Although I grew up in an Italian home, Italian potato salad wasn’t a recipe that made its way into our list of go-to salads. It wasn’t until I married my husband whose family was from southern Italy that I learned about this easy recipe.
In this post I’ll share with you the recipe we use, how to make it, and different ingredients you can add to modify it to suit your own tastes.
As with all my Italian recipes, this potato salad is easy and simple to prepare with its fresh herbs, olive oil and vinegar, and potatoes that are readily available at any supermarket.
Italian Potato Salad
Do a simple search online and you’ll find many non-Italians touting about their cleverly created Italian potato salads. Tossing in every Italian herb or vegetable associated with Italian food can technically be called Italian, or Italian-inspired, but it’s not the authentic Italian potato salad many of us are familiar with.
A true Italian potato salad recipe is very simple. Like much of Italian cooking, simplicity is the key. The more ingredients we add the more complex and confusing the flavors become. We keep to these principles with this salad.
But I want to clarify a few things first, in case you’re unfamiliar with this type of salad.
Italian Potato Salad Without Mayo
First, I want to be upfront because this salad doesn’t use mayonnaise. That’s first and foremost. So if you’re looking for a recipe with mayo, click the back button as this recipe omits mayo all together.
Potato Salad with Italian Dressing
Although we don’t use mayo (no authentic Italian recipe would ever use mayo by the way), we do use an Italian dressing.
But make no mistake, I’m not talking about the store bought Italian dressing. The dressing we’ll use is healthier, consisting of olive oil and vinegar, fresh parsley and fresh garlic. With the right quantities, you’ll get a bright and refreshing salad in no time.
This recipe uses fresh ingredients only, as shown in the image. However, I’ll also offer additional optional ingredients, if you decide to stray from the authentic origins of this recipe and modify it according to your tastes. Feel free to have fun with it and make it your own!
You’ll want about 2 pounds of potatoes for 4-6 servings. The best potatoes are red or yellow potatoes, or gold Yukon potatoes. There are many varieties, so just look for the red or yellow small round potatoes. They may also be labeled as waxy potatoes. Don’t worry about the color of the potato in regards to appearances because we peel off the skin anyway.
Avoid using baking potatoes as these won’t hold their shape. They easily get water logged and don’t have a good potato salad flavor.
We use a lot of parsley, 1/3 cup to be exact. You can adjust as needed.
You can use either fresh curly parsley or fresh Italian parsley. The flavors are not the same however. The Italian parsley has a slightly bitter flavor that goes well with the acidity of the vinegar. If you only have curly parsley, by all means use it. I do.
We use 1 garlic clove so we don’t overpower the dish. Chop the garlic finely and even rub the serving bowl with the clove before dicing.
Extra virgin olive oil
Use of a good extra virgin olive oil is imperative for any Italian potato salad recipe since it’s the base of the Italian dressing. If using bland, tasteless olive oil, the salad will lack the flavor that it’s typically known for and you’ll be disappointed.
White wine vinegar
This oil and vinegar potato salad uses white wine vinegar, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to just this type. Truth be told I’ve frequently substituted wine vinegar with organic apple cider vinegar in many recipes, not just this one. The apple cider vinegar gives it a bolder flavor and it’s very healthy for you.
However, to keep the recipe ‘authentic’, choose a white or red wine vinegar which has a milder taste.
One additional note, some people prefer more vinegar than I do, so adjust quantities as you feel fit.Jump to Recipe
There is no single authentic Italian potato salad recipe. Not only is this due to differences in regional cuisine, but many Italians modified the recipe in generations past, just like we do today. So it’s not surprising that different families have different recipes that are just as authentic as ours.
Here are some other options for ingredients.
You can add to the Italian salad by thinly slicing some onions (red or white). Unlike my Italian chickpea salad recipe, I prefer mine without onion, but this is personal preference.
To add some additional brightness to the recipe, add juice from a lemon. If you don’t have a lemon, then use ¼ teaspoon of concentrated lemon juice. Mix this with the dressing before adding it to the salad.
Omit the Vinegar
I don’t recommend this, but there are old Italian recipes that don’t use the vinegar, and only rely on the olive oil. However, to do this you must have a very high-quality, flavorful olive oil. You’d be amazed what a quality olive oil will do for a recipe.
Best Potatoes for this Italian Potato Salad Recipe
For this Italian potato salad recipe I find that Idaho potatoes should be avoided. I used them in the video shown below, but that’s all I had if I recall. Idaho potatoes are also known as baking potatoes and give a more starchy texture and tend to fall apart more easily.
Try to use potatoes which are good for any potato salad, like red or yellow skinned Yukon potatoes. These are common potatoes and can typically be found at all major grocery stores like Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, etc.
I tend to use whatever I have on hand – but when there’s a choice I choose red or yellow potatoes.
Italian Potato Salad vs. German Potato Salad
In case you’re wondering, the Germans also have a no-mayo potato salad, but don’t confuse it with the Italian method. Our salad uses both olive oil and vinegar, while the German-American counterpart uses vinegar and the grease from bacon drippings.
If you’re interested in an authentic German salad, according to FiveHeartHome, the Schwabischer Kartoffelsalat is very similar to our Italian potato salad. However, they use a broth for their dressing and of course no garlic. We Italian-food lovers love garlic!
How to Make This Italian Potato Salad Recipe
Making an Italian oil and vinegar potato salad is very easy. It’s also a great choice for a quick lunch or for planning some suitable Italian picnic foods. It’s delicious whether you serve it warm or cold, especially on a hot summer day!
Prep the potatoes
The first step is to prep the potatoes. This will take about 10 minutes. I like to peel and chop my potatoes before I boil them, however you may prefer to peel and chop them after boiling.
The thought is that leaving the peel on during the boiling process helps the potatoes keep their shape. Frankly, I think the ability to have the potatoes keep their shape while boiling is determined by the length of the time they boil and the type of potato used.
Boil the potatoes
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and gently add the potatoes. Do not try to bring the water to a boil with the potatoes in it as this will contribute to overcooking and causing the potatoes to fall apart.
Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be pierced with a fork without breaking apart. If you pierce them and they crumble, you’ve overcooked them. Remove immediately and run cold water over them to cool them quickly.
Remember, you want the potatoes to be firm, but cooked.
Prepare the Italian dressing
While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the Italian dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, herbs and diced garlic in a bowl. Mix well to emulsify the liquids. Set aside. You’ll need to stir it again when you use it.
Drain potatoes and add the dressing
When the potatoes are ready, remove from heat and drain. While the potatoes are still warm, add the dressing to the potatoes and mix well. The potatoes will absorb more of the dressing while they are warm, so don’t worry about adding the Italian dressing right away.
You can either serve the potato salad warm, at room temperature or keep it in the refrigerator and serve cold when ready.Jump to Recipe Instructions Card Here
Similar Recipes You May Enjoy
If you enjoy this type of Italian recipe, you may also enjoy the following.
These roasted Italian potatoes are seasoned with olive oil and rosemary for an amazing and delicious side dish.
Nothing says Italian like a delicious Italian antipasto salad.
Let’s keep it simple with an Italian green salad full of lettuce and olive oil!
Italian Potato Salad Goes Well with These Recipes
You can use this recipe as a side dish or as a main dish. However, if you want some complimentary Italian dishes, consider the following.
Enjoy your salad with our baked Chicken and figs recipe.
Fry up some Italian chicken cutlets and serve warm or cold with your salad.
Italian sausage, peppers and onion baked in the oven go great with any salad.
Perfect for summer days, fried Italian zucchini will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys your Italian potato salad.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Italian potato salad that we’ve used for many years. It’s refreshing and is great for picnics or family get togethers. Let me know how you make yours down in the comments below! Be sure to get more delicious Italian recipes by joining our email list or following us on social media!
Watch my Italian Potato Salad video below to see how easy it is!
Italian Potato Salad
- 5 potatoes peeled and chopped in 1″ cubes This should be about 4 cups of chopped potatoes
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley Italian parsley or curly
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white, red, or apple cider vinegar
- dash salt and pepper
- Peel and chop potatoes ,
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and then add the potatoes. Boil until they are tender, but are still firm, about 10-15 minutes. The time can vary for different types of potatoes, so check periodically. For baking potatoes, it is about 10 minutes. Do not let them become too soft.
- Meanwhile, make the Italian dressing by mixing the chopped parsley, olive oil, vinegar and garlic.
- When the potatoes are tender, drain and add the dressing while the potatoes are still warm. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or cover and leave in refrigerator to serve cold.
TIP #2: This goes great with many meat recipes, such as our whole roasted chicken recipe or lamb chops recipe. See end of post for more ideas.