Ina Garten's Cooking Water Tip For The Best Potato Salad

Ina Garten, queen of easy entertaining, is back with some more words of wisdom for the home chef. This time, Garten is helping cooks create legendary potato salad, a deceptively simple recipe that can be difficult to execute. Although you may think this tip revolves around a flavorful ingredient upgrade, this is all about incorporating a byproduct of the potato cooking process to help elevate the texture.

The secret in question? Use your leftover potato water in your potato salad dressing. Coming from Garten's cookbook "Go-To Dinners," this starchy dressing hack helps create the kind of creamy potato salad dreams are made of. Of course, Garten didn't come up with this idea all on her own. Instead, she gives credit to the late great Julia Child, who recommended that you use your potato cooking water much like you would use your pasta cooking liquid to add some creamy starch to your sauces. So how should you go about incorporating this tip into your next potato salad dish?

Use your potato water like pasta water

Start off with a solid potato salad recipe. It doesn't matter if it's a vinaigrette-forward French potato salad or a mayonnaise-rich Southern potato salad; any recipe will work with this pro tip. You'll make the recipe as called for, but when you go to drain your potatoes, place a measuring cup underneath the colander so that you can catch some of the starchy water. Once you start to pull together the dressing, add a splash or two of the starchy water to the mixture. Don't worry too much about the mixture appearing a little thinned out; it will set up once you chill your concoction in the fridge.

Still, don't go overboard when adding the boiled potato water, as you don't want to dilute the dressing completely. If you use salted water to cook your potatoes, be sure to taste as you go, so that you can adjust the seasoning as called for. As soon as you try this creamy update for potato salad, you'll wonder why you didn't start tapping into your potato cooking water sooner.