Kimchi Is The Spicy Addition You Need For A Flavorful Potato Salad

Just because summer comes to a close every year, doesn't mean you have to stop making potato salad. If you're looking for a way to give yours a spicy upgrade, look no further than adding in kimchi. We already love potato salad for its tangy flavors, which typically come from any included lemon juice, vinegar, pickles, relish, or sour cream. So when you add in kimchi, a Korean side dish that gets its sour taste from increased acidity during fermentation, you're amplifying that tangy flavor even more. While we often see kimchi made from cabbage, it can also involve fermented radish or cucumber (among other veggies) — and any would be a tasty addition to your potato salad.

But leveling up the sourness of your dish isn't all it can do. Many jars of kimchi pack in some serious heat, which is perfect for balancing out the creaminess of the mayo and the rich starchiness of the potatoes. And unlike both of those softer ingredients, these fermented veggies can provide plenty of welcome crunch.

How to incorporate kimchi into potato salad

When kimchi is made, it typically includes most of these seasonings: Korean chili flakes, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and Korean chives, although certain categories of kimchi omit the chili flakes. In general, these are the flavors you're going to get in your fermented veggies, so make sure to pair them with complementary ingredients in your potato salad. For instance, try swapping out your lemon juice for lime, adding in extra chives, subbing out olive oil for sesame, or spicing your dish up even more with Sriracha. In place of apple cider, red wine, or white wine vinegar, go with a splash of rice vinegar. And if you want to add in another spicy Korean ingredient, mix a little gochujang (a paste made from dried Korean chili flakes) into your creamy dressing.

It's important to stir your kimchi into your potato salad thoroughly, or else you'll end up with clumps that are much spicier than the others. You may have to chop up tongbaechu-kimchi (Napa cabbage kimchi) or oi kimchi (the cucumber version), but you can typically just toss kkakdugi (diced radish kimchi) in your salad as-is. But unless you're making it yourself, pay attention to how spicy your veggies are. They can range from mild to super hot, and a key tell is how red they are — aka how many Korean chili flakes were used. Regardless of spice, any kimchi will give your potato salad plenty of crunch and tang.