German Potato Salad

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Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that’s perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Best Ever German Potato Salad

Backyard barbecues, potlucks, picnics, graduation parties, and summertime events are the perfect reason to make a big batch of potato salad. 

Hot German potato salad a cinch to make, comes together very easily, and is done in about 30 minutes. The longest part will be waiting for the potatoes to boil and then all you need to do is whisk together the dressing, drizzle, toss, and serve.

I like knowing that this potato salad is mayo-free so that in the warmer months there’s not as much to worry about when it may be left out in the heat. Additionally, there are some people who just don’t love mayo, and this potato salad may be right up their alley!

What Is German Potato Salad?

German potato salad is a family-favorite side dish made with buttery and tender red potatoes, bacon, and onions tossed in a tangy vinegar- and mustard-based dressing.

Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Ingredients in Warm German Potato Salad

My family’s German red potato salad uses commonly found ingredients that you may likely have on hand in your pantry and fridge. 

Potato salad:

  • Red potatoes — The closest potatoes to the real German ones used for this salad, but Yukon Gold, Charlotte or yellow potatoes are fine. Do not use russet or white potatoes because they’re too starchy.
  • Parsley — Gives the dish some nice color and extra flavor.
  • Bacon, cooked — Optional but highly recommended (forgot to include it in the photo).
Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

German potato salad dressing:

  • Red onion — However, you can use any type of onion (or omit if you have good reason to such as an allergy).
  • Garlic — For flavor.
  • Beef stock or broth
  • White wine vinegar — Do not use apple cider vinegar if you want this to be authentic. You can use white vinegar instead.
  • Dijon mustard — Or German mustard.
  • Granulated sugar — Optional, but helps balance the vinegar.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil — Any oil can theoretically be used but I really find that this is the best and obvious choice.
Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

How to Make German Potato Salad 

Making a vinegar-based potato salad like this German version is quick and easy. Here are the basic recipe steps:

  1. Boil the potatoes: Begin by cutting the potatoes in halves and placing them in a kettle or pot. Cover them with water and boil over medium heat until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  
  2. Slice the potatoes: Remove the potatoes from the water and slice into bite-sized pieces. You can peel them potatoes or leave the skins on. Place the potatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Make the German vinegar potato salad dressing: To a separate medium bowl, whisk together the onion, garlic, beef stock, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  4. Assemble the potato salad: Evenly drizzle this dressing over the warm potatoes and then add optional parsley. Add in cooked bacon, stir to combine, and get ready to dig in!
Warm German Potato Salad — A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

German Potato Salad FAQs

What are the Best Potatoes for German Potato Salad?

For my German-style potato salad, I use red potatoes because they’re the closest potatoes to real German potatoes that are traditionally used in this potato salad. Yukon gold or yellow potatoes are acceptable substitutes. Do not use russet or white potatoes because they are too starchy.

Should you peel potatoes for potato salad?

Although you can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on, I opt for leaving the skins on for the pop of red color. Plus, the skins of red potatoes are thinner that other types of starchier potatoes. Additionally, after being boiled I find them to be ultra tender and I typically don’t love potato skins.

What Type of Mustard Goes into German potato salad?

In this summer potluck staple potato salad, opt for Dijon mustard. This is the perfect time to crack open the Gray Poupon. Or you may be able to find German mustard, which is also fine.

Do not use regular yellow mustard, an overly grainy brown mustard, honey mustard, or any other mustards you may have in your fridge.

Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar Instead of White?

No, do not use apple cider vinegar. Only white wine vinegar or regular white vinegar are recommended for this tangy-flavored potato salad.

Is German potato salad served warm or cold?

We prefer serving this as a warm German potato salad, but you may serve it chilled or at room temperature as well. 

Can German potato salad be made without bacon?

We prefer making this warm German potato salad with bacon, but you may omit it if desired. You may also substitute the traditional pork bacon with your bacon of choice (i.e. turkey or another kind). 

Can German potato salad be made ahead of time?

Definitely! Vinegar-based potato salads taste even better the next day because the potatoes soak up all that flavor! If prepping this recipe to serve later, you can gently reheat it in the microwave before serving to guests. 

How long does German potato salad last?

Potato salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be gently rewarmed before serving if desired.

Tips for the Best German Potato Salad

When you’re boiling the potatoes, make sure not to overcook them. You don’t want them to fall apart!

Make sure to add the mustard and vinegar dressing to the potatoes when they are still warm so they better absorb all of that tangy goodness.

You can wait to add the cooked bacon bits until right before serving so it stays nice and crisp. It’s a wonderful contrast against the buttery soft and tender potatoes.

To save time, you can use precooked bacon from your grocery store’s refrigerated case that you simply need to zap in the microwave for a minute or two and dice into pieces.

You can of course make bacon the traditional way while the potatoes boil. If you are and want extra bacon flavor in your German potato salad, use two tablespoons of bacon grease rather than the olive oil called for.

What to Serve with German Potato Salad

Serve this warm German potato salad as a side at your next potluck, barbecue, family gathering, or picnic! It pairs well with the following:

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Yield: 6

Warm German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad - A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

A classic potato salad made with tender red potatoes, bacon, onions, and a tangy dressing! This no-mayo potato salad is a family favorite side dish that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup beef stock or broth
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar (white vinegar may be susbtituted)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped; optional but recommended

Instructions

    1. Halve the potatoes, add them to a large kettle or pot, cover with water by at least 2 inches, and boil over medium to medium-high heat until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook; you don’t want them to fall apart.
    2. Remove the potatoes from the water and dice them into bite-sized pieces. You can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on. I personally think the salad has better visual appeal with the skins on; set aside.
    3. To a small bowl, add the onion, garlic, beef stock or broth, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, and whisk to combine.
    4. Evenly drizzle the dressing over the warm potatoes, sprinkle with parsley, and gently toss to combine.
    5. Add the bacon pieces before serving* (See Notes).

Notes

*Bacon:To save time, you can use precooked bacon from your grocer’s refrigerated case that you simply need to zap in the microwave for a minute or two and dice into pieces.

You can of course make bacon the traditional way while the potatoes boil. If you are and want extra bacon flavor in your German potato salad, use two tablespoons of bacon grease rather than the olive oil called for in the dressing.

Storage: Potato salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be gently rewarmed before serving if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 525mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g

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Comments

  1. As a German I just wanted to say Appel cider vinegar is all I’ve been taught to use for potato salad. My grandma thought me how to make it.

    1. Great tip and info! I’m sure it’s fine – vinegar in that quantity 1/3 cup to the 2 lbs of potatoes isn’t ‘that’ much and I am sure that most any vinegar will do the trick.