Replacing some of the mayonnaise with sour cream in this easy potato salad lends a slightly tangy taste and feels lighter than traditional potato salad recipes. I like to use red potatoes because the color of the skin makes the prettiest salad. Make the entire salad ahead of time and chill until serving.–Rebecca Lang

Creamy Red Potato Salad FAQs

What is the difference between red and white potatoes?

The biggest difference between red and white potatoes is that reds contain less starch and more sugar than their white-fleshed cousins. Red potatoes are typically smaller as well, making them well suited for salads and soups – less chopping, and peeling necessary! Due to the lower starch content, red potatoes also tend to hold their shape better in salads, so you don’t have to be so concerned about your side dish turning to mush.

How long will my leftovers last?

When stored properly – covered and in the refrigerator – your salad should last three to four days. Give it a good stir before serving.

What should I serve with creamy red potato salad?

Potato salad is a picnic, potluck, and cookout staple, so it’s welcome alongside any number of summer dishes, including burgers, grilled bratwurst, or would be an excellent accompaniment to fried chicken.

A white porcelain bowl filled with creamy red potato salad, topped with sliced scallions and a serving spoon resting inside

Creamy Red Potato Salad

5 / 3 votes
Small red potatoes hold their shape well and make the prettiest salad. Swapping in some sour cream for mayonnaise lightens up this summer staple. The salad is best made ahead of time and chilled a few hours before serving.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories247 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 3 pounds red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons), preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 scallions (about 2/3 cup), thinly sliced


  • Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Drain in a colander and let cool. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
  • Combine the sour cream and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and scallions and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before serving.
Y'all Come Over Cookbook

Adapted From

Y’all Come Over

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 247 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 4 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 14 mgSodium: 417 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 3 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Rebecca Lang. Photo © 2021 Kathryn McCrary. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a nice riff on creamy red potato salad, as the lemon zest provides a real lift. The dressing is fairly light, as well — the combo of mayo plus sour cream is a win. Full disclosure: I used vegan mayonnaise and vegan sour cream in mine, which are less rich than their non-vegan counterparts. I erred on the larger side of 1-inch chunks; if I made this again I’d make them smaller for more surface area.

I served this alongside homemade bratwurst the first night, and as part of a composed salad the next. After a few hours, it was bright and fresh tasting. After 24 hours, the dressing was thicker, the lemon and scallion flavor had infused the dressing, and it was better balanced overall. Definitely worth the wait.

This creamy red potato salad is by far the best and easiest potato salad I have ever made. The recommendation of replacing some of the mayo with sour cream was so creative as it eliminated that heavy mayo thing and produced an incredibly creamy, light textured salad with a subtle tangy flavor. The added lemon zest was another bonus as it brought an overall freshness to the recipe.

I elected to make my own mayonnaise, having never made it before, and chose the one minute mayonnaise recipe from the LC website. It literally took one minute to make a beautiful glossy, pale yellow, delicious mayonnaise. There is no doubt that this homemade mayo enhanced the flavor and texture of this fabulous salad.

The execution of the recipe couldn’t have been simpler. Cook the potatoes, mix five ingredients in a bowl and combine when done with the scallions. Life is good and this recipe is a definite keeper!

Potato salad is a perennial favorite around our home so my family was very excited to try this version. It is simple to make with a minimum of ingredients, most of which you’ll find in the average kitchen. After allowing it to chill for a couple hours we served it for dinner with a pan-fried schnitzel.

It was very creamy with a slight tang from the vinegar and sour cream as well as a freshness from the lemon zest. We found the mix of sour cream with the mayonnaise lightened the salad so it wasn’t heavy or cloying. This went very well with the pork schnitzel we served for dinner. We will certainly be making this potato salad again.

Potato salad is the often-overlooked supporting actor for many outdoor barbeque venues featuring grilled meats and sausages. Occasionally, a poor potato salad performance results in a mushy potato mix swimming in sauce but when executed well potato salad can shine with the main course.

This vegetarian creamy red potato salad recipe delivers a star performance with beautiful red skinned potatoes dressed with a light and tangy sauce. The sour cream, lemon zest and vinegar provide just the right acidity to complement the creamy potatoes and mayonnaise. The recipe succeeds with a rich texture and a brightness which can cut through the fatty flavors of grilled chicken, burgers, or sausage.

The ratio of sauce to potato is a perfect balance with the dressing providing the creamy and acidic flavor notes to the red potatoes without drowning the principal ingredient. I added more salt and pepper to my serving at the table to boost up the seasoning level specified by the recipe.

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was a spectacular little potato salad, with flavor that surprises due to its simple ingredients. Made it last night and it was a hit with everyone. I used a quite large lemon, and white Italian vinegar rather than simple white distilled. So easy to make – this one will go into the rotation.

    1. Fantastic, Kelly! We delighted this turned out so well and hope you enjoy it again and again.

  2. Been making my own mayo since I got my first stick blender years ago.
    I added a little fresh chopped parsley and a chopped shallot because I was a little short on scallions. I also added a few capers. The bowl of potato salad disappeared quickly at a little cookout we had last night. Smoked pulled pork sandwiches, smoked sausage, fresh grilled corn on the cob, I was pleasantly surprised with how nicely the lemon zest helps balance the richness of the sour cream and mayo.

    1. What a scrumptious menu, Vincent! We’re so glad the potato salad was enjoyed as part of it!