How to Fix Undercooked Potato Salad (Easy Guide)

Categorized as Cooking
how to fix undercooked potato salad

Potato salad is an amazing dish, beloved by many and asked for by name at summer BBQs and spring brunches alike. It’s the perfect side dish to liven up your lunch, snackable enough to give energy in the afternoon, and a filling enough meal all on its own. But it can be tricky – those potatoes need to be cooked just right or else they’ll leave you with a sense of regret as you take another bite!

Today we’re going to explore different ways you can use to fix undercooked potato salad and make it perfect.

1. Microwaving the Potatoes

The quickest and easiest way to fix undercooked potato salad is to simply pop it in the microwave for one or two minutes. This will help heat up the potatoes and make them softer. Be sure to keep an eye on it so you don’t overcook the potatoes.

Do note that this method only works if you haven’t already added mayonnaise or ingredients such as celery or egg. The former can split and the latter can become mushy or rubbery if exposed to too much heat.

If your potato salad is already mixed, you may want to rinse the potatoes first to remove any excess mayonnaise or remove the other ingredients before microwaving.

  1. Cut the potatoes into small pieces to help them cook faster and place the potato salad in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cook them in 30-second intervals.
  3. Stir and check the potatoes in between intervals to make sure they are cooking evenly. Use a toothpick or fork to test for doneness.
  4. Once your potatoes are cooked, remove them from the microwave and let them cool before serving.
  5. Optionally, you may want to add additional dressing or seasoning to the potato salad once it’s cooled.

Pros and Cons of Fixing Undercooked Potato Salad with a Microwave

The number one advantage of cooking potatoes in the microwave is speed. It takes just minutes to prepare and cook a potato, compared to up to an hour if cooked in an oven.

Plus, because the microwave uses less energy than traditional ovens, it can be more energy-efficient as well. Finally, microwaving potatoes uses less oil than other methods of cooking such as roasting or frying. That means fewer calories for those who are watching their waistlines! 

One downside of cooking potatoes this way is that you don’t get that lovely crunchy exterior like you do with baking or roasting them in an oven. And if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, you’ll need to manually rotate the potatoes every couple of seconds to ensure they cook evenly.

2. Boiling the Potatoes

Another way to fix undercooked potato salad is to boil the potatoes. This method takes a bit longer than microwaving, but if you have a large number of undercooked potatoes it can be a good time saver.

  1. Remove the potatoes from the salad and wash the dressing off as best you can.
  2. Add water and salt to a large pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Place the potatoes in the boiling water and let them cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Poke the potatoes with a fork to check if they’re done. If they are still too hard, continue to boil them for a few more minutes.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and let them cool for a few minutes before adding them back to the salad.

Pros and Cons of FIxing Potatoes by Boiling

The biggest pro to boiling potatoes is that it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to fix undercooked potato salad. All you need is a pot and some water – no fancy equipment or complicated steps.

Another benefit is that boiling potatoes can be beneficial for someone who has kidney issues as it helps to decrease the amount of potassium in the potatoes.

On the flip side, one disadvantage of boiling potatoes is that it can make them lose their mineral content. Furthermore, boiling potatoes can make them mushy and waterlogged, so you’ll want to check them regularly to make sure they don’t become overcooked.

3. Roasting The Potatoes

The third and final way to fix undercooked potato salad is to roast the potatoes. This method takes a bit longer than microwaving or boiling, but it can result in a crunchier, more flavorful potato salad.

  1. Start by heating your oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the potatoes into 2-inch pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Toss the potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes, stirring halfway.
  4. After 10 minutes, check to see if the potatoes are cooked. You should be able to see the color turn golden brown.
  5. If they are still undercooked, continue baking them for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool before adding them back to the salad.

Pros and Cons of Fixing Undercooked Potato Salad by Roasting

Roasting is one of the greatest ways to fix salad potatoes without sacrificing flavor. With little more than some oil or butter, salt, and seasonings, you can give plain-boiled potatoes a delicious makeover. You can also easily customize roasted potatoes by adding different herbs or spices like garlic powder or paprika for a unique twist.

And don’t forget the crunchy texture that roasting potatoes can provide. This is something you don’t get with microwaving or boiling them.

However, the downside to roasting potatoes is that it can take longer than microwaving or boiling. And if you just have a few potatoes, roasting may not be the most efficient method as it requires heating up your oven.

Should You Wait for the Potatoes to Cool or Serve Them Warm?

After fixing your undercooked potatoes, you may be wondering if you should wait for them to cool or serve them warm. While usually potato salad is served cold, there is nothing wrong with serving it warm. In some regions, people prefer the taste of a warm potato salad over a cold one.

One of the main benefits of serving potatoes warm is that it makes them more flavorful. Another benefit of serving potatoes warm is that it can make them easier to digest compared to if they were served cold.

Bonus: 5 Ingredients to Make Potato Salad Even Better

Everyone loves a good potato salad, but are you ready to up your game? Here are five unconventional ingredients that will make your potato salad even more delicious than it already is. 


Harissa is a North African chili paste made with red chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin and coriander. It adds a spicy kick to any dish, including potato salad! Try adding a teaspoon or two of harissa to your next batch of potato salad for an extra punch of flavor. 


Pesto is the perfect way to add a burst of flavor to any dish. It’s made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese blended together in a food processor. Adding pesto to your potato salad will give it an Italian twist that your taste buds won’t be able to resist! 

Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is a Spanish sauce made with roasted red peppers, almonds and olive oil. It’s perfect for adding extra flavor to your potato salad. Try adding ¼ cup of romesco sauce for a sweet and nutty flavor that will have everyone coming back for seconds. 

Everything Bagel Spice

You can never go wrong with adding some everything bagel spice to your dishes! This blend of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika adds a savory kick to any dish. Sprinkle some on top of your finished potato salad before serving for an extra crunchy texture and amazing flavor.  

Hummus + Smoked Paprika

Hummus is always delicious but when paired with smoked paprika it takes things up a notch! Try mixing in ½ cup of hummus with 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika into your potato salad right before serving for an added depth of flavor that everyone will love. 


Now that you have learned the three essential steps for fixing undercooked potato salad, you are ready to confidently prepare this delicious dish. With the knowledge of microwaving, boiling, and roasting potatoes, now you can make sure your potato salad is cooked through and avoids being mushy or crunchy. Just remember to check the potatoes regularly, as overcooking is just as bad.


1. Can You Get Sick From Eating Undercooked Potato Salad?

The short answer is yes. Eating a raw potato can lead to gastrointestinal distress, including abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Raw potatoes contain certain enzymes and starches that are difficult for the body to break down. This means that when ingested, these compounds move through the digestive tract without being digested properly and can cause uncomfortable symptoms. 

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!