There are endless recipes for potato salad floating around, but to master the classic BBQ staple you only need to know a few simple techniques. Imagine ditching the cookbooks, and forget struggling to reference your phone with food-covered hands. Instead, scroll through our easy tips to casually throw your salad together while sipping on rosé and chatting with friends (or maybe a hot date!) After all, isn’t that what summer is all about?

1. Start with the right base. It’s called potato salad for a reason, right? Choose small, waxy varieties like red potatoes or Yukon Golds. For six to eight side servings, you’ll need somewhere around two pounds. Scrub the skins to remove dirt and debris, place in a large pot, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain in a colander and cover with a kitchen towel to steam for about 10 minutes. Whether or not you peel is up to you, but with smaller varieties it’s way easier to do so after cooking. Simply pinch off the skins after they’ve steamed.

2. Season your potatoes while they’re still warm. This little trick is a major flavor elevator. As soon as your potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces and sprinkle with white wine vinegar and kosher salt.

3. Find your favorite dressing combo. Traditional potato salad calls for a mayonnaise-based dressing, but we like to lighten ours up (and boost flavor) with the addition of sour cream. Try one part mayo to two parts sour cream, and play with the balance until you find what’s right for you. From there, add your other flavorings like salt and pepper, paprika, mustard, and vinegar.

4. Master your dressing-to-potato ratio. We think one cup of dressing per two pounds of potatoes is a good starting point.

5. Add some crunch. Mix in texture with finely sliced celery, red onion, or scallions. They’ll give your creamy dressing a little punch.

6. When it comes to mix-ins, the sky is the limit. Potato salad acts as a neutral base for any number of additions, so go for it! Stick with a signature secret ingredient, or play around for different occasions. Need some inspo? Try pickles, capers, olives, crispy cooked bacon, hard-boiled eggs, radishes, or any combination of these.

7. Finish it up with some herbs. Potatoes love herbs, and a little greenery makes your salad more visually appealing too. Garnish with any combination of parsley, dill, or chives just before serving. You can also incorporate them into your dressing.

Looking for more delicious dishes for summer? Check out our DIY Recipes!

(Photos via Jessica Smith / Brit + Co)