Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese potato salad. A unique and totally delicious spin on classic potato salad. Click through for recipe!

Potato salad may not immediately come to mind when you think of common Japanese foods. But hear me out: Japan has its own version of potato salad, and it is absolutely delicious.

While Japanese food tends to be light with clean flavors, Japanese potato salad is rich and indulgent.

I have seen it included in bento boxes, sold in small containers at food markets, and even used as a sandwich filling.

It is typically served in very small portions.

When I was living in Japan, I was always left wanting more. Now that I have the recipe, this is no longer a problem!

Japanese potato salad: A few key differences make this potato salad irresistible!

How Is Japanese Potato Salad Different?

Japanese potato salad is different than its American counterpart in a few notable ways:

  • The potatoes are more mashed
  • There are pickled vegetables in it
  • It uses Japanese mayonnaise, like Kewpie (which has umami flavors)

I followed this awesome recipe from Lovely Lanvin.

The next time you’re making potato salad, why not mix it up and try this Japanese version? Itadakimasu!

Japanese-Style Potato Salad
Yield: 4 servings

Japanese-Style Potato Salad

You can find Japanese mayonnaise at most Asian grocery stores. Look for the Kewpie brand (you can't miss the cartoon baby on the package). In a pinch, substitute regular mayonnaise.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced (English cucumbers work well)
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Additional sea salt (for salting and blanching vegetables)

Other ingredients:

  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon whole grain mustard (or Japanese spicy mustard)


  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with salted water. The water should just cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place onion and cucumber slices in a small bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and mix to ensure that the slices are evenly coated. Let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse vegetables with cold water and blot with a paper towel to dry them. (Do not skip this step, or your potato salad may become soggy!)
  3. Place carrots in a small saucepan filled with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  4. Place potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, leaving some chunks intact. Combine black pepper, sea salt, rice vinegar, sugar, and mustard in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the potatoes. Add the cucumbers, onions, carrots, and mayonnaise. Mix gently to combine all flavors. You can serve this salad chilled or at room temperature - either is authentically Japanese!

3 Responses to “Japanese Potato Salad”

  1. 1

    Eileen — July 10, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

    Hooray, potato salad! It’s always been one of my favorite summer picnic foods. 🙂 I’ve only had Japanese potato salad once or twice — super excited to try this one out!

  2. 2

    Karen Harris — July 13, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

    So funny you should post this! I bought a Groupon a couple of weeks ago to a highly rated little sushi joint close by. Long story short, I ordered a bento and it came with some potato salad made with purple fingerlings cut in coins with a mayo/vinegar sauce that I loved. Even though this is a bit different it still seem to have some of the flavors that I loved with some more ingredients that I love too. I can’t wait to try this. Looks so good.

    • Haley replied: — July 15th, 2014 @ 1:48 am

      That’s funny! Isn’t it good?! I’m always left wanting more when it’s included in bento boxes.

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