Hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad

Recipe Pin
2 hours 55 minutes
12 servings

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Indulge in hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad, a savory and creamy Amish potato salad recipe perfect for any gathering! It’s crunchy and creamy and is that familiar and nostalgic side dish with a unique hot dressing that sets it apart. Barbecues and picnics wouldn’t be the same without this fresh and crisp summer side!

Hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad in a patriotic motif serving bowl with a spoon.

In the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a traditional potato salad recipe has been passed down through generations, and despite it not being ‘truly Southern,’ I’m excited to share it with you! You know, a bit of Yankee fodder.

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This Amish potato salad recipe is a masterclass in textures and flavors, featuring a hot dressing that combines the creaminess of evaporated milk with the tanginess of vinegar, all tied together with a hint of sweetness. The result? A savory potato salad with sweet nuances that’s both thick and creamy, rich with the addition of chopped hard cooked eggs, and with a delightful crunch from chopped celery.

Perfect for BBQs, picnics, potlucks, family reunions, and even as a side dish for your favorite chicken drumsticks or marinated grilled steak. Pair it with a refreshing glass of wine, summer gin cocktail, or beer for a heavenly match!

Hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad in a patriotic motif serving bowl with a linen towel.
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Highlights About This Potato Salad

·         Authentic Roots – This recipe draws from traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, offering a genuine taste experience.
·         Make-Ahead Magic – Prepare it a day in advance to allow the flavors to intensify, making it perfect for porting to a potluck or backyard cookout.
·         Both a Smooth and Crunchy Texture – Adding finely diced celery and celery leaves add a satisfying crunch, while the dressing creamed with the bits of mashed potato retains a smooth consistency.
·         Unique Hot Dressing – The hot dressing, made with evaporated milk, is cooked and poured over the freshly cooked potatoes. As the potatoes absorb the flavors, the salad becomes even more delicious as it cools, allowing the flavors to meld together perfectly.

What Is Amish Potato Salad Made Of?

Amish potato salad ingredients including boiled eggs, potatoes, onion, and celery.
  • Red potatoes – The star of the show, providing a waxy texture that holds up to the dressing. You needn’t peel these potatoes; their skins make for a gorgeous presentation without compromising texture.
  • Hard-cooked eggs – Chopped to add creaminess and protein.
  • White distilled vinegar – Balances the sweetness in the dressing.
  • Canned evaporated milk – The secret to a rich and creamy hot dressing.
  • Yellow onion – Adds a pungency that complements the potatoes.
  • Prepared mustard and mayonnaise – Classic potato salad flavor boosters.
  • Chopped celery and celery leaves – The crunch that makes this salad unforgettable.
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.


Hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad in a patriotic motif serving bowl with a spoon.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Experiment with dill, sweet pickles, chopped pimentos, or bacon for added flavor.
  • Substitute Yukon Gold potatoes if you prefer.
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This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

What Sets Amish Potato Salad Apart?

Amish potato salad, also known as Penn-Dutch potato salad, is a cool and creamy mayonnaise-based salad loaded with tons of flavor. What sets this cookout staple apart from regular old potato salad is the addition of hard-boiled eggs and a homemade creamy dressing that packs a tangy and flavorful punch. In this method, the hot cooked dressing is combined with hot cooked potatoes for an incredible flavor collision like none else.

The unique mixture of flavors and textures in this nontraditional potato salad is a party for the palette.

Close up image of potato salad with eggs.

Which Type of Potatoes Are Best for Potato Salad?

Yukon Golds are a popular choice for potato salad, offering a buttery flavor and a firm texture that holds up well to dressing. Russet or Idaho potatoes also work well, absorbing flavors nicely but can become mushy if overcooked. However, red potatoes are the preferred choice for this Penna Dutch Potato Salad recipe. Their waxy texture and mild sweetness complement the savory flavors of the hot dressing, while their firmness maintains a pleasant texture even after mixing with the dressing. Red potatoes are specified in this recipe to ensure a potato salad that’s both hearty and harmonious in flavor and texture.

Do You Boil Potatoes Whole or Cut Them for Potato Salad?

For this Penna Dutch Potato Salad recipe, medium red potatoes are boiled whole to preserve their natural sweetness and texture. Boiling them whole helps to prevent the potatoes from becoming waterlogged and mushy, which can happen when cut potatoes absorb excess water. The potatoes cook evenly and retain their firmness by boiling them whole, making them easier to dice and mix with the dressing. Plus, there’s no need to peel red potatoes, as their thin, tender skin adds fiber and texture to the salad. Wash and boil them whole, then mash or chop them up once cooked!

How to Make Amish Potato Salad

Feel free to add your favorite ingredients, such as bacon or dill or sweet pickles, to make it your own.

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Tip: Make It a Day Ahead

The salad will intensify, and the potatoes will absorb more dressing yielding maximum flavor and texture, making it even better the next day!


Hands whisking a hot dressing for potato salad in a skillet.

Step 1. Whisk the raw eggs and sugar in a pan over very low heat. I quite like using a large skillet for this step. Add the cornstarch and vinegar and whisk to combine. Increase to medium heat and continue cooking until thickened. You may also use 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar.

Step 2. Add the evaporated milk, mustard, and butter, whisking each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next. Once homogeneous, remove from the heat.

Hand breaking up a boiled potato into smaller pieces.

Step 3. Season the dressing with salt and black pepper and scrape into a large measuring cup or other vessel. Removing from the heat AND removing from the hot pan will cease the cooking process. Set aside. The dressing will cool slightly while you work the potatoes.

Step 4. Boil potatoes until fork-tender, then drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash about half with a potato masher, leaving some larger chunks intact. Gently combine for a balanced mix of creamy and chunky textures.

Hand pouring dressing onto ingredients in a bowl for potato salad.

Step 5. Finish the dressing by whisking in the mayonnaise until smooth. To the potatoes, add chopped boiled eggs, onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Step 6. Pour the (still) warm dressing over the hot potato mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until thickened and set, at least two hours, 24 hours preferably.

Potato salad in a bowl.

Step 7. Uncover and stir the mixture well. TASTE. Season as needed. It is now that I add chopped celery leaves and additional black pepper and stir again. Garnish with intact celery leaves, gem lettuces, and cherry tomatoes for presentation.

How to Store and Serve Dutch Potato Salad

Wine Pairings

  • Pinot Grigio: This crisp and refreshing white wine pairs nicely with the creamy dressing and the subtle sweetness of the potatoes.
  • Gewürztraminer: This aromatic white wine complements the salad’s savory and sweet flavors with lychee and rose petal notes.
  • Rosé: A dry rosé can add a refreshing touch to the potato salad’s richness, with strawberry and watermelon flavors.

Beer Pairings

  • Pilsner: A crisp and refreshing pilsner can cut through the creaminess of the dressing with a subtle hop flavor that complements the potatoes.
  • Amber Lager: This malty and caramel-flavored beer pairs nicely with the potatoes’ sweetness and the dressing’s savory flavors.
  • Saison: A farmhouse-style Saison can add a tangy and refreshing touch to the salad, with flavors of citrus and earthy notes.

Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips

  • Boil potatoes whole, don’t cube.
  • Balance is key to a great potato salad, so leave some larger pieces intact and maintain a substantial amount of mashed potatoes to achieve the perfect blend of creamy and chunky.

Recipe FAQs

Should I cut potatoes before boiling for potato salad?

Cutting before boiling can make the potatoes absorb more water, which can make the salad watery. I recommend boiling the potatoes whole even if they are on the large side. Pierce with a steak knife to determine doneness.

How long can potato salad stay out of the fridge?

Potato salad should not sit out of the fridge longer than two hours, and less than one hour if you’re dining outside.

What is the secret ingredient in potato salad?

The secret ingredient is vinegar, as it adds flavor and helps the potatoes absorb the dressing.

Additional Delicious Side Salads to Try!

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After trying this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Consider leaving a star rating in the recipe card located below or sharing your feedback in the comment section. Your reviews and comments are highly valued and appreciated.

A big serving bowl filled with Amish potato salad.

Hearty Penna Dutch Potato Salad

Jenny DeRemer
Indulge in the hearty Penna Dutch potato salad, a savory and creamy delight perfect for BBQs and potlucks.
4.50 from 4 votes
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chilling Time (2 to 24 hours) 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Amish
Servings 12 servings
Calories 343 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 6 medium red potatoes washed; may substitute Yukon gold potatoes, cauliflower, or turnips
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch or 2 – 3 teaspoons arrowroot
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 5 ounce can evaporated milk or 4 – 5 ounces coconut milk if preparing dairy-free; caveat: may take just a little longer to set up
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • ¼ cup salted butter or ghee (ghee is not dairy-free because it is butterfat, however is lactose-free, so if you are avoiding dairy, ghee may be a safe option)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery about 3 to 4 stalks, leaves reserved
  • 6 hard cooked eggs chopped

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the raw eggs and sugar in a pan over very low heat. I quite like using a large skillet for this step. Add the cornstarch and vinegar and whisk to combine. Increase to medium heat and continue cooking until thickened. You may also use 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar.
    2 extra large eggs, ½ cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon corn starch, ½ cup white vinegar
  • Add the evaporated milk, mustard, and butter, whisking each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next. Once homogeneous, remove from the heat.
    5 ounce can evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, ¼ cup salted butter or ghee
  • Season the dressing with salt and black pepper and scrape into a large measuring cup or other vessel. Removing from the heat AND removing from the hot pan will cease the cooking process. Set aside. The dressing will cool slightly while you work the potatoes.
    Kosher salt, black pepper
  • Boil potatoes until fork-tender, then drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash about half with a potato masher, leaving some larger chunks intact. Gently combine for a balanced mix of creamy and chunky textures.
    6 medium red potatoes
  • Finish the dressing by whisking in the mayonnaise until smooth. To the potatoes, add chopped boiled eggs, onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Mix gently to combine.
    Kosher salt, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 medium yellow onion, 1 cup chopped celery, 6 hard cooked eggs, black pepper
  • Pour the (still) warm dressing over the hot potato mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until thickened and set, at least two hours, 24 hours preferably.
  • Uncover and stir the mixture well. TASTE. Season as needed. It is now that I add chopped celery leaves and additional black pepper and stir again. Garnish with intact celery leaves, gem lettuces, and cherry tomatoes for presentation.
    1 cup chopped celery

Notes

Storage – keep refrigerated. When stored properly, this dish will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Do Not Freeze

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 8gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 237mgPotassium: 606mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

4.50 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. Oh this sounds fantastic! Pinning – have to make this! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Hope your weekend is amazing and we see you again on Sunday!

  2. I am so glad to see your version of this salad. Pinned it and will make it soon.
    I visited you via INSPIRE ME MONDAY #440
    I linked up this week with = 18+20. Come and join us at SeniorSalonPitStop. You will find the linkup information under BLOGGING.5 stars

  3. Thank you for sharing your awesome recipes at SSPS #253. I am a sucker for a lovely and tasty potato salad. This one for sure falls into that category for me. Shared on SM. I would love to invite you and ask if you may be interested to collaborate with SSPS. Please let me know if interested.

    1. Esme, thank you for your kind comment! I will reach out to you regarding your collab offer. Perhaps great minds could make something delicious? x – Jenny