This Ranch potato salad with bacon, cheese and a sour cream ranch dressing is just what you need for a potluck or cook out. All the flavors of a loaded baked potato plus a flavorful dressing to coat tender new potatoes.
Do you have a favorite potato salad recipe? It’s one of those dishes that people can be very particular about. Next time you want a potato salad to go along with grilled chicken or burgers, go bold and give this Southern-style potato salad a try.
A Ranch potato salad with bacon is completely different than a traditional mustard and mayonnaise based potato salad, it will remind you of eating a loaded baked potato.
Of course I love my mom’s which has mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs and black olives, but only when she makes it.
This Southern red potato salad starts with tender new potatoes and is then loaded with a homemade sour cream ranch dressing, cheddar cheese, green onions and then crispy bacon. It’s like a loaded baked potato but better because you get the creamy sour cream dressing in every bite. Similar to loaded mashed potatoes but served cold.
While it does have a small amount of mayonnaise, the dressing is mostly sour cream and seasonings. You have two choices here, if you’re in a hurry or just don’t want to bother with fresh herbs you can use a bottle of buttermilk ranch dressing like Hidden Valley.
However, if you have just a few extra minutes, make your own ranch dressing, it’s super easy and of course fresh is always going to be better. Make extra and add it to Ranch pasta bake, or Buffalo chicken dip.
I love serving this for family gatherings when you want a side dish that’s cold and won’t take up your oven like au gratin potatoes or scalloped potatoes. They are just as creamy, but having a cold side can be a nice change from the typical Thanksgiving side dishes.
While great with turkey, try serving it with an Easter ham or take it to your next potluck. Need a make ahead side dish to take to a cookout, a Southern-style potato salad will steal the show.
Why you’ll love it
- It can be made ahead
- Great with burgers or bbq
- Everything you love about a loaded baked potato
- Ranch dressing makes it creamy
- Crispy bacon gives it extra flavor
What you’ll need
- New potatoes – new potatoes have thin skin and will hold their shape better for a potato salad
- Cheddar Cheese – don’t use pre shredded if you can avoid it. The preservatives used to keep it from clumping alter the flavor and texture.
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Homemade or bottled ranch dressing – recipe below
Pro tip: If you’re out of buttermilk, you can make your own with just two ingredients. Here are three different methods for how to make your own buttermilk.
How do you make Ranch potato salad
Potato salad is super easy to make but you’ll need to plan ahead as the potatoes have to cool before adding the dressing and then once assembled, it has to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes, even longer if possible.
Cut the potatoes into even bite size pieces. Boil them until just cooked then drain and run under cold water, let dry. While waiting for them to cool you can cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Prepare homemade ranch dressing and combine with sour cream or add a cup of bottled ranch dressing to a cup of sour cream.
To a large bowl, add potatoes, grated cheese, part of the cooked bacon and green onions.
Pour the dressing over the top and gently stir to combine.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Top with reserved bacon and extra green onions prior to serving.
How long do you need to boil potatoes for potato salad
The trick for potato salad is to cook the potatoes just enough but not so much that they get mushy. To get perfectly cooked new potatoes, start by cutting them into even 1 inch pieces. Larger pieces will cause the smaller pieces to cook too much.
Add to cold water and then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook uncovered for about 8-10 minutes. You want a fork to pierce them easily without the potato falling apart.
What are the best potatoes for potato salad
Stay away from starchy potatoes like russet or Yukon gold which, while great for mashed potatoes, will not hold their shape for potato salad. Stick to new or red potatoes.
FAQs and tips
Add potatoes to cold water to make sure they cook evenly
Add salt to the water while the potatoes are cooking so that it absorbs into the potatoes.
Add dressing after the potatoes have cooled or the dressing will be oily.
Add a little bacon to the salad with the dressing but reserve most of it to add to the top before serving.
It is best if it can be refrigerated for an hour before serving but as long as you reserve the bacon it will be wonderful for a day or two. After that it tends to get soggy.
More potato side dish recipes
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Ranch Potato Salad with Bacon
- 2 lb red or new potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese grated (6 ounces)
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons shallot finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chives finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar or container with a lid and shake. Chill for 30 minutes. You will have more dressing than you need for the salad.
- In a separate bowl whisk together a cup of sour cream and a cup of ranch dressing.
- SALAD: Cut the potatoes into even 1 inch pieces and place in a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add a handful of salt. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until easily pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Don’t overcook.
- Drain and run cold water over the potatoes. Let them sit in the colander until cool and dry, about 15 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and chop once cooled.
- Place cooled potatoes in a large bowl and add grated cheese, onions and part of the bacon, reserving most for later. Pour the dressing over and gently combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until potatoes are cold. Top with extra bacon before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Try making homemade ranch dressing for more flavor.
- Use new or red potatoes, not russet.
- Cut the potatoes into even pieces and cover with cold water to make sure they cook evenly.
- Salt the water while cooking the potatoes.
- Let the potatoes cool before adding the dressing so that it doesn’t get oily.
- Reserve most of the bacon and add right before serving so that it stays crunchy.
- This is a great salad to take to a potluck or backyard picnic.