Potato salad inspired by the beloved jalapeño popper! Potatoes, fresh jalapeños, bacon and green onion are tossed in a creamy dressing. The salad can be served right away or prepared 1 day in advance.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (see note 1)
- 8 strips bacon
- 3 green onions
- 3 large (or 4 small) jalapeños (see note 2)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (plus more for seasoning cooking water)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, begin cooking the bacon. Place the bacon in a frying pan set over medium heat. Turn the bacon frequently until crispy. Drain cooked bacon on paper towels, set aside. (Alternatively, use your favorite method for cooking bacon.)
- Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. This can be done while the bacon is cooking; just be sure to keep an eye on the bacon so it doesn’t burn.
- Once the water is boiling, add a couple generous pinches of salt. Then carefully add in the cut potatoes. Bring the water back to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 11 – 12 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, slice the green onions thinly on an angle. Cut half of one jalapeño into thin rings to use as a garnish (if making the salad in advance, reserve the 1/2 jalapeño, uncut. See note 3). Dice the remaining jalapeños (either with or without the seeds and ribs, see note 2 below). Set aside.
- Next, make the dressing. Place the softened cream cheese into a medium bowl. With a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl half-way through mixing. Add in the mayonnaise gradually, beating until smooth. Then add in the ranch dressing, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt to taste) and black pepper, beat until just combined.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them well and place them into a large bowl.
- Assemble the potato salad: Add the diced jalapeño and sliced green onion to the potatoes, reserving the sliced jalapeño rings for garnish. Crumble the bacon and add it to the bowl. Spoon the dressing into the bowl and stir gently with a large spoon to combine. (If you want to serve the salad the next day, see note 3 for instructions.)
- Taste the salad and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Garnish with the jalapeño rings and serve.
Type of potato to use: You can substitute any other type of waxy, thin-skinned potato in place of the Yukon Gold, such as red-skinned or new potatoes.
Jalapeños and heat level in the salad: Feel free to adjust the amount of jalapeños to suit your own spice level preference. You may also choose to either add in the ribs and seeds (for more heat) or leave them out (for less heat). I left the seeds and ribs out, and my potato salad was relatively mild (to my tastes), even using the full amount of jalapeño called for in the recipe. But, jalapeños can vary widely in their heat level, so taste a small piece before adding them into the salad and use your best judgment!
Making the salad ahead of time: this salad can be made 1 day in advance. Follow all the instructions in step 8, except do not add the bacon. Place the potato salad into the fridge, tightly covered. Refrigerate the bacon and 1/2 reserved jalapeño (also covered). When ready to serve, slice the 1/2 jalapeño thinly. Crumble the bacon and add it to the potato salad, stirring gently to combine. Taste the potato salad and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Add the jalapeño slices on top as garnish.
Keywords: potato salad, side dishes, easy side dish, jalapeno potato salad, jalapeno popper potato salad, jalapeño popper potato salad, jalapeño potato salad