Russian Potato Salad Recipe for the Olivier Salad or Ensalada Rusa. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe for the Olivier Salad Also Known as Ensalada Rusa

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This Russian potato salad recipe for Olivier Salad or ensalada Rusa makes a Russian salad dating to the 1860s, when it was invented at a celebrated Moscow restaurant. Served at family meals, especially at Russian Easter and Christmas, it’s a fantastic summer salad for barbecues and picnics and filling winter salad served as a side to steak, sausages or roast.

My Russian potato salad recipe makes the modern take on the Olivier salad, which was invented by the chef of a famed Moscow restaurant in the 19th century, and popularised in the 20th century during the Soviet period. The potato salad recipe would then go on to travel the world, becoming known as ensalada Rusa everywhere from Madrid to Mexico, Barcelona to Buenos Aires.

The typical Soviet-era Russian potato salad ingredients list included potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, gherkins, and mayonnaise, which was ever-present. Mayonnaise was considered to be the glue that bound the Soviet states together. The Olivier salad was more luxurious, comprised of seasonal ingredients such as crayfish tails, caviar, smoked duck, veal tongue, grouse, and capers. While ingredients were diced, it didn’t contain potato.

I’ll share more about my Russian potato salad recipe in a moment, but first, can I ask you a favour? If you’ve made any of our recipes from Russia or beyond and have enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo so we can keep publishing recipes and food stories. This post has a list of ways you could support Grantourismo but here are a few ideas…

You could purchase something from our online shop (we’ve got everything from gifts for foodies to fun cloth face masks for food lovers created from Terence’s images); make a one-off donation or become a supporter of our epic Cambodian cookbook and culinary history on Patreon; or buy something on Amazon, such as one of these classic cookbooks for serious cooks, James Beard 2020 award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks for foodie travellers, cookbooks by Australian chefs and gifts for Asian food fans and picnic lovers. Now let me tell you about my Russian potato salad recipe.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe for Olivier Salad Known or Ensalada Rusa for Summer Barbecues and Picnics

My Russian potato salad recipe makes the Olivier salad that’s perhaps better known abroad as ensalada Rusa. We’ve eaten the salad everywhere from San Sebastian to Santiago, where it was typically served in small dishes as tapas or on slices of bread or toast as pinchos in Spain or pintxos in the Basque country or Catalunya.

I remember the first time I spotted ensalada Rusa at a Spanish tapas bar in Sydney and being completely shocked. Then, when I was learning Spanish at university, I was even more astonished that ensalada Rusa appeared in our food vocabulary as a typical Spanish dish from Spain and Latin America. It was then that I began to understand how food travels.

Growing up in Australia, my baboushka and mum’s potato salad recipe made a more rustic Russian salad that made an appearance at family meals for Russian Christmas and Russian Easter and at gatherings such as Christenings, birthdays, and my family’s legendary lunches that turned into dinners.

During summer, my mother would always make a Russian potato salad, alongside a Russian garden salad and beetroot potato salad for weekend backyard barbecues. My baboushka would make it for family meals and summer picnics. As a child, I would help my baba and mum, so that by the time I was a young adult, cooking meals in our own kitchen, I could make this potato salad without looking at a recipe.

It was only after we’d travelled South America and Europe, and I began eating ensalada Rusa at markets and tapas bars, that I began to tweak the traditional Russian potato salad recipe, adding ingredients such as capers, which were included in the original Oliver recipe. I’d love to know what you think of my recipe.

And if you enjoy this Russian potato salad, please try some of my other Russian family recipes for favourites such as savoury pirozhki (hand pies), stuffed cabbage rollskotleti (chicken meat patties), potato vareniki, pelmeni, and pan-fried Russian dumplings. We’d love to know what you think of them.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe

Russian Potato Salad Recipe for the Olivier Salad or Ensalada Rusa. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe

This Russian potato salad recipe for the Olivier Salad, eaten in many countries where it’s called ensalada Rusa, makes a Russian salad that dates to the 1860s, when it was invented by the chef of a celebrated Moscow restaurant. Served at family gatherings, as one of an array of traditional dishes, especially at Russian Christmas and Russian Easter, it’s also a fantastic summer salad for barbecues and picnics, and a filling winter salad served as a side to a sizzling steak, hearty sausages or a warming roast.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Russian
Servings made with recipe6 Servings
Calories 149 kcal


  • 2 waxy potatoes - 370g, boiled and diced
  • 1 big carrot - 200g, boiled and diced
  • ½ white onion - 100g, finely diced
  • 1 small red onion - 50g, finely diced
  • 100 g peas - fresh or frozen, defrosted, and cooked
  • 2 eggs - boiled and diced
  • 4 gherkins - finely diced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 radishes - finely diced
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley - finely chopped


  • Dice potatoes and carrots, boil them together in a pot, starting with cold water, and a pinch of salt, for about 10 minutes. Scoop a cube of potato out of the water – if you can pierce the piece easily with a toothpick, they’re ready.
  • Remove the pot from the stove, drain the diced potatoes and carrots in a colander, run cold water over them, and set aside to drain completely.
  • While the potatoes and carrots are bubbling away, hard-boil the eggs. When done to your liking, run the eggs under cold water, set aside to peel when cool enough to touch, then dice the eggs.
  • Dice the other vegetables and pickles, chop the fresh herbs, and slide everything into a big salad.
  • Add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper, dill and parsley, and gently combine but combine well. Taste, and if needed add more mayonnaise, salt and pepper, or even fresh herbs if you like.


Calories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 557mgPotassium: 471mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1983IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg

Please do let us know if you make our Russian potato salad recipe for Olivier Salad or ensalada Rusa in the comments below, by email or on social media, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.


Lara Dunston Patreon


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

2 thoughts on “Russian Potato Salad Recipe for the Olivier Salad Also Known as Ensalada Rusa”

  1. Love ‘Оливье’! It’s one of my favorite salads that always put a smile on my face and brings back nostalgic memories. This is, by far, the best recipe I tried; vegetables and mayo proportions are perfect, and I quite like the addition of radishes. Now I can’t wait for New Year, to make a big bowl and enjoy it with some good old Soviet movies)) Oh, speaking of New Year, do you, by any chance, have a recipe for ‘Сельдь под шубой’? I tried searching for it, perhaps it’s filed under different title. In the meantime, I will try Mimosa next)) Thank you for wonderful recipes!5 stars

  2. Hi Mark, spasiba! Thank you so much for the kind words. So pleased you enjoyed it and it brought back memories. The ‘herring under a fur coat’ salad was actually my inspiration for the mimosa presentation. But while it looks cute, I have to confess that it’s so impractical to eat it in those glasses. You will need to up-end it into other bowls and then instruct your guests to stir it all up. If you figure out another way to present it prettily and then serve it so you can actually eat it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Maybe bigger glass bowls so you can see it like a trifle? With enough room at the top so it doesn’t spill over the edges when you combine it? What do you think? As for Сельдь под шубой, I do have to deal with that one, but I’m still trying to figure out how to present it. It was not part of my baboushka’s repertoire so I’m relying on research for that one. We did try it a couple of times in Russia many years ago but I wasn’t a fan of the presentation then. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Wish my Russian was better – it’s been a long time; we’ve been in Asia so long – but SPASIBA!!!

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