This olivier potato salad doesn’t skimp on texture or creaminess. A classic Ukrainian dish!
Olivier potato salad is a Russian spin on American potato salad. It’s full of texture, super creamy, and ridiculously addicting. Serve it as a side dish anywhere you would the American stuff to liven up your next BBQ spread!
What is Olivier Potato Salad (салат оливье)?
Olivier salad is a traditional Russian potato salad made with finely diced potatoes, carrots, pickles, boiled eggs, sweet peas, onions, and bologna or ham, all tossed with a simple dressing of mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Typically, you’ll find it served at family gatherings or on holidays. If you grew up in a Slavic home, you likely have memories of eating a big bowl of it on Christmas. Below, find an overview of the flavor, texture, and cooking time.
- Flavor: This salad is the perfect balance of tangy and savory.
- Texture: The creamy dressing is the perfect compliment to the chunky veggies, boiled eggs, and bologna/ham.
- Time: From start to finish, this recipe takes a little over an hour to make.
Did you know? The original recipe for olivier potato salad was created by renowned Russian chef Lucien Olivier back in the 1860s. He was an extremely celebrated head chef at the Hermitage, one the most famous restaurants in Moscow’s history.
How to Make Olivier Potato Salad
Making Russian-style potato salad only requires a bit of boiling, chopping, and mixing. Below, find a quick overview of the recipe before you dive in.
- Boil the Carrots, Potatoes, & Eggs: In a large pot, boil the carrots and potatoes until they are easily pierced with a fork. Next, boil the eggs. Set the ingredients aside to cool at room temperature.
- Dice the Salad Ingredients: With a sharp knife, dice the onions, carrots, potatoes, eggs, and bologna/ham into small cubes. In a large bowl, mixed the finely diced ingredients with the peas. Stir with a spoon until well-combined.
- Toss with Dressing: Toss the salad ingredients with the mayo and season to taste with salt and pepper. Optionally, you can sprinkle in some fresh dill for a pop of flavor and color. Enjoy!
Tips for Oliver Potato Salad
Below, find some pro tips to help you make the best olivier salad on the planet.
- Use frozen peas instead. Replace canned peas for frozen peas for a fresher taste. Just make sure to thaw them first and drain them from any excess liquid!
- Add cucumber for a crunch. Add diced cucumbers to the salad if you like a bit of a crunch.
- Cook the veggies a couple hours ahead. If you have the time, cook the veggies a couple of hours ahead to give them ample time to cool to room temperature.
- Use a vegetable chopper. Use a vegetable chopper to speed the dicing process up for the meat, veggies, and eggs. This will also ensure you get evenly sized cubes!
- Apply the dressing right before serving. To prevent your salad from turning soggy, only toss the mayo in right before you plan to serve it.
Serving Olivier Salad
Olivier salad can be served anywhere you would American potato salad. It’s a great addition to your next BBQ spread, as it pairs wonderfully with most grilled meats. For a full blown Slavic feast, prepare some shashlik (pork shish kabobs) or cabbage rolls.
Storing Olivier Salad
Store olivier salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 2 days. If you want to keep it fresher longer, refrain from tossing in the mayo and seasonings until right before you plan to serve it.
Can I freeze olivier salad?
No, you cannot freeze olivier salad. The starchy potatoes and mayo will not thaw well and the salad will turn to mush.
How long does olivier salad last?
Dressed olivier salad will last 2 days in the fridge. If you keep the mayo separate, it will last up to 5 days.
What kind of pickles should I use?
Savory pickles, such as dill, work best. Stay away from sweet pickles.
Can I use anything besides mayo?
You can use creme fraiche or sour cream instead of mayo.
Other Traditional Russian Salads to Try
- Russian Beet Salad – Sweet and garlicky beet salad
- Russian Vinaigrette Salad – Tangy cabbage salad
- Shuba (Fur Coat Salad) – Beautiful layered herring salad
- Mushroom Chicken Salad Recipe – Russian-inspired cobb salad
- 5 medium pickled cucumbers
- 2 large yellow potatoes
- 3 large carrots
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 lb bologna or ham
- 12 oz canned sweet peas rinse and drain
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 tsp pepper adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp dill optional
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the carrots and potatoes in it for 20-30 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Boil the eggs for 11 minutes. Set the veggies and eggs aside to cool at room temperature.
- Dice the veggies, bologna/ham, and eggs into small cubes.
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a spoon.
- Toss in the mayonnaise until all the salad ingredients are evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Optional: Sprinkle in some fresh dill.
My mother in law had this salad at our Russian wedding and fell in love. Can’t wait to make it for her! Growing up my mom would add some pickle juice for flavor.
Hi, Erica! Oh thats so neat that you're going to make it for her. This recipe contains pickles so it already has a pickle-y flavor.. did your mom only add pickle juice or chopped pickles as well? 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Pickles and a little bit of pickle juice!
Could I prep and mix everything, except the mayo & seasonings, a few days ahead? Like on Friday for a dinner on Sunday?
Hi Peter! You sure can- refrigerate the cut up (undressed) salad for up to 5 days in advance! For best flavor- mix in the mayo and seasonings until right before serving. Once mixed, the olivier salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Enjoy!
I am so glad I found this recipe! This is one of my absolute favorite dishes and the weather is getting warmer. Great time to try it out. I have seen a lot of recipes for Olivier salad with strange things in them. This one is the best!
Hi Fi- thanks for the comment. I'm glad you found this recipe as well. Let us know how it went once you get to making it! Enjoy!
We call it Russian salad. And we don't add onions. Also peaces are cutt smaller, but it delicious and staple.
Natasa, it sure is a delicious salad! Thank you for sharing!
Salad is good and delicious but it’s not russian?!! Borshch is UKRAINIAN!!! Liar, liar hands on fire!!!
Thank you, Martin! Appreciate the feedback. This salad is popular throughout all post-Soviet countries, but it definitely has Ukrainian roots too.
Try adding some very finely diced pineapple
Timothy, thats an interesting suggestion. I have never tried this version.
I add mild cheddar cheese(cut into cubes) into Olivier salad, also regular beef sausage works great too, especially if it’s been smoked!
Also, can you please do a recipe of акрошка (or the summer soup)? Really want to see your variation. Not many add carrots, but I do. It tastes good and looks bright too!
Hi Alesia - That sounds DELICIOUS! I agree with you on the smoked sausage - such a nice flavor to add in. I'll add the summer soup to my list - would be a fun one to share. Thanks for your feedback!
Do you peel the pataoes and carrots before or after boiling them? How come you didn't specify?
Hey Kristina, great question! Yes, you should peel them after boiling. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for the recipe! I can finally make my own without nagging my mom to make it for me! My family traditionally uses boiled chicken breast instead of ham. I've never actually seen it with ham before so it was an interesting twist! A friend of mine from Moscow also adds green apple which gives the salad a nice fresh crunch, and uses half mayo-half yogurt dressing.
HAHA! I used to nag my mom to make this for me too. Love that chicken breast variation - will have to try it. Ham adds such a nice saltiness nd depth of flavor - hoping you enjoy it as much as we do. Thanks for the love!
Good recipe. But Way too much pepper. Maybe should be 1/4 teaspoon instead of 1 teaspoon. Turned out to be a spicy olivie. 🙁
Hi Marina, thank you for taking the time to comment your feedback about the recipe, I am glad you still enjoyed it!
I am Macedonian and we make this salad which we call Russian Salad but we add finely cubed cheddar cheese and also a little sour cream. Delicious!
Hi Jen, those sound like delicious additions! I love learning about everyone's variations, thank you for sharing that!
You did it again.....another perfect recipe this for Easter this past Sunday and I made a batch and a half./. It turned out super......Just finishing the rest of it off today (Thursday)...I did add French's mustard and frozen petite peas (thawed)......IT was great thank you for sharing!!!!!
Ken, I'm so glad you enjoyed this salad, thank you for your feedback. Interesting idea on adding mustard gotta try that!
My Russian Mom's recipe called for adding mustard to mayo. She made her own mustard from Colman's mustard powder. You can sometimes find Colman's premade. If not Prepare it with one 1/3 vinegar 2/3 water and dissolve the powder a little at a time in a sauce pan. Stirring with a wooden spoon (actually smearing out lumps adding small amounts of water. Add 2 pinches of sugar during smearing.
I always add little mustard as well.
Yum! That adds a nice tang, Natasa.
Interesting, thank you for the tip and the instructions, Nick! That sounds delicious.
Looking forward to making this! What type of pickles are used? Sweet or savory(typically dill)? Thanks.
Hey Joni, we used savory pickles, they are delicious in this combo. Enjoy
Love this festive New Year's salad! It's mouthwatering symphony of flavour and texture delights the palate. Interesting, flavourful, and exciting! Definitely a regular in the meal rotation!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, thank you for such a beautifully worded review 🙂
Hello. My husband can’t eat mayo. What else can I use to mix instead of mayo? Thank you.
You could use natural yogurt or creme fraiche/sour cream
Laura, you are awesome, thanks for the idea!
Hey Sofie, The classic way is to use mayo. Maybe some sort of creamy dressing would work. You can test out a few different options in small portions.
Exactly how my mom and I always make it! We do not measure the ingredients, but instead of just go " by eye" and taste, but this ratio is just about right. Also, steaming potatoes and carrots instead of boiling them. Making it tonight for the New Year's. Can't wait!
lol, my mom also does it by eye. It was very hard to learn the eye trick when we just got marries. Steaming veggies is great tip, thanks for sharing!
Such a classic. Everyone loves it, thank you.
Yes, sometimes childhood food is the best!
My middle sons favorite salad, he even did a presentation at school with recipe and made the salad himself to share with his class
Oh wow, thats so cool. I love that we have traditional foods to share with others.
Such a good salad. We have it almost always during the holidays. Especially since it’s my brothers favorite salad.
Awesome! I love that we have this salad to make for Holidays!
My husband loves Olivier. He can’t have a holidays without it
My younger son is the same way. I make a giant bowl just for him.
I love this salad, always made it for holidays. Yum.
So happy to hear that you love it! Thank you for sharing!
i use all ingredients except carrots, and add frozen sweet peas, thawed and a little bit sour cream
I do the same. Glad I am not the only one without carrots. Otherwise, my mom and I added little sour cream to mayo as well to make it milder on taste. Frozen green pease I came to later as well :).
I will try adding a little of sour cream to the salad. In combination to mayo? We used canned sweet peas before.
Yes, I combine the mayo with sour cream, i used canned sweet peas b4, than once i used frozen sweet peas, thawed, and I liked it better, it adds even more color to the salad and thawed frozen peas are not so mushy 😉
I want to try frozen sweet peas. Thanks for sharing your ideas. 🙂
Exactly how I've always made it!