Potato Salad is one of those recipes that I associate with a large summer gathering. Back when I was growing up making the best potato salad was a source of pride for my mom and aunts. Mom’s was pretty good, but Aunt Jane’s was hands down the best. Potato salad was always a special treat because it only came out during picnic season--probably because it took so much time to cook the potatoes, hard boil the eggs, then cool it all down and mix up the dressing.
Now you can speed up that process and make potato salad anytime with a pressure cooker. Yes, you can cook potatoes and eggs in a pressure cooker! Not together, but very quickly nonetheless. Add a cup of water to the pressure cooker and place the eggs or potatoes on the steam rack. Save even more time by not peeling red skin potatoes. Just piece with a fork and place on the steam rack in the pressure cooker. (White potato skins do not have the same visual appeal in the salad.) Another pressure cooker benefit is that hard-cooked eggs steam in the pressure cooker so they are super easy to peel.
Select HIGH pressure and set 4 minutes for eggs. Whole potatoes (about 2 ½ inches in diameter) set for 12 minutes. Adjust time for larger or smaller potatoes. Quick-release the steam when the cooking time is done. Quick chill eggs in ice water and refrigerate the potatoes to chill.
Here’s a tip I learned from my mom. Cut the potatoes after they are cooked and chilled. Mom’s potato salad was always chunky, never mushy. Potatoes cut like butter with a paring knife when cooked and firmed up by chilling. And here’s a tip from me. If you don’t have a steam rack, simply ball up aluminum foil to lift the potatoes or eggs out of the water. Make as many balls of foil as you need to hold them all up.
Follow the Test Kitchen advice below for flavor variations on our Classic Potato Salad recipe.
Pat: “I love adding zip and zing to my potato salad with pickle relish (usually dill, but sweet relish is good too), mustard, lemon juice and onions. Sometimes I’ll add a sprinkling of sugar to the dressing to create a sweet and sour effect.”
Laurie: “My potato salad isn’t complete without hard-boiled egg, parsley and celery. I would omit the relish and stick to the basics. I go with the ‘simpler is better’ method when it comes to potato salad.”
Kristel: “I like to add mustard seed, celery seed, vinegar, chives and plenty of salt to my potato salad, and I don’t usually include eggs. Often, I substitute red potatoes for the traditional white potatoes and add a bit of sour cream to lighten everything up a bit.”