The makings of a great potato salad
The best potato salads are creamy and flavourful, with potatoes that are perfectly balanced between soft and firm. This means that you should go with a spud that can keep its shape after cooking, and one that doesn’t fall apart too easily when picked up with a fork.
There are thousands of different kinds of potatoes, each one with their own merits. Generally, potatoes can be divided into three different types: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.
Starchy potatoes: As its name implies, this type of potato has lots of starch. They don’t hold lots of moisture, and their flesh breaks down easily when cooked. The result is a nice, fluffy potato perfect for mash! Be careful not to overwork them though, as you just might end up with what Martha Stewart calls a “gluey” mash!
Common starchy varieties are russet potatoes, sweet potatoes (as well as its more colourful cousin, purple sweet potatoes), and King Edward potatoes.
Waxy potatoes: Potatoes of this type have significantly less starch in them, and have a waxy skin. They have more moisture in their flesh, and when boiled and cooked, hold their shape exceptionally well! Waxy potatoes are great for recipes that call for boiling, roasting, or slicing (such as Hasselback potatoes!).
The most common waxy spuds are Kipfler potatoes, red potatoes, and Dutch Cream potatoes
In-between or all-purpose potatoes: If you’re not sure just what you’ll be doing with your potatoes, it’s safest to go with all-purpose types. These potatoes have medium starch content, and fall somewhere in between starchy and waxy types. This means that they generally hold their shape, but can also work softened. These in-betweeners are great for dauphinoise potatoes, stews, and soups.
Popular all-purpose potatoes include the Yukon Gold potatoes, Desiree potatoes, and Sebago potatoes. A local contender for best potatoes for potato salad in Australia is locally-developed Toolangi Delight. This Australian spud is incredibly versatile, and it can add a pop of colour to your dish with its vibrant purple skin!
The best potatoes for potato salad
As we mentioned earlier, the best potato for potato salad is the Kipfler potato. According to Specialty Produce, Kipflers range from small to medium-sized and are long and narrow, like a cigar or finger. They have thin, waxy skin that can be anywhere from light brown to dusty yellow.
Because it’s a waxy variety and has very little starch, the cooked Kipfler potato won’t crumble when cooked, making it perfect for potato salads! It will have a creamy texture when cooked, with a nutty and buttery taste.
Kipfler potatoes are available year-round and are one of the most popular varieties in Australia, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding some when you’re in the mood for some amazing potato salad. But just in case your local store runs out, here are some alternative potato varieties you can try:
Dutch Cream potatoes: Like the Kipfler potato, Dutch Cream potatoes are creamy and buttery. Because of this, some people even use them to make mash, despite being a waxy variety! Because of their creaminess, Dutch Cream potatoes pair nicely with sharp vinaigrettes.
Sebago potatoes: Another variety that’s popular in Australia, they’re usually what chips are made of! They’re classified as an all-purpose potato due to their medium starch content. Sebago potatoes on their own aren’t as flavourful as Kipflers and Dutch Cream, but they’re great at soaking up flavours – season them well with salt as you cook them!
Red potatoes: If you’re looking to cut back on calories, red potatoes are a great choice! According to Healthline, red potatoes have fewer calories and carbs! The same site mentions that most of a potato’s nutrients are concentrated on its outer skin, so keep it on! It will make for a beautifully coloured salad!
How to make potato salad
There are many different ways to make potato salad, and everyone seems to have their own classic potato salad recipe! Here are some of our favourite recipes:
Mama’s potato salad: This timeless potato salad recipe isn’t the most adventurous and exciting, but it’s certainly comforting – like coming home to mum! This is perfect for Sunday brunches and for days when you just want a taste of home.
Colourful and easy potato salad: This is an interesting spin on the classic potato salad. The chile pepper adds a spicy kick to an otherwise familiar salad.
Light and easy Greek potato salad: Instead of the usual mayonnaise-based salad, try out this lighter version. This particular recipe calls for red potatoes in particular, which will make for a nice, colourful salad, but feel free to use other varieties.