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German Potato Salad

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overhead shot of German Potato Salad in a bowl
This easy German Potato Salad recipe is a tangy mixture of tender potatoes and crispy chopped bacon in a zesty vinaigrette. Simple to make, this classic German-style potato salad will be a hit at your next picnic or BBQ.
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Table of Contents
  1. German Potato Salad Ingredients
  2. German Potato Salad Recipe Substitutions and Additions
  3. How To Make German Potato Salad
  4. How To Serve Traditional German Potato Salad
  5. When To Serve
  6. How To Store Keyword
  7. Why This Authentic German Potato Salad Recipe Is The Best
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. More Recipes You’ll Love
  10. JUMP TO RECIPE

When you need a crowd-pleasing side dish that’s packed with flavor, our German Potato Salad recipe will come to the rescue! A mixture of potatoes, crispy bacon, and a tangy vinegar dressing, it’s a classic favorite that comes together in about 30 minutes. 

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Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or a cozy dinner party, this versatile dish is sure to be a hit. The combination of ingredients creates a winning flavor combination that’s perfect for just about any occasion. Plus, it’s easy to make ahead, so it’s a convenient option for when you’re hosting a dinner party.

German Potato Salad Ingredients

This easy potato salad recipe is a welcomed departure from the traditional mayo-based version. It uses common ingredients to make a flavorful apple cider vinegar dressing that absorbs into the potatoes, instead of a thick, creamy sauce, more commonly found in an American-style potato salad.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds petite red potatoes, cut into quarters (approximately 1½ inch in size)
  • 8 ounces (6-7 slices) thick-cut bacon, diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons German-style mustard (We used Boar’s Head brand) 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided (2 tablespoons in potato salad and 1 tablespoon for garnish)

German Potato Salad Recipe Substitutions and Additions

If you’re looking to customize this warm German Potato Salad recipe to suit your preferences or dietary needs, consider these simple substitutions and additions:

Bacon: You can use turkey bacon for a lighter version, or, for a vegetarian version, omit the bacon entirely or substitute it with vegetarian bacon or smoked tofu. Alternatively, you can add smoked paprika or liquid smoke to mimic the smoky flavor of bacon.

Onion: Swap the yellow onion for red onion for a slightly milder flavor or green onions for a pop of color and freshness.

Apple Cider Vinegar: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can use balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar for a slightly different flavor. Lemon juice can also be used for a bright citrusy note.

Sugar: Adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste preferences. You can use honey instead of granulated sugar for a natural sweetness.

Fresh Parsley: Feel free to experiment with different herbs such as chives, dill, or cilantro to add variety to the salad. You can also toss in some chopped fresh dill pickles for an extra layer of flavor.

Potatoes: Smaller, petite style, waxy potatoes like red potatoes or Yukon gold are best for this recipe. While red potatoes are recommended, you can use Yukon gold potatoes for a creamy texture. Russet potatoes are a bit too starchy to use for this German potato salad, and they may not hold their shape as well when cooked.

German-style Mustard: In a pinch, you can replace with Dijon mustard.

Remember, any substitutions may alter the taste and texture of the dish, so use them at your own discretion. Experimenting with different ingredients can add a unique twist to the recipe and make it your own.

How To Make German Potato Salad

Making our German bacon potato salad is a breeze! Let’s start by gathering simple ingredients like potatoes, bacon, and vinegar. Then, follow along as we cook, toss, and season to create a dish bursting with flavor.

STEP ONE: Set the red potatoes in a large stock pot and cover them with cold water. Be sure there are 1-2 inches of water over the top surface of the potatoes. Bring the water to boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, let the potatoes cook until they’re fork tender. Don’t overcook them, otherwise, they’ll fall apart when you mix them with the other ingredients.

PRO TIP: Always boil potatoes beginning with cold water. If you begin with hot or boiling water, the outside cooks faster than the inside, and the texture isn’t uniform.

STEP TWO: While the potatoes are boiling, start cooking the bacon. Add the bacon pieces to a large skillet on medium heat, and allow the bacon to crisp and render its fat.

PRO TIP: Dicing the thick-sliced bacon before cooking helps give you nice uniform bacon pieces. We also find that chopped bacon cooks more evenly in the skillet while crisping and rendering its fat. 

STEP THREE: Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy bacon from the skillet. Place it in a bowl and set it aside. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

STEP FOUR: Add the diced yellow onion and salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook until the onions are translucent and tender.

STEP FIVE: Add the German-style stone ground mustard, granulated sugar, and white vinegar. Whisk until all the bacon fat is fully blended with the other ingredients, then remove the hot dressing from the heat.

STEP SIX:​ Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water from the stock pot, leaving the potatoes in the pot. 

PRO TIP: If you overcooked your potatoes but still want to salvage them, allow them to cool completely, then stir this salad together cold instead of hot. Cold potatoes can sometimes hold together more easily than when they’re hot.

STEP SEVEN: Pour the warm dressing over the potatoes. You can use a spatula to scrape out the skillet. Then, add the crumbled bacon and some of the chopped fresh parsley.

STEP EIGHT: Very gently stir the ingredients together. Be cautious not to break apart the potatoes as you’re mixing.

STEP NINE: Transfer the warm potato salad to a large serving bowl and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

How To Serve Traditional German Potato Salad

Because this salad is such a beloved recipe, there are endless possibilities for serving this versatile dish.

Serve as a Side Dish: This German Potato Salad with bacon makes a fantastic side dish to accompany grilled meats. Its savory and tangy flavors complement the smokiness of grilled dishes perfectly.

Incorporate Into a Picnic Spread: Pack this potato salad in a sturdy container and take it along for a picnic in the park or a day at the beach. It’s portable and satisfying! Pair it with sandwiches, wraps, or crusty bread for a yummy and easy outdoor meal.

Create a Salad Bowl: Transform this potato salad into a hearty salad bowl by adding additional fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and chopped bell peppers. Top with crumbled feta cheese or toasted nuts for added flavor and texture.

When To Serve

Whether you’re hosting a laid-back gathering with friends or planning a special celebration, this German Potato Salad is a dish that’s perfect for any occasion. 

  • BBQ Cookout: This German Potato Salad is the ideal accompaniment to juicy burgers, sizzling sausages, and grilled corn on the cob. Its tangy flavor and hearty texture complement the smoky meats and add a delicious twist to your classic cookout fare.
  • Picnic in the Park: Pack a basket with a blanket, some sandwiches, and a big bowl of potato salad for a delightful picnic in the park. It’s easy to transport and doesn’t require refrigeration, making it perfect for outdoor dining. Don’t forget the lemonade!
  • Family Potluck Dinner: Gather your loved ones for a cozy potluck dinner at home, and let this German Potato Salad steal the show. With its comforting flavors and crowd-pleasing appeal, it’s sure to be a hit with guests of all ages. Serve it alongside other potluck favorites like grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese, and garden-fresh salads for a memorable family meal.
  • Oktoberfest Celebration: Transport yourself to the lively streets of Germany with a festive Oktoberfest celebration at home. This German Potato Salad is a must-have dish for your Oktoberfest spread, alongside traditional favorites like bratwurst, pretzels, and sauerkraut.

How To Store Keyword

After enjoying your delicious German Potato Salad, you’ll want to know how to store any leftovers properly to maintain their flavor and freshness. Here’s a guide on how to store this recipe so it stays fresh:

MAKE AHEAD: You can prepare all or part of this recipe ahead of time. Go ahead and cook your potatoes and store them cooked in the fridge. You can stir them with a touch of oil to keep them from sticking. You can also make your bacon and dressing ahead of time. Store separately, then assemble fresh. This method is best if you want to reheat your ingredients and assemble a hot German Potato Salad.

If you prefer, you can also assemble your salad and keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. This method is best if you prefer to serve your salad cool.

IN THE FRIDGE: To store leftover German Potato Salad in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Properly stored, the potato salad will last in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. Before serving, give the salad a quick stir to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

IN THE FREEZER: We recommend you serve your potato salad fresh, and generally feel you shouldn’t freeze this salad. While potato salad can technically be frozen, please note that the texture may change upon thawing. To freeze, transfer the potato salad to a freezer-safe container, leaving a bit of space at the top for expansion. Frozen potato salad will last for up to two months in the freezer. Thaw overnight or for six to eight hours in the fridge.

HOW TO REHEAT: When you’re ready to enjoy your potato salad again, remove it from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Once thawed, the potato salad can be reheated in the microwave on medium power for one to two minutes, stirring halfway through. 

Alternatively, you can reheat it gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently until warmed through. Serve your reheated potato salad and enjoy!

Why This Authentic German Potato Salad Recipe Is The Best

There’s a special allure to this recipe for German Potato Salad, and it’s not just because of how easy it is to make! There are plenty of reasons why we can’t get enough of this dish.

Reasons why we love this recipe:

Classic Comfort Food: This German Potato Salad is all our favorite things: creamy potatoes, yummy bacon, and a delicious homemade dressing. Plus there’s something about it that reminds you of holiday meals and family get-togethers.

Flavorful Twist on Tradition: While traditional American potato salad recipes often rely on mayonnaise for creaminess, this German version takes a different approach with a tangy dressing. Enjoy all the goodness of potato salad in a fresh new way!

Make-Ahead Convenience: Prepare this salad in advance of a party and store it in the refrigerator so the flavors meld and develop overnight. Perfect for busy holidays!

Crowd Pleaser: Above all, this German Potato Salad is a true crowd-pleaser. With the comfort of potatoes and the bold flavors of the dressing, it’s always a favorite recipe. You might need a double batch!

This German Potato Salad recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s both hearty and delicious. Perfect for any occasion and very easy to make, this will be a side dish recipe you come back to time and time again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this potato salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! This German Potato Salad is delicious whether it’s served warm or cold, so it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and develop for even tastier results.

How do I reheat frozen potato salad?

To reheat frozen potato salad, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can reheat it gently on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave on medium power, stirring occasionally until warmed through.

Can I add additional ingredients to this potato salad?

Absolutely! Feel free to customize this recipe by adding ingredients like chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced celery, or sliced green onion for added flavor and texture.

Can I serve this potato salad warm or cold?

This German Potato Salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, depending on your preference. It’s delicious either way!

What type of potatoes should I use for this recipe?

Yukon Gold or red potatoes are recommended for their creamy texture, but you can also use Russet potatoes if that’s what you have on hand. Just be aware that Russet potatoes may not hold their shape as well when cooked.

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overhead shot of German Potato Salad in a bowl

German Potato Salad

5 from 1 vote
This easy German Potato Salad recipe is a tangy mixture of tender potatoes and crispy chopped bacon in a zesty vinaigrette. Simple to make, this classic German-style potato salad will be a hit at your next picnic or BBQ.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds petite red potatoes, cut into quarters (approximately 1 ½ inch in size)
  • 8 ounces bacon, 6 to 7 slices thick cut, diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons German style mustard, Boar’s Head brand (see tips)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided (2 tablespoons in potato salad and 1 tablespoon for garnish)

Instructions
 

  • To a large (5 quart) stock pot add the red potatoes and cover with water. Be sure that you have about 1 to 2 inches of water over the top surface of the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, allow the potatoes to cook for 8 to 10 minutes or just until fork tender. You do not want your potatoes to overcook as they will fall apart once mixed with the other ingredients.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, start cooking the bacon. Add the bacon pieces to a medium skillet, on medium heat, and allow the bacon to crisp, and render its fat for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy bacon from the skillet. Place it onto a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess grease and set aside. Leave all the rendered bacon fat in the skillet.
  • To the skillet of bacon fat, add the diced yellow onions, salt and black pepper. Cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes or just until translucent and tender.
  • Add the german style stone ground mustard, granulated sugar, and white vinegar. Whisk until all the bacon fat is fully blended with the other ingredients. Remove from the heat.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water from the stock pot leaving the potatoes in the pot.
  • Pour the warm dressing over the potatoes then add the crispy bacon and 2 tablespoons of the chopped fresh parsley. Very gently stir together the ingredients of the german potato salad being careful not to break apart the potatoes too much as you are mixing.
  • Transfer the german potato salad to a large serving bowl and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

  • German style mustard is a stone ground mustard made using a white wine and horseradish to flavor it. Boar’s Head Brand is easily found in local grocery stores. A very similar mustard to use in this recipe would be stone ground, or spicy, Dijon mustard. The Dijon will not have the added horseradish in it for added flavor and spice. American style yellow mustard is not a good substitute in this recipe.
  • Smaller, petite style, waxy potatoes like the red potatoes or a yukon gold potato are best for this recipe. Russet potatoes are a bit too starchy of a potato to use for this German potato salad.
  • Dicing the thick sliced bacon before cooking helps give you nice uniform bacon pieces and I find that the bacon cooks more evenly in the skillet while crisping and rendering its fat.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be substituted for the white vinegar however, I find the white vinegar to be the most traditional choice for German potato salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 737mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg
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This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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