My Great Grandma Ruth was a pretty remarkable lady. Besides growing up on a farm, raising four children, and faithfully loving and serving the Lord, she was a great cook who made everything from scratch. My mom has memories of going to Grandma Ruth’s farm and watching her kill a chicken, pluck it, and then fry it for dinner. Though we don’t kill our own chickens, her recipes have been passed down to 5 generations now. One of my favorites is her chunky potato salad. My mom has been making this potato salad my whole life and I have never tasted a better version. There are so many different kinds of potato salad, but I like Grandma Ruth’s best because it’s creamy, chunky, and crunchy from all the pickles. I regularly get cravings for it, especially on warm sunny days. Let me show you my Great Grandma’s secret:
First, wash and scrub 6 medium-sized Russet potatoes. Be sure to get all the dirt off so that the water they boil in doesn’t become murky. Grandma Ruth left the skins on the potatoes because it results in a tender spud but doesn’t entirely lose its shape when mashed. Set the potatoes in a large pot covered in water and heat the water until boiling with the potatoes inside. Continue to boil them at a rolling boil until the insides are tender. This will probably take about 30-35 minutes. I use a fork to test their doneness. If it slides in easily all the way to the middle of the potato, I know they are finished.
Meanwhile, chop up 1/2 of a red bell pepper and a cup full of dill pickles. Here’s a big secret: use Claussen pickles only!!! They have the best flavor and most crunch of any pickle because they are not cooked. Because they are not cooked, you will find them in the refrigerator section of the grocery store rather than in the pickle aisle. Crunch in an otherwise creamy potato salad is a happy texture change when eating this side dish.
Once the potatoes are finished boiling, the skins should slide off easily if you want to discard them. But if you like potato skins in your potato salad, just cut them up into small chunks. Leave them chunky.
Now, hard boil 4 eggs. Put the eggs in a small saucepan covered with 1 inch of water. Turn the heat on and bring it to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, cover them and remove them from the heat. Let them sit for 8-10 minutes in the hot water. Then drain the eggs and let them sit in ice cold water before peeling them. If you need a quick video tutorial, click here. Sometimes if I want to save a step, I put the eggs in the boiling potato water and let them boil for 3 minutes and then let them sit for 4-5 minutes. But if you are new to hard boiling eggs, make sure to do this as a separate step.
Once you’ve peeled the eggs, chop them up.
Add the eggs to the bowl with the potatoes, pickles, and red bell peppers.
To the potatoes, add a heaping cup of mayonnaise (I prefer Best Foods or Hellmans), 1/4 cup of yellow mustard, and 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Then put in 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly black pepper.
Mix it well so everything is thoroughly combined.
Now here is Grandma Ruth’s other secret: Claussen dill pickle juice! Add about 1/4 cup of the pickle juice from the jar. This adds a bit of tang and extra flavor that you just can’t find in any store bought potato salad.
Let the potato salad cool in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight. I think it tastes even better the second day once the flavors have begun to meld together. But I do admit to eating this while it is still warm. It’s just that my mouth starts salivating for that tangy pickle taste that I just can’t wait until it cools.
If you take this to a potluck or backyard BBQ, everybody is going to ask you for the recipe! It is unforgettable and absolutely one of my favorite foods!
Need some ideas for the main course? I love Grandma Ruth’s Crunchy Potato Salad next to a hot sandwich made from Slow Cooked 4 Ingredient Chuck Roast. I have also served it next to Red Pepper Jelly & Coffee Crusted Ham and Crockpot Buffalo Drumsticks. And speaking of ham, wouldn’t this make a great addition to your Easter menu? For more recipe ideas, please visit my Recipe Index or follow my Pinterest Boards below. Happy cooking y’all!
Grandma Ruth's Chunky Potato Salad
- 6 medium sized Russet potatoes boiled, peeled, and cut in chunks
- 1/2 red pepper finely diced
- 1 cup diced Claussen dill pickles
- 4 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Claussen pickle juice from the jar
- Wash and cover the potatoes with 1 inch of water and heat until it comes to a rolling boil.
- Boil potatoes until tender or an inserted fork reaches the middle, about 30-35 minutes.
- Drain, let potatoes cool and then peel and cut into chunks. Place chunks in a large bowl.
- Dice the red pepper and the pickles and add them to the potatoes.
- Hard boil 4 eggs by covering with an inch of water and heating until it reaches a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, cover the eggs and remove from the heat. Let sit 8-10 minutes.
- Cool the eggs in an ice bath or under cold water, peel, cut in chunks, and add to the potato salad.
- Add the last 6 ingredients, stirring well.
- Taste to adjust seasonings.
- Cool in the fridge for 4 hours, preferably overnight.