7 Unexpected (Yet Totally Delicious) Ways to Make Potato Salad Without Mayo

May 28, 2021 Updated: May 28, 2021

It’s hard to beat a classic potato salad made with creamy mayonnaise. But good news for the mayo-averse: The winning combination of potatoes and mayo isn’t where this backyard barbecue favorite ends.

There are a number of condiments that work equally well as a potato salad dressing—so whether you’re in need of a mayo substitute or you’re simply in the mood to bring something different to the party this year, you’ve got plenty of options.


The sesame paste most commonly used to make hummus not only lends creaminess to potato salad, but also adds nutty, toasted flavor. It’s sure to have people guessing what the secret ingredient in your salad is.


Stir pesto into most things and it will be better—and that definitely includes potato salad. Pick up your favorite store-bought brand to keep things easy on yourself, or if you have an abundance of basil in your backyard, make your own.


A splash of buttermilk is often added to traditional mayo-based potato salad to thin out the mayo and offset it’s full flavor with a touch of tang, but it can also be used on its own if you’re looking for a little creaminess that’s not overpowering.

Greek Yogurt

If you already have a tub of Greek yogurt in your refrigerator for your morning granola routine, you have one of the best substitutes for mayo ready and waiting. You can swap in all or some of the mayo called for in a potato salad recipe with Greek yogurt. You’ll just want to opt for full fat to achieve the richest, creamiest taste (although low-fat can be used if you prefer).

Sour Cream

Sour cream and potatoes are a natural pairing (think baked potatoes!). Like yogurt, sour cream brings creaminess with the addition of tang. It can also be used in place of or in combination with mayonnaise.


The simple vinaigrette you use to dress your green salad every night is also a solid choice for your potato salad. To get the most bang out of it, toss it with the potatoes while they’re still warm, so it can soak into them and make each bite extra flavorful. Or, go bold with a vinaigrette made of bacon fat.

Olive Oil

Yes, you can dress your potato salad with just olive oil. Good olive oil can be equally as rich and flavorful as mayo. Again, toss it with the potatoes while still warm to ensure they’ll absorb it easily, and toss in extra spices or chopped fresh herbs too.

Jesse Szewczyk is the studio food editor at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com. Copyright 2021 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.