The 2-Ingredient Fix For Bland Store-Bought Potato Salad

There are tons of different types of potato salads, but what they all have in common is that they can be time-consuming to make, requiring steps to boil the spuds, chop them up, and mix in a range of ingredients. That's where store-bought versions come in handy as a real lifesaver when you're trying to have a quick side to serve or take to a cookout.

The only problem is that, all too often, a store-bought version lacks the pizzazz of homemade potato salad. The solution is easy, though. All you need to do is to toss in some crispy bacon and fresh herbs to fool fellow party-goers or guests into thinking you spent a ton of time whipping up a flavorful and pretty dish.

Slicing up the fresh herbs is a breeze, but if you're really in a time crunch, getting that bacon sizzling on the stovetop and giving it time to cool may not be in the cards. In that case, opt for a flavorful substitution like store-bought bacon pieces or cubes of country ham. Just make sure to transfer your potato salad with your additions to your own decorative bowl to make it look homemade.

More ways to take store-bought potato salad to the next level

Just like there's no shortage of variations to level up basic potato salad, there are loads of other ways to give a store-bought version a boost. For instance, if balancing the salad with some acidity is what you're after, try mixing in a bit of pickle juice or vinegar. Or, to pack in protein as well as a bit of texture, fold in some chopped eggs.

If your salad's spuds are a little soft, adding an element of crunchiness may help. Try stirring in chopped celery, small capers, sliced radishes, or dill pickles. Or, to add texture with a touch of tanginess, add a few dollops of whole grain mustard.

Finally, you can turn to your trusty spice cabinet to make your potato salad really shine. For an earthy flavor, try sprinkling in some celery seed. Or, give it a kick of heat with cayenne, horseradish, or Old Bay. And if smokiness is what you're going for, you can use smoked paprika, which also does double duty as a pretty topping.

While the endgame is to make your store-bought salad look and taste homemade, if your dressed-up version still doesn't meet your standards, don't despair. You can always repurpose it as a different side dish by roasting your leftover potato salad instead.