Potato salad can be a difficult dish to get excited about. It always plays second fiddle. Always a side, never a main. But if there was ever a rendition that deserved the spotlight, it’s this Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad. This over-the-top crowd-pleaser features creamy baby Yukon gold potatoes tossed with thinly sliced scallions and celery dressed in a caramelized shallot and sour cream dressing. The salad is topped with quartered hard-boiled eggs, celery leaves, and of course, crushed sour cream and onion chips. They are crinkle-cut chips and yes, I do think that makes a difference. I don’t know about you, but I think this salad is far from a sidekick. So let’s make it!
Potato salad is a dish very near and dear to my heart. I had it very often when I was growing up. My grandmother even had a dedicated potato salad bowl. Potato salad was definitely a company food. We usually had it in the summer alongside lobster with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Always a blowout meal.
My grandmother’s version wasn’t anything particularly fancy. That wasn’t the kind of cook my grandmother was. She grew up on a farm and being one of the older girls in the family, it was her responsibility to help out in the kitchen. And between her siblings, father, and farm hands, they had a lot of mouths to feed. So her approach was always to deliver maximum comfort as quickly as possible. And her potato salad is a direct reflection of that. The dressing was very mayo happy and usually incorporated the yolks from the hard-boiled eggs. And there were always hard-boiled eggs and celery – sometimes a little green onion if the garden was over-producing. But beyond that, it was really just potatoes and sometimes a whisper of celery seed. Simple, yes. But my gosh, I loved it.
Now, I realize creamy potato salad gets a bit of a bad rap. I find most people are proud to announce they are more of a vinaigrette person. Some will even describe creamy potato salad as “gloopy”. The horror! I blame mass-produced potato salads for this unfortunate reputation because most are indeed flavorless, gloopy messes. But I can promise you this Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad is not. It delivers full-throated flavor and the texture is deeply satisfying. And in this recipe, you will find a few tips and tricks that will keep any potato salad you make out of that gloopy territory.
Okay, let’s start by breaking down this Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad. I wanted to emulate one of my favorite childhood chip flavors. And I did that by including every allium I could get my hands on. So, predictably enough, this recipe kicks off with 3-4 shallots and a mandolin. Slice the shallots nice and thin and set them aside. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a nice sharp chef’s knife for this. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet and add the shallots. Give them a good sprinkle of salt and then turn the heat down as low as it can go. Cover the shallots and leave them to sweat it out for 15 minutes. Make sure you check in and give them a stir every 3-5 minutes. The closer they are to being done, the more prone they are to burning.
Once the shallots are a gorgeous golden color, take them off of the heat and set them aside to cool. These will be part of our dressing. But before we get to that, we have to boil some eggs. Now, we’re going for fluffy yolks, so we don’t want to boil these eggs into oblivion. Lower fridge-cold eggs into boiling water and let cook for 7 minutes. Take the eggs out of the water and immediately plunge them into an ice bath.
Most recipes tell you to leave the eggs for 10 minutes prior to peeling but I like to leave mine for a minimum of 30 minutes. I actually like to store them in the fridge overnight and peel them the next morning. Why? Because a chilled egg is a lot easier to peel and I have zero talent for the activity. I need all the help I can get.
When the shallots are about room temperature, place them in a bowl. Add some sour cream and a little mayo. Now, let’s bring another allium into this. Add a minced clove of garlic. Feel free to add more but remember raw garlic packs a punch. Round the flavor out by stirring in some Dijon mustard, salt, and a little honey for balance. Chill the dressing until you’re ready to put the salad together.
Now it’s finally time to address the star of the show – the potatoes. You can cook your potatoes any way you like. But for my money, the best potatoes to make potato salad with are steamed potatoes. They take a little longer than boiled potatoes, but they won’t get waterlogged and they have the fluffiest interior in my opinion, which is a real asset when you’re trying to avoid “gloopiness”.
Pour water into a large pot and fit a steaming basket on top. Add the potatoes to the basket and cover. Once the water comes to a boil, set the timer for 15 minutes. At the end of those 15 minutes, your potatoes should be fork-tender. Take them off of the heat and set them aside to cool. You don’t want to dress piping hot potatoes, the dressing will not coat them properly.
When the potatoes are dressed and the celery and green onions have been added, pile them onto a platter. Now for the fun part. Peel, quarter, and place the hard-boiled eggs all over the surface of the salad. I find this to be a more visually pleasing way of incorporating the eggs. If you would prefer to dice them and toss them into the salad, that is totally fine. Next add the celery leaves, which are the best garnish by the way. And finally, a sour cream and onion potato of a different stripe, the crinkled-cut potato chips. And if this salad is giving you omelet from The Bear vibes, that is intentional. This salad was very much inspired by that amazing show.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad. It’s bursting with contrasting textures, punchy flavors, and a creaminess that is anything but gloopy.
Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad
- 1 Large pot
- 1 Steaming basket
- 1 mandoline optional
- 1 Large skillet
- 3-4 shallots sliced thin on a mandoline**
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda ***
- 680g (1.5lbs) baby Yukon gold potatoes halved
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ cup sour cream and onion chips crushed
- celery leaves for sprinkling
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Let sweat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the shallots off of the heat and let them cool.3-4 shallots, 2 tbsp olive oil
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Lower the eggs into the water and cook for 7 minutes. Take the eggs out of the water and place them in an ice bath. Let chill for 30 minutes before peeling and quartering the eggs.4 large eggs, 1 tsp baking soda ***
- Fill a large pot with water and place a steaming basket on top. Add the potatoes and cover. Bring the water to a boil and set the timer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Take them off of the heat and set them aside to cool slightly.680g (1.5lbs) baby Yukon gold potatoes
- Place the shallots in a small bowl. Add the garlic, sour cream, mayo, mustard, honey, and salt. Stir to combine and chill until ready to use.1 clove garlic, ⅓ cup sour cream, 2 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp salt
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the scallions, celery, and the sour cream mixture. Toss to coat.4 scallions, 2 stalks celery
- Transfer the potatoes to a platter and arrange the eggs on top. Garnish with the crushed potato chips and celery leaves. Serve immediately.½ cup sour cream and onion chips, celery leaves