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Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Tired of the same old potato salad? Change things up with this easy and delicious Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad that tastes like a loaded baked potato! It’s the perfect addition to your next barbecue or potluck!

Classic potato salad is good. Friends, this potato salad is really, really, really good! I mean, come on, what isn’t better with cheese…and bacon…and ranch?!? Plus, it’s got sour cream and green onions.

It’s my FAVORITE potato salad of all time, and it just might become yours too!

No picnic or summer get-together seems complete without a side dish of potato salad. If you’re like me and get tired of the same old stuff over and over again, you’ve got to give this Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad a try. It will be a hit!

Set this out alongside your burgers, hot dogs, ribs, barbecue chicken, coleslaw, corn on the cob, or whatever else you’re serving, and get ready for oohs and aahs, mmms, and tons of recipe requests!

bowl of cheesy bacon ranch potato salad

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Potatoes (I use red)
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Bacon
  • Cheddar cheese (I use sharp yellow)
  • Green onions
  • Salt and pepper

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE CHEESY BACON RANCH POTATO SALAD:

three images showing steps to make cheesy bacon ranch potato salad
three images showing steps to make cheesy bacon ranch potato salad
three images showing steps to make cheesy bacon ranch potato salad

I like to use red potatoes, and I leave the skin on because it gives the potato salad some nice color (plus, the skins have extra vitamins in them!). Yukon golds would also be good here.

I prefer either of these waxier potatoes for potato salad because they hold their shape better and have thinner skin than russets (but you could certainly use russets too – skin on or off).

One of the secrets to a flavorful potato salad? Generously salt the water when you boil the potatoes. Potatoes need salt. Without it, they are bland and hardly have any flavor.

In this recipe, I usually add a tablespoon of kosher salt or sea salt to the water. Use less if you are using regular iodized table salt, which tends to be sharper and saltier.

Now, if you are sensitive to salt or can’t have salt for health reasons, then obviously only add as much salt as you can tolerate or are allowed. But if you have no issues with salt, go ahead and salt the water. No need to overdo it. Just add enough so that the potatoes will taste good!

cubed red potatoes in a colander

Another secret to fabulous potato salad? Don’t overcook your potatoes! Cook them just until they are fork-tender.

They should be cooked through, but you don’t want them to be too soft, or else they will not hold their shape when you mix everything together, and you risk a mushy potato salad. We don’t want mashed potatoes here.

To avoid over-cooking, check your potatoes for doneness sooner rather than later as they are boiling, and keep checking them frequently. As soon as they are done, drain them and spread them out to cool.

Now, I know it can be tempting to take a shortcut and use bacon bits or some other form of pre-cooked bacon, but please use real bacon. There is definitely a difference in flavor! I am partial to thick-cut bacon myself, as it holds up nicer in bigger pieces.

For the cheese, I like to use a sharp cheddar or even an extra sharp cheddar for an extra flavor punch. Mild cheddar can sometimes get lost among the stronger flavors of the bacon and ranch. I also prefer to use yellow cheddar rather than white for the nice color it brings to the salad.

spoonful of cheesy bacon ranch potato salad being taken out of the bowl of potato salad

You can eat this as soon as you make it, but I think it benefits from sitting in the fridge for a bit so all the flavors can meld together and the potatoes can soak up some of that yummy ranch flavor. Totally up to you!

If you have leftovers, this potato salad holds up nicely for a few days in the fridge. We cooked out from the 4th of July straight through the weekend, and we ate it for another 4 days. It was still super delicious on day 4!

I hope you give this recipe for Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad a try and love it as much as I do! Thanks for visiting today!

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a bowl of cheesy bacon ranch potato salad with a spoon in it

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Tired of the same old potato salad? Change things up with this delicious Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Salad that tastes like a loaded baked potato! It's the perfect addition to your next barbecue or potluck.
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Estimated Calories: 256

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed (1-inch cubes) red potatoes with skin (about 2 pounds)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 packet (1 oz) ranch salad dressing mix
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Place the potatoes in a pot (I use a 4-quart pot) and cover them with cold water by about an inch. Salt the water generously (I use 1 tablespoon of kosher salt or sea salt. If using regular iodized table salt, I would use less, as it is saltier. Adjust the amount of salt to suit your tastes.). Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Remove the lid and continue to boil just until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 6 to 7 minutes. Note: Check the potatoes sooner rather than later for doneness. You don't want to over-cook them. If they are too soft, they will not hold their shape in the salad.
  • Drain the potatoes and spread them out on a large baking sheet or a plate to cool.
  • While the potatoes are cooling, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the grease and allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix. Stir until well combined.
  • Add the cooled potatoes, shredded cheese, and green onions to the sour cream mixture. Stir gently to combine, making sure all of the potatoes are coated evenly.
  • Crumble the bacon and fold it into the potato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: If the potato water was salted generously, I usually find that I don't need to add any salt (there's some in the ranch dressing mix too), so I just add some pepper. Taste it and adjust to your liking.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with extra bacon, cheese, and green onions if desired.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Although you can serve this potato salad immediately, I think it benefits from sitting in the fridge for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld and for the potatoes to soak up some of that ranch flavor. 
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Recipe Rating




Kim

Friday 31st of December 2021

We loved this potato salad.. definitely will have it again!

Michelle

Friday 31st of December 2021

Thanks very much, Kim! So happy you enjoyed it!

Montrey

Monday 22nd of February 2021

This is delicious. Everybody who tries it wants the recipe. Also, it’s good hot as well.

Michelle

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Thank you so much! I never even thought about trying it hot...sounds really yummy, and I'll definitely be trying that!