Loaded Potato Salad has all the good stuff: smoked sausage, bacon, cheese, ranch seasoning and chives. Everything you love about baked potatoes in a salad! I’m also sharing my easy secret to perfectly cooked potatoes that don’t turn to mush when you make them into potato salad!
Potato salad is one of those popular dishes that shows up at food events all year long. There are many variations on three main kinds.
German potato salad usually has an oil based dressing and is served warm. Traditional American potato salad has a mayonnaise dressing, bacon, eggs and pickles. Finally, Loaded Potato Salad typically uses a sour cream / mayo mixture, bacon, cheese and sometimes ranch seasonings. I of course had to add some good sausage like my Daddy used to!
I won’t argue that one is better than any other. Honestly, I think there is room for all three on the table! (Probably why there is never room for people at my table!!!)
The Secret to Great Potato Salad
The secret to any great potato salad is excellent potatoes that are perfectly cooked and don’t turn to mush when you add the good stuff. Seriously, is there any worse potato salad crime than glop that has sort of turned into mashed potato salad?
I tested multiple methods and finally settled on a method shared by America’s Test Kitchen for cooking the potatoes gently and quickly. All the details are in the recipe. I think you will love this easy trick for perfect taters!
Love creamy salads? This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is one of my personal favorites and one of my all time most popular posts.
Smoked Sausage & Bacon Loaded Potato Salad
- 2 lbs Red Yukon potatoes red potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 package ranch dip - or 1 ½ Tbsp. from the canister
- 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper freshly ground preferred
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. powdered garlic
- 1 lbs bacon
- 10 oz fully cooked beef smoked sausage I use the skinless one from Eckrich-it is excellent!
- 2 Tbsp. minced chives
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- Prepare potatoes to your liking. Scrub and peel half or none or all of them. Chop into bite sized pieces, about the same size.
- Place the chunked potatoes in a medium-large pot and cover with 1” of cool water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-heat and simmer until fork tender. About 10-12 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking combine ranch powder, black pepper, dill, paprika, powdered garlic and white pepper in a small bowl. Use a fork to stir together.
- When potatoes are cooked, drain thoroughly in a colander. Spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the spice mix. Toss gently or flip with spatula to coat. Cool in the refrigerator 30 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooling, use a kitchen scissors to cut the raw bacon into ½” pieces. (Not all scissors are created equal but these AnySharp Multi Function 5-in-1 Scissors are awesome for raw meat.)
- Cook in a cast iron skillet or other frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for two minutes. Turn down to medium heat and continue to cook until bacon is just cooked and almost starting to crisp about 2-3 more minutes. Save the bacon drippings and use a slotted spoon to spread the bacon out on paper towels to drain.
- Cut the sausage into quarters lengthwise and then dice it – set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine chives, sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and bacon drippings. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth. Then add the drained bacon, sausage, and cheese.
- Add the potatoes and gently toss until everything is well coated.
- Chill for 30 minutes to a few hours so everything can meld nicely and serve cold.