Cool and creamy bacon ranch potato salad is the perfect spring or summer side dish. Full of flavor from crispy bacon and a homemade dairy-free ranch dressing, no one will ever guess that this potato salad is Whole30 compliant and Paleo friendly.
Can I tell you a little secret? I spent twenty-seven years of my life hating potato salad. I know, I know, for all of you die-hard potato salad loving people, you may be in complete disbelief reading that, but it’s the truth. It wasn’t until I tasted my mother-in-law’s homemade potato salad a few years ago that I began to actually entertain the idea that potato salad could be delicious.
Looking back, I just don’t think I had ever had really good potato salad but thankfully (and thanks to my mother-in-law) I have seen the light! Truth be told, I’m still pretty picky about my potato salad. While my mother-in-laws classic potato salad will always be a favorite, I wanted to switch things up a bit and experiment with some different flavor combinations.
If you have also been wanting to try something new, this bacon ranch potato salad is for you! It is the perfect combination of cool, creamy, and slightly tangy ranch, smoky bacon, and fresh herbs. Not only is it delicious and full of flavor, this recipe is also Whole30 compliant, dairy-free, and Paleo-friendly.
Best Potatoes for Homemade Potato Salad
When it comes to picking potatoes for potato salad you want to go with a variety that is more waxy than starchy. While starchy potatoes like russets are great for mashed potatoes or French fries, they are a bit too starchy for a potato salad. Russet potatoes will begin to break down and lose their shape after boiling and they also have a thick outer skin which does not make them the best candidate for a potato salad recipe.
Instead, grab a few pounds of a “waxy” potato like reds, fingerlings, or Yukon golds. These potatoes have less starch, a thin outer skin (which makes peeling an option not a requirement), and they hold their shape and won’t break down after boiling.
How Long Do You Need to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad?
The trick to good potato salad is not to overcook your potatoes. Depending on the size of the potatoes, twelve to fifteen minutes should be enough time to get them fork tender and perfect for potato salad. However, if you cut your potatoes into smaller pieces, it could take as little as eight minutes for them to be fully cooked and ready to use.
Remember, you are not making mashed potatoes. You want the potatoes to be able to hold their shape so they don’t disintegrate into pieces when you’re stirring the potato salad. If you can easily stick a fork into the piece of potato without resistance, they are probably done.
Bacon Ranch Potato Salad Recipe Ingredients
Mayonnaise: The base of the dressing for this potato salad is mayonnaise. Pick a variety that is made with a high quality oil, like avocado oil, and does not have any added sugar. This brand is one of my favorites.
Homemade Ranch Seasoning: This recipe uses dried herbs like dill, chives, and parsley combined with onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to make a homemade ranch seasoning that is full of flavor and much better for you than the ranch seasoning packets you’ll find at the grocery store.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds just a little tang to the potato salad to help enhance that yummy ranch flavor.
Bacon: Look for a bacon that is uncured and nitrate free. If you are concerned about keeping this recipe Whole30 compliant check the ingredients label to make sure there are no added sugars as well.
Fresh Dill: A must-have in ranch potato salad.
Green Onion: Adds a little crunch and even more delicious flavor.
How to Make Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
Step One: Clean and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Add the potatoes to a large bot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then add a generous sprinkle of salt (around one or two teaspoons). Let the potatoes boil in the salted water for twelve to fifteen minutes or until fork tender. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and give them a rinse with cold water.
Step Two: While the potatoes are cooking, make the bacon. Slice the bacon into strips and then add it to a skillet heated over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crispy, stirring occasionally to make sure that it does not burn.
Step 3: Next, make the ranch dressing. Add the mayonnaise, dried herbs, spices, and apple cider vinegar to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined, smooth, and creamy.
Step 4: Add the potatoes, sliced green onions, cooked bacon, and ranch dressing to a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Give the salad a taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes before serving.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Potato Salad
Here are few tips and tricks to get perfect potato salad every single time:
Because red potatoes have a thinner skin, there is no need to peel your potatoes before boiling. The red skin also adds a pop of color to the salad. Feel free to peel the potato skin if you prefer.
Try to cut your potatoes roughly the same size before boiling. This will help them to cook more evenly.
When boiling the potatoes, do not forget to salt the water. Potatoes can be pretty bland on their own and salting the water helps to ensure each individual piece of potato has some flavor.
If you are making this potato salad a day in advance but still want the bacon to be crisp when serving, I recommend making the salad without the bacon and storing it in the fridge. Once you are ready to serve, you can sprinkle the cooked bacon on top or stir it into the potato salad a few minutes before serving.
Store your potato salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Add the potatoes to a large bot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then add a generous sprinkle of salt (around one or two teaspoons). Let the potatoes boil in the salted water for 12-15 minutes or until fork tender.
Slice the bacon into strips and then add it to a skillet heated over medium heat. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally to make sure that it does not burn.
Add the mayonnaise, dried herbs, spices, and apple cider vinegar to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined, smooth, and creamy.
Add the cooked potatoes, sliced green onions, cooked bacon, and ranch dressing to a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Give the potato salad a taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes before serving.
Leave a comment
I’m used to mashed potato salads that are mustard heavy and this is such a welcome and delicious change! I’m also used to potato salad that are heavy on the dressing. This is not! Love the inclusion of bacon, which to save time I used real chopped bacon bits. I mashed a few of my potatoes and left the others in chunks. I left out the green onions cause I can’t stand them and I didn’t realize I didn’t have parsley until I was in the process of making it. Still really delicious and the next time there’s a BBQ I’m volunteering to make the potato salad.
So glad you loved the recipe, Brittney! I know everyone will be glad you made the potato salad at the next BBQ!
I made this for a family bday celebration and it was a huge hit! I’m not a huge fan of grocery store potato salads because they taste too overwhelmingly of mayo, so I always approach potato salad recipes with skepticism. But this potato salad is perfect–just the right amount of creaminess and the dill takes it to the next level. I was informed by my 8 year old nephew that I should “never come without this salad.” I guess that’s some hearty approval from the most discerning of palates.
Could I just eliminate the bacon for this to be vegetarian, or should I incorporate some other fatty flavor?
Hi Kelsey, You can eliminate it if you would like! You could also use your favorite vegan/vegetarian bacon substitute. However, you’d like to make this recipe work for you will be just fine! Thanks for your question!
Sooo Yummy, made this today. I was a little hesitant at first but i am so glad i tried it.
Thank you for sharing, Ashley! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe!
Summer staple! Everyone loved it, including the kids!
Love that, Camilla! I’m so glad everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing!
I made this recipe this summer for a few friends who came over to BBQ and everyone loved it! Crowd pleaser and we all loved that it was lightened up! It was so good I was eating it as I was mixing!
I love this recipe! It reminds me of a baked potato version of potato salad — all the baked potato toppings I like! Thanks so much!
Thank you for sharing, Sara!
Are there any alternatives people find to mayo…id really like to find something I can use in place of the mayo
Hi, Jill! you could probably use Greek yogurt although I have not tried that!
This is such a delicious potato salad! I love how it has a light flavor and doesn’t feel heavy. My husband is a die-hard potato salad fan- he prefers a traditional potato salad with eggs and mustard in it, so I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about this recipe. He said it was “amazing”! Yesssss!
I’m so glad y’all loved it, Coby! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
This potato salad is very different than my mom’s recipe or what I’m used to from the grocery store, but I love how the recipe turned out! It’s likely to become one of my new staples. Good tip on cooking the potatoes just until fork tender. The heartier, more solid potato definitely works well with the dressing, which is thinner and doesn’t coat/stick as much as the creamy mustard-style base in other versions. I’ll be sharing this recipe with my mom for a lightened up alternative!
So happy you loved it, Kristen!
This might be the perfect potato salad. I had to swap regular potatoes for sweet white potatoes and it still worked. The dressing has so much flavor but it’s not heavy at all! This will be my go-to dish for barbecues if social distancing ever ends :).
Yay! So glad you loved it, Bear! Using sweet potatoes is such a great idea!
Anyone who’s looking for a delicious twist on potato salad, this is it! The bacon adds a perfect little touch.
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, Kathryn! So glad you loved the recipe!
My new favorite potato salad! The dairy free ranch is perfect, and this recipe is so easy to make without lacking flavor!
So happy you loved it, Aislynn! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
Made this tonight and was delicious and hit the spot! Will definitely be a summer staple!
Yay! So happy you loved it, Katie!
Made this to go along with dinner tonight (steak and asparagus), and it was just THE BEST! I too am not a huge potato salad fan, but this combo just can’t be beat. Wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe! Thank you!
So happy you loved it, Danielle! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
This recipe was so easy to follow and came out great! I’m bringing it to a small family gathering tonight but I snuck a taste. And it was delish! Excited to share it with others!
So happy you liked it, Amelia! Everyone at the family gathering is going to LOVE you! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
This recipe was the perfect accompaniment to pulled pork! We’ll revisit for family barbecues in the future!
Such a great side for pulled pork! Sounds delicious! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, Anna!
Yes! I love this with pulled pork, too! So happy you loved it, Anna!