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!

Deli container with homemade NY deli potato salad.


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.

While this is great as a side to deli-style sandwiches, like the Italian hero, tuna salad or chicken salad sandwich, it’s also perfect with grilled chicken and anything else made on the grill!

Recipe ingredients shown: mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil, potatoes, and onion.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. 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.
New York deli potato salad recipe process shot collage group number one.
  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
Recipe process shot collage group number two.
  1. Spread the potatoes out in a flat baking dish and pour the brine on top.  
  2. 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.
Recipe process shot collage group number three.
  1. 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. 

Top tips

  • 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.

New York deli potato salad in blue dish.

More summer sides

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New York Deli Potato Salad

5 from 52 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
refrigerator time: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 10
New York Deli potato salad is a simple side dish that combines thinly sliced potatoes with a vinegar brine, mayonnaise, and shredded carrot and parsley for garnish.

Ingredients 

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

Remaining ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

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!

Notes

  • 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

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.8g | Protein: 2.9g | Fat: 15.3g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 468mg | Potassium: 663mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 10.3g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 from 52 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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117 Comments

  1. cris says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is AWESOME! Deli’s aren’t something in Seattle, but I worked at one in New Haven in the 80’s. Theirs was a midwest American kind of potato salad with eggs and celery, good but not like this kind that the Orange St deli down the street made. Gonna fire up the flat top, make me some steak and cheese’s (white American, none of that “whiz” crap) and have this potato salad as a side to take me back to those simpler days!

  2. Carol says:

    Wow! Awesome recipe⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️! Thanks James! A real crowd pleaser👍

    1. Tara says:

      Thanks so much Carol! We’re so happy you enjoyed!

  3. Kathy Brunkhorst Beck says:

    5 stars
    Hi James! My grandparents owned and operated a german delicatessen on Seneca Avenue and Gates Street on the Queens/Brooklyn border. My Grandmother used 50 lbs. of white rose potatoes boiled and then stacked on a wooden board until the top potatoes cooled enough to handle. She and a helper peeled the potatoes and chatted away. My grandmother had a hand slicer that fit on the top of a large pot with brine and grated onion. She ran each warm potato across the slicer and they dropped into the brine. She said it was important to slice the potatoes while warm. Into to fridge the pot went and came out the next day and Hellman’s Triple X mayo was added. I wish I knew where to buy those delicious white rose potatoes, but Yukons are very good. Memories and delicious smells!

  4. Mick says:

    This is the potato salad recipe I have been searching for over the years. Since finding it last year I’ve made it about half a dozen times and people just freak out over it (and accuse me of buying it at a local deli here in Northport, Long Island!) Thanks for sharing the recipe and your knowledge/experience working at local delis, much obliged.

    I made it again today for the holiday weekend and it was such a hit. Keep up the great work that you and Tara do.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed, Mick!

  5. Nina says:

    5 stars
    Exactly right! A few tips: use your blender to grate the onion. Just place a cut up onion into the blender, add the water that goes into the brine, and push the grate button. You may have to pulse it off and on but much faster than hand grating. If you only have yellow potatoes (but not Idaho) before you cut them, put them in the freezer for 15-20. Then cutting is much easier and you can get very thin slices. Also, if using a mandolin to slice, slice only 3 times then flip potato around (front to back not bottom to top) slice 3 times, flip potato around slice 3 times, etc. This way the potatoes won’t crumble as they are apt to do when there’s constant pressure from one direction on them.

  6. Nancy Quinn says:

    5 stars
    I’m in heaven!! I lived in Northport,Long Island,NY for 30 years so I knew good deli salads.
    For the past 30 years I’ve been in Mount Pleasant,South Carolina and I sure do miss those salads. I was thrilled to come across your recipes for NY potato and macaroni salad so I got busy and made the potato salad. I freaked! Just the way I remember it,sooo good. Tomorrow I’ll try the macaroni and probably freak again! Thanks a million I agree the brine is the key.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Nancy! Thanks for the comment and hope you love the macaroni salad as well!

  7. Nina says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is spot on NY deli potato salad. Wish I could give it 10 stars. ⭐️

    1. Tara says:

      We are so happy you loved the recipe, Nina!

  8. Scott says:

    5 stars
    My mother used to make pretty good potato salad but I could never get it just right. I love potato salad but it wasn’t worth the time and energy to make it if it was just so-so. But I found this deli potato salad recipe and it is incredible. The best potato salad I’ve ever had. The brining makes all the difference.

  9. Rosemary Morretta says:

    5 stars
    Thank you, thank you, thank you… I’ve been looking for this old school Long Island Deli Potato salad recipe for soooo long. You nailed it. It tastes just like the potato salad from the old deli that was on Manetto Hill Road in Plainview where I grew up. Going to do the Deli coleslaw and Macaroni salad next.

    1. James says:

      Hi Rosemary, thanks for the comment and so happy this recipe resonated with you. Hope you love the coleslaw and mac salad as well!

  10. Chris LaGuardia says:

    Could you use the mandolin on the potatoes before you cook them? I’m thinking that would be so much easier and, cooking time would take next to nothing.

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Chris, you can, however slicing them after they’re semi-cooked prevents them from becoming water-logged. Hope you enjoy!