This potato salad with apples has everything a stellar potato salad should have, including a creamy Dijon-mayonnaise dressing, crunchy pickles, and a few pleasant surprises, including tart green apple and fresh dill.
This is not your typical potato salad. And we mean that in the best possible way. It surprises you with jolts of sweetly sour green apple and pungent red onion and bracing Dijon and, well, it’s gonna upend your notion of how things—or at least potato salad—ought to be.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Potato Salad with Apples
- 2 pounds, 3 ounces medium red potatoes (or other all-purpose potatoes)
- 10 ounces Granny Smith apples (or other tart green cooking apples) peeled, cored, and diced (about 2 apples)
- 1 medium red onion finely diced
- 6 gherkins or 3 dill pickles diced, or to taste
- 1 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup mayonnaise (be sure to use one that has egg) or more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes plus extra if needed
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup loosely packed dill fronds finely chopped
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, add enough cold water to cover, and set over medium heat. Slowly bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 12 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: When cooking your potatoes, be careful not to let a rapid boil creep in as it will break them apart and ruin your salad. (If that does happen, you can always turn them into a mashed potato— just add a lot of butter and crush them with a fork, then season with salt and cracked pepper.)
- Gently drain the potatoes and let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients together.
- Once the steam has dried the potatoes a little and they’re cool enough to handle and, carefully cut them into rough walnut-sized pieces.
☞TESTER TIP: You want the potato pieces to maintain their shape rather than break when you do this, so use a gentle touch as you handle them.
- Add the potatoes to the bowl and, using a light touch, fold them into the dressing until completely coated.
☞TESTER TIP: If you’re using homemade instead of store-bought mayo, you may need to add more—up to 1 cup more—in order to stretch the dressing to coat the potatoes as homemade doesn’t contain all the emulsifiers as the jarred stuff.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to several hours, which will cause the intensity of the mustard flavor to mellow and the rest of the flavors to meld.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I was looking for recipes to have on hand to pair with grilled meats or fried chicken, and this potato salad fit the bill. I served this first with the Southern Fried Chicken Wings from this site and it was a perfect accompaniment.
Even after a few days in the fridge, this potato salad held up as a quick and easy lunch and, later, served with bratwurst at the end of the holiday weekend. What I liked about this particular version of potato salad was the hint of sweetness thanks to the apples and sweet gherkin pickles and, of course, the generous portion of fresh dill, my favorite herb.
I cooked the potatoes for 12 minutes. In hindsight, they could have used another few minutes since some of the pieces had a little crunch in the final salad. I did leave the skins on the potatoes. The salad was perfectly seasoned per the recipe, no additions were made.
Once you have made this potato salad, it would be very hard to go back to the mayonnaise-laden, bland, store-bought variety. Lots of eyebrows raised in my house as they saw Granny smith apple being diced for this salad, but one taste made them believers. The various forms of acidity—apple, pickle, vinegar—give this salad a delightful brightness, but won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
I found the dressing to be more on the thin side (think German potato salad rather than the thick, starchy side you expect from classic American potato salad, but that wasn’t a deal breaker. I think both reducing the vinegar in the dressing (just slightly) and being a little rougher when chopping up the potatoes would provide enough extra starchy matter to emulsify the dressing to a thicker consistency.
I used baby dutch potatoes and these were a bit too waxy for this application and wouldn’t recommend them. I would have preferred a potato that had some more starch. I did not add more vinegar. it absolutely didn’t need more acidity.
This is nice version of a traditional potato salad. We all liked the addition of the apple for a sweet-tart taste and a nice crunch. However, on the day we made it it was all about the Dijon mustard. It was the first and last taste that you got from it. It wasn’t terrible, but it tasted very strongly of mustard and vinegar.
I used a sweet Gherkin as the pickle and was very glad for the additional sweetness. I used an ambrosia apple in the salad. I was unable to get red boiling potatoes so had to use what I had on hand, all-purpose white potatoes. I didn’t peel the potatoes, just gave them a good scrub. They did break apart a bit after cooking, but, when mixed with the mayonnaise, added a nice creaminess to the salad.
We really liked the sweetness of the gherkins and I would add more next time. I did not find the need to add any additional vinegar as it was almost too tart. There was enough left over for 2 additional servings beside the 4 we had for dinner. The next day I took some of the leftover salad to work and it had completely changed.
Like most good potato salads it requires time to mellow and blend. This time the mustard and vinegar had mellowed and the potato and dill flavours were more in proportion. It was so much better, I would absolutely make this again, but I would make it the day before or at least several hours before we were to eat it to allow things to mellow.
If you are making this in the morning before your dinner or even better the day before it allows everything to blend nicely. If you need to make it and eat it right away, I would decrease the Dijon to 2 tbs and only use 1/4 cup of vinegar. That way it will not be as sharp or bitter by mealtime.
The only thing my tasters were missing was the bacon and chopped egg I usually add to mine. They did enjoy the change nonetheless.
This salad was the accompaniment of a salmon tartare and the combination worked perfectly. The acidity of the pickles and apple cider vinegar, the soft potatoes in contrast to the crisp pieces of apple, and the freshness of the dill combined so well. A recipe that is simple to prepare and is a versatile accompaniment to serve on feast days, family lunches, or even for a picnic.
So sometimes life throws you a curveball. Just as the potatoes were finished on the stove, a menacing mouse appeared in the kitchen. Most curious as it was midday. I may seem calm now, but I definitely was NOT then. All to say the recipe had to wait until the situation was under control, so the cooked potatoes were popped into the fridge.
The next day I was able to finish the recipe. The happy byproduct of this was the potato did not crumble or disintegrate upon cutting!
All in all, if you’re looking for a mayonnaise-style potato salad this one sings a sweet and salty song with unexpected crunchy pickle and spicy red onion flavor bombs. It comes together fast, since some ingredients can be diced while your potatoes are cooling (unless, of course, a mouse appears). You’ll be seriously on your way to the barbecue in no time.
I used Pink lady apples. They were good, but Granny Smith would have a bit of a sour bite.
My dressing was a bit runny due to a slightly loose homemade mayonnaise.
Perfect potato salad. Not your Grandma’s ho-hum boring, but absolutely delicious and a welcome guest at any backyard BBQ. Thinking of crashing? Bring this. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, soft, and crunchy.
If you don’t like dill, like some people I know, and you know who you are, you can easily substitute some fresh flat-leaf parsley.
I used red potatoes and I left the skins on. I used Granny Smiths and about 2 cups of Hellman’s Mayo. I didn’t have white pepper so a little less of fresh cracked black pepper
I cut some fresh dill from my potted herbs on my deck. It amounted to about a half a cup.
I added extra vinegar and salt, as I always do. My husband has been the only other person I can try this out on besides myself. OMG. All this potato salad for the two of us! I will be making deliveries to my daughter that lives nearby.
I would, though, use less of the Dijon mustard. I’m not a fan of too much of it in my potato salad as I prefer it with a little less of a bite. Easily accomplished, I will only use I think 1 tablespoon next time.
Hubby hates dill as well. Another easy fix. Fresh, flat parsley. I’m very happy and pleased with the apples. I used to add granulated sugar and carrot for the sweet. The Granny Smiths are a very very pleasant surprise! Win-Win and not as much as an insulin spike.
Originally published June 28, 2020