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German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad


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Made with a tangy vinaigrette, German potato salad has a lovely sweet-sour-salt combination of flavors.MORE+LESS-

2

lbs medium red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds and boiled to tender

4

slices bacon, cooked and drained on paper towel

1/4

cup apple cider vinegar

1/4

tsp ground black pepper

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  • 1

    Add the potatoes to a large bowl. Crumble the bacon on top and stir to combine.

  • 2

    Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, parsley, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper. Pour immediately over the potatoes and stir well to combine.

  • 3

    Serve immediately, warm, or chill until ready to serve.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • If you're a regular reader, by now you know I’m a sucker for German food.

    It runs in my German genes – give me leberkase, rouladen, spaetzle or sauerkraut any day and I’m a happy girl…

    But give me German Potato Salad, and I’m over the moon!

    My grandmothers – both German, natch – make their own equally delicious versions of potato salad. Legend has it my parents discovered me sitting in my car seat one day, fistfuls of potato salad in hand and my face covered in food.

    Legend also has it I would stand by my grandmother while she chopped up fresh potatoes, waiting for a bite of a raw piece (yes, raw potato – I was a strange kid).

    It’s safe to say I’m a potato salad girl. To this day, I cannot pass up the opportunity to make or eat potato salad at any occasion. And with summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to make one of my favorite foods for a picnic, potluck, Fourth of July party (hint, hint) or just because.

    This German Potato Salad is particularly easy to make, in my opinion, because it requires no peeling of the potatoes and only five ingredients. It’s also relatively healthy, too, minus the bacon bits – but a little bacon never hurt anyone.

    Some might be surprised at first by the vinegary taste of the salad, but trust me. Over time, the vinegar soaks up into the potatoes, yielding a delicious sweet-tart flavor. The green onions add extra zing, and the bacon – well, it’s bacon. Enough said.

    I love red potatoes in potato salad, especially with the skins left on, though you can use any type of potato you want, including Russets and Yukon Golds. This is definitely a “to taste” recipe, so feel free to add as much or as little vinegar as you want, as many green onions as you want and, of course, as much bacon as you want. Or, add some extra ingredients to the mix. It’s all good.

    Stephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!


German Potato Salad

Unlike the cold, creamy mayo-dressed picnic staple, German potato salad is served warm with a bacon vinaigrette. I repeat, bacon vinaigrette.

It you've never made a dressing with bacon fat, you're in for a treat. First cook some bacon, then pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Sauté a red onion (or shallot) in the fat, then add apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar also works!), water, olive oil, and a little bit of granulated sugar to the skillet and whisk it all together. Throw in some green onions then toss it with the potatoes and cooked bacon.

Test Kitchen Tip: For this recipe, we used baby Yukon golds, but any waxy variety will hold its shape after being cooked and tossed and therefore will work.

Have you made this dish? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.

Editor's Note: The introduction of this recipe was updated on June 30, 2020 to provide more information.


Serve the salad hot, warm, or chilled. It's a perfect side dish for grilled sausages (a classic pairing!), or any of your standard cookout fare, like burgers, steak, or hot dogs.


What Potatoes Are Best?

For German Potato Salad (or any potato salad for that matter), you want to use a good, waxy potato. Red potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes are a perfect example of a waxy potato. Russet potatoes are more starchy and don’t hold up as well in a potato salad. We like using baby potatoes, small potatoes, or potato gems for this recipe because they cook quickly and just need to be cut in half.


More picnic salad recipes

Looking for more side salads to round out your menu? These are some of our favorites!

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Old Fashioned German Potato Salad

Old Fashioned German Potato Salad is dressed with a dijon vinegar dressing and can be served either hot or cold.

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Old Fashioned German Potato Salad is dressed with a dijon vinegar dressing and can be served either hot or cold.

German Potato Salad is a traditional potato side dish originating in Southern Germany. In Northern Germany, the dish is different and more similar to an American style potato salad with mayonnaise. Generally, German Potato Salad refers to this Southern style dish.


German Potato Salad

Unlike the cold, creamy mayo-dressed picnic staple, German potato salad is served warm with a bacon vinaigrette. I repeat, bacon vinaigrette.

It you've never made a dressing with bacon fat, you're in for a treat. First cook some bacon, then pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Sauté a red onion (or shallot) in the fat, then add apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar also works!), water, olive oil, and a little bit of granulated sugar to the skillet and whisk it all together. Throw in some green onions then toss it with the potatoes and cooked bacon.

Test Kitchen Tip: For this recipe, we used baby Yukon golds, but any waxy variety will hold its shape after being cooked and tossed and therefore will work.

Have you made this dish? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.

Editor's Note: The introduction of this recipe was updated on June 30, 2020 to provide more information.


How to Make German Potato Salad – Step by Step Instructions

If you want to make this creamy German potato salad, you can find the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For those who are visual learners and want to see the potato salad recipe process photos, you can find those photos below.

To start, peel the boiled potatoes and thee hard-boiled eggs. If you don’t have any boiled potatoes and eggs on hand yet – make those first.

Simply add four raw eggs to a small pot, add enough water so that the eggs are covered and bring the water to a boil on the stove.

Let the eggs boil for around 10 minutes, then remove the pot from the stove, drain the water and immediately add very cold water to the pot to “shock” the eggs.

For the potatoes, place them into a medium-large pot and add enough water so that they are fully covered.

Add a pinch of salt, bring the water to a boil, and boil the potatoes for around 20-25 minutes until tender. Poke them with a fork to see if they are done – if the fork slides in easily, your potatoes are fully cooked.

Once the potatoes are boiled and peeled, cut them into small cubes and place these into a large mixing bowl.

To the mixing bowl, add the German meat salad (Fleischsalat). It’s quite easy to make your own at home.

However, if you don’t feel like doing so, you can simply add a little bit more mayo, a few more baby dill pickles, and a bit of fried bacon or cut up ham.

Now cut the peeled eggs into small cubes. Remeber to save one egg for decoration later.

Also cut the baby dill pickles and place the in the mixing bowl with the potatoes and meat salad.

Give everything a stir, then prepare the dressing.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, pickle juice, mustard, salat, and pepper.

Whisk everything together, then pour it over the potato mixture and stir well.

Taste the potato salad and add more salt/pepper and/or mayo to taste.

Now cover the bowl with a lid or some cling film and place it in the fridge for at least two hours.

Before serving you can garnish the salad with the last hard-boiled egg (cut it into quarters) and sprinkle some chopped parsley and/or paprika on top.


What to serve with German Potato Salad

  • The type of potato makes all the difference! I recommend using Yukon Gold potatoes, Yellow Potatoes, Charlotte, or New Red potatoes because of their waxy flesh and firm texture. Don’t use starchy potatoes like russet!
  • Potato salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. The salad should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours for food safety reasons.
  • The potatoes are cooked unpeeled and are peeled while they’re still hot because this way the potatoes will better soak up the salad dressing.
  • The vinegar gives the salad its authentic taste, don’t use apple cider or balsamic vinegar!
  • Sprinkle the salad with chopped chives or parsley before serving but don’t use more than 2 Tbsp. The potatoes should be the star of the dish!
  • There are many variations of potato salad throughout Germany and each region makes it a bit differently. Some are made without bacon, some are made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, but this is the version I grew up with in Bavaria.

  • Salt that water (or use broth). If you want your potato salad to have flavor, make sure you use plenty of salt in your potato water. After cooking, if you find your potatoes still aren’t flavored enough, sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt and gently toss to combine before adding the other ingredients.
  • Don’t overcook the potatoes. You want them to be fork tender only. If you overcook the potatoes they will become mushy and difficult to toss in the dressing.
  • Cook the bacon until it is crispy. Especially if you are using a thick-cut variety, you want to get that bacon nice and crisp.
  • Use red potatoes or Yukon Gold. As mentioned above, waxy potatoes are the best choice for potato salad.

You can either cook the bacon in whole strips and crumble it over the potato salad before serving or cut it up first and cook it with the onion. Either way, you want to cook the onion in the bacon grease so it absorbs that delicious flavor.

It really just comes down to personal preference. We prefer German potato salad to be on the warm to hot side, but it still tastes great cold.

YES! In fact, a lot of people like making it a full day ahead of time because the flavors have a chance to infuse the potatoes overnight. I actually think it tastes BETTER the next day, but that’s just me. You can re-heat it in the microwave or serve it cold.

Yes, if you make the recipe as written below, it is a gluten-free side dish.

Yes, technically it *can* be made without bacon but the flavor won’t be the same (or as good). You can make this without bacon by simply omitting the bacon and cooking the onions in canola oil.


Serve the salad hot, warm, or chilled. It's a perfect side dish for grilled sausages (a classic pairing!), or any of your standard cookout fare, like burgers, steak, or hot dogs.