Creamy, spicy, and smoky – Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad is a fast, easy, and delicious picnic or potluck potato salad. Your family and friends will ask for this recipe!
Real spring weather is here, and I have been so happy to spend more time outside lately! Most mornings, I’m up at about 6:00 am, before Noah and the kids. This gives me at least an hour to myself, which is often spent on the backyard patio – watering the plants, reading, browsing Instagram, writing… or whatever I want! My brain tends to wake up in high gear, so it’s a good time to do any creative work.
This morning, I was thinking of a side dish to serve with grilled hot dogs for an outside lunch, and of course I thought of potato salad – but why not try it with spicy buffalo flavors?
Buffalo is a hot flavor, both literally and in terms of popularity, and buffalo potato salad is not original. I also know that there is one food item that my older son will not eat, and that is blue cheese. So in an attempt to keep a cheesy flavor in this Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad, I substituted some smoked gouda. It was a big hit!
Potato salad is our family tradition
Our family is somehow known for various forms of potato salad. I can trace this back to my mom. I remember mom making jumbo bowls (huge, restaurant-sized prep bowls) of potato salad when I was growing up. People asked for it. She made gallons of it for my cousin’s wedding reception. Her recipe is simple – and it’s one of those non-written recipes where you just add enough of this, and the right amount of that.
Despite not being documented, her potato salad is remarkably consistent. Hard-cooked eggs are a must, plus real mayonnaise, chopped onions, and mustard – but not too much. The overall flavor is not too acidic, more savory and creamy. No relish, either. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t used to it in the version mom made, but I feel like relish adds too much sugar and vinegar to potato salad. I think potato salad should taste more like… potatoes.
My own claim to potato salad fame reaches far outside the realm of your usual Midwestern version of potato salad. I came up with the recipe years ago, when I was vegan and involved in a vegan potluck group. I first made Samosa Potato Salad for one of our summer picnics. It’s a traditional mayonnaise potato salad, but the dressing is loaded with fresh ginger, onions, samosa-like spices, green peas, and cilantro. The recipe was well-received, and passed around the group. One of our group members happened to run the kitchen at Common Ground, our local food co-op, at the time. She asked for permission to make and sell the recipe (with a few alterations), and Samosa Potato Salad is now an item in the grab-and-go case at Common Ground!
Making Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad
I used two pounds of small, red potatoes for this salad. You can leave the skin on for more texture and added nutrition like I did, but it wouldn’t hurt if you wanted to peel the potatoes before cooking. Cut each small potato into about 8 pieces, keeping the pieces roughly even in size so they cook consistently.
To lighten this creamy salad up just a bit, I used half mayonnaise and half 2% Greek yogurt (we like Fage 2%) as a base for the sauce. You could use all mayonnaise and get away with it if that’s what you have on hand. There is certainly enough acid contributed to the dish by the buffalo sauce if you skip the yogurt.
And speaking of sauce, the sauce you want to use for Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad is Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce, not the original Frank’s RedHot. The Buffalo Sauce from Frank’s has RedHot in it, and that’s the standard for the best (and original) buffalo wings. But the Buffalo Sauce combined RedHot with, among other things, butter flavor. It’s ready-made wing sauce, and delicious on so. many. things. Because it’s butter and Frank’s RedHot: two of the greatest ingredients ever. #buffaloeverything
The cheese I used was one we’ve kept on hand more often in recent weeks: a simple smoked gouda that happens to be a pasteurized process cheese. This is a rare pasteurized process cheese that we actually like. It melts beautifully into scrambled eggs or on a burger, and in this salad it imparts the kind of funky flavor that is missing by omitting the blue cheese. Any smoked gouda or gruyere would work in this recipe.
Picnic coming up? Make Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad your +1.
I think this recipe and I are going to see a lot of each other in the next few months. Cool celery, smoky cheese, and spicy buffalo sauce come together in this salad in a way that just screams, “take me to your next picnic!” These flavors are a big hit with my family, and I hope they will be with yours. With summer right around the corner, you’ll want to add Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad to your potluck lineup!
Smoky Buffalo Potato Salad
- 2 lbs small red potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/2 small red onion (about 1/3 cup) – diced
- 2 stalks celery – diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
- 4 oz smoked gouda cheese – shredded
- Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces – about 8 pieces from each potato.
- Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are fork-tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
- While potatoes cook, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine red onion, celery, garlic powder, white pepper, salt, mayonnaise, yogurt, and buffalo wing sauce.
- Add drained potatoes and shredded cheese to dressing. Fold ingredients together gently with a wide spatula, taking care to avoid mashing the potatoes.
- Season with additional salt if desired.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- If you prefer potatoes without skins, you can peel them.
- Use Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce, not the original Frank’s RedHot.