Add Some Sweetness to Your Meal: Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I’m excited to share with you my Southern Sweet Potato Salad Recipe. Growing up in the South, I learned the art of southern-style cooking from my grandma. This recipe is a twist on the classic potato salad using one of my favorite ingredients – the sweet potato.

I cannot tell you how much I love this dish! It’s a hearty salad, easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion. The flavors and textures are simply outstanding. The combination of tangy mayonnaise, fruit zest, honey and spices create a delicious aroma that tantalizes your taste buds.

My recipe includes simple ingredients that can be easily found in your local grocery store. You will need sweet potatoes (of course!), celery, pecans, mandarin oranges, and dates. These ingredients blend together with orange and lemon juice making every bite full of flavor.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it also offers a healthy alternative to traditional potato salad. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients that improve digestion, lower inflammation, support brain health and regulate blood sugar levels. This dish is perfect for impressing your guests as well as maintaining a well-balanced diet.

So come join me in my kitchen and let’s create this amazing southern-style sweet potato salad. Your friends and family will thank you for it!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Sweet Potato Salad
Southern Sweet Potato Salad

Get ready to experience a true taste of the South with this classic Southern Sweet Potato Salad Recipe. If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful twist on traditional potato salad, this recipe is sure to become one of your new favorites.

First and foremost, this sweet potato salad is HEALTHY. Made with sweet potatoes, celery, dates, mandarin oranges, and pecans, it’s packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. And unlike other potato salads that rely heavily on mayonnaise and other heavy ingredients, this recipe uses just enough mayonnaise to bind everything together without compromising on flavor.

Speaking of flavor – prepare your taste buds for an explosion of rich and tangy flavors in every bite. The combination of sweet potatoes with tangy orange zest, honey, and a sprinkling of ground nutmeg and ginger creates a unique balance of sweet and savory flavors. And the addition of crunchy pecans and chewy dates makes for a satisfying texture that will keep you coming back for more.

But that’s not all – this Southern-style potato salad is versatile as well. It makes the perfect side dish for any summer barbecue or family gathering. But it’s also easy to adjust to fit your personal preferences or dietary needs. It can be easily made vegan by substituting the mayonnaise with plant-based mayonnaise alternatives. Or add some protein with diced chicken or bacon bits.

So whether you’re looking for a healthy alternative to classic potato salad or simply searching for bold new flavors to add to your menu, give this Southern Sweet Potato Salad Recipe a try. Trust us – you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

“An explosion of flavor!”

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the ingredients that will make our Southern Sweet Potato Salad truly special. This flavorful salad recipe features a medley of tasty, nutritious ingredients that come together in perfect harmony.

The Ingredients
The Potatoes

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 corn cob, husk and silk removed
  • 1/4 cup healthy sweet honey


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates, sliced
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained

This ingredient list includes all the classic potato salad ingredients you’d expect to find in a traditional Southern potato salad recipe. However, my unique recipe also takes things up a notch by incorporating some surprising elements like mandarin oranges and dates.

Pro Tip: When purchasing sweet potatoes for this salad, make sure to look for tender ones that have smooth skin with no cracks or bruises.

The Recipe How-To

“A colorful twist on a classic favorite.”

Now, let’s move on to the most exciting part – how to make this delicious Southern Sweet Potato Salad. Follow my step-by-step guide below and you’ll end up with a creamy, sweet potato salad that will please any crowd.


Here’s what you’ll need to gather before starting:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and ground ginger, to taste
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Boiling the Sweet Potatoes

First, in a large pot of boiling salted water, add your sweet potatoes cubes. Cook them for about 10 minutes or until they’re tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool while you prepare the dressing.

Making the Dressing

In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, salt, and ground ginger. Once well-combined, set aside.

Combining All Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, diced celery, chopped pecans, and chopped dates. Pour in the dressing mixture and stir everything together thoroughly.

Adding Orange Zest Topping

Using a zester or small grater, zest one orange to create the final topping. Mix everything together once more so that all flavors are evenly distributed.


Now that your Southern Sweet Potato Salad is ready let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it cold over a bed of lettuce leafs.

Substitutions and Variations

“Southern comfort in a bowl.”

For a twist on this classic Southern Sweet Potato Salad, try incorporating some unique flavors and substitutions. Here are a few recommendations to give your salad a little extra kick.

– Swap out the pecans for almonds or walnuts to alter the texture and taste.

– Apricots can be used as a substitute for dates if you’re looking for a different but equally sweet flavor profile.

– If you’re not a fan of celery, green onions make an excellent substitute that will provide a similar crunch.

– Want to add a little bit of spice to your salad? Try sprinkling a pinch of cayenne pepper, chili powder, or smoked paprika over your potatoes.

– To make your salad creamier without adding more mayo, try substituting some Greek yogurt.

– Don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonal fruits. Instead of using mandarin oranges, try swapping in fresh peaches or even pomegranate seeds.

– For a heartier salad that can serve as a main course, try adding grilled chicken or shrimp. You could also serve this salad on a bed of lettuce leaves with a side of cornbread to give it an extra southern touch.

Overall, this Southern Sweet Potato Salad recipe is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to suit your personal tastes. Experiment with different combinations and substitutions until you find the perfect balance of flavors for your palate.

Serving and Pairing

“Indulge in a taste of the South.”

Once your Southern Sweet Potato Salad is ready, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy! One of the beautiful things about this dish is its versatility – it can be served as a side dish or stand alone as a light lunch or dinner.

To really showcase the flavors of this salad, I recommend serving it chilled on a bed of fresh lettuce leaves with some mandarin oranges, pecans, and chopped dates sprinkled on top. The combination of tangy-sweet fruit, nuttiness from the pecans, and chewy texture from the dates perfectly complements the creamy richness of the sweet potato salad.

If you’re looking for some heartier meal pairings, try serving this dish alongside some grilled chicken or fish. The lightness of the salad cuts through the heaviness of these dishes and balances them out perfectly.

For those who love some heat in their meals, why not add a sprinkle of cajun seasoning? It gives your salad an extra pop and rounds out the flavor with a spicy kick.

Overall, the Southern Sweet Potato Salad is a great addition to any meal lineup, and its unique flavor profile makes it perfect for pairing with lots of different options.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Healthy and delicious never tasted so good.”

One of the best things about this sweet potato salad recipe is that it can be prepared in advance and stored for later. Before serving, simply reheat it in the oven or microwave to refresh the textures and flavors.

To make-ahead, after cooking and cooling down, transfer the sweet potato salad into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Store any leftover separately to prevent discoloration.

When reheating in the oven, preheat it to 350°F. Cover with foil and bake for around 15 minutes, or until heated through. This ensures that all ingredients are warmed evenly without overcooking them.

If you don’t have time to heat your sweet potato salad in the oven, microwaving is another option. First, transfer a serving portion of your salad into a microwave-safe container or plate. Heat on high for up to two minutes, stirring occasionally until completely heated through.

For optimal results, refrain from freezing your sweet potato salad as it can cause the texture to change and become quite mushy when defrosted. Instead, store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Now that you know how to make-ahead and store this delicious southern-style sweet potato salad, you can enjoy its nutty flavor whenever you please!

Tips for Perfect Results

“A sweet and savory sensation.”

When preparing southern sweet potato salad, there are a few things you can do to ensure your dish is bursting with flavor and texture. Follow these simple tips for perfect results that will impress your friends and family.

Firstly, try to choose sweet potatoes that are firm and unblemished. Avoid any with soft spots or signs of sprouting. To reduce cooking time, cut the sweet potatoes into small, evenly sized pieces before boiling them.

When making the dressing for the salad, be sure to whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice, orange zest, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and salt until all ingredients are fully combined. This will ensure the flavors are evenly distributed throughout the salad.

It’s essential to let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so that it has time to develop its flavors. It’s also best to let it marinate overnight if possible. When you’re ready to serve it, top it with sliced mandarin oranges, chopped celery and toasted pecans for added color and crunch.

For a healthier version of this classic southern potato salad recipe, replace half of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or a light mayo alternative. You could also add some roasted sweet potato or yukon gold potatoes in with the sweet potatoes to increase variety in texture.

Finally, don’t forget to garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives just before serving; they add a pop of freshness that complements the sweetness of the potatoes perfectly. Follow these tips and your southern sweet potato salad will be a hit every time!

Bottom Line

Your culinary journey to the deep South is not complete without trying this delicious and soulful Southern Sweet Potato Salad. This recipe combines the savory flavors of tender sweet potatoes, dates, pecans, and celery with a sweet-tangy dressing of honey, orange zest, and mayonnaise. It’s that perfect harmony that will leave you craving for more.

The best part is that this recipe is versatile enough to allow you to add your own twist based on what you have available in your pantry. You can customize it to suit your taste preference by adding mandarin oranges or using different spice combinations like ginger or nutmeg to give it a little kick.

This dish provides not only a unique flavor profile but also boasts numerous health benefits. The sweet potatoes are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, including fiber and Vitamin C, for a healthy immune system. Additionally, the nuts and dates in this recipe add an extra layer of nutrition that makes it ideal for anyone looking for a healthy yet tasty meal.

So why not bring a taste of the South to your dinner table with this amazing Southern Sweet Potato Salad recipe? Trust me; it’s worth it!

Southern Sweet Potato Salad

Southern Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Submitted by request. This is a new twist to that same old potato salad. Prep time includes time to boil potatoes. Cook time is actually chill time for finished dish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern US
Calories 414 kcal


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled,cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/3 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • lettuce leaf


  • Cook sweet potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and toss with lemon juice.
  • In large bowl, combine mayonnaise, orange juice, honey, orange zest, ginger, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Add potatoes, celery, and dates, tossing to coat.
  • Cover and chill.
  • Before serving, gently stir in pecans.
  • Spoon salad onto lettuce-lined platter.
  • Arrange mandarin orange segments around salad.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 188gCalories: 414kcalCarbohydrates: 58.6gProtein: 4.4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 10.2mgSodium: 473.6mgFiber: 7.4gSugar: 23.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Potato, Vegetable, Weeknight, Yam/Sweet Potato
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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