Ensalada rusa or Russian (South American) potato salad

Ensalada rusa, which translates as Russian salad, is a classic potato salad served throughout Latin America, made with potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, celery, onion, and mayonnaise. For the longest time I had no idea why it had that name, especially since this potato salad (or some variation of it) is served as a side dish for so many different Latin meals.  Then one day when I living in Austin I met some Russians and at one of their parties they served this salad, then it hit me that the salad probably really did come from Russia; some other things that I found out that day was that the popular songs played at the end of street parties in Ecuador (Casachok and Moscow) were also  very Russian and were also danced at the same party – just when you think that there is no connection between Ecuador and Russia, then you find out there is a food + music connection.

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Ensalad rusa or Russian (South American) potato salad
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Ensalad rusa or Russian (South American) potato salad

Ensalada rusa is a classic potato salad served throughout Latin America, made with potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, celery, onion, and mayonnaise.


  • 3 ½ lbs russet potatoes (about 4 large potatoes), peeled, boiled and diced
  • 1 lb carrots (about 6-7 medium size carrots), peeled, boiled and diced
  • 8 oz peas (about 1 cup), boiled for less than 3 minutes
  • 6 celery stalks, finely diced, about 1 cup
  • 1- 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced white onion, about ½ onion
  • Lime juice from 1-2 limes
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro, parsley or dill- optional
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together, chill until ready to serve.

This potato and vegetable salad is great for picnics and is an excellent side dish for any meat/poultry/seafood dish (especially grilled dishes).  There are so many variations of this classic potato salad, some even without the potatoes, but this one – at least for me – is the main one: potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, celery and mayonnaise. I like to add a little bit of lime juice, onions and garlic just to spice it up a little bit without turning it into a completely different version.  I also prefer to use homemade mayonnaise; just because it is tastier, but regular store bought mayo is fine.  Some people don’t include the apples but I love the crunch and sweetness that they add to the salad; other vegetables that are sometimes used to make this salad include green beans, corn, and beets.  I especially love making this salad during spring and summer because it is a great way to use all that fresh produce, but I also make this salad using frozen veggies when I’m in a hurry or during the winter.

Ensalada rusa

Here are a couple of other versions that you might enjoy:

Shrimp potato salad
Broccoli and corn potato salad

Step by step preparation photos for ensalada rusa potato salad

ensalada-rusa-prep-1 ensalada-rusa-prep-2

ensalada-rusa-prep-3 ensalada-rusa-prep-4

ensalada-rusa-prep-5 Ensalada rusa or potato salad

Ensalada rusa potato salad Ensalada rusa recipe

This post was last modified: August 19th, 2016 by Layla Pujol


  1. I am from Russia, and this is one of my favorite salads! Cilantro and lime juice are definitely a Latin spin on the traditional version; I am curious to try!

    Also, I suggest adding a smokey type of meat (cubed), like salami (Hungarian works well) or ham. WE also use either just the sour cream or 50/50 sour cream and mayo, and finish it with dill.

  2. Dearl Laylita,

    I’m from Panama and when I was an adolescent, I used to make this salad for our home, the way my grandmother taught it to me. I prefer it at room temperature till this day, not cold! I never knew it’s proper name other than “ensalada de papas”. In Panama we have two versions, as Elsa says, we too have a version with and without beets (giving it that lovely pink colour) and always hard boiled eggs. We don’t include apples, or coriander and the acid we use is vinegar but I will definetly try your version!

  3. Al Catraz says:

    It is called Russian Salad in parts of Europe too…. Especially in Spain, from which the influence on South America is more direct..

  4. I love Potato Salad because it can be a meal in itself. There are so many versions of it that it is hard to favor one over the other. I LOVE adding fresh, chopped Tarragon to all my Potato Salads. It gives it a little bite and a fantastic flavor profile. Crispy Bacon, Chopped Hard Boiled Eggs, Celery and both Yellow/White Onion and Green Onions as a topping to finish it off. I also add a tsp. of Sugar to the dressing because I have found it better to make the dressing separate from the Potatoes and Vegetables then mixing it all together. I also like using equal proportions of Mayonnaise and Sour Cream to flavor it. The White Vinegar I add immediately to the Potatoes once I have drained them and put them in a bowl so it absorbs quickly and easily. Thank You for sharing these fantastic recipes with us all!

  5. ivan_elio says:

    I love this salad. I was born and raised in Bolivia. I’ve lived in Utah, US and also in Japan. In the US, this salad is referred to as potato salad and it can be served with cream of shrimp (yummy !) From when I was in the US, I remember very well the taste of apples, celery, peas, carrots, and also smashed sweet potatoes (to add a Thanks Giving Day’s sweet treat)

    In Bolivia, Russian Salad is very common as part of many fine, very fine dishes.
    At home, whether you have all ingredients or not, it’s variations, It’s simplicity makes you try this salad as often as you want specially if you like to eat healthy.

    Thanks to all for sharing comments.

  6. I’m half russian and this is my favorite russian dish, i add boiled chicken to it eggs potatoes chopped pickles peas yum so good!

  7. Christopher Douglas says:

    Hi, nice site; I just found it.

    I love this salad. I think in France it is called Salade Russe.

    I’m told that the original, invented by a French Chef named Olivier who had a restaurant in Moscow in the 19th century, was much more elaborate and included crayfish–the dressing was the secret.

    Here are the ingredients given to me by a Russian student’s mother:

    (Everything is diced.)

    Ham or sausage
    hard-cooked eggs
    red onion
    salt and pepper
    mayonnaise with a dash of Dijon mustard and a little wine vinegar
    garnish with chives and a slice of egg on top (be sure to salt the egg)

    She told me that mayonnaise in Russia tends to have a stronger mustard content than in the US, hence the dash of Dijon. She also suggested that I serve it stuffed in a tomato (from a farm stand for better flavor!) on a bed of bib lettuce as a first course for lunch or for a summer dinner. I’ve followed her advice, and I always get compliments because this salad isn’t so well-known in the US.

  8. Can I make this salad a day before? I need it for a dinner party. how long does it last in frige?

  9. I made this last night and it came out SO GOOD! I havent had this salad since I lived in Ecuador and I still cant believe I actually made it myself. I also added a little bit of chives and used olive oil mayo. Thanks for this amaze recipe *_*

  10. I really love salads. Thanks for sharing this recipe…

  11. Hi Layla,
    I love your website..My husband is from Ecuador and Im from El Salvador and she just loves that I cook Ecuadorian food ever since I found your website. Thanks for taking your time and giving us these great receipes.


  12. I can see how this salad is thought to have Russian roots. We have a salad called Olivie, and this is how most of the people make it:

    *any kind of meat (deli meats or chicken/turkey are the most popular choices)
    *Potatoes (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
    *Carrots (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
    *Eggs (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
    *Peas (1 can)
    *Pickles (the salty/crunchy kind – cubed)
    *salt (and some people add pepper)

    I was born and raised in Russia, and this is extremely popular salad, but I have never met anyone who adds celery or garlic – that must be South American modification.. =)

  13. Love this salad the ensalada rusia in Dominican Republic is similar but uses beets.

  14. Hi Laylita,

    i have just tried your dish…and it was definitely amazing. Am quite eager to try your other dishes.

    Deepak [India]

  15. Hi Laylita,
    In Estonia, this salad is usually made with potatoes, carrots, boiled eggs, marinated peas and ghurkins, sometimes onion and apple and mayo.
    And it is considered as the ultimate birthday and celebration dish. But most definitely I am going to try out your lovely fresh veggies Ensalada Rusa;)

  16. Dear Laylita,

    Your website is amazing. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipes.



  17. Hi Layla
    I was looking for a recipe for Russian salad and I found so much more! We were in Spain last November and loved the Tapas culture [ensalada russa quite commonly served]. Saturday night we will try to recreate our food experiences for friends that we may meet in France this summer…I look forward to referencing your site!
    I have enjoyed the cevicche, made by Ramon. Tony and I were just talking about getting the recipe as we hadn’t copied it then, Tony loves to fish and I insist that he bring them home occaisonally, fresh and local!
    Barbara [de Vilcabamba]

  18. Hi your blog is very nice and interesting!.

    About your Rusian salad, in Venezuelan you can put chicken inside the salad and it’s very delicious! you can see in my blog (sorry only in spanish and french)!

  19. Peter M. Cruz says:

    This is a favorite of mine. However, they way I make it is slightly different. I used de-boned chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, green peas (Alverjitas, petit pois). celery and parsley. the dressing is made with mayonnese, mustard, a pinch of black pepper and salt(up to you taste). The dressing should no be too liquid, it should be mushy, and mixed thouroughly so that every single item in the salad is bathed by it.

  20. Hola, Layla!
    I linked to your Ensalada Rusa today in my post–I love that you used all fresh ingredients! Beautiful photos as always–keep up the good work!

  21. It is so interesting! We also had “salade russe” in Lebanon. I always thought it was because we had a lot of Russian immigrants who escaped the Bolshevik revolution, we called them “white russians”. Anyway, i had no idea it was also adopted in Latin America. How about that!

  22. I love this salat and to your ingredients I add chopped: onion, hard boiled eggs, pickeld mushrooms and gherkins. If you like little sharper taste mix a spoonful of mustard with your mayo. It is a very versatile salad so use your imagination to vary the basic recipe.

  23. this is actually spanish, not south-american (spanish from spain, just in case). It’s very refreshing but quite filling.

  24. One of my favorites…at my house we can’t have New Year’s without this salad. However we add hard boiled eggs, ham and pickles. Delish!

  25. this salad look absolutely delish.. stunning photography :) keep it up!! m gonna try this salad in my week end.. thnax for sharing

  26. Ola Laylita,

    I found your site today and I am so happy I did too:) I looked through each picture and read a lot too and they all are wonderful! I am so hungry for your food :P Do you have an excellent scallop ceviche that you could share with us!? Thank you so much and keep up the great inspiring work!


  27. Victoria says:

    Hi Laylita,

    I am, probably, one of many silent but appreciative followers of your blog (tried several of your recepies and loved all of them!)

    One comment on this salad (I grew up on it). Russian mayo is quite different from the one we find here, in the States, both in consistency and taste. Homemade would be best substitute, othervise when in a hurry I simply add some plain yogurt and a dash of dijon mustard to the regular commercial mayo.

  28. Hi Laylita! I came across your blog today by way of From Argentina with Love. Your recipes look delicious, and I can’t wait to try some…especially your empanada variations. I just wrote an entry about Ensalada Rusa on my blog a couple of days ago so I thought it was very fun and interesting to read yours….just goes to show that there really are a million variations. Your photos are beautiful!

  29. Nevermind! I found it in your “About” section.

  30. Hi, Layla:

    In the website header (the second from the right) what dish–or recipe–is that for?
    I’m guessing a kind of salad?

  31. I have always loved potato salad and would definitely love other variations of it..Thanks for this recipe =)

  32. Elenita says:

    Hola Layita,

    I am a big fan of your site and and your recipes because they are the way my great grandmother used to make them. However, this recipe is different, she used the potatoes, peas and carrots, mayo and chicken, I also do add the onions for spice
    PS I love the story behind each recipe.

  33. Lovely simple salad. I like the simplicity of the ingredients.

  34. I’ve done it both ways…can’t say which I favor more. In my version I dress the salad with olive oil & vinegar and only use a small amount of mayo to coat it once it’s on a plate and molded. It’s all good!

  35. Hi Layita,

    The salad looks yummy! I have my own version of Russian Salad. I am from Peru and we use beats, carrots, potatoes and hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise. I love this salad! is one of my favorites. I will try to do your version.


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