Classic (Paleo) Potato Salad with Bacon

Potatoes have had kind of a bad reputation for a while in the paleo world. But…

In July 2014, the Whole30 gave their approval to potatoes.

And because I don’t have an autoimmune condition that prevents me from eating them, I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some of the reasons to love white potatoes. Here’s my list. (And if you’re curious, you can white potatoes have been read the Whole30 opinion on potatoes here.


They contain a potentially blood pressure-lowering compound called kukoamines.


They’re rich in B6 vitamins which are great for nervous system and cardiovascular health.


They’re a good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin C, and other nutrients


They’re a solid way to get some resistant starch in to your diet, which is an up-and-comer for taking good care of your gut bacteria.

And oh, yeah: THEY’RE DELICIOUS.

Since resistant starch has become such a big deal lately, now seems like a great time to share recipes that take advantage of the cook-cool-eat process required to create the resistant starch. (For more on that, check out this post from Mark Sisson.) First up: Classic (Paleo) Potato Salad. Just in time for summer picnics… enjoy!

Classic (Paleo) Potato Salad

Serves 4-6 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 10 minutes | Cool 20 minutes |Whole30 compliant

  • 2 pounds organic potatoes (Russet will be mushier; red/yukon gold/fingerling will be waxier.)

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 4 strips sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon

  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar

  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

  • 1 medium stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon dried chives

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil Mayo


Scrub and peel the potatoes, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place cubes in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them, or they’ll become mush when you mix everything together.


While the potatoes are cooking, cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a wooden spoon and drain on a paper towel.


When the potatoes are done, drain them very well and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat the potatoes. Let them sit until cooled, about 20-30 minutes. This step is magical because it infuses the potatoes with zing, without adding too strong a vinegar flavor to the salad. MAGICAL!


In a very large mixing bowl, place the bacon, eggs, celery, onion, parsley, chives, mustard, paprika, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a rubber scraper, then add the potatoes and mix again. Add mayo and gently fold until combined. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper, then chill for 20-30 minutes before eating to allow the flavors to meld. Stores in the fridge for 3-4 days.

You Know How You Could Do That?

If you like, you could add any or all of the following:

  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper

  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives

  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber

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  • Susan Leach says:

    This sounds yummy!

  • Alison says:

    Do you have to peel the potatoes or ok to leave them on? seems such a shame to lose all that potassium!

  • I am loving salads like this lately, and am so glad there are paleo mayo recipes out there!

  • Roni says:

    Your photographs make my mouth water.:) And they make me wanna learn food photography. We made the last potato recipe on Sunday.. oh so good! Will try this one, this weekend.:) Day 23, Mel! One more week to go!

  • Kayla says:

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing! And yay for white potatoes being Whole30 compliant!

  • KristenM says:

    Made this tonight! Was super easy to make and really yummy! My husband and sons loved it 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  • JennF says:

    Diced avocado, added just before serving, would be delicious in this!

  • Alma says:

    My boyfriend and I are eating this as I type. It is so FANTASTIC I could not wait to tell you THANK YOU!!!! He just keeps saying “MMM.. WOW” and I don’t normally compliment my own cooking but dang I did good! I did cut out the paprika and used 1/2 cup less when making the mayo. doesn’t seem to take away from it at all.

  • Nicole says:

    Were you been consuming white potatoes prior to the Whole30 change? It seems like a lot of paleo blogs are now touting the benefits of white potatoes even though I can’t recall any of them posting recipes including white potatoes prior to this change. What are your thoughts on this? It feels a little like everyone is just following this change and taking it as fact. And if this truly is a good change, why weren’t bloggers eating white potatoes before?

    • This is a great question! Yes, I’ve been eating white potatoes for almost a year now. The reason you’re seeing so many potato recipes pop up now is because last year at the Ancestral Health Symposium (in August), some new research was shared that explained white potatoes are not the nutritional bad guys they’d previously been thought to be. The people on the science/research side of paleo shared what they know, and it’s been slowly trickling into paleo food bloggers’ recipes. For myself, I try to post primarily Whole30 approved recipes on my site, so I was not sharing any potato recipes until the Whole30 approved them for eating during the Whole30. As for why the potatoes weren’t considered “good” before: for some people, they’re a food without brakes and they’re also a nightshade, so they’re inflammatory for some people. Plus, there’s the issue that a lot of people consume white potatoes in the form of french fries and potato chips. But if you read the post on the Whole30 site, they explain the nutritional reasons they believe white potatoes can be OK during the Whole30 — but it’s really up to each individual to see how they do with eating them. For me, I have no problem eating about 1/2 cup of potato and moving on. For others, it can be a trigger to overeat. Also, if people have any kind of autoimmune condition, they should carefully reintroduce white potatoes to see how their bodies react. I hope this makes sense. Feel free to ask follow-up questions!

  • Pam says:

    I made this last night for dinner, and it was fabulous. Just the right amount of kick/zip. I used smoked sweet paprika, which I think adds a depth of flavor. Am so glad to have leftovers!

  • ZeeS says:

    Made this today and it’s the best potato salad I’ve ever had! Yum! Lots of steps but worth it. Hope you are liking Vt. We moved here 11 yrs ago from Queens, NY and have never looked back.

  • Sue says:

    Awesome! I’ve always eaten white potatoes in moderation because I am pretty active. But I have never had a good recipe for potato salad! Thanks Mel.

    Btw- the dill pickle will be going in FOR SURE!

  • Linda says:

    I had this on Sunday with a small steak. Absolutely delicious! Just started my second Whole 30 and loving it.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m on day 16 of my first Whole30 and was invited to a BBQ last night. I was really itching to get out and be social, so I went but brought my own food. I made this potato salad to share and everyone loved it. Including the one “I don’t like potato salad” friend. The only thing I did differently was sub crispy prosciutto for the bacon. It is HARD to find compliant bacon! It worked great though and I plan on making it again next weekend for another BBQ. Thank you for the great recipe!

  • Therese says:

    Delish, as usual! My mom always soaked her potatoes in pickle juice for her potato salad – something to think about for the variations. 🙂

  • Amber Worden says:

    I made this last week for a party I hosted, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOVE it!! I’m on day 16 of Whole30, and it’s almost a “comfort food” 🙂

    I absolutely love all your recipes, thank you so much! I ordered your cookbooks and I absolutely can’t wait 🙂

  • Pam C says:

    Made this for dinner with friends tonight and it was out of this world!!! Love the addition of the bacon and the vinegar tossed with the potatoes was so different and as you said MAGICAL. I left out the parsley but put a little chopped cilantro in the mayo. One of the friends asked “so what makes it Paleo”? I told him and he sort of shrugged his shoulders…..he had THREE helpings:-) Thank you for my new favorite potato salad recipe. It bumped my Mother’s out of first place!

  • Amanda says:

    This potato salad is so amazing, I can’t say enough about it. I made it for a group of friends (I was serving all paleo foods and they didn’t even notice – win!). I’ll probably make it for Superbowl this weekend. Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  • Naomi Teeter says:

    I’m going to try to make this recipe with purple potatoes this weekend. Hopefully it’ll turn out not so bad. Why purple potatoes? Because they’re the only ones I have at home right now. 😉

  • Heather says:

    I’m currently on day 14 of my first whole30. I plan on making this for Easter Sunday this weekend. So pumped about all the rave reviews for this!!

  • TJ says:

    How is this paleo when its loaded with carbs?

    • Paleo isn’t, be definition, low carb. Some people do well on a low-carb version; others thrive with higher carbs. I need moderate carbohydrates on most days and high carbs on days when I’m very, very active. If you’d prefer a low-carb version of this recipe, you can replace the potatoes with 2 pounds of jicama that have been cooked overnight in salted water in a slow cooker. The jicama might turn tan, but it still tastes just fine. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Amy says:

    This was the BEST potato salad ever! I only made two changes. I used apple cider vinegar instead of the white vinegar because it was all I had on hand and I used a fennel bulb in place of celery because I just don’t like celery. 🙂 It was so good and a big hit with my family! This recipe is our new bbq staple! Thank you for sharing! 😀

  • Adam Trainor says:

    I’m going to have to try this recipe. It will go great as a side dish at a BBQ. Does bacon have to be added?

    • Nope. You can totally skip the bacon; it still tastes great!

      • Adam Trainor says:

        Great thanks. Can I ask why you included bacon in your potato salad as most shop bought ones don’t have bacon on them. Is it you way of making it paleo?

        • I included the bacon because (1) that’s how my mom always made her potato salad and (2) it makes it taste really good.

          The inclusion of bacon doesn’t make a recipe paleo. I call this recipe “paleo potato salad” to indicate that it doesn’t include the crappy oils usually in mayo (which is usually in potato salad).

          • Adam Trainor says:

            I have never been a fan of Mayo anyways before turning to paleo. It’s all new to me. But thanks for replying Melissa and I look forward to trying some of your recipes.

  • Meaghan says:

    I just used this recipe and it turned out very good with compliments from my family!

  • At the top, you refer to potatoes as “a great source of vitamin C”–but in this recipe (and most potato recipes) they are cooked. Won’t that basically negate their vitamin C contribution?

  • ez says:

    You are not kidding with the MAGICAL lite soak of vinegar before the other ingredients. I learned something new and tasty, thank you!!
    I’ve never made tater salad before, but, this one is on the menu for family gatherings!

  • Amy says:

    I was pleased to run across a Whole 30 compliant potato salad! And of course yours was the first one to pop up on Google.

    I omitted the bacon and used smoked paprika. It gave it a nice smoky flavor without the bacon (which non-Paleo kid doesn’t care for). It went great with my grilled steaks and steamed green beans. Thanks for the recipe! Definitely a keeper.