The One Ingredient That Effortlessly Elevates A Classic Potato Salad

A bowl of potato salad focuses on ingredients like boiled potatoes, diced onion, and maybe some celery that's all doused in a mayonnaise-and-mustard dressing. When it comes to the seasonings, many classic versions stick to black pepper, salt, and maybe paprika — so there's certainly room to kick things up a notch with bolder flavors. It's exactly why we think that out of all the best ingredients to improve potato salad, the Old Bay seasoning you likely reserve for seafood fare makes for an effortless and next-level version of the side dish.

A bottle of Old Bay seasoning is a blend of spices including celery salt, red pepper, black pepper, and paprika, although it's not the full list of the 18 spices advertised to be in the product. The blend makes for quite bold flavors, which is why it works so well with milder ingredients like boiled potatoes and the other additions in the bowl. For anyone who doesn't appreciate the flavors of Old Bay seasoning, other bold blends like cajun seasoning or Jamaican jerk seasoning can also add varying complex flavors to potato salad. If you don't have Old Bay in the spice cabinet, make our homemade Old Bay seasoning recipe.

Pair Old Bay seasoning with bacon or shrimp in elevated potato salad

You'll want a few bold ingredients, and some mild ones too, to pair with the Old Bay seasoning. Some recipes for Old Bay seasoning potato salad use ingredients like bacon for crunch, while raw or pickled red onion provides zest and diced pickles or pickle relish for acidity and tang. Ingredients like celery and hard boiled eggs will help temper the bold flavors. Meanwhile, fresh herbs like chives or parsley will add herbiness to blend with the spicy elements of Old Bay seasoning. And if you really want to lean into Old Bay's inspiration, make seafood potato salad with the addition of shrimp or crab meat.

Really, you can test out Old Bay with any potato salad recipe. Don't overdo it, because 1 tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning should be enough for every 2 pounds of potatoes, or every 10 servings. You can always add more to taste. Here at Tasting Table, we have a classic southern potato salad recipe that you can spruce up with the spice blend. Or use it with our creamy dill potato salad and add the Old Bay to the mayonnaise-based sauce for bolder flavor.