Lemon Juice Is The Secret Ingredient For An Unbeatable Potato Salad

There are many ingredients that most potato salad recipes hinge on, like boiled potatoes, various vegetables such as celery for crunch, and some sort of dressing to pull it all together. But whether you like a mayo-based or oil-centric dressing in the classic side dish, there's an ingredient that should always make its way into the mixture: lemon juice.

Lemon juice works in endless potato salad recipes because it provides acidity, an important component because it enhances flavors and cuts through other rich, salty, or sweet ingredients in the dish. Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is best because it will have the strongest flavor and offers a fresh touch to potato salad ingredients like mayonnaise—  or olive oil if you prefer a mayo-free potato salad like Greek patatosalata. The juice also thins out your dressing so it combines well with the potatoes and other ingredients in the mixing bowl. Plus, it will give a tang to the recipe if you don't want to use pickles or pickle relish in the potato salad.

How to add lemon juice to potato salad

It won't take much lemon juice to elevate your potato salad. About 2 tablespoons of lemon juice is sufficient for every eight servings of potato salad. If the recipe uses lots of mayo, then you might want to add more to taste until you reach the desired level of acidity.

After the juice is squeezed, consider combining it with all of the dressing ingredients so the flavors meld while the potatoes boil. Or add the juice directly to the warm potatoes so it soaks up the flavor from the start, similar to Greek-style lemon potatoes, but hold off on the mayo until the spuds cool. Another option is to wait until the potatoes are ready, then combine all of the ingredients at once in the bowl and mix thoroughly. And since these are fresh lemons, use lemon zest to add more of the fruit's essence without thinning out the dressing too much — no reason to waste it, after all.

If you've never had lemon juice in potato salad, make Tasting Table's creamy dill potato salad recipe that already uses the secret ingredient. For any of you who prefer a tamed-down version of the side dish, add lemon juice to our classic southern potato salad recipe. And consider these tips for making a potato salad that is full of flavor to serve at your next meal.