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Houston Rodeo Blue Ribbon Potato Salad in a bowl with a big wooden spoon

This blue ribbon potato salad is already a winner—so the 5 star reviews write themselves!

I collected this recipe while judging the Urban Cowboys and Cowgirls Cookin’ Competition, a part of the Houston Rodeo Festivities.

This little dish was a brave gesture to say the least, competing against contenders like pecan-smoked black angus brisket and sizzling street tacos with fresh green sauce! My fellow judges and I plowed through 100 different dishes, scratching notes and nodding to each other, all the while stealing bites of that perfect potato salad from a few rounds back.

We ended up giving it top honors for the sides category, and the blue ribbon for the entire competition cook off.

Naturally, I wasn’t leaving without the recipe!


Houston Rodeo Blue Ribbon Potato Salad - Ingredients in a bowl


Now chefs and great cooks know the secret to blue ribbon potato salad is getting the dressing perfectly right and then adding as much dressing as it takes to make it moist and exploding with flavor. With this in mind, I have given you my secret dressing recipe separate, so that you can make as much as you need and personalize the potato salad for your own little tribe.

I include all of the classic ingredients in the recipe, but surprisingly the diced red bell pepper was what put this dish over the top! It really begins to sing after a couple of hours marinating. 

As explained in the directions you can make this recipe with just about any type of potato. That night the winning potato salad was made with small cubed red potatoes which hold their shape, but russets are excellent as well. You can try it both ways (since I bet my lucky bra this will end up being your secret family potato salad for generations to come). 😛

Houston Rodeo Blue Ribbon Potato Salad

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Yields Serves 6-8

Houston Rodeo Blue Ribbon Potato Salad
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1 c. Mayonnaise

2 T. Red Wine Vinegar

1 t. sugar

(A pinch of salt if needed)

4 large russets for fluffy potato salad or 5 large red potatoes for cubed potato salad.

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 T red wine vinegar

½ c. white onion, minced

1 red bell pepper, julienned and then the strips cut into thirds

1 c. from a bag of julienned carrot sticks, or 2 carrots, julienned

1 stalk celery, small dice

1t. Dijon or yellow mustard

¼ c. Fresh Chives, minced

2 T. Fresh Parsley, minced

Dash of Celery seed

Optional- 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped


For perfect potato salad dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt (to taste) in a small bowl. Add ½ c. minced white onion and chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To prepare the potatoes, if you have chosen the russets you will peel the potatoes and discard the peels in the garbage. If you prefer the waxy red potatoes you may leave the skins on.

Cook the potatoes in a covered glass bowl in the microwave with a little bit of water for about 6 minutes. Allow the potatoes to steam an additional 2-3 minutes. Test the potatoes to make sure they are fork tender all the way through.

When they are cooked through, allow them to cool and then dice them into bite sized chunks in about ½ inch cubes.

Salt and pepper the potatoes well and sprinkle them with 2 T. red wine vinegar. Let the potatoes marinate while you work on the other veggies.

On a cutting board, julienne slices of the red bell pepper. They should be about the size of matchsticks. Then cut the sticks into thirds and place into a bowl.

Add 1 c. chopped julienned carrots to the bowl.

Chop the celery into small dice, and mince the parsley and chives. Add them all to the bowl.

Chop the eggs if using them and add them to the bowl.

Combine the potatoes with the chopped veggies and pour the chilled sauce mixture over everything. Add in the mustard and a couple shakes of celery seed if desired. Season to taste.

Chill 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with additional minced fresh parsley or chives for a beautiful presentation.


If you use reds the potatoes will stay in firm cubes, if you use russets you will have potato salad that resembles mashed potatoes. This is a personal preference and this recipe works perfect for either style!

I like a really wet potato salad. If you do too, you will want to make as much of the dressing as necessary to get the potatoes filled with moisture. This recipe is perfect for waxy red potatoes, but with russets they absorb so much liquid you may want to make a double batch of the dressing in case you need a little extra sauce.


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