This over-the-top Loaded Potato Salad is a top pick for summer cookouts, potlucks, or an easy weeknight side dish. Creamy, cheesy, and loaded with bacon and savory spices, your family and friends will love this salad.
I love when summer arrives because that means it’s time for potlucks and backyard barbecues. Cooking and eating outside is just plain fun, and this Loaded Potato Salad is guaranteed to be a hit at your next backyard hangout.
Potato salad with bacon is pretty much the best thing ever. If you add bacon to anything, it’s usually a success. For other successful recipes I’ve brought to cookouts, Taco Pasta Salad has always been a winner. Or try Dill Pickle Pasta Salad for another savory summer side that goes splendidly with grilled foods.
Why You’ll Love Loaded Potato Salad
- It is creamy and full of flavor thanks to the combination of sour cream, mayo, and cheese. The mix of flavors is similar to a loaded baked potato.
- The addition of bacon adds a salty and savory element, taking the salad to the next level of deliciousness.
- It’s easy to make a day in advance and is perfect for potlucks, barbecues, and family gatherings.
- The ingredient list is simple and affordable, making it family-friendly and budget-friendly.
- Leftovers keep well, so you can enjoy them anytime throughout the week as a meal, snack, or side dish.
What You’ll Need
Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card to get the measurements and full instructions!
- Potatoes – Use white potatoes or any other waxy-skinned potato for this recipe since they’ll hold up better.
- Bacon – Crispy bacon gets crumbled into the salad to elevate its flavor.
- Green Onions – Fresh chopped green onions add a touch of color and zesty flavor to balance out this rich salad.
- Cheddar Cheese – Aged cheddar cheese has the best flavor. Buy pre-shredded cheddar to save yourself a little time.
- Sour Cream – Full-fat sour cream adds a tangy flavor and creamy texture.
- Mayo – Mayonnaise holds everything together and adds more creamy goodness.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
Best Potatoes for Potato Salad
Waxy potatoes are best for this salad. You want varieties that aren’t too starchy and will hold their shape when mixed with the dressing, making a better potato salad.
- Yukon golds, white potatoes, or red potatoes are the best.
- Stay away from russets – they are very starchy and will break down and your potato salad will be mushy.
- Waxy potatoes are best – so even fingerling potatoes are good. Anything with a more waxy skin will hold its shape and be delicious!
How to Make Loaded Potato Salad
- Prepare the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, then place them in a pot and cover them with water (add 1 tsp. of salt to the water). Bring the pot to a boil and cook the potatoes until they’re fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then drain them and let them cool.
- Mix the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, spices, and remaining teaspoon of salt until smooth.
- Mix the salad. Once the potatoes are cool, add them to the dressing. Then add the bacon, cheese, and green onions. Mix everything until it’s well combined.
- Refrigerate. If you’re not serving the salad immediately, leave it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
Recipe Tips & Variations
- Don’t skip draining or cooling the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and let them sit while all of the steam escapes. This will dry them out a little bit and help the dressing stick to them.
- Customize it to your tastes. This recipe is versatile and can be modified to your liking. For example, you could add chopped hard-boiled eggs for protein, red bell pepper for color, or diced dill pickles for a little more salty zing.
- Adapt it for dietary restrictions if needed. Easily adapt this salad for vegans and vegetarians. To make it vegetarian, simply omit the bacon. To make it vegan, use vegan versions of sour cream (Tofutti, for instance), mayonnaise (Veganaise is great), and cheese (like Violife shreds), and omit the bacon.
To avoid mushy potatoes, use a waxy potato variety, as I’ve noted in the recipe. And as your potatoes are boiling, check them every few minutes with a fork to avoid overcooking them. As soon as a fork goes into them easily, drain and cool them.
Yes, other types of cheese that would be delicious in this salad include pepper jack,
Monterey jack, and parmesan. If you use parmesan, you may want to use less since it’s a stronger-flavored cheese.
Yes, you can prepare in advance by pre-cooking and crumbling the bacon ahead of time, in addition to chopping the green onions. Store both in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also boil, drain, and cool the potatoes, then store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Be sure to use them within one day.
Potato salad is one of those things you think of when grilling burgers or a potluck, but it can be enjoyed with so much more!
- Chick-Fil-A Style Grilled Nuggets – Serve this awesome copycat recipe with potato salad as a side for a fun summer meal that’s great for kids.
- Grilled Chicken Legs – Rubbed with spices and finished with an Asian barbecue sauce, these will be a hit at your next barbecue!
- Herb-Grilled Pork Tenderloin – The lemon-herb marinade makes this pork tenderloin unbelievably moist and juicy. It’s perfect to serve with this salad.
- Turkey Burgers – It’s time you try this foolproof turkey burger recipe on the grill. Have it with loaded potato salad and use all your favorite toppings!
- Grilled Sausage and Vegetable Kabobs – Make dinner ridiculously easy by serving these quick-assembly kabobs with creamy potato salad on the side.
More Great Summer Side Dish Recipes
- Grilled Potato Packs
- Southwest Corn Salad
- Grilled Zucchini
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- 3 pounds white potatoes, (or any waxy potato)
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cups green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cut potatoes into about 1 inch pieces, or about bite sized pieces. Put in a large pot and cover with about 1 inch of cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt to the water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 10-15 minutes until fork tender.
- Drain potatoes and let set until cool
- In a large bowl mix together sour cream, mayo, garlic powder, onion powder, remaining 1 tsp salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Once potatoes are cooled add to the dressing mixtures. Add cooked bacon, cheese, and green onions. Mix until everything is well combined.
- Let sit in the fridge until ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 575Saturated Fat 17gCholesterol 80mgSodium 1186mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 4gSugar 1gProtein 16g
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