Texas potato salad with bread and butter jalapeno pickles DSC8776

Texas potato salad with bread and butter jalapeno pickles

When I asked my family how they make their potato salad, they all provided recipes that called for similar ingredients: chunky, unpeeled potatoes (either red new, brown russet or Yukon gold potatoes), green onions, celery, hard-boiled eggs, sweet pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise. And if you’re on my dad’s side of the family, you stir in some Durkee’s as well.

This is the potato salad that always graced the table at our family barbecues—a thick mouthful that was soft and crunchy, tangy and sweet. But as I asked friends that hail from other regions of the country how they make their potato salads, their recipes sounded shockingly similar.

My family assured me, “Yes, this is how we do it.”

But is it particularly Texan?

exas potato salad with bread and butter jalapeno pickles | Homesick Texan

People say it’s the mustard that makes a potato salad a Texas potato salad, but doesn’t everyone use mustard? Perhaps we just use more.

Of course, we also eat a lot of German potato salad in Texas. This concoction, most commonly found in the Hill Country, is usually served warm (though it’s also delicious cold). It’s a mix of red new potatoes, bacon, green onions, mustard, and vinegar—with nary a dollop of mayonnaise to be found.

Sure, mustard is a quintessential Texas condiment. But so are pickled jalapenos. And why aren’t these in a Texas potato salad? Heck, even my mom—who is the queen of pickled jalapenos and its juice—doesn’t add it to hers. “Why not,” I asked. She didn’t have an answer, but insisted that sweet pickles are a key ingredient that compliments the other flavors.

Even though I’m no fan of sweet pickles, apparently I’ve been eating them in my potato salad my whole life without complaint, so I could see her point. But I still felt that a Texas potato salad needed jalapenos. So I compromised and made a batch of bread and butter jalapeno pickles and added that instead.

exas potato salad with bread and butter jalapeno pickles | Homesick Texan

I love it when I have a hunch and it’s proven correct. And yes, these bread and butter jalapenos were a wonderful balance—sweet enough to be pleasing to the tongue yet fiery enough to make my lips tingle. Bread and butter jalapeno pickles were just what I needed to perk up my potato salad and make it my Texas potato salad.

But enough about me, what does Texas potato salad mean to you?

5 from 1 vote

Texas potato salad with bread and butter jalapeño pickles

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the bread and butter jalapeño pickles:

  • 6 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Ingredients for the potato salad:

  • 2 pounds red new potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced (green part only)
  • 1/4 cup bread and butter jalapeños, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon bread and butter jalapeno pickle juice
  • Black pepper


  • To make the bread and butter jalapeños, pack the sliced peppers into a pint-sized jar.
    Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon stick into a pot and bring to a boil, then pour over the jalapenos.
    Let cool (about half an hour), then cover and refrigerate. The jalapeños will be ready in 2 hours.
    To make the potato salad, in a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water, add the salt, bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Should be tender but not mushy.
    Drain potatoes and rinse in cold water. Toss with the vinegar and let cool in the refrigerator for half an hour.
    After the potatoes have cooled, gently stir in the celery, green onions, jalapeños, mustard, mayonnaise, paprika, and jalapeño pickle juice. Taste and add salt and black pepper, if desired.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Another Idahoan here. I add a little horseradish with my mayo and mustard. It gives it a little kick – probably like the jalepenos. Thanks for a great blog.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am a Texan, I have lived in a other places though. I have been in Austin (grew up in Amarillo with a stint in Dallas along the way) for about 9 years now. I LOVE potato salad! I make several varieties depending on the meet that is on the grill or in the smoker. My absolute favorite is roasted poblano potato salad. I cook bacon down and cook the onions (red) in the leftover fat. I roast poblanos and garlic and add red potatoes whole grain mustard and ranch dressing. It is delicious.

  3. For LoriJo….Salt Lick's potato salad recipe is online.

    My sister-in-law puts olives in potato salad. Pretty good stuff.

    I adore potato salad and have seldom for one I didn't like in whatever guise.

    Sally the Arkstitcher.

  4. FoxyMoron says:

    I have to weigh in on the potato salad discussion, I'm an Aussie and I make mine with sliced boiled eggs and bacon, cubed potatoes, mayo, sour cream, a little Dijon mustard and fresh mint and sometimes chives as well. Thanks for the b&b jalapenos, I do that with cucumbers from the garden but will try it with my chillies.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, I think I was a teenager before I had cold potato salad with hard, crunchy chunks of potato and rubbery boiled eggs, and I thought "Yuck, what IS this stuff?"

    Gramma (Mom's side, and 100% Czech) made it with peeled, boiled, thoroughly mashed potatoes, onion, dill or sour pickles (home-canned, of course), mayonnaise and mustard. Sometimes finely chopped celery. All mixed together as soon as the potatoes were done, dusted with paprika, and served immediately, while it was as hot as it could be after all that mixing. The cold hard stuff was a shock, to say the least!

    Now, if I want to take a trip back to those days, I'll throw together a small bowl of it, using instant potatoes made a bit thick. Not the same, but still pretty good. Brings back those good old memories.

    If you like something, throw it in. Ever use chopped dill pickles in meat loaf? Anything goes!

    Native Central Texan, here, who does not care for hot peppers. But my daughter likes them, and I just sent her your B&B pepper recipe , with credit for you. I hope she'll give 'em a try. Thank you for the recipe!

    Mary near Moffat