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Why is My Potato Salad Watery?

Q:

When I make my famous Idaho potato salad sometimes it comes out watery.  Do you know what causes this?

A:

When I make my famous Idaho potato salad sometimes it comes out watery.  Do you know what causes this? Watery potato salads may be caused by the following:

  • Type of potato used.  A waxy or moist potato tends to stay that way when cooked. The Russet Burbank variety has high solids (starch to water ratio) and tends to be drier when cooked.
  • I usually recommend cutting the potato into chunks before boiling rather than boiling whole, that way each chunk cooks faster than a denser, whole potato and it cooks evenly so the outside does not turn to mush before the inside is finished cooking.
  • Try draining the water and then leaving the potato on the stove for a few moments to cook any extra water out, just turn lightly so you don't over work the potato or it will turn mushy.
  • Note, some lighter mayonnaise based dressings or lite versions will liquefy easier than a traditional mayonnaise.
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