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French Potato Salad

Classic. Simple. Delicious. And a far cry from your usual creamy potluck salad.

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Would you like to meet my very favorite potato salad?

It’s this French Potato Salad and it’s a far cry from the creamy side you might be used to seeing at potlucks and picnics. See this isn’t really creamy at all, but it is chock full of bright fresh herbs (tarragon! dill!) and shallot and garlic and a tangy Dijon dressing that I use on something at least three times per week. It’s my dream potato salad, in other words, and I hope it’s yours too.

To start with, you halve and boil your potatoes. Baby potatoes or fingerlings work well — this is not a place for russets. You want something at least a little bit waxy.

And while those are boiling away, you work on the dressing. This is, more or less, the same dressing that my French stepmom (and many, many other French moms) makes for their green salad on a daily basis. I do too. It’s easy, it’s wonderfully tangy, and it dresses so many things up beautifully. But I digress:

Whisk together some Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Yes, that’s it. And no, you don’t really even need to drizzle the oil in — the Dijon is a strong enough emulsifier that it basically takes care of it for you.

And then you chop up some shallot, some garlic, and basically all the fresh herbs you can get your hands on. I like parsley, chives, tarragon, and dill, but you can absolutely play around with the variety and quantity. You just want a lot.

You stir that all together, and things should be smelling pretty herby and fragrant and then you add your potatoes.

The warmth of the potatoes brings the smell of those herbs up and into the air and it makes it pretty hard to resist digging right in. (I definitely always take a few bites at this point.)

But really this is best served at room temperature. When chilled, the oil will harden up, so if you’re making this ahead leave enough time for this to come back to room temp.

I haven’t tasted all the potato salads in the world yet, so I’ll refrain from saying this is the best one out there, but it really is my favorite. When you hear “potato salad,” you generally think of something creamy and thus a little heavy but this one feels almost sunny in comparison. The tang of the dressing, the bright and vibrant freshness of the herbs… it just can’t help but make you happy.

Yield(s): Serves 6

10m prep time

15m cook time

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
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you're making mealtime meaningful.
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  • 2 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Salt liberally and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, then drain and set aside.
  2. While potatoes boil, mix the dressing:
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and mustard until emulsified.
  4. Add parsley, chives, tarragon, dill, shallot, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and whisk once more.
  5. Add potatoes and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.