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Food & Recipes

Loaded Baked Potato Salad Recipe Is a Cheesy, Comforting Twist on the Classic Side

Learn the secrets to baking potatoes the right way, plus make your own cheese sauce dressing.

As spring approaches, one of our favorite dishes to make in good weather is a comforting bowl of potato salad. A staple at picnics and barbecues alike, this dish has definitely earned its place on the table. After all, not many can resist its creamy texture, tangy dressing and soft chunks of potato. But while nothing tops the classic recipe, we found a another mouthwatering variation: loaded baked potato salad. Take everything you love about a loaded baked potato — crispy bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, rich sour cream — and then make it a salad. Yes, please! This fuss-free recipe is ready in about an hour with a few expert tips. Plus, learn how to make your own cheese sauce dressing. Keep reading for a complete guide to loaded baked potato salad.

Ingredients in loaded baked potato salad

You might already be familiar with classic potato salad. This side dish traditionally includes boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, celery, onion and hard-boiled eggs. Some variations also include chopped pickles. But loaded baked potato salad comes together a little differently. First, the potatoes bake until tender and golden. Once cooled, they get cubed and coated in a creamy sauce made from sour cream and mayonnaise. Finally, after letting the sauce soak in, you fold in all the toppings of a loaded baked potato, including bacon, scallions and onion. We don’t think you could make a more indulgent potato salad. Just look at the finished product from the TikTok video below.

Should you serve loaded baked potato salad warm or cold?

While you normally serve the classic version cold or at room temperature, loaded baked potato salad offers more versatility. It all depends on individual preference. You can certainly skip the refrigerator and serve your bowl immediately. However, if you want a cooling side dish to refresh you outdoors, chilling may be the way to go. No matter the temperature, you’ll still get delicious flavor in every bite.

Looking for more delicious side dishes? Check out 3 Plant-Based Summer Side Dishes and 11 Shareable Potluck Side Dishes.

Expert tips for perfectly baked potatoes

loaded baked potato salad: seasoning baked potatoes with salt

Making any great potato salad always comes down to the potatoes. But even though your oven does most of the work in preparing this recipe, we have a few expert tips from Once Upon a Chef that make all the difference.

1. Choose potatoes of similar size

It may not feel like a big difference at first, but choosing same-sized potatoes ensures even cooking. This prevents some potatoes from being undercooked while others cook too much. Consistency in size also helps maintain uniform texture throughout the salad.

2. Clean and prick them

No one wants to eat a dirty potato. Before baking, make sure to properly scrub them clean to remove dirt and debris. Pricking your potatoes with a fork also allows steam to escape during baking, which prevents them from bursting open and cooking unevenly. The potatoes should feel tender with a knife when done or soft when squeezed.

3. Rub on salt, oil + other seasonings

You should always season and oil your potatoes before baking. This enhances their flavor and presentation in the salad. The oil helps the skins crisp up nicely, while the salt draws out moisture, resulting in a tastier and textured potato.

See also: Rachael Ray Adds This Surprising Ingredient to Her Roasted Potatoes to Make Them Extra Mouth-Watering

4. Allow them to cool

Letting your potatoes cool after baking does several important things. First, they can firm up slightly, making them easier to handle (and touch!) so they don’t fall apart or become mushy. Additionally, cooling the potatoes allows the steam to escape so you don’t have excess moisture in the salad.

The best type of potato to use in loaded baked potato salad

Choosing the right type of potato can make or break the texture of your salad. You want to choose varieties with a high starch content for a fluffy and light texture after baking. Russet potatoes make a great option as they contain a ton of starch. Additionally, their thick skins hold up well to baking and cubing, making them ideal for salads. Alternatively, Yukon Gold potatoes work just as well as your all-purpose potato. When baked, they have a naturally creamy texture and buttery flavor that pairs nicely in salad. Yukon Golds also don’t absorb as much water as russets, meaning they won’t get as mushy if you overcook them. Whichever variety you choose, make sure to scrub them clean and leave the skins on for added flavor and texture.

Make your own cheese sauce dressing

You know that ooey-gooey, glistening yellow cheese sauce you see on nachos or fries? Well, it tastes even better drizzled over loaded baked potato salad. Making homemade cheese sauce while your potatoes bake adds an extra boost of flavor and doesn’t take long at all. Just follow this recipe from Oh Sweet Basil:

Homemade Cheese Sauce

loaded baked potato with broccoli cheese sauce


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Active Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the milk over medium heat until you see bubbles forming at the top. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes.Then slowly add the warm milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
  3. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should be thick but still pourable. Add the cheese, whisking constantly until it is melted.
  4. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little bit more milk until desired consistency. Take off the heat and spoon immediately over individual servings of loaded baked potato salad.

Note: Keep your homemade cheese sauce stored separately in the fridge after using. We recommend only serving when ready to eat instead of adding it to the serving bowl.

Easy loaded baked potato salad recipe

Whether you have an upcoming neighborhood potluck or simply want to enjoy lunch outside, you won’t regret making loaded baked potato salad. This recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch uses russet potatoes for fluffier texture and keeps some of the skins on for an authentic baked potato look.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

loaded baked potato salad


  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes, about 6 medium-sized
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Active Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash potatoes and prick them with a fork or knife. Then bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are fork tender. Once done, remove from the oven and cool completely. 
  2. At this point you can peel all of them, or peel half of them and leave the skin on the other half to get a real baked potato feel. Then cut the potatoes into small cubes.
  3. Combine the sour cream and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir well. In a separate large serving bowl, add the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Then add the sour cream and mayonnaise sauce (just enough to coat them well–you may not use it all) and gently stir to coat. 
  4. Add most of the bacon, onion and cheese, reserving some for topping at the end, and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge with plastic wrap.

Storage notes

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), any perishable foods like potato salad cannot sit out for more than two hours before going bad. So, if you plan on bringing this dish to an outdoor event above 90°F, try to eat it within an hour. This rule still applies even with a cooler full of ice. But if you don’t want to eat your salad immediately, you can still store it safely in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to five days.

Customize your loaded baked potato salad

We don’t call it a “loaded baked potato” for nothing, and that includes the salad version. You can personalize your potato salad with your favorite ingredients and flavors. Whether you prefer keeping it classic or experimenting with creative swaps, this dish doesn’t have a rulebook when it comes to toppings.

1. Try new seasonings

For a tangy twist, try incorporating a packet of ranch seasoning mix into your sauce. Or, if you prefer a bolder bite, opt for a spicy seasoning blend like chili powder or red pepper flakes. Cajun seasoning (cayenne, paprika, garlic and onion powder) and Italian seasoning (ground herbs like basil and oregano) also work well.

2. Swap your cheese

You can’t go wrong with a little more cheese. While cheddar remains a classic for baked potatoes, try crumbling feta or goat cheese for a tangy twist. But if you prefer the shredded type, Monterey Jack or Parmesan also make great alternatives.

3. Make it lighter

For those looking to lighten up their salad, there are plenty of healthy substitutes to consider without sacrificing flavor. One idea could be replacing the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or light sour cream (watch the recipe video below from Clean and Delicious to learn how). Or try using red potatoes, which have lower calorie and carb contents. Additionally, you can add more vegetables, like diced celery, bell peppers, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes. But if you still want a source of protein, use turkey bacon or turkey sausage instead of bacon to reduce the overall fat content.

For more hearty potato recipes, read through these stories below:

Your New Entertaining Secret Weapon: A Baked Potato Bar — It’s Delicious, Easy and Makes Everyone Happy

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes Are a Taste of Creamy Comfort — Easy Recipe Really Wows

Irish Nachos Are a Delicious Potato Twist on Nachos That’ll Wow Your Crowd — Here’s the Easy Recipe

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