German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Have you ever had a really good homemade German Potato Salad? Even if you haven’t, you might have seen it at the store, maybe at the deli, and possibly depending on where you live, in a can!  If you’ve tried any of those products (no offense to whoever is making them) you might not really “get” what German Potato Salad is. It really has to be homemade to be good.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad is a potato salad like none other. It’s tender chunks of potatoes coated with a gorgeous vinaigrette. It’s just a little tart from the vinegar, rich with bacon and absolutely delicious. It’s a mind-blowing combination of flavors that’s gonna induce cravings. Seriously, after you taste this, you’re gonna want it all the time. I mean, how could you not with these ingredients?

About German Potato Salad:

I remember my Mom making German Potato Salad now and then; her Mom was Irish but her Dad was 1st generation German, but it wasn’t really a regular thing in our house. I imagine my little Irish Grandma (she was 4′ 10″) tried to pick up recipes that my Grandpa Herman would like; that must have been hard on her, back in the day, because out of the seven boys in my Grandpa’s family, I think he’s the only one who took a bride that wasn’t descended from someone of German ancestry, or at least from a country that was close by Germany.

Even so, I paid pretty close attention when Mom did make it (I usually did if I loved something) and sampled it whenever I could, church suppers, potlucks, etc. I think it fell out of fashion though, in the years all of America seemed to become fat phobic! And when I’ve made German Potato Salad, I never used an actual recipe, just cobbled it together from memory, but all that changes this year. I want something more formal to pass on to my kids and to pass on to you.

One thing about German Potato Salad, besides that it’s pretty quick to make, it doesn’t have to be chilled, so it’s kind of a cheat when getting dinner on the table. It also doesn’t have as many food safety issues if you’re toting it to a picnic or potluck or maybe a tailgate as some of the mayo potato salads do. It’s fabulous warm, fantastic at room temperature even good cold from the fridge, although that last might just be me! And speaking of tailgates, especially here in the Midwest where we serve so many things like brats and dogs…this salad is the perfect accompaniment! Yeah, impress all your buds with this. They’ll be clamoring for it every time.


Making German Potato Salad:

The recipe is super easy; really the key point is one I picked up from my Mom and recently saw in a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for potato salad, too. Sprinkle the potatoes while still warm with the vinegar. They pick that bit of flavor up and for such a simple little touch, it makes such a difference in the finished recipe.

There are a lot of recipes for German Potato Salad that call for flour; I think you’ll find it unnecessary after you taste this. Just keep it simple, keep it fresh and it’s going to be a gorgeous thing. Other recipes use a little celery; I think it’s good with the celery, too, just add a stalk, finely diced and cook it right up with the onions. I do sometimes, sometimes I don’t. It depends on if I happen to see the celery in the fridge and the mood strikes. It gives a nice little texture.

You can peel your potatoes or not. I like them peeled for the best flavor because every surface absorbs a little of that dressing, but if I’m in a hurry, I won’t bother. It’s seriously good ether way. If I’m using little baby reds, I don’t peel, either; I’ll just give them a cut or two. Do use red potatoes. They’re waxier and that helps them from sucking up all the vinaigrette so a good coating stays on the outside and it’ doesn’t get dry. Today, I didn’t happen to have any and used russets. They’ll do in a pinch but they’re not ideal.

Saving Money on German Potato Salad:

The only pricey item in this recipe is the bacon – do watch for sales, especially during holiday weeks (and we have so many in the summer), stock up and freeze. Potatoes are never usually expensive but if you have a cool place to store pick them up on sale – but don’t store potatoes and onions together

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 3/4 pounds red or waxy potatoes peeled or in their jackets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 or 5 slices bacon, in 1/2 inch dice (stack & cut through)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons oil (if needed)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the salt)
  • good pinch of sugar
  • parsley or green onion for garnish

Cook potatoes in salted simmering water, about 15 minutes until just tender; don’t overcook. Drain and add to a large bowl in two or three layers, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper and a little vinegar. You’ll use and a total of two of the tablespoons vinegar on the potatoes; the remainder will go in the vinaigrette.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette:

In a saute pan, cook bacon until brown & crisp and remove. If the bacon was lean, add the optional oil. You’ll want about three tablespoons of drippings/oil in the pan. Add onion to the pan and cook until the onion is golden brown and softened.

Add the beef broth, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the remaining two tablespoons vinegar and reserved bacon, taste for salt and pepper, and add a good pinch of sugar.

Drizzle vinaigrette over potatoes and gently toss. Garnish with parsley or green onion. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 128
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 8 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 4 mg 1 %
Sodium 172 mg 7 %
Potassium 511 mg 15 %
Total Carbohydrate 15 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g 7 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 3 g 7 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 15 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 4 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


I’ll be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Warm or room temp, German Potato Salad with its bacony vinaigrette is such a fantastic play of flavors! Bring it tailgating or to a potluck! #GermanPotatoSalad #WarmGermanPotatoSalad #GermanPotatoes #WarmPotatoSalad

48 thoughts on “German Potato Salad

    • Hi, and thanks! It’s been so much fun to hear about the differences in the potato salads in the regions of Germany and that has led me to surmise how our regular old mayo based/pickle relish tomato salad came to be, too.

  1. This is my favourite variant of potato salad also (though always with added chopped gherkins and their pickling fluid instead of vinegar). I have to say that there are lots of different variants of German Potato Salad, though! In my region, it’s normally made with onions, gherkins, cubed bologna and mayonnaise. (I find it completely unattractive). Often, tinned peas are added. (They don’t make it better.) Other regions use only gherkins and mayo. My grandmother’s place of origin, on the other hand, does potato salad with broth, vinegar and chives. In general, Northern Germany seems to love ladling on mayo, while Southern Germany prefers vinegar. But Austria, even further south, apparenty uses mayo again.

  2. No wonder my potatoes are always sprouting! I store them next to the onions, oops! But then I can toss them in the garden and get more potatoes 🤔 I’d better make this today before all my potatoes start sprouting!

    • Sorry, Angie – I missed your comment on my German Potato Salad – a potato was what hooked me on gardening. We were instructed to bring one to school, we cut them up and grew them in styrofoam cups and got to bring them home to plant on the last day of school. When I dug them up they were the best potato I ever had and there must have been like 40 small baby potatoes. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Potato Salad | The Pantry Portfolio

  4. Well, homemade is always the best! I love the addition of beef broth! This potato salad sounds fantastic! Thanks for bringing another lovely dish at this week’s FF party!

    • Oh, I think it’s a must make but it is funny that I haven’t made it for so long…I think it really went out of fashion during all the low fat years! I’m pretty sure the reason I stopped making it was the bacon fat…

  5. Oh my lanta, this looks so yummmm. I didn’t know there was such thing as German potato salad (I always just knew the traditional time!). This looks super scrumptious. I bet this would be a perfect side for the 4th coming up!

  6. Hi Mollie– looks great! I made German potato salad 40 years ago!! But who knows where the recipe is now??. So thanks for the reminder. Our daughter’s getting married in Wisconsin in August– and afterward we’re having a Beer & Brats party here for friends/family who couldn’t make it back to the wedding– so they can all meet John. Anyway, wouldn’t this be a good side dish with brats?? We want it to be Wisconsin-ish. Always find great recipes on your blog– thanks friend! xo

    • I just worked my way down the list of comments and just said it would be great with brats, lol!! Great minds think alike, haha? Wisconsinites can be a little picky about their traditional German influenced foods, but this would be absolutely spot on! 🙂

      When I do brats, I do them with onions, too. I like to prick the brats about 7 or 8 times with a fork then simmer them in beer, then grill. 🙂

    • After seeing some of the comments here, I realized my Mom’s potato salad (mayo)and my Grandma’s (bacon and drippings) and mine (olive oil& vinegar) only begin to scratch the surface!

      But I do love this, so thanks! 🙂

  7. As a German by birth how can I not like German potato salad? I do, of course. But to get bacon here is impossible, so I have to cheat and use chicken “frankfurters”, which I can find in our Hypermarket. But to have this from a shop/deli – impossible. You are of course aware of the fact that nearly every German family has their own recipe?😁 Thanks for posting this. Made me hungry.

    • Oh my gosh, chicken frankfurters – is that a sin? lol! Well this is based off the GPS (German Potato Salad) I had as a kid (my grandpa was German, 1st generation American and so was pretty much the whole town he lived in – all of 200 people) – but I picked up the little hint of shaking vinegar on the warm potatoes and using broth instead of water from a tv show, lol!! 🙂 Don’t tell my Grandma! 🙂

      Oh, and this is one I had to keep making so I could write down the recipe – I have a bad habit of never measuring our old recipes, just a bit of this, a smidge of that…and the phrase that I use that my daughter hates the most? Just a titch…

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