14 In Side Dish/ Vegetable/ Video

Potato Salad Recipe

You might not think Potato Salad is Japanese food, but it is!  Japanese Potato Salad is similar to American potato salad; semi-smashed boiled potatoes mixed with mayonnaise.  Still doesn’t sound like Japanese food, does it?  What makes Japanese potato salad Japanese? … the secret is in mayonnaise.

To make ‘Japanese’ Potato Salad, you have to use Japanese mayonnaise. That is the key ingredient.  Japanese mayonnaise tastes more tangy and salty, and is very different from American mayonnaise.  While mayo is used mainly for sandwiches in the US, it is used almost like a sauce or seasoning for a lot of dishes in Japan.  We use Japanese mayo for salad, like potato salad here, but also as a salad dressing.  It is packaged in soft bottles, and you can just squeeze it over your green salad (hey, don’t say eew!).  We can also use it as a sauce for dipping, a seasoned oil for stir frying and so on.

Another difference of Japanese Potato Salad from American potato salad is having a lot of vegetables in it.  We usually use sliced cucumbers, carrots, onions, peas etc., and potato is almost like a binding ingredient for the other veggies.  You can also add ham and boiled eggs.  Even canned mandarin oranges are in it sometimes too (although a lot of people don’t care for that).  It sounds like a whole meal in one dish.

Even though it could be a great dish, often times, Potato Salad is treated as a sad little side dish off in a corner of a bento box.  And it is true, a lot of store bought Potato Salad in bentos are not so great.  Home made Potato Salad is of course the best!

It is not hard to get Japanese mayonnaise.  Just go online, and you’ll be able to make very Japanese Potato Salad that I promise you will love.

Potato Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 2-3 slices of ham
  • 4-5 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces. Heat water in a pot, and boil potatoes until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Strain and put potatoes in a large bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt and vinegar, and mash slightly (leave some potato chunks). Let it cool.
  2. Slice cucumbers to thin rounds, and cut carrots thinly (2" long). In a different bowl, sprinkle a little salt (not in the measurement) over cucumber and carrots, and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze out water.
  3. Cut boiled eggs into small pieces, and cut ham thinly (2" long strips).
  4. Add vegetables, eggs, and ham to potatoes, then mayonnaise. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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  • Bernard
    May 5, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for the recipe, japanesecooking101!
    Me and my girlfriend ate this at a Japanese restaurant in a mall near her area.
    She’s been a huge fan of it ever since, ordering it whenever we visited that diner.
    With your recipe, I should be able to make it for her now. Thanks a lot!

    • Noriko
      May 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      hope your girlfriend like it.

  • perfect
    June 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you
    Noriko san
    Exactly whatt I was looking for iam gonna try today.
    ありがとう ございます。

    • Noriko
      June 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Glad you found it!

  • Eri
    July 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Just exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thanks for the recipe,Noriko san und^^

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      hope you like our Potato Salada!

  • Jessy
    August 26, 2014 at 3:10 am


    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      you’re welcome!

  • Gou
    September 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

    What kind of potato do you use? Red potato? Baking/Idaho potato? Thanks!

    • Noriko
      September 16, 2014 at 8:36 am

      it works with any potatoes.

  • Sammantha
    October 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I just love the recipes you post. I’m slowly converting my mother with all the tasty dishes! <3 And I'm making people jealous at work. ^w^ Will you be posting any new octopus recipes soon by any chance?

    • Noriko
      October 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      glad you find Japanese Cooking 101 helpful! Come back for more recipes, we may add octopus recipes soon!

  • Christus
    January 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    do you have to use ham? or could i use something else?

  • Mel
    August 22, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Hi. What peoper is it? Black or white?