Peruvian-Style Potato Salad

Peruvian-Style Potato Salad - A creamy, cheesy and slightly spicy twist on potato salad. |

My husband and I’s wedding vows were pretty traditional. Variations on the stuff about sickness and health, richer and poorer, faithfulness ’til death do we part. What they really should have included is a clause about taking out each other’s contact lenses when habañero peppers have been touched that day (otherwise, mind-numbing ocular pain ensues). Because that’s about as intimate as you can get to another human being, yes? Literally sticking your fingers onto somebody elses’ eyeball to grab their contact.

Peruvian-Style Potato Salad - A creamy, cheesy and slightly spicy twist on potato salad. |

Obviously, this Peruvian-Style Potato Salad involves habañero peppers! This is my take on Papa a la Huancaína, a Peruvian dish of boiled yellow potatoes topped with a creamy and cheesy habañero-infused sauce. It’s a dish that isn’t necessarily HOT or even spicy, but you could say it has a pleasant “warmness” to it. If you’re new to cooking with habañeros, this is the perfect dish to ease you into it!

Here, I’ve boiled a few flavorful Idaho® yellow potatoes to start with. While those were cooking, I whipped up a quick no-cook sauce by blending together queso fresco (a mild Mexican cheese), garlic, evaporated milk, olive oil, lime juice and half of a habañero pepper. The potatoes are then peeled, sliced and arranged on a serving platter lined with greens. The sauce is drizzled over, and the dish is garnished with black olives, sliced hard boiled eggs and chives. Alternatively, the potatoes, olives and eggs could be chopped smaller and tossed together with the sauce and chives, as in a traditional American potato salad.

Peruvian-Style Potato Salad - A creamy, cheesy and slightly spicy twist on potato salad. |

If you’re looking to shake things up this summer and try a different kind of potato salad, you might want to give this a try. But if you’re a contact lens wearer, just wear rubber gloves, or prepare to discover the true meaning of closeness with your spouse.

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Peruvian-Style Potato Salad - A creamy, cheesy and slightly spicy twist on potato salad. |

Peruvian-Style Potato Salad

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 4 large yellow Idaho® potatoes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 10 ounces queso fresco
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 habañero pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons hopped fresh chives


  1. Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with cold water; heat to boiling. Cook 25 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain; cool slightly.
  2. In blender or food processor, blend lime juice, garlic, queso fresco, evaporated milk, oil, habanero and salt until smooth.
  3. Cut potatoes crosswise into ½-inch slices; arrange over lettuce leaves on serving platter. Drizzle sauce over potatoes; garnish with eggs, olives and chives.

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This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. 

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  1. I see my name written on that plate of potato salad. I know it. It is calling out to me. Yum, yum, YUM!

  2. What a great spin to potato salad! It looks incredible and the photos are beautiful!

  3. I was going to say, don’t you wear gloves when you chop hot peppers? I’ve learned that lesson and I even stopped wearing contacts! Oh the pain! the pain! Even so, this looks worth it.

  4. How original and creative…love the addition of habanero!

  5. Mmmmm….this looks so elegant. What a delicious potato salad!

  6. Looks so yumm!

  7. This potato salad looks fantastic. Love the addiition of olives

  8. Gorgeous, Lori! (Pinned and G+!) So glad I’ve now got the how-to on a very gourmet Peruvian potato salad =)

  9. I absolutely love this!!! Boiled yellow potatoes topped with a creamy and cheesy habañero-infused sauce and hard boiled eggs?! love this and can’t wait to try this!

  10. Thanks goodness I don’t wear contacts ;). But man, oh man, do I want to snatch that plate and be alone with it. Sounds amazing!

  11. Lori – this sounds like one amazing potato salad. Oh my I cannot even imagine how painful habanero pepper laced contacts must be…

  12. This is absolutely gorgeous! I love how everything is sliced and layered. Such a pretty effect.

  13. I don’t wear contacts so I’m good to go! these layers look so pretty!

  14. Hopefully your eyes are okay. This dish looks delicious!!!

  15. Ouch! Sorry about your burning eyeball but this dish looks worth the pain! 🙂 Nice presentation!

  16. Lori, this potato salad sounds wonderful. We were in Peru earlier this year (Lima) and got to try some wonderful Peruvian food. This sounds like it will be up there with what we got to eat. (If you haven’t had Peruvian ceviche, you need to try it – it’s the best.) You make me glad that I don’t wear contacts! I’ve had enough problems with touching my area after chopping up jalapeños…

    • Oh, I would love to visit Peru, Susan! How is Peruvian ceviche different from other types? I’m intrigued, because I love a good ceviche.

      • Oops! Now I am thoroughly embarrassed, because I can’t tell you why. I can tell you that what we had mixed the fish with lime, red onion, red chile and cilantro (based on the photos I took during the cooking demonstration). The flavor of it was very rich. Maybe I’m comparing it to the ceviche they make on the cruise ship which just isn’t that good. At any rate, if you get to Lima, the Minka market in Callao (the port city) is a must visit. They have the cleanest, best smelling fish market and the most gorgeous produce I’ve ever seen – and I’ve been to markets in a lot of places. You have to go through the mall part to get to the good part; definitely worth a visit. I guess I’ll have to do some research on ceviche recipes?… 🙂

        • Oh, no need to be embarrassed at all, Susan! I don’t know a ton about ceviche – I’ve only made it a few times, just using a recipe one of my culinary instructors gave me. Not sure what country that version originated from, though!

          That Minka market sounds amazing! I hope to get there one day, for sure.

  17. Hahahaah that contact story sounds like something with me and my future husband someday. Never heard of Peruvian potato salad, so I’m intrigued by this.

  18. This is such a creative recipe…and I love all the colors and flavors you have going on here. Just beautiful!

  19. I love Peruvian food, what a great twist on potato salad!

  20. This looks absolutely awesome – such a great spin on a traditional dish!

  21. I love how different this salad is and the ingredients that go in it – luckily I wear glasses 🙂 Last month when I was on vacation in FL I met Isabel at a blogging seminar and she talked about how Sunday Supper got started. Love seeing your recipes Lori!

  22. Is it wrong I want to eat the eggs and olives first, and then dig into the potatoes? So many favorites in this potato salad! Gorgeous!

  23. Whoever dreamed a potato salad could be elegant?

  24. To be honest, I was a little surprised myself. I got it all plated it, and thought “wow, this really looks nice!” I wasn’t expecting it, just because it’s so….yellow and beige, you know?

  25. Oh my gosh…lucky you for having someone to help with the contacts. I was making chili with a bunch of poblano peppers a few months ago…I washed my hands about 20 times afterward, cleaned under my nails, etc…but there was somehow still some remnants of heat. I way laying in bed with my eyes watering like a faucet for what seemed like forever. I use spicy peppers all the time too…d’oh!

  26. You and I channeled the same muse this week with our deconstructed spud salad! Love yours! In fact, I have a recipe for the same dish, taught by a Spanish-speaking cook: So fun!

  27. These sound really good, thanks for putting this up.


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