Loaded Baked Potato Salad: A Picnic Side Dish to Remember

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As summer wears on, I find myself getting increasingly creative with my picnic dishes. I’m tired of sandwiches and chips. I get tired of eating the same six things every day because those are the ones my kids enjoy.

Honestly, I get tired of feeding them myself for lunch every day. Is it time for them to go back to school yet? When they eat school lunches, they get a lot more variety than they do in my kitchen for lunch, even though I continue to insist on things like eating fruits or vegetables at every meal.

Here’s the good news: there are other dishes out there especially if you’re planning for a big potluck or know that you need to feed a ton of people. One of my favorites? Loaded baked potato salad, which is the perfect complement to many of my favorite summer meals.

This loaded baked potato salad is sort of like enjoying a loaded baked potato, complete with all of your favorite toppings. (You can always leave off the bacon or scallions if you want to, but…why would you want to?) It’s the perfect complement to any meal, whether you’re enjoying sandwiches at a picnic or throwing together a backyard barbecue to remember. Even better, it’s a cool dish, which makes it great for those hot summer days but it’s not just a summer dish, either. If you need to add potatoes to a holiday table, but don’t want another round of mashed potatoes, this potato salad will help provide all the flavor you need.

Are you ready to get cooking? You can whip up this loaded baked potato salad in about 30 minutes, though you’ll need to refrigerate it for a little while before serving. (Or go ahead and eat while it’s still warm I’ve licked my spoon more than once, and it’s not bad! Just remember, it’s even better the next day, and you’re sure to enjoy it even more if you remember to prep ahead.)

How to Prepare Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Ingredients for Loaded Baked Potato Salad

  • 2 lbs red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp of Kosher salt (you can adjust based on your preference)
  • 1/2 cup quality mayo
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (depending on your preference)
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup crispy crumbled bacon (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnishing

Directions for Loaded Baked Potato Salad

  1. Start by boiling the diced potatoes in a pot filled with water. Add 1/2 tsp of the Kosher salt. Allow them to boil for about 10-12 minutes or until they’re soft but not mushy. Drain and let them cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream or yogurt, the remaining salt, and the black pepper. Ensure the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cooled potatoes, half of the cheddar cheese, half of the scallions, and if you’re using, half of the bacon.
  4. Pour the mayo mixture over the potatoes. Gently stir, ensuring every potato chunk is well-coated.
  5. Garnish with the remaining cheese, scallions, bacon, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
  6. For the best flavor, refrigerate the salad for several hours or even better, overnight.

Can I use other types of potatoes for this recipe?

Yes, you can! While red potatoes are recommended because of their texture and flavor, Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes can also work well. However, cooking times may vary, so keep an eye on them while boiling.

Is it necessary to peel the potatoes?

No, it’s not mandatory. Peeling is a personal preference. Some prefer their potato salad with skins on for added texture and flavor. If you choose not to peel, ensure you wash the potatoes thoroughly.

Can I substitute the mayo with something else?

Definitely! If you’re not a fan of mayo, you can increase the quantity of sour cream or yogurt. Some also prefer using a combination of Greek yogurt and olive oil for a healthier twist.

How long can the loaded baked potato salad be stored?

This salad is best when consumed within 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. After this period, the flavors might start to diminish, and the texture can become soggy.

Can this potato salad be frozen?

It’s not recommended to freeze this salad. The mayo and sour cream/yogurt base may separate when thawed, affecting the texture and consistency of the salad.

How can I make this salad vegetarian?

Simply omit the bacon or substitute it with a vegetarian alternative like smoked tofu or tempeh bacon for a similar smoky flavor.

Can I add other ingredients to this salad?

Absolutely! Feel free to add ingredients like boiled eggs, diced bell peppers, or even corn for an extra crunch. It’s all about tailoring the recipe to your liking.

What can I serve this loaded baked potato salad with?

This versatile salad pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, or even as a standalone dish. It’s perfect for BBQs, picnics, or family gatherings.

Why do the potatoes turn mushy sometimes?

Overcooking the potatoes is the primary reason they turn mushy. It’s crucial to keep an eye on them while boiling and perform the fork test to ensure they’re cooked just right.

So, there you have it – the best loaded baked potato salad recipe that’s both hearty and flavorful. It’s a dish that never disappoints and is always a hit at gatherings. Happy cooking!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refregirate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 tsp Kosher salt divided
  • 2 lbs red potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt yogurt gives it a tangier taste, but it's lower calorie!
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon leave out for a vegetarian option...but when can you ever have enough bacon?
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Parsley to garnish


  • Boil the potatoes in a pot of water for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and squishy when you poke them with a fork. Once the potatoes are squishy, drain them and allow to cool.
  • While the potatoes are cooling, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, and the salt and pepper.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled, toss them with 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/4 cup of the scallions, and 1/2 cup of the bacon. Pour the mayo mixture over the top, then stir to combine.
  • Garnish the mixture with the remaining cheese, bacon, and scallions. Sprinkle with parsley to decorate.
  • Refrigerate the potato salad for several hours or overnight for best results.
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