Loaded Potato Salad

Tender potatoes loaded with crumbled bacon, Cheddar cheese, and green onions covered in a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing.

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Potato salad is one of the most popular side dishes for barbecue, especially in the Southern United States.

While you can’t go wrong with a basic mayonnaise-based potato salad, I like to kick it up a notch and make it “loaded”.

If a potato salad and a loaded baked potato had a baby, this is what you would end up with.

The result is a tasty side dish that will complement any barbecue.

Potato salad: the salad that’s not really a salad

There are so many variations of the humble potato salad.

Maybe you like mustard-based potato salad or perhaps you prefer a mayonnaise-based recipe.

You may opt to add chopped eggs and others leave them out. You can add bacon for a smoky kick, chopped cucumbers for freshness, or even a bit of jalapeño and cilantro for a Mexican kick.

The possibilities are endless. 

loaded potato salad served on a white plate

It is believed that potato salad originated in Germany and it is still a popular German side dish today. Depending on what part of Germany you are in, you will find multiple variations of the dish there as well.

The major difference between German potato salad and the American barbecue side dish is that in Germany it is commonly served hot, while in the U.S. it tends to be served after being refrigerated for hours as a cold or room-temperature side.

If you like the look of this you’ll love my loaded smoked potato skins.

Why does potato salad make for a perfect barbecue side?

I think that potato salad gained popularity as a barbecue side dish for a number of reasons. First, it’s relatively inexpensive to make and you can easily make large batches for crowds.

Also, since it is commonly served cold in the United States, it can be made a day or two ahead of time and will keep in the fridge, so you have less to worry about prepping on the day you are serving it, which gives you time to focus on the star of the show… the meat!

The last reason I think that potato salad is such a popular barbecue side dish is that it’s creamy and cool, so it balances the spice in the meat. I even like to smear a bit of potato salad on a slice of white bread with a slice of brisket on top – it tastes fantastic!

Related Smoked Beer Mustard Potatoes

How to make loaded baked potato salad

This recipe for Loaded Potato Salad is very similar to other potato salad recipes you may have tried in the past.

Simply boil your potatoes until they are fork-tender, then combine them with the sauce/dressing, and add all of the extras that make it “loaded”.

1. Boil the potatoes

When it comes to potatoes, you can really use any type that you prefer. Sometimes I’ve used red potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, but for this recipe, I like to keep it simple with a good, old-fashioned russet potato.

I think the russet potato is perfect for this dish because it’s meant to be a play on a loaded baked potato, which is traditionally a russet.

chopped russet potatoes on a wooden board
Smaller pieces take less time to fully tender

To speed up the boiling time, I like to chop the potatoes into small pieces (about 2” thick).

You could opt to leave the potatoes whole, but I have not found a benefit to that method – it just seems to take a bit longer to get them fully tender.

One of the biggest debates when it comes to potato salad recipes is whether or not you should leave the skin on.

I personally like to leave the skin on because I find that it adds texture to the dish, but if you are not a fan of skin then no worries! You can peel the potatoes prior to boiling them if that is what you prefer.

chopped russet potatoes boiling in a pan
Not fond of the skin? Just peel the potatoes before boiling.

Once your potatoes are fork-tender, just strain them and lay them out on a plate, and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. This will allow the boiled potatoes to cool down a bit before you start adding the creamy dressing on top and prevent the mayonnaise and cheese from cooking when they are added to the salad.

2. Prepare the dressing

While your potatoes are cooking, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, and seasoning, and stir until it’s well combined.

Then you can pour it on top of your cooled potatoes and give it all a good mix.

loaded potato salad dressing in a bowl
The mayonnaise-based dressing will make this loaded potato salad extra creamy

3. “Load” your salad

The final step is what makes this a “loaded” potato salad, and it’s also where you can get creative!

shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and chopped green onions
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients

I like to keep it simple with a combination of shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped green onions, but if you like something else on your potatoes then go for it!

You could add blue cheese crumbles, diced white onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, or cilantro – don’t be afraid to have fun with it!

Once your potato salad is prepared, you want to store it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine.

It can also be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days before serving or as leftovers.

loaded potato salad with shredded cheddar cheese, onions and bacon
Served chilled with your favorite BBQ dish

What should you serve with Loaded Potato Salad?

Loaded potato salad is a great side dish for just about any barbecue dish, but here are some great recipes that pair perfectly with this one:

loaded baked potato salad next to bbq ribs

Loaded Potato Salad

Tender potatoes loaded with crumbled bacon, Cheddar cheese, and green onions covered in a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 260kcal
Author: Breanna Stark


  • 4 russet potatoes (washed)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tbsp coarse black pepper
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • ¼ cup crumbled bacon (or bacon bits)
  • ¼ cup green onions (chopped)


  • Start by washing your russet potatoes and then chop them into pieces about 2” thick.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes.
  • Let them cook for 15 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.
  • Strain the potatoes and transfer them to a plate.
  • Store the plate in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the potatoes to cool.
  • While your potatoes are cooling in the fridge, you can make your dressing. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Once your potatoes are cool, remove them from the fridge and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the dressing and give it all a good mix until the potatoes are well-coated.
  • Add the shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and green onions and give it another mix until all of the ingredients are well-incorporated.
  • Cover and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (or up to 4 days).
  • Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 750mg | Potassium: 513mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 1mg
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