Anne’s Best Potato Salad with Bacon and Peas #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on September 9, 2012

potato salad with bacon and peas

Have I ever mentioned I’m a big fan of potatoes? Well, it’s true. So when tasked with bringing a dish to this week’s virtual tailgate party–hosted by none other than the #SundaySupper crew–the first thing that came to mind was potato salad. I know, I know, potato salad has been done all over the place, but trust me, not like this!

Admittedly, I grew up around some amazing potato salads in my family, however it wasn’t until high school that my full obsession bloomed. It all started in a friend’s garage–we were building a doll house for my niece and had been at it for hours when his mother fetched us some snacks. Honestly, the only thing I remember from that day was the potato salad. First, to my surprise, it was dotted with peas, which popped with sweetness in every bite. But it was the overall flavor that WOWed me. While my teenage palate my not have been fully developed, the depth of flavor in this simple dish was amazing. Turns out, she was boiling her potatoes in the pot with her chicken and seasonings. So there you have it. The ultimate secret weapon of the potato salad wars.

By the way, the finished doll house was magnificent and enjoyed for many years:

doll house

It would be a good 15 years or so later before I attempted to make my first potato salad. Weird, right? Big potato salad fan, not so big on preparing it. In any event, a bunch of us were attending a concert at the Stern Grove Festival, which is a picnic type event, and someone suggested I bring potato salad. I knew right away I wanted the potatoes cooked in chicken broth, I wanted the sweet pop of peas mixed in, and I was fully prepared to kick it up a notch by adding bacon. And that’s how this recipe was born. At the picnic, my friends declared it the best potato salad ever, that is, until the next time I made it and stirred in some of the bacon drippings. Oh yes, I went there.

The resulting salad is rich and surprisingly complex, considering the few ingredients involved. I know adding the drippings may sound over the top, but mayo is nearly as bad as bacon grease anyway when it comes to fat and calories. Besides, you know this revelation just piqued your curiosity. It’s OK to admit it.


So gather up your ingredients, and let’s begin–cooking is truly easier when you have everything you need out and ready to go.

bacon in frying pan

First get your bacon on–I used Applewood smoked bacon for this recipe, which lends an irresistible smoky sweetness to the dish.  You should also get your chicken broth in a pot and bring it to a boil.

chopped potatoes

While the bacon is sizzling, and the chicken broth is heating up, peel the potatoes, then chop them into bite-sized pieces (about 1 inch squares), and add them to the chicken broth. Boil until done but still firm, drain and cool. I used russets here, because I’m a russet girl. But feel free to use whatever you prefer–waxy potatoes, like reds, tend to hold up better than their floury siblings.

cooked bacon

This picture doesn’t really represent an additional step–I just thought the cooked bacon looked pretty.

potato salad

While the potatoes are still warm, whisk together the bacon drippings, vinegar, and mustard, then toss with the potatoes. My package of bacon contained 9 thick slices which rendered 1/4 cup fat. I used it all. Once the potatoes have cooled, gently stir in the mayonnaise.

chopped bacon

Chop up the bacon and onions. Reserve a small amount of the bacon for garnish.

potato salad toppings

Fold the bacon, peas, and onions into the salad. If  you overcooked the potatoes like me, you’ll need to use a light touch so you don’t end up mashing them.

potato salad single serving

Now serve yourself a generous portion topped with more bacon and parsley. Just remember, once you try this, you can never go back. Enjoy!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Anne's Best Potato Salad with Bacon and Peas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Wow your friends and family with the best potato salad ever.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 2 quarts good quality chicken broth
  • 3 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch squares
  • 12 oz thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped, reserving 2 tbsp.
  • ¼ cup bacon drippings (reserved from the cooked bacon)
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  1. In a large pot, boil the potatoes in the chicken broth until done, yet firm. Drain.
  2. Whisk together bacon drippings, vinegar, and Dijon mustard, and toss with the potatoes while still warm. Allow potatoes to cool completely before proceeding.
  3. Fold in the mayonnaise, then the bacon, peas, and onion.
  4. Add salt and pepper--between the mayo and bacon, you can probably go light on the salt.
  5. Garnish with parsley and reserved bacon.


Join us on Sunday as we share our favorite tailgate recipes and tips. Hop on twitter at 7pm EST for the live #SundaySupper chat.

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