This potato salad with pickle relish is proof that good food doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy. A simple Southern classic, it has all the trademark ingredients of the potato salad you grew up eating—potatoes, onion, mayonnaise, and hard-boiled eggs—as well as a spoonful of sweet pickle relish to give it that elusive balance of tangy and ever so slightly sweet. As the author says, “Where I come from, you were judged as a cook not on your soufflés but on your potato salad. What really distinguishes one salad from another is how the home cook navigates restraint and balance. For me, the perfect balance of pickle relish made or broke the recipe.”Angie Zoobkoff

A bowl mounded with potato salad with sweet pickle relish.

Potato Salad with Sweet Pickle Relish

4.63 / 8 votes
This potato salad is a little sweet, a little tangy, and a whole lot of creamy. Just like the kind you grew up with.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 sevings
Calories395 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes



  • In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the potatoes with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch (25 mm) and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 15 to 16 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
  • While the potatoes are still warm, cut them into quarters.
  • In a large bowl, combine the warm potatoes, onion, relish, mayonnaise, and eggs. Toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Meals, Music & Muses Cookbook

Adapted From

Meals, Music, and Muses

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 395 kcalCarbohydrates: 31 gProtein: 9 gFat: 27 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 198 mgSodium: 509 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2020 Alexander Smalls. Photo © 2020 Beatriz da Costa. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Best potato salad I’ve ever made. This was an easy recipe to toss together but the flavor made it seem like I had done way more work. It almost tasted like a deviled egg. I’m always looking for a solid potato salad recipe and this is it! My kids even ate all of their portions, so I know it was good.

One thing I did change was to add 1/4 cup mayo. With the relish, it was already a good texture. I didn’t add more because I thought it would be overload. Aside from that, I followed the recipe exactly.

After trying it plain, I added some paprika which gave it a nice flavor profile. And I think I might add bacon if I make it again (which I’m sure I will).

This potato salad with sweet pickles is my idea of the classic since it was the kind I had while growing up. My mother always chopped up sweet gherkins and used some of the pickle juice with the mayo when she mixed it up. We always looked forward to it when we had cookouts! Using sweet pickle relish is certainly easier than chopping up sweet pickles and you also get the juice included when spooning it out. WIN-WIN!!

I was also reminded how easy and relatively quick this salad is to make. The longest part is waiting for the water to boil to start timing the potatoes and these days I am now steaming my hard-boiled eggs in a steamer basket for easy peeling. I have no excuse not to make this yummy salad on a more regular basis.

Of note, you really do need to let the flavors develop to get that sweet pickle flavor infused throughout. I let mine chill for 1 1/2 hours and it was good, but it will be even better tomorrow for lunch! Next time, I’ll add some chopped celery for added crunch and a little Lawry’s seasoned salt instead of regular salt.

I’m a huge potato salad fan so when I saw this recipe I just had to try it. And I’m so glad that I did. The sweet relish is such a lovely addition and this potato salad is fantastic on its own or makes a great base if you wanted to add things like celery, celery seeds, paprika, red chili flakes, etc. I will definitely keep this recipe as my go-to potato salad.

I used store-bought sweet relish. I used the recipe linked to in the ingredients to cook the eggs as I was curious and I don’t think I’ll ever boil an egg any other way as they were perfect.

I made this last night and I chilled it for an hour and then dug in and it was delicious. Today I had it for lunch and it seemed to carry the same flavor so chilling it for longer didn’t make it tastier. This would easily serve 4 to 6 people as a side dish.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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