Loaded Baked Potato Salad takes everything you love about potato salad, and everything you love about loaded baked potatoes, and marries them all in a creamy, delicious and hearty side dish! It’s such a happy marriage!
Hearty Loaded Baked Potato Salad is a common steakhouse favorite and is usually served cold. It’s also an amazing barbecue side dish. You can’t go wrong with this fun twist on a classic.
Mine is overflowing with chunks of roasted red potatoes, crunchy bacon, extra sharp Cheddar cheese, green onion, and chives all wrapped up in a creamy sour cream dressing seasoned with my popular All Purpose Seasoning.
Our family loves my Classic Potato Salad recipe. But, it’s literally the only potato salad they will eat. No one else’s. So, I was hesitant to try a new recipe out on them.
I shouldn’t have worried. They fell in love with this creamy, crunchy hearty and satisfying side dish. Can baked potato salad be comfort food? I think it can!
I hope you’ll make this recipe and that it will become a favorite summer side dish for you and your family. Enjoy!
Why is This Baked Potato Salad Recipe Different?
1. Baked Potatoes, not Boiled:
My goal was to create a loaded potato salad that actually brought the baked potato texture and flavor to the recipe. I didn’t want to just boil potatoes, like I would for regular potato salad. I air fried baby reds, whole, and cut them after they were baked. Roasting them whole mimicked baked potato texture, somewhat, even if it wasn’t exact. Using the small potatoes cut the cooking time to around 20 minutes. Even including 30 minutes of cooling time, the Loaded Baked Potato Salad was cool and ready to serve in under an hour.
2. Less than an Hour for Cooking and Assembly:
I also wanted this salad to come together quickly. It ended up being around 45 minutes to complete the entire loaded potato salad and get it chilling in the fridge. That’s for cooking both the potatoes and the bacon, plus cooling them and assembling the salad.
I baked the bacon in my regular oven (400° for 15–20 minutes), and air fried the potatoes in my new Breville Joule countertop Smart Oven [affiliate link] at the same time (also 20 minutes at 400°).
You can roast the potatoes and cook the bacon at the same time, using your regular oven, too. Just use both racks and the convection option if you have it. Switch racks half way through baking.
3. Sour Cream Dressing:
What’s a baked potato without sour cream? The dressing needed to taste like sour cream, but be richer, and potato-salad-creamy, too. So many others before me had figured out that a little mayonnaise added the rich creaminess that we expect from potato salad, without overpowering the sour cream. I followed their lead. And my Best All Purpose Seasoning is the answer to well-rounded flavor in the finished dressing.
I know. Potato Salad with mayo AND sour cream may seem over the top, but it’s a lesser amount of mayo. The sour cream has slightly less fat and about half the calories of mayonnaise. So, technically it IS lighter than classic potato salad dressing. Plus, it’s “baked potato” potato salad. There HAS to be sour cream. lol
And if we’re telling the truth, no one is eating loaded baked potato salad because it’s healthy. They’re eating it because it tastes amazing and they love it! You’re gonna love it, too!
4. The Right Ingredients:
It was important for ALL the flavors to pop. With so few ingredients in a recipe, each one has to be a flavor dynamo.
So, no bacon bits from the salad dressing aisle. Sometimes bacon bits aren’t actually even bacon! Real chunks of thick-cut, hickory smoked bacon are the perfect co-star for the baked potatoes. No substitutes.
And no pre-grated cheese coated in anti-clumping agents. Grate your own shredded Cheddar cheese for the maximum flavor benefit.
Green onions are fantastic this time of year and bring a fresh savory bite to this mouthwatering salad. Fresh chives add a pop of color and herb‑y freshness.
It’s a small collection of ingredients that complement one another, well, to create a scrumptious Loaded Baked Potato Salad.
- Baby Red Potatoes
- Avocado Oil (Us the oil you always have in your kitchen.)
- Kosher Salt (If you use table salt, only use half as much.)
- 8 Slices Bacon, thick cut, cooked, drained and chopped
- Shredded Cheddar cheese, extra sharp Cheddar , (grated by hand)
- Green Onion, chopped
- Fresh Chives, minced
- Sour Cream
- Mayonnaise (We love my homemade, best.)
- White Wine Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- All Purpose Seasoning (My homemade is best in this recipe.)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cleaning Potatoes (or Other Produce)
If leaving skins on potatoes, as in this loaded baked potato salad recipe, it’s important to clean them, well.
Prepare a solution of 1 part distilled white vinegar to 3 parts water, i.e. 3 cups water & 1 cup vinegar.
Submerge the potatoes in the solution and use a vegetable brush or your hands to remove any dirt. Let the potatoes rest in the vinegar water for 10 minutes.
Pour into a colander and rinse. Dump the potatoes out onto a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry or leave to air dry before trying to store them. For our purposes, pat them dry to move forward with the recipe.
This is honestly the best method for washing any fresh produce. The USDA recommends at least a 10-minute soak. And, while it isn’t possible to kill every bit of bacteria, it comes a lot closer than just running water over your fruits and vegetables.
The vinegar won’t be tasted on the vegetables or fruit. I have personally used this method with berries, celery, grapes, and any other fruit you think might absorb the vinegar. But, I promise you. They do not. And, once dried and stored properly they last in the fridge so much longer.
How to Cook Potatoes for Potato Salad
I wanted more of the baked flavor and texture for our loaded potato salad. So, I opted to air fry them, whole, in my Breville Joule. It took about 20 minutes. You can achieve the same thing in your regular oven. Bake them at 400° for 20–35 minutes, depending on your oven. A fork should be able to easily pierce them and slide into the center.
I opted to leave the potatoes whole for roasting, so I would get the crisp skins on the outside and soft, fluffy potato on the inside.
You can pre-cut them if that’s your preference, but you WILL end up with browned and crispy potato sides on your potatoes. Which I love in a roasted potato.
But, that crisped area can be a little thick and tough for putting in a salad. That’s just not quite as close to baked russet potatoes as I hoped for. For me, the key was leaving them whole.
- Wash and dry the potatoes.
- Place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the avocado oil and kosher salt.
- Toss to coat each potato in oil and salt.
- Bake in an air fryer, a toaster oven or a conventional oven at 400° for 20–35 minutes. All ovens vary, so keep an eye on them once you hit 20 minutes.
- When you can pierce them with a fork and feel that they are tender, the potatoes are done. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool for 10 minutes or so.
- Then cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Set them aside while you finish preparing the rest of loaded baked potato salad.
Boiling potatoes for potato salad is certainly the traditional method. I do that for my classic potato salad. You can boil these baby potatoes, if you prefer.
You can even peel a different, larger variety of potato, like Russet potatoes or Yukon Golds, and boil them if that’s more convenient or to the liking of your family.
If so, that may affect the time the recipe takes to prepare. And, it may produce a slightly different texture for your potato salad. But, I’m confident the end result will be just as delicious with boiled potatoes.
Everything! lol Seriously, it would be easier and shorter to make a list of things it doesn’t work with. Serve this cool refreshing loaded baked potato salad recipe with: Sloppy Joes, Perfect Baked Chicken Breasts, any steak or chicken recipes, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Gyros, Maple Mustard Pork Loin, Ham and Cheese Sliders or Ham.
What are the Best Potatoes for Potato Salad?
I have made the lusciously delicious classic potato salad with Russet potatoes, Yukon Golds AND Red. I chose baby red potatoes for this one. But, I have every confidence that both Russet Potatoes and Yukon Golds would work, as well. They could be peeled or not, as you prefer. The key is more to not overcook the potatoes, than it is to worry about which variety is best. Cooked properly, they all work well. People who say any specific variety is too starchy have usually just boiled them for too long.
How to Make Potato Salad
- To make potato salad, begin by cooking the potatoes and cooking the bacon.
- While those cook, chop the green onions and the chives.
- Grate the Cheddar cheese.
- Mix the Salad Dressing.
- Remove bacon and potatoes from the oven and cool.
- Cut the cooled potatoes into bite-size pieces and chop the bacon.
- Assemble the salad by placing all ingredients, except for 1/2 of the the chives, in a bowl and pouring the dressing over the top.
- Stir to coat the ingredients in the dressing
- Garnish with reserved chives and refrigerate until time to serve.
This is an easy, hearty salad that everyone raves over. The sour cream mayonnaise combination for the dressing is lighter, yet still rich and creamy. It’s a perfect side dish for all your favorite main dishes, but it makes a delicious stand-alone lunch, too. A hands-down family favorite that’s popular at potlucks and summer gatherings, too.
For Roasting the Potatoes:
- 2 pounds baby red potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the Salad:
- roasted red baby potatoes from above
- 8 slices bacon, thick cut
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, extra sharp
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh chives, minced
For the Dressing:
- Cook the potatoes and the bacon. I prefer to bake the bacon (400° for 15 to 20 minutes) and roast/ air fry the baby red potatoes, whole (400° for 20–30 minutes). Choose the cooking method you are most comfortable with. If you have questions about my cooking method choices, see the notes, in my post about How to Cook Potatoes for Potato Salad.
- Chop the green onions and the chives, while bacon and potatoes cook.
- Grate the cheese.
Make the Salad Dressing for the Baked Potato Salad by combining sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar and all purpose seasoning. Taste and add salt and pepper if you feel it’s needed. Set aside until time to assemble the salad.
Remove bacon and potatoes from the oven and cool.
Cut the cooled potatoes into bite-size pieces and chop the bacon.
Assemble the salad by placing all ingredients, except for 1/2 of the the chives, in a bowl. Stir to combine your ingredients.
Pour the dressing over the top.
Stir to coat the ingredients in the dressing.
Garnish with reserved chives and refrigerate until time to serve. Just before serving, give your salad a final taste and add the finishing salt and pepper, if they’re needed.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Category: Salad, Side Dish
- Method: Stove Top, Oven & Cold Prep
- Cuisine: American