Some of the best recipes have been passed down through generations, scribbled on scraps of paper, and stashed away in shoeboxes. In the South, many cooks of yesteryear would create their dishes by adding a little bit of this and a pinch of that.

The art of cooking was often passed down through observation and practice. Thankfully, some of these treasured recipes were documented, allowing us to recreate and enjoy them today.

Southern Potato Salad with Bacon Grease: A Nostalgic Delight 

This Old Fashioned Potato Salad recipe likely dates back to the 1930s or 1940s. Unlike some recipes from that era that suggest vague measurements, this one provides specific instructions, making it easy to replicate. The name “Old Fashioned Potato Salad” highlights its historical roots, setting it apart from the many modern variations we see today.

In those days, cooks made do with what they had available. Many people didn’t have access to cooling systems, so mayonnaise and salad dressing were often excluded from recipes. Instead, this potato salad uses bacon grease as its base, a readily available ingredient in most Southern households.


  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 TBS bacon grease
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 TBS plain flour

Cooking Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes whole, with their skins on. Be careful not to overcook them.
  2. Allow the potatoes to cool enough to handle, then peel and cut them into chunks.
  3. Place the potato chunks in the refrigerator to cool further.
  4. Add the chopped onion, celery, and cucumber to the cooled potatoes. Feel free to adjust the quantities according to your preferences.
  5. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, bacon grease, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Heat the mixture until it reaches boiling point.
  6. When the sauce is hot, stir or whisk in the flour to thicken the mixture.
  7. Pour the warm sauce over the potato mixture, and then chill for several hours or overnight.

Optional: Add hard-boiled eggs to the potato salad for an extra layer of flavor. If you’re making deviled eggs, simply prepare a few extra, chop them up, and mix them into the potato salad before adding the sauce.


This Old Fashioned Potato Salad recipe offers a delightful taste of the past, allowing you to enjoy a nostalgic dish that has stood the test of time. With its unique bacon grease base and simple ingredients, this potato salad is sure to be a hit at your next family gathering or potluck. So, why not give this cherished recipe a try and experience a taste of Southern history?