apples to my potato salads. Also celery a "Must" also since I had a reciept (long ago". I added Djohn Mustard. Was good


    Sunday 2nd of September 2012

    Nancy, I happened to get your letter when I was sitting next to my sister, Kay at a ballgame. We talked it over and decided it doesn't matter. We've both done it both ways. No big deal either way. Glad you like it as much as we do. And we love your additions. Like you said, with this recipe, it's all about the dressing.


    Sunday 26th of February 2012

    This is definitely the best potato salad I have ever made!!! I was a little skeptical at first about the sauce, but my husband and I really love it :)


    Friday 18th of September 2009

    You can never have too many great potato salad recipes. This looks really good!


    Friday 18th of September 2009

    great pic of the potato salad....looks yummy! Did you get a new blender? What happened to your red one?