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Mar 6, 2021

Japanese Potato Salad

Have you ever tried Japanese Potato Salad? I just discovered it, and can't wait to share it with you. 

Japanese Potato Salad for serving.

 Japanese Potato Salad is typically made from boiled and mashed potatoes mixed with Japanese mayonnaise, cucumbers, carrots, ham, and sometimes onions. Evidently, there are many variations of this salad served in pubs (izakayas) throughout Japan.

In Japan, the favorite brand of mayonnaise is Kewpie. It's evidently thicker than western mayonnaise, and the vinegar is usually rice or apple. In addition, it includes MSG to enhance flavors.

Japanese Potato Salad serving.

Don't worry about hunting down Japanese mayonnaise if you'd like to try this salad. This recipe calls for Best Foods/Hellman's style mayonnaise, plus some additional rice vinegar.

Verdict? I loved it, and Mr. Kitchen, who would eat potato salad with lunch every single day if he could, loved it too. In fact, we loved it so much, I later made a different version with Yukon Gold potatoes

You could have this salad as either a main course or a side dish. It's loaded with both protein and vegetables, all held together with glorious potatoes.

Japanese Potato Salad. In a bowl.

To make this recipe, first, you simmer peeled and quartered russet potatoes until they are just fork tender. 

Once you've cooked the potatoes, set them aside to cool. In the same water, briefly cook the carrots, which have been julienned. 

Potatoes boiling

You mash the potatoes with a potato masher, but not so much that they are totally smooth. For this salad, lumpy mashed potatoes is the goal! 

You don't really think of potatoes or potato salad when you think of Japanese dishes, but in Japan, there is a long tradition of adapting Western food. It's called Yoshoku, which began in the nineteenth century. This potato salad is an example. 

This potato salad is a popular dish for family dinners, parties, and even bento boxes. This salad is both creamy and crunchy at the same time... and totally delicious. Definitely give it a try. 

Welcome to Sunday Funday. This week's theme is salads and our host is Sneha's Recipe

This is an updated post from June of 2017. I've updated the instructions and added a printable recipe card. It's one of my favorite dishes on this site! 

Japanese potato salad with carrots, ham, and cucumbers

Japanese Potato Salad Recipe

Japanese Potato Salad Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Have you ever tried Japanese Potato Salad? I just discovered it, and can't wait to share it with you.


  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • l large carrot, peeled and cut into long thin slices. I used a julienne peeler. 
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers, or about half of an English cucumber, unpeeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed (I used a mini spoon to drag along the seeds and scoop them out), and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of ham, sliced and cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 hard cooked egg, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Peel and rinse the potatoes. Cut them into quarters, and cover them with water in a 1 1/2 to 2 quart saucepan. Cover them with cold water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pan, leaving an opening so steam can escape. Lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and set the potato water aside to cook the carrots.
  3. Roughly mash the potatoes either with a potato masher or large fork and place the potatoes into a medium to large bowl. The potatoes should still be lumpy. 
  4. Bring the potato water back to a boil, and add the carrot slices. Boil for one to two minutes, and then drain in a colander and rinse with cold running water. Shake any excess water out of the carrots and spread them out over a paper or clean dish towel, and pat dry. Add them to the potatoes.
  5. Add the cucumbers, ham, egg, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. You can serve this at room temperature or chilled.
potato salad
Salads, side dish
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Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked -- and Fried Too! A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes by Raghavan Iyer.  

Would you like to comment?

  1. Looks yum.. Gonna try it one of these days :)

  2. Hi Karen, oh I really like the sound and look of this potato salad, cucumbers are such a great addition.

    1. Thanks Cheri! The go so well with the rice vinegar.

  3. Great tips on the electric stovetop. We thought the same as you, that this is perfect for cooking videos!:)
    Never heard of this type of potato salad before, using mashed potatoes. Sounds SO interesting! We're really gonna try this one out, omitting the ham with fried chicken. We bet it'll taste amazing. Thanx so much for the AWESOME recipe Karen!
    Have a wonderful weekend dear!

    1. Oooh. Fried chicken sounds amazing. I heard that Peruvian potato salad has chicken.

  4. I've never heard of Japanese Potato Salad! This looks super yummy though!

    1. Thanks Lindsay. I hadn't either, and now I love it!

  5. I have to try this! It looks so delicious! Love that it can be a main or a side dish! So versatile!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Lane and Holly. I was obsessed until I gave this a try.

  7. I haven't even heard of Japanese Potato Salad. Sounds tasty!

  8. This version of a potato salad sounds delicious! I definitely will be giving it a try soon. I always love all of your recipes!

  9. Oh, I know I would love this. I love warm potato salad...with half of it mashed! So yummy...and all of the flavors come out when it is warm!

    1. I've never tried it warm, but I'm sure it would be good.

  10. Japanese Potato Salad...who knew?!! Thanks for sharing Karen. PS: Can I use Miracle Whip?

  11. I have never heard of Japanese potato salad. I'll ask D if he has! In any case, I will be making this soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. This sounds DELICIOUS! I've never heard of this either! Trying soon though!

    1. Thanks Rebekah. It may become your new favorite!

  13. Karen, have not heard of Japanese Potato Salad, but now I know what is it. Super tempting and so different. Bookmarking this recipe to try out as hubby and I are big fans of potato salads. I'd probably replace the ham with some eggs to make it a wholesome meal.

  14. Interesting salad this is Karen. New to this one, but sounds delicious


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