New York Deli potato salad is a simple side dish that combines thinly sliced potatoes with a vinegar brine, mayonnaise, and shredded carrot for garnish. This is the quintessential no-frills potato salad you’d find in most delis in the New York metro area and it’s a great side with sandwiches, burgers, and any warm-weather fare!
There are so many different ways to make potato salad but one of my favorites is this classic New York or more specifically Long Island deli potato salad.
The vinegar brine and thinly sliced and chopped potatoes are what give this that deli flavor that so many other potato salads lack.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Place 3 1/2 pounds of New potatoes or Yukon Gold in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until almost fork-tender.
- Grate a 1/2 cup of onion. In a large bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons of fine sea salt, 3/4 teaspoon of white pepper, and the onion.
- Once the potatoes are almost fork tender, drain them and run them under cold water to cool them enough to handle. Peel the potatoes, chop into smaller chunks, and slice them into 1/8-inch or thinner pieces. You can also use a mandoline for this step.
- Spread the potatoes out in a flat baking dish and pour the brine on top.
- Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. For even better flavor, let the potatoes sit for 2 days. Halfway through the refrigeration time, mix the potatoes to evenly coat with the brine.
- The next day you can drain any excess brine but you don’t have to go overboard. Place the potatoes into a large bowl with 3/4 cup of mayonnaise. Use a spoon to combine, adding more mayo until a smooth and creamy consistency has been achieved. Taste test and season with a bit more salt and pepper if required. Shred a 1/2 small carrot and add to the potato salad along with 3 tablespoons of flat-leaf Italian parsley for garnish.
- The brine. The key to the NY deli flavor lies within the brine. It’s best to let the potatoes sit in the brine for 2 days, but definitely overnight, before mixing with the mayonnaise.
- Type of Potatoes. New potatoes or any small waxy potato work best since they won’t get mushy and will hold their shape. Yukon Gold (part waxy) are also fine to use when in a pinch. Avoid powdery/dry potatoes like Russet and Idaho since they will fall apart and turn to mush.
- Slice Potatoes Thin. Slice the potatoes very thin. That’s one of the hallmarks of a typical deli potato salad. If you’re not too proficient with a knife break out the mandoline but do be careful!
- Garnish. We added some parsley and shredded carrot for color and garnish, but often you’ll see this potato salad in the deli with no garnish. Ditto for New York Mac salad and coleslaw. The flavor really speaks for itself here!
- Pepper. We used white pepper in this recipe to keep the color of the potato salad uniform, however, you can certainly make your Long Island deli-style potato salad with black pepper.
More summer sides
- Potato green bean salad – with tomatoes, onions, and the simplest vinaigrette.
- Italian pasta salad – with salami, olives, and mozzarella.
- Spinach pasta salad – with gorgonzola and an easy vinaigrette.
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New York Deli Potato Salad
For the brine
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup onion grated
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 1/2 pounds New potatoes or Yukon Gold
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise plus more to achieve a smooth consistency
- 1/2 small carrot shredded, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
For the brine and potatoes
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the brine ingredients and set aside.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until almost fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes and run under cold water to cool them enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and chop into smaller pieces then slice them into 1/8-inch or thinner pieces. You can use a mandoline for this process.
- Place the potatoes in a flat baking dish then pour the brine on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for even better flavor wait 2 days. Halfway through the refrigeration process mix the potatoes to evenly coat them with the brine.
For the potato salad
- The next day, drain the potatoes of excess brine.
- Place the potatoes into a bowl and mix with 3/4 cup of mayonnaise to start. Add more mayo until a smooth creamy consistency has been achieved. Taste test and season with a bit more salt and pepper if required, but you shouldn't need much. Garnish with carrot and parsley. Enjoy!
- The key to getting that New York deli flavor is the brine. If you can wait let the potatoes sit in the brine for 2 days before mixing with mayo. This is how most delis do it.
- White pepper can be used for appearance.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 5 days and taste even better after a few days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.