I was lazy the other day at the grocery store and bought potato salad from the deli instead of ingredients to make my own. That was a mistake. Now I have a big tub of bad potato salad.

It is apparent that the water used to boil the potatoes was under seasoned - severely underseasoned, perhaps not salted at all. The potatoes are slightly undercooked, and the dressing is bland.

I can't afford to be throwing away food, so I want to try to turn this potato salad into something I might actually eat. It doesn't need to continue to be potato salad; I'm open to ideas that might completely transform it into something else. Of course I would also be interested in ideas to turn bland, undercooked potato salad into good potato salad.

A quick online search brought me to a recipe that is probably pretty close to what this was supposed to be (had it been prepared correctly): http://paleoleap.com/dill-potato-salad/. I'm pretty sure that the potatoes in my salad are russet, not Yukon Gold.

  • Returning the potato salad to the grocery store isn't an option?
    – John Feltz
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 5:38
  • @JohnFeltz I would have to stand in line for an irritatingly long time, to return a tub of potato salad that I had opened. Not worth it. I would, however, like to try to use it to make something edible.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 5:57
  • They usually don't add mustard, which is an essential component. A diced hard boiled egg would help. I've been known to use summer Savory, and/or darkened sesame oil. Abandon all hope if they added sugar. Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 23:52
  • Use it as compost for growing great tasting tomatoes? Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 0:44
  • @wumpusD'00m Oily things don't do well in the compost, they tend not to be broken down and result attracting vermin. Of course this depends on the amount being added, but generally dressed salads of this sort are better disposed of in the garbage.
    – bob1
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


Microwave it (or bake in the normal oven in a casserole dish), add salt to taste, perhaps some butter or cream, weird mashed potatoes? Will depend rather on what, exactly is in this "deli potato salad" (which varies IME from potatoes and dressing to potatoes, many crunchy veggies, sometimes eggs, etc., etc. and dressing.) I've had quite decent versions that fit the former description, and some of the latter were terrible...

If the potatoes are adequately undercooked and you want some serious self-penance for buying it, you could possibly scrape the dressing off them and reboil to finish cooking, with salt, while adjusting the dressing (or pitching it, but mustard might save it if you like mustard, and garlic is always an option at my house.)

  • 3
    ... or try it with salty, peppery, ketchupy brownies?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 3:52
  • 1
    LOL! You might be on to something! :-)
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 4:10
  • 1
    If heat would ruin the texture of crunchy vegetables, you could go a step further and puree the end result. Potato puree bolstered by some eggs and pickles doesn't sound half bad, actually.
    – logophobe
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 18:42

It's laudable you don't want to throw away your food, and I've been in the same situation with store bought potato salad - it's usually awful. In so many cases I would be saying there's not much that can be done, but in this case you may be able to make it more tasty. I would keep it very simple to start and simply add salt. Just mix in some until it tastes salty enough for you and then add just a little bit more - the potatoes will soak up some of the salt over time.

A more complex solution would be to mix some flavors in with a bit of Miracle Whip (store brand imitations are just as good) and add it to the salad. Which flavors you add depends on what the salad is missing. A little mustard powder and lemon juice will give some bite, sugar for sweetness. My grandmother used Durkees Famous Sauce in her potato salad and now so do I.

  • cutting the potatoes finer will also help bridging the gap between underseasoned potatoes and reseasoned sauce. Oh, and ... salt is one thing to add, pepper and some umami source (Nooch, or even straight msg) will help too. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 9:47
  • Sure, you could do all sorts of things, including washing off the dressing and reboiling the potatoes in salted water before adding fresh dressing, however that seems to be a bit over the top considering.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 10:06

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