This traditional Warm German Potato Salad Recipe is made with tender potatoes, crispy bacon, cooked onions, and tangy mustard vinaigrette. Just as comforting as creamy, mayo-based versions, everyone will love this delicious German Potato Salad at your next picnic, potluck, family bbq!
What is German Potato Salad
It is widely believed that the potato salad originated in Germany and later spread throughout Europe and the European colonies. Unlike the creamy, mayo-based potato salad we are familiar with here in the US, the German potato salad (at least this version of it) is made by combining boiled potatoes with bacon and bacon grease, onions, a zesty vinaigrette. Most often served warm, enjoy this humble potato recipe as a side dish with your favorite chicken, pork chops, or steak, or share it with friends at your next picnic or potluck.
Ingredients in Warm German Potato Salad
First, we need a few ingredients.
- Thick-Cut Bacon
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- White Vinegar
- Brown Mustard
- Granulated Sugar
- Fresh Parsley
Looking for the total amount of each ingredient? Simply scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
A few frequently asked questions regarding the ingredients:
1. Which potatoes should you use?
Waxy potatoes are best whenever you’re making a potato salad (whether it be this German version or the classic American version). I used Yukon gold potatoes, but feel free to use small red potatoes, as well.
2. Do I have to peel my potatoes?
No, you do not have to peel your potatoes. I did peel my potatoes. Not because I don’t care for the skin (quite the opposite) – but more because I seem to recall from my time living in Germany and traveling through Europe that potatoes are typically boiled and then peeled. It was rare to see potatoes with their peels on.
3. Why did I add two different kinds of vinegar?
You’ll notice that I made the vinaigrette with both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. Why not just one type? Well, white vinegar is stronger than apple cider vinegar. I didn’t want the white vinegar to overpower the dish, but at the same time, I wanted a strong, tangy, vinegar taste. What happens when I can’t choose? I’ll usually add both.
How to Make German Potato Salad
Get started by transferring your potatoes to a large pot. Fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until you are just able to pierce them with a fork. If you start to see that they’re crumbling apart, they’re probably overcooked and you’ll want to drain right away.
Very carefully transfer potatoes to a clean paper towel, baking sheet, or kitchen towel to cool.
As the potatoes are boiling, chop up your bacon and add to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally, until the bacon pieces are golden. Remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve approximately 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease.
By now, the bacon should be cooked and the potatoes should be cool enough (though still warm) to handle. Gently peel each potato using your fingers or a paring knife. Of course, if you prefer to leave the skin on, that’s perfectly fine too.
Chop your potatoes into small, equal-sized cubes or slices (the shape is entirely up to you!)
Return your skillet with the bacon grease back to medium-high heat. Add the minced onion and cook until softened. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. As your onions are cooking, whisk together your vinaigrette- the apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, water, coarse brown mustard, and granulated sugar.
Finally, add the bacon back to the skillet and add the vinegar mixture. Mix until just heated then add the potatoes and parsley. Mix thoroughly, though gently, to combine.
Can This Be Made Ahead?
If you plan to serve your German potato salad warm, then I wouldn’t prepare anything (except for maybe the bacon) ahead of time. The problem is that the potatoes, once peeled, mixed, and chilled, tend to stick together (kind of like pasta noodles) and don’t typically hold their shape when remixed after reheating.
With that said, this salad is absolutely delicious leftover – warm or cold – it just may not look as pretty. If that doesn’t matter to you, give it a try making it ahead. You may also want to make extra vinaigrette to drizzle over your salad just before serving as the potatoes will probably absorb all the liquid as it rests.
How long will leftovers last in the refrigerator?
Leftovers, when stored properly in the refrigerator, last for approximately 4 days. The potatoes will absorb all of the vinaigrette so consider making a little extra if your potatoes seem dry.
What to serve with German Potato Salad
As you may imagine, this German potato salad is best served with a side of sausage, brown mustard, and an ice-cold beer!
More Delicious Side Dishes,
If you try making this WarmGerman Potato Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Warm German Potato Salad Recipe
- 4 pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes - (or red potatoes)
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon - chopped into small 1/2-inch pieces (see notes)
- 2 medium yellow onions - minced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp coarse brown mustard - (not yellow mustard)
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley - minced (plus more for serving)
- salt and pepper - to season
- Transfer the potatoes to a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until you are just able to pierce them with a fork (try not to overcook your potatoes). Drain and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, as the potatoes boil, cook the bacon. Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon pieces are golden, remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve approximately 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle - but still warm - gently peel. You can do this using your hands (the skin should rub and peel right off), or use a small paring knife. You may also leave the skin on if preferred. Chop the potatoes into small, equal-sized cubes or slices.
- Return the skillet with the bacon grease to medium-high heat. Add the minced onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes, or until onions are softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- As the onion is cooking whisk together the apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, water, coarse brown mustard, and granulated sugar in a small bowl.
- Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the bacon back to the skillet and add the vinegar mixture, mixing well to combine. Once heated, add the potatoes and parsley and gently mix well to combine. Garnish with additional parsley, to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
- You may also cook your bacon in the oven. If you do this, be sure to reserve 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease to cook your onions.
- Potato salad works best using waxy potatoes such as Yukon gold or red potatoes.
- You may substitute dill or chives in place of the parsley, if desired.
- Keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best results, cover a microwave safe dish with a damp paper towel and rreheat in the microwave.
- This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)