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


  • 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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