Anyone can make potato salad, but few can master the recipe like Dorothy Hartwell did in Dorothy’s Potato Salad! It’s the perfect blend of flavors and textures – tangy, eggy and crunchy while a bit creamy.

white plate with Dorothy's Potato Salad next to BBQ Beef sandwich
(Photo by Rick Souders)

This potato salad recipe comes from Dorothy Hartwell, the mother of my childhood best friend Katey. Katey and I became fast friends in first grade — a friendship that’s still going strong today. As kids, we ate dinner at least one night a week at each other’s house. This lasted for years — even after graduating college!

One of my favorite treats at the Hartwell house was Mrs. Hartwell’s potato salad. Over the years, she grew famous for it, and an annual summer dinner with hot dogs and her potato salad quickly became a tradition.

Mrs. Hartwell (I never called her Dorothy, even after becoming an adult) was a lovely woman who will always have a very special place in my heart. Unfortunately she passed away in 2013 and the next summer when Katey came to visit for a few days (she lives in Mexico), it was on me to make the potato salad. Katey had loaned me her mom’s recipe books so I have the original recipe in Mrs. Hartwell’s handwriting. I made a copy for myself and will cherish it always.

Like many of my own mom’s recipes, Mrs. Hartwell didn’t include the proportions or the directions (except to let the cooked potatoes sit overnight); these are my additions to the recipe, along with a bit of oil and vinegar.

Note you need to start this recipe at least 4 hours ahead, preferably the day before.

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white plate with Dorothy's PotatoPotato Salad shown next to BBQ Beef sandwich

Dorothy’s Potato Salad

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen” by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Yield: 7 to 8 servings 1x
  • Category: side dishes, make ahead, easy entertaining
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A long time family favorite, this Potato Salad is tangy, eggy and crunchy while a bit creamy. It’s the perfect side dish for your next summer gathering!


  • 1 to 2 large eggs (optional)
  • 3 medium Idaho (russet) potatoes – around 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped (white, light green and some dark green part)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 6 medium to large radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced and cut in half if large
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, or more to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons yellow mustard (French’s works well) – see Note
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, cover eggs with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes (cook for longer time if at higher altitude). Remove from heat and leave eggs in hot water for another 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and run eggs under cold water until cooled. Peel and chop eggs; place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until just fork-tender (do not overcook or your salad will be mushy!). Drain the water from the pan and return pan to the heat. Shake the potatoes constantly over medium heat about 1 minute or until dry. Let cool enough to handle then peel and cut into bite-size chunks. Transfer to a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Pour over potatoes and toss carefully, making sure not to mash them. Place potatoes in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight.
  4. Take the potatoes out of the refrigerator and add the reserved chopped eggs, cucumbers, radishes and green onion; toss gently. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten the salad and toss well. Add the mustard to taste; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Adjust seasonings before serving, if necessary.


Gluten free: use gluten free mayonnaise and mustard.

Note on mustard: Mrs Hartwell never used Dijon mustard in this salad, only French’s yellow mustard.

Faster variation: If you are pressed for time, you can refrigerate the potatoes for about 4 hours – but it tastes best if you let the flavors combine overnight.

Keywords: potato salad, potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, make ahead, mustard, mayonnaise

Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

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