Olivier Salad is a hearty potato salad with meat, eggs, and peas. It’s also known as Russian potato salad. It’s great as a side dish or main meal.
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Russian Potato Salad
Olivier salad is also known as salade Russe, or in my house, it is simply Russian potato salad. Many of you may have never heard of this type of potato salad which is a unique take on the potato salad we are all familiar with.
This Olivier salad is full of texture, super creamy, and ridiculously addicting. The recipe includes potatoes, eggs, meat, onions, peas, carrots, mayonnaise, and some sour pickles.
I enjoyed this salad and many Russian-style dinners thanks to my fiancée Michael, who was born in Russia and taught me a lot about Russian food.
What Is Olivier Salad?
Olivier Salad is a tradition in many post-Soviet countries on New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Easter, and many other celebrations. Olivier is not like most types of American potato salad. The most significant differences are the inclusion of meat and sour pickles.
Brief History of Salad Olivier
Olivier salad, or salade Russe, wasn’t actually created by a Russian but by Chef Lucien Olivier, a Belgian working for a restaurant in Moscow in the 1860s. This salad was so tasty that everyone wanted the recipe, but Olivier wouldn’t share it.
The dish was then adapted by Ivan Ivanov, who published the recipe. Over the years, it gained popularity in Russia and throughout the rest of the Soviet Union, Europe, and even other parts of the world.
It’s quite amazing how many different cultures have made delicious variations on this style of potato salad!
Why This Is the Recipe You Must Try for Russian Olivier Salad
This Olivier salad recipe doesn’t skimp on texture or creaminess. If you are a fan of American potato salad, you’ll absolutely love this classic Russian dish. In fact, you may like this salad so much that you may end up using any dinner as an excuse to make it!
This Olivier potato salad recipe is a great way to use up any leftover meat, such as duck, lamb, or chicken.
This is also a perfect recipe to prepare way ahead of time. All you have to do is cook and chop the vegetables and eggs, then place them in the fridge in separate containers until you’re ready to make the salad. Mix everything together when you’re ready to serve.
Olivier Salad Ingredients
This is not a fancy salad, so you don’t need any fancy ingredients, just:
- White onion
- Green sweet peas (frozen peas are great to use)
- Meat or fish
- Sour dill pickle
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh dill
How to Make Russian Olivier Salad
This Olivier salad recipe couldn’t be simpler to make. Just follow these steps:
- Peel and boil the potatoes in a large pot and add the carrots halfway through the cooking process.
- Hard boil the eggs and peel them.
- Allow everything to cool.
- Use a knife to dice them into bite-sized pieces. Place the dices in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well blended.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Tips for Making the Best Olivier Potato Salad
- Be sure to use sour dill pickles – this Russian salad was not intended for sweet pickles.
- Place the pickle cubes in a sieve to drain overnight. Or, if you forget to do this, you can squeeze out the juices using some paper towels. This way, the pickle juices won’t add sogginess to the salad or overpower the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Use a vegetable slicer or chopper for perfect evenly-sized pieces every time.
- This salad tastes better if you make it a few hours before serving or even the evening before.
- Canned peas taste mushy, but using frozen or fresh peas takes the salad to a new level. You’ll never want to go back to canned peas again.
- Make your own homemade mayonnaise for the best fresh flavor.
The sour pickles and meat impart the flavor to this traditional Russian potato salad recipe. Keep in mind that during the Soviet era, salads like this were made with whatever was available at the time. This makes this salad Olivier super flexible, and you can easily play around with it and make it your own. Here are some suggested variations:
- Use half mayo and half sour cream, and add some cucumber and granny smith chopped apples. Garnish with chopped green onions.
- If you are feeding someone with an egg allergy, you can use crème fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
- If you feel adventurous, other pickled vegetables, such as beet pickles, would go well in this salad.
- Try smoked beef sausage and some mild cheddar cheese.
- Add a little Dijon mustard to give it another layer of flavor.
- Try it Iranian style. Boil a chicken with onion, red paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Add the shredded chicken meat and some of the chicken juices to the salad with potatoes, green peas, pickled cucumbers, eggs, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Thanks to reader Pantea who described this.
What to Serve With Russian Potato Salad
This salad is perfect for your holiday celebrations or a family cookout. Here are some serving ideas.
- Make it look attractive by placing it on a bed of lettuce leaves on an attractive serving platter.
- Serve this as a side dish instead of regular potato salad at your next BBQ. It pairs perfectly with grilled meats.
- For an authentic full-blown Slavic feast, serve this Russian potato salad with some shashlik (kabobs), cabbage rolls, piroshki (filled hand pies), and/or a bowl of borscht.
A Russian cookbook may be a great gift for someone who likes cooking.
How to Store Salad Olivier
Don’t let the potato salad sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
This salad will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days in the refrigerator. If you keep the mayo separate, it will last up to 5 days.
Note that you should not freeze Olivier salad. The mayo and starchy potatoes will not thaw well, and you’ll end up with a mushy salad.
Love Potato Salad? Try These Recipes!
Favorite Potato Side Dish Recipes
- Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes
- Easy Potato Pancakes
- Golden Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Potato Wedges
- Lipton Onion Soup Mix Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Loaded Potato Tots
- Parsley Potatoes
- Roasted Red Skin Potatoes
- Sliced Fried Potatoes
- Steakhouse Potatoes
Check out my easy salad recipes and the best side dish recipes here on CopyKat!
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled
- 2 carrots peeled (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped sour dill pickles
- 1 cup green peas canned or thawed from frozen
- 1 cup diced meat – ham, bologna, chicken, or corned beef
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes until tender. If you would like carrot in your salad, add the carrots halfway through the potato cooking process.
- In a separate pot, hard boil the eggs. Drain, rinse with cold water, and peel.
- Allow the potatoes, eggs, and carrots to cool. Then chop them into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl.
- Add the onions, dill pickles, green peas, meat, and mayonnaise.
- Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Thank you for posting this!
My wife grew up making this in Ecuador, where the recipe calls for shrimp, omits the pickle, and incorporates celery, parsley, cilantro, and dill.
I spent some of my childhood in Hokkaido, Japan, where it is made with trout!
I prepared it last night with leftover lamb and home-fermented golden beet pickles. What a flexible recipe this is!
If you have a manual food chopper (the kind with a plunger) it can be used to prep everything very quickly.
It’s amazing to me how many different cultures have made a variation of this style of potato salad! It’s so delicious too!
Robert Jan Scholte van Mast
From my mother I know the recipe for a potato salad she used to serve for special occasions. She learned it from het mother as well. It is based on the Salade de Russe or Salade de Olivier. She used well cooked beef (meat from the belly) to mix with the potatoes and other ingredients.
First she peeled the potatoes and boiled them with a pinch of salt. After cooling the potatoes were diced and mixed with Mayo and put away in the fridge. The meat was bought as “Soup Meat”. Most of the time with a bone. On simmer for a whole evening, could 4 to 5 hours.
Bouillon was used for Sunday soup, Meat came very tender. After cooling for about one hour this was mixed with the potatoes and then, around night time, stage one was finished. On Sunday the mix was dressed up. On a bed of salad leaves the mix was spread out and covered with a Sour cream Mayo finish. This was decorated with all kind of bites, like 3 asperges in a slice of Schwarzwalder Ham, eggs with spiced egg yokes(most of the time curry) , pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, Amsterdam white and yellow unions.
Wow, that sounds amazing. What nationality was your mother? I would love to look this up.
I use half sour cream and half mayo plus I add granny smith chopped apples. It’s a lot better that way. Even my Ukranian friend said he likes my version better.
Robert Jan Scholte van Mast
I used to have a Russian recipe book. Potatoes should be cooked first, than you peel, more flavour and gives very nice dices. Apples and Citrus fruits should be added to the salad. Sour cream mixed with mayo I also do. But what I’ve learned from my Russian book, is that such a salad should stay over for one night in a fridge. Potatoes mixed with meat, boiled eggs and vegetables and just half of the sour cream.This is for the cooked meat to give its flavour. The cold salad shall be mixed with rest of sour cream and mayo, apples, citrus if you want and dressed up to your wishes with pickles, etc.
Salade de Russe is the Mother of all Salads.
The first time I had this potato salad I thought it was the best potato salad ever.
I have two versions of this salad – winter (like you described) and summer – I usually make it with fresh cucumber and sour apple (Granny Smith works perfectly), no onions and lots of chopped baby dill. Carrot is a must. Everything has to be finely cubed. Tastes summer fresh 🙂
I made this delicious olivier salad for my wife last night, and we loved it. We didn’t have any white onions, so we used red onions instead.
This site is a great resource for delicious receipes, and definetely a site I’ll be checking out, when I have no clue what to make. Added this to my favourites. Thank you
You will be surprised to hear that Olivier Salad is one of the best known and most popular salads in Iran. Try it “Iranian style” and boil a chicken with onion, red paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt, debone it when well cooked and add the tattered chicken meet and some of the chicken bouillon to the salad with potatoes, green peas, pickled cucumbers, eggs, lemon juice and mayonnaise. Very tasty 🙂
Actually that one I did know 😉 I have a Persian friend that told me that when she saw me post the recipe. We both declared that we liked this style of potato salad more than we liked very day American style potato salad. I think the additional protien in there makes it very good. I want to try adding the paprika and garlic powder though, I bet it would be very tasty with those two additions.
I have never seen an Olivier salad that called for beef, only chicken or pheasant. My kids are adopted from Russia and I keep trying different recipes to try to find one that tastes “right’ to them. I’ll give this a shot! (And yes, chop everything very tiny!)
My fiancee and his family was from Russia, they made theirs with ham, or beef, or whatever was handy. They emphasized you made this salad with what you had available. My favorite version of this salad was made from the corned beef. Anyway you slice it, this is delicious potato salad.
I love this salad with chicken. My Russian friend turned me on to it several years ago. We have it at Christmas and for any dinner to give us an excuse to make it! Really, you have to just try it! And you have to chop everything very tiny or my friend will fuss at me!
Do share any beets recipes. I love them, but have only had them with vinaigrette (sorta pickled), in the potato salad and there’s an awesome limeade my mom used to make.
You can make a beets salad, just boil some beets it takes a while so be patient make sure to peel them first, you will also need to boil two potatoes depending on how big or small portions you are making when they are done boiling slice them into tiny cubes add baby pees slice some onions also in cubes and boil some carrots also slice those up in cubes after done boiling mix everything together with olive oil salt and black pepper.
Oh that sounds very good. I have had the beet salad that is grated beats in sour cream, that is quite good too.
So, I never had that salad with beets. I wouldn’t put it past anyone from doing it. From what I learned about soviet era cooking, is that you learned to be very flexible. My fiancee’s parents used their balcony to pickle just about anything that could be pickled so they would have variety. They were fortunate Russians, as they were both well placed in their respective jobs, so they were luckier than most Russians. Still, food variety, was not broad. I have had beets prepared many different ways though!
Well, this is interesting. I must’ve heard you wrong at the restaurant, I thought you said the Russian salad had beets, I guess you said beef. In Panama, we serve a Ensalada Rusa (Russian salad) which is a potato salad with the addition of beets. Of course, I had to do a google search, and have only found 1 other recipe with beets!!! Krezy!
PS: I really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks for putting the group together.
Ever since I went to a Russian restaurant on vacation, I’ve been looking for this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!
I grew up in Argentina and we often had “Ensalada Rusa” (Russian Salad). Ours had peas, carrots, tuna fish or chicken, potatoes and home made mayonnaise. It was a great family favorite that I still make for my kids today.
This is very similar to my mother’s Ruska Salata. It’s always on the menu on our Serbian Orthodox Christmas on January 7. Good recipe!
I love potato salad and this one looks delicious! Although I have never had meat in a potato salad, I imagine the corned beef and sour pickles really add a nice salty sour zing. Must give this one a try! With a Vodka Martini of course! 😉
Do you use English peas as the type of frozen green peas?
Yes, please use green english peas for this recipe.
This looks good to me. Potatoes go with so many things that it’s easy to see it here and corned beef has the right flavors to pump up the taste.
This sounds wonderful!! I will have to try this as soon as possible.