From Scratch: How To Bake Red Potatoes For A Potato Salad

  • By: VidJovanovic
  • Date: October 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

When you think of potato salad, what do you imagine? Maybe you picture a big bowl of creamy potatoes, mayonnaise, or something else.

Whatever your associations with the dish, it’s safe to say that potato salad is more than just a pile of mashed potatoes and some peas. It’s got so much potential: crunchy bacon bits! Grilled corn kernels! Chopped green onions!

But when you’re looking for an alternative to mayo-based potato salad recipes or want to experiment with something new, baking red potatoes from scratch is the perfect way to get creative with your next picnic meal.

Key Takeaways

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Prick red potatoes several times with a fork. 
  • Bake red potatoes for 1 hour. 
  • Cut a cross on the top of each potato.
  • Push the ends of the red potato towards the center so that the potato opens up like a flower.
A few red potatoes on the table.
From Scratch_ How To Bake Red Potatoes For A Potato Salad

How To Bake Red Potatoes For A Potato Salad?

I know what you’re thinking: how do I bake red potatoes, anyway? Not to worry—it’s easier than you think. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  • Wash and dry your red potatoes thoroughly.
  • Cut them into thin wedges – about 1/4 inch thick works best for potato salad!
  • Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). You can add some other seasonings if you like – cayenne pepper, paprika or rosemary make great additions! Bonus points if you toss some garlic cloves in there as well; it’ll give your dish an extra kick of flavor and make it more unique than just plain old “baked potatoes.” If possible, try baking these now before continuing with steps 4 through 6 so that they’ve already been prepared before moving on to the next steps, which require heating ovens again later on down the road when making actual recipes such as potato salad with these same ingredients.

Wash The Red Potatoes And Slice Them Into Thin Wedges

A few unwashed red potatoes.
Wash The Red Potatoes And Slice Them Into Thin Wedges
  • Wash the red potatoes in cold water.
  • Brush them with a vegetable brush to clean them up.
  • Slice the red potatoes into thin wedges using a mandolin or sharp knife, depending on your preferences and how much time you have.

Toss The Red Potatoes With Olive Oil And Salt

Toss the potatoes with olive oil and salt. The easiest way is to make a bowl of mayonnaise with some pepper and put the potatoes there.

If you don’t have mayonnaise, olive oil works just as well. Still, it can get messy if you’re not paying attention—especially if your hands are wet from washing your potato skins!

Preheat The Oven To 375 Degrees Fahrenheit

A person preheating the oven.
Preheat The Oven To 375 Degrees Fahrenheit

We’re getting into the nitty-gritty now. If you want your potato salad to turn out well, you need to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yes, this is also how you bake potatoes. It’s also the temperature for baking a potato on its own in some recipes!

But what about baking other types of things? Do they have their temperatures?

I honestly don’t know because, frankly, I think that my readers are smart enough to figure out what temperature their particular dish needs.

Spread The Potatoes In A Single Layer On A Baking Sheet

On a baking sheet, arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Use a baking sheet that is large enough to hold all of the potatoes, and if you don’t have one, you can use a roasting pan.

They should bake for 40 minutes, or until soft when poked with a fork, in an oven that has been set to 425 degrees F.

Bake For 25 Minutes, Or Until The Potatoes Are Tender And Lightly Browned

Now that you’ve prepped your potatoes, it’s time to start baking them. Setting your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and preheating it for at least ten minutes is the first step.

Then, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 25 minutes or until they’re tender and lightly browned.

When cooking anything from scratch, timing is everything—and this recipe is no exception! If you want perfect red potato salad every time, use a timer to ensure your spuds are baked just right.

You don’t want underdone potatoes or overcooked ones because they’ll end up too soft or rock-hard when tossed in mayo (or whatever else is going into yours).

And remember: convection ovens have unique settings, so if yours has one, make sure not to use it when making this dish.

Allow The Potatoes To Cool Before Adding Them To Your Potato Salad

The best thing about making a potato salad from scratch is that you can add your potatoes to the salad immediately after they are baked.

However, suppose you plan on serving the potato salad later. In that case, it’s important to let them cool before adding them to the recipe. If you don’t allow time for them to cool, then they will become mushy and will not hold up well in a cold dish like potato salad.

How To Prepare And Serve A Potato Salad?

Prepare the potatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). You can bake your potato in a conventional or convection oven. By employing this technique, you can cut the baking time by 10 minutes if you have a convection oven.
  • Wash your red potatoes thoroughly and then peel them using a vegetable peeler or knife. Cut each potato into quarters lengthwise, then again widthwise so that they’re quartered into small wedges of equal size; if you have especially long potatoes, cut them so that each piece has at least one end still attached—this will help when serving later on in case any pieces are too small for proper scooping.
  • Squeeze any excess moisture from your cut reds with paper towels before placing them onto a lightly greased baking sheet—a little oil helps prevent sticking. Still, it isn’t necessary if you don’t feel comfortable using it.

Bake until golden brown on all sides–about 35-45 minutes, depending on how thickly sliced they were originally (keep an eye out for burning, though!).

What Are The Ingredients In A Red Potato Salad?

  • Red Potatoes: any potatoes will work, but I prefer to use red potatoes because they hold their shape better. We will boil them and then slice them up while they are warm. This is the secret to ensuring that your potato salad doesn’t become a mushy mess.
  • Mayonnaise: It wouldn’t be a true potato salad without mayonnaise, would it? And if you’re like me, there’s no such thing as too much mayo in your potato salad. It’s worth mentioning that some people have an aversion to mayo—if this is the case for you, feel free to omit it or substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream instead (just make sure that whatever you use has enough fat content so that your dressing will stay creamy).
  • Salt & pepper: salt and pepper are always necessary for any good recipe—especially when we’re making potato salad. Make sure you taste test these ingredients as well; depending on how salty your bacon was (or if you chose not to include bacon), this could make all the difference between bland and delicious.
  • Onion: Individuals who add onions to their potato salad and those who don’t are two different kinds of people. If we were talking about making American-style slaw (which uses vinegar), then maybe I wouldn’t include onions here…but since we’re going down south with our southern-style dressing/dressing-like substance–it makes sense for us to pick something up from our friends across The Pond–and include green onions instead. The only trouble with adding green onions? Wellllllllll….they turn brown super fast after being cut open…so try using them right away before they go bad.


Now that you know how to prepare potatoes for a potato salad, you can try your hand at making something delicious.

Whether it’s a classic recipe with mayonnaise, mustard and chives or something more unique, like this roasted potato salad with lemon zest and fresh dill, there are many options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many potatoes should I use in a potato salad?

You can usually get away with using around two cups of diced red potatoes when making potato salad. However, depending on how chunky or textured you want your potato salad to be, you may want to use more or fewer potatoes.

How can I make my potato salad extra special by adding different toppings?

There are many ways to make your potato salad special, including adding bacon, hard-boiled eggs, or roasted red peppers. Try experimenting and see what you like best.

What should I do with leftover baked potatoes?

If you have leftover potatoes, you can eat them plain or make potato salad using them. Baking potatoes are great for staying crispy and moist, so they work well in potato salad.

What types of potatoes can I use for potato salad?

You can use red potatoes, white potatoes, russet potatoes or sweet potatoes for potato salad. Simply be sure to dice them finely, so they cook thoroughly and don’t become mushy.


Vid Jovanovic

I’m Vid Jovanovic and I’m 36 years old. I’m a teacher by profession and my passion lies in baking. I have been baking since my early teens, when my grandmother taught me how to make a simple cake that you can find in any supermarket. My passion for baking grew as I got older and I started experimenting with different ingredients and recipes.