Creamy and filling, this is an easy egg-free version of classic Southern potato salad. The perfect side dish for a Texas BBQ, picnic, or potluck. This potato salad with simple ingredients happens to be vegan and oil-free, as well.
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Summer BBQs and Southern family gatherings aren't complete without a large bowl of potato salad on the table, y'all! We're leaving out the hard-boiled eggs in this eggless version.
The creamy dressing for this Southern vegan potato salad is made from vegan eggless mayonnaise, mustard, and sweet relish.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Cooked potatoes - Boiled potatoes are typically used to make potato salad. You can also use steamed potatoes. While most people peel their potatoes for potato salad (as I've pictured), our family likes to make it with unpeeled potatoes for extra fiber and nutrients. Use russet potatoes for traditional potato salad that's more tender. For firmer potatoes, use red potatoes, new potatoes or baby potatoes. (These have thin skins and you really don't have to peel them). Yukon gold potatoes can also be used, but would be last on my list for this recipe.
- Vegan mayonnaise - Vegan mayo contains no egg, whereas standard mayo uses egg. So, for egg-free potato salad, you'll need to use a mayonnaise without egg. Store-bought vegan mayo will usually contain oil. For an oil-free vegan mayo, make my cashew tofu mayonnaise!
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions for the ingredients in this recipe:
- Vegan mayo - any mayonnaise you like can be used for this recipe. For oil-free, egg-free mayo, make my cashew tofu mayonnaise recipe. Rather than mayo, sour cream or plain yogurt can be used as a substitute, but it will be less authentic.
- White onion - mild white onion is best for this recipe. You can also use sliced green onions, minced red onions or minced yellow onion, but you may want to use a little less since it's sharper. Or, you can use some (about 1-2 tablespoons) dried minced onion pieces, rehydrated in some water. Or, a ½ teaspoon of granulated onion or onion powder instead of fresh.
- Celery - Fresh sliced crunchy celery is key in this recipe. Amp up the celery flavor by adding a bit of celery seed.
- Sweet pickle relish - Sweet relish is traditional, but you can use chopped dill pickles or chopped cornichons. Sweet pickles like cornichons or bread and butter pickles would be the closest substitutes, since this will mimic the sweet pickle relish the best. Be sure to use some extra pickle juice to taste, as well.
- Yellow mustard - Yellow mustard is most traditional for this recipe. If you need an alternative, you can try using dijon mustard or whole grain mustard, but these will taste different.
- Nut-free - make this nut-free by using an egg-free mayo without nuts like cashews. This silken tofu mayo recipe contains no nuts.
- WFPBNO - be sure to use my homemade tofu cashew oil-free mayonnaise recipe to keep this potato salad recipe whole food plant based no oil
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the added salt in the recipe and using an SOS-free vegan mayo
Switch things up with these variation ideas!
- Spicy - add a pinch of cayenne pepper or use cajun salt (like Tony Chachere's) instead of sea salt to make this a little spicy
- Add "egg" texture - the best hard-boiled egg substitutes for this recipe, if you'd like to add something with that texture in, would be chopped heart of palm or cubed silken tofu or medium-firm tofu. Be sure to carefully fold those in, so they don't crumble too much.
- Add "egg" flavor - For added egg flavor, sprinkle in a few pinches of black salt (kala namak), which will make it taste and smell of egg, like in this tofu scramble..
- German potato salad - Skip the mayo altogether to make German potato salad, which is dressed with mustard and vinegar. Fresh dill or other fresh herbs, such as parsley would be delicious in this version.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make this easy Southern potato salad without egg.
Step 1 - Add peeled, cubed potatoes to a medium-large pot. Cover potatoes with cold water and add a little bit of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 2 - Once it's boiling, lower the temperature to medium. Stir the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just barely fork-tender. Do not overcook them! If you overcook the potatoes, you'll have the beginning of mashed potatoes instead of potato salad.
Step 3 - Drain potatoes in a colander and add them to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly to room temperature (about 5-10 minutes) before mixing in all the other ingredients.
You can make the potatoes ahead of time and chill them in the refrigerator, so they're ready when you want to make potato salad.
Step 4 - To the large mixing bowl with the diced potatoes, add all of the remaining ingredients (chopped celery, chopped onion, mayo, mustard, dill relish, salt, pepper).
(For an eggy taste, add a little black salt, too!)
Step 5 - With a large spoon, mix the potato salad until everything is well-combined, being careful not to mash or crush the potatoes too much.
Step 6 - Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cold. Serve chilled.
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
You can boil the potatoes ahead of time for this recipe and then assemble this vegan potato salad recipe the next day. If you do this, season the potatoes with salt and a sprinkle of vinegar (such as apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or white vinegar) for the best flavor.
You can also prep veggies beforehand, so they're ready to mix in!
You can also make the potato salad 1-3 days ahead of time. It's usually better tasting the next day anyway!
Store potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge. Good for up to 7 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
🚦 Calorie density score
🟡 This recipe gets a yellow light on the calorie density chart. One of the ingredients (the vegan mayo) may be higher than 600 calories per pound, depending on the one you use, so eating richer meals like this regularly may prevent you from losing body fat or may even cause you to gain weight. Learn more about calorie density from Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.
Get your own printable calorie density chart for your refrigerator and free ebook explaining calorie density in simple terms.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
What sides does potato salad go well with?
Potato salad is a great side dish with Southern and Texas classics, such as BBQ, grilled veggies, grilled protein, pinto beans, mac and cheese, vegan macaroni salad, cornbread, cole slaw and Texas toast.
☕️ Tea pairing
This recipe would be best served with sweet Southern iced tea.
Most potato salads are not vegan, since they often contain standard mayo and eggs. But, with a few simple replacements, you can make a delicious vegan potato salad. Some types of potato salad, like German potato salad, is often vegan already because it doesn't contain mayo.
Vegan potato salad has many of the same ingredients of a traditional potato salad: potatoes, celery, onion, mustard, relish, salt, black pepper. Regular mayo is replaced with vegan mayo and hard-boiled eggs are taken out.
Use a combination of black salt (which will add an eggy smell and taste) and chopped hearts of palm or tofu (which will add eggy texture).
🗺 Cultural influences
This recipe is an authentic Texas potato salad recipe, but without egg. Growing up, our family made potato salad often, especially in the summer (which lasts about 6 months in Houston).
No Texas barbeque or potluck is complete without someone bringing potato salad.
In traditional Southern potato salad chopped boiled egg would be added. And, standard mayonnaise like Hellman's or Miracle Whip would have been used.
This recipe is inspired by my mixed ethnic background and heritage as a native of Houston, Texas, and the Southern United States. See About for more information on my cultural influences and how I attribute recipes.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this Southern-style potato salad recipe, check out these other plant-based Texan recipes!
Easy Southern Potato Salad (No Egg, Vegan, No Oil)
- 4 pounds russet potatoes about 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups celery (187g) sliced very thin
- ½ cup white onion (66g), minced
- ½ cup sweet pickle relish (176g)
- ½ cup vegan mayo (160g), store-bought or make my easy homemade vegan mayo recipe
- 1 ½ tablespoons yellow mustard (31g)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add peeled, cubed potatoes to a medium-large pot. Cover potatoes with water and add a little bit of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.4 pounds russet potatoes
- Once it's boiling, lower the temperature to medium. Stir the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just barely fork-tender. Do not overcook them! If you overcook the potatoes, you'll have the beginning of mashed potatoes instead of potato salad.
- Drain potatoes in a colander and add them to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes) before mixing in all the other ingredients.
Assemble Potato Salad
- To the large mixing bowl with the potatoes, add all of the remaining ingredients. With a large spoon, mix the potato salad until everything is well-combined, being careful not to mash or crush the potatoes too much.2 cups celery, ½ cup white onion, ½ cup sweet pickle relish, ½ cup vegan mayo, 1 ½ tablespoons yellow mustard, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cold. Serve chilled.