Ranch potato salad loaded with bacon, cheese and a sour cream ranch dressing is just what you need for a summer potluck. This red potato salad with crispy bacon is too good to pass up.
Do you have a favorite potato salad recipe? Even if you do, you’ve just got to try making this loaded ranch potato salad and see if it becomes your new favorite. I’m pretty picky about potato salad because I don’t like a lot of mayonnaise and that’s generally the main ingredient. I think it’s why my go-to potato salad recipe is one with roasted potatoes and no mayonnaise at all.
Of course I love my mom’s which has mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs and black olives, but only when she makes it.
This potato salad starts with tender new potatoes and is then loaded with a 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.
While it does have a small amount of mayonnaise, the dressing is mostly sour cream and seasoning. 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. If you want this to be over-the-top, make your own ranch dressing, it’s super easy and of course fresh is always going to be better.
What ingredients will you need for the best potato salad
- New potatoes
- Cheddar Cheese
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Homemade or bottled ranch dressing
How do you make the perfect bacon 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.
Step 1: Cook the potatoes, drain and run under cold water, let dry. While cooking cook bacon in a skillet until crispy and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Step 2: Prepare homemade ranch dressing and combine with sour cream or add a cup of bottled ranch dressing to a cup of sour cream.
Step 3: To a large bowl, add potatoes, grated cheese, part of the cooked bacon and green onions and pour the dressing over the top and gently stir to combine.
Step 4: 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 ranch 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.
Tips for making the BEST potato salad
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.
Summertime salads you’ll love
- Cucumber and corn salad
- Zucchini noodle salad
- Peachy coleslaw
- Spinach salad with strawberries
- Fruit salad
- Blueberry tequila salad
- Grilled corn salad
- Shrimp salad
More potato side dish recipes
- Warm potato salad
- roasted potatoes with crispy onions
- Extra crunchy roasted potatoes
- Awesome mashed potatoes
- Smashed new potatoes
Ranch Potato Salad
- 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.