Olivier Salad is a 7 ingredient traditional Russian salad – made with boiled veggies, eggs, and chicken or meat of choice. Think of this as a Russian potato salad.
This is a traditional Russian Olivier salad – and it’s one of my favorites Russian recipes.
First order of business is a lesson in pronunciation. In English this salad seems to be called “olivier” but that’s not how it’s pronounced in Russian.
Phonetically it sounds like this, o-liv-yea, but in English is seems to translate as olivier salad. And salad is sa-lat in Russian, emphasis on the second syllable. Who knows where that additional R came from, but even if you call this a Russian salad, I am sure most people will immediately assume you’re thinking of this one.
What’s in Olivier Salad?
- some sort of meat
When I make this salad I prefer to use leftover boiled chicken from making stock.
Various meats can be used instead of chicken though – ham and a Russian type of bologna are frequently added. And every family has their own version of making this salad. Some people add apples, or crab or onions. My family has never added any of these ingredients so my ideal olivier salad will not have those present.
One thing everybody does agree on is the dressing – this has to always be mayonnaise, and a generous amount.
Yes the combination of boiled veggies, pickles and eggs may sound a tad bit peculiar but it all comes together fabulously.
When I was little I used to always eat this salad at large gatherings and celebrations – birthdays, holidays, etc. You simply cannot have a Russian New Years party without olivier salad at the table. It’s always there and in high demand. This iconic salad just makes me think of good time spent with family sitting around a table sharing stories and celebrating the holidays.
But the recipe is simple enough to serve daily as well, think of it as a different potato salad.
Why This Olivier Salad is the best:
- classic family recipe passed down by generations
- hearty potato salad
- easy to make in advance and tastes even better the next day
- perfect picnic or potluck dish
Can you make this salad in advance?
Absolutely! The flavors develop and I find it always tastes better the next day anyway. You can also combine the ingredients but add the dressing when ready to eat.
How to make my Olivier Salad:
To make this salad you first need to boil the potatoes, carrots and eggs. I always boil both the carrots and potatoes without peeling them. So you’ll need to add the potatoes to a pot of cold water, with enough water to cover them, bring that to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft when pierced with a fork. This should take around 15-20 minutes. You’ll do the same with the carrots.
The eggs will be boiled until hard boiled – about 10 minutes.
Once the veggies are cooked, and cooled you need to peel the carrots, potatoes and eggs and finely dice them.
The key to this salad is that every item is cut up the same. The size must be the same for you to be able to get a forkful of all the different ingredients all at once.
Dice the pickles and chicken breast or meat of choice and mix everything together in a large bowl with the peas. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the mayonnaise when ready to serve and enjoy!
- Finely Dice all the ingredients to be the same size
- Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving as this salad is meant to be served cold
- Prepare the salad in advance and add the mayonnaise dressing within a few hours before serving
- Salad leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge and can be eaten plain or on bread
- My family always makes this salad using Israeli pickles which are super briny and complement the boiled veggies perfectly.
- Diced green apples, onions and crab can also be added to this recipe
- For a low carb version omit the potatoes and use cooked cauliflower instead
- For a nightshade free version use diced gigante beans instead
While to the American eye this may seem like an odd salad it is a true Russian classic recipe that all Russians know.
Normally this is a frequent addition to gatherings and home parties but this olivier salad would make for the perfect picnic or potluck addition. Think of it as a cold potato salad with a bit of an Eastern European flair. This is hands down one of my favorite Russian traditional recipes and one that I’ve been eating ever since I learned how to chew.
Let me know what you think of this salad in the comments below!
A classic Russian salad also known as Olivier salad present at all family gatherings and holidays. I have literally been eating this salad since I started chewing so this is a classic and a favorite!
*To prepare potatoes - add unpeeled potatoes to a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork (15-20 minutes) - drain, rinse with cold water, and peel the skin off.
*To prepare carrots - add unpeeled carrots to a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until carrots are soft when pierced with a fork (15-20 minutes) - drain, rinse with cold water, and peel the skin off.
*To prepare eggs - add eggs to a pot of cold water (make sure water is completely covering the eggs) bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and peel.
Dice the potatoes, eggs, pickles, chicken and carrots (make sure everything is diced to be the same size) Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add mayonnaise (no more than a few hours before serving). Refrigerate until ready to eat.