What do you get when you combine potatoes with sweet pickles, mustard, mayo, and boiled eggs? This deliciously creamy and unique mashed potato salad that will have you coming back for more.
So many of our beloved foods and recipes are loved for the memories attached to them, just as much as the taste. For me, this mashed potato salad is no different. It’s a Thomas Pit BBQ copycat recipe and is without a doubt the best potato salad I have ever tasted in my life.
Thomas Pit BBQ was a Madison County icon. People would line up and sit in their cars for 45+ minutes to get their juicy smoked chicken, pulled pork, white sauce, and mashed potato salad. Everything on their menu was amazing. What was even more amazing is that if you ordered a plate in that window in 1980 and then in 2014, you likely had the same people preparing that food and handing that plate to you. They were friends and family and we expected to see them when we went to Thomas’s. But some time ago, Thomas’s was bought out by a local chain.
There isn’t a lot anyone can do now so I set about trying to recreate the two recipes that I went there for. I came awfully close with my Dutch Oven Smokehouse Chicken and of course, we all have the classic Alabama White BBQ Sauce recipe. Several years ago I figured out how to best duplicate slow-smoked pulled pork by using my slow cooker. Today, though, I’m bringing you the mashed potato salad recipe that had emails pouring into me after Thomas’s closed.
So here it is, my best rendition of Thomas BBQ mashed potato salad. It’s so easy to make and the ingredients include potatoes, mayo, mustard, boiled eggs, onion, and sweet pickles. Can you taste it already? It’s creamy with a subtle tang and I cannot get enough!
- Mayonnaise (I typically use Duke’s)
- Yellow mustard
- Cubed Southern-style hash browns
- Sweet pickles in a jar (not relish)
- Boiled eggs
- Yellow onion
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Mashed Potato Salad
Place your potatoes (hash browns) in a large pot and add enough water to cover them.
Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once boiling, allow to cook for about ten minutes or until tender, then drain.
Place potatoes in a bowl.
Now here is the thing… you need to dice, by hand, 1/2 cup of sweet pickles and 1/2 cup of onion. Once they are diced you want 1/2 a cup.
Now, take that half a cup of each (I just put them all together) and run it through a blender, chopper, little smoothie mixer, or something like that because we want it really, really fine.
We don’t want it to be a puree but we want it minced like this. This will help the flavors spread throughout every bite of potato salad and is really one of the keys to why this is so good.
Use a hand potato masher or a long-tined fork and mash up the potatoes a little bit.
You still want them to be lumpy but just a good bit of mashed in there with the lumps.
Add all other ingredients except for the eggs. So you’re adding in your mayo, mustard, minced pickles and onions, salt, pepper, and pickle juice.
The pickle juice just comes straight from the jar of sweet pickles. That’s why I didn’t want you to get sweet pickle relish because there isn’t enough juice in there.
Stir that up really well.
Then chop your eggs and add them in.
Once eggs are stirred in, cover and refrigerate for several hours or until chilled.
Enjoy the best potato salad I have ever put in my mouth!
Store leftover potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- I’m just using hashbrowns to make life easier, but you can use regular potatoes instead. Just chop them into small cubes before following the instructions. I recommend Yukon Gold potatoes.
- Many mashed potato salad recipes include 1/2 cup of diced celery, so feel free to chop that up when you finely dice the onion and sweet pickles.
- This is a great recipe to use if you have leftover roast potatoes or leftover mashed potatoes.
- Feel free to swap the yellow onion for sweet onion, red onion, or green onion.
- Other substitutions you can make? Swap yellow mustard for Dijon mustard, add a tablespoon of vinegar for extra tang, and swap half of the mayonnaise for 1/2 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt instead.
Do you have to put eggs in a potato salad?
The short answer is no. I don’t believe Thomas’ mashed potato salad had eggs in it but personally, I just love boiled eggs in potato salad. If you love them, be sure to add them in. If you don’t, feel free to leave them out. For me, they just make it extra special.
Can I use dill pickles instead of sweet pickles?
So, since posting this recipe, I’ve heard from A LOT of people that… a) feel confident Thomas’s used dill pickle instead of sweet pickle or b) can’t bear the thought of sweet pickle in a potato salad and prefer dill. So I just wanted to pop in and reiterate that this is my version of the recipe and as a person who really, really loves sweet pickles, that is what I naturally used. You, of course, are welcome to substitute dill if that is what you prefer. There is a good chance that is what Thomas’s used since they served dill pickle spears with some of their entrees. Just go with whatever cranks yer tractor.
What do you serve with mashed potato salad?
This is a great side dish to pair with so many different main meals. Here are some recommendations:
- Butter Roasted Chicken
- North Alabama-Style Pulled Chicken
- French Dip Sandwiches Recipe (With a Twist)
- Baked Ham With Easy Brown Sugar Glaze
- Slow-Roasted Beef Brisket in the Oven
How do you make Amish potato salad?
Add diced celery and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar to this recipe and you have Amish potato salad.
Here are more pleasing potato recipes:
- 1 32-ounce package cubed frozen hash browns
- 4 boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sweet pickle juice
- 1 heaping teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Place hash browns in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, allow to cook for ten minutes or until tender.1 32-ounce package cubed frozen hash browns
- Drain potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Mash all of this up a bit with a potato masher, but leave them lumpy.
- Place chopped sweet pickles and chopped onion into a blender, chopper, or small smoothie blender and pulse a few times until very fine, almost like a relish.1/2 cup diced onion, 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
- Place mayonnaise, pickle juice, mustard, finely minced pickles and onions, salt, and pepper in the bowl with the potatoes. Stir until well mixed, then stir in the chopped eggs just until incorporated.4 boiled eggs, chopped, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup sweet pickle juice, 1 heaping teaspoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until cold. Enjoy!
Well done is better than well said.