Ask Dr. Potato

With 746 posts, chances are there's already an answer to your question. Please try searching below before submitting a question to Dr. Potato. Use multiple words to help narrow down the results. For example, search for "potatoes" and "group" if looking for an answer on cooking potatoes for large groups.

Back To Dr. Potato Home

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.