The Best German Potato Salad Recipe (An Easy Side Dish Everyone Loves)

Make a delicious dressing based on bacon, and then toss potatoes right in the skillet. What’s not to love? This German potato salad recipe is the perfect combination of salt and tangy, with a touch of honey to balance things out.

One key tip: don’t overcook your potatoes. Keeping them just right preserves the perfect texture for absorbing the delicious, tangy dressing. When you need a recipe using potatoes that doesn’t feel like the same old, same old, turn to this one.

German Potato Salad

This recipe blends the heartiness of red potatoes and bacon with a tangy mustard-vinegar dressing, offering a robust side dish that's ideal for any occasion.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Serving Size 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt divided
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onion about one medium onion
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 large cloves garlic grated
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions 

  • Prep and cook the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes well and add to a large pot along with 1 teaspoon of the salt and enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once tender, immediately drain the potatoes into a colander and let rest until cool enough to handle, around 5 minutes.
    Raw small red potatoes arranged in a cream-colored pot with a blue and white striped cloth underneath, accompanied by cloves of garlic.
  • Cook the bacon. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the salad dressing: heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the pieces are browned and lightly crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the bacon to a small plate, reserving the bacon fat in the pan for the salad dressing.
    Cooked bacon pieces in a cast iron skillet, with accumulated fat and a wooden spatula.
  • Make the dressing. Add the sliced red onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chicken broth, vinegar, both mustards, honey, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pan and whisk until well combined. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and reduce for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the grated garlic and black pepper, then turn off the heat.
    Two images side by side; on the left, red onions sautéed in a skillet, and on the right, the onions mixed with a mustard dressing.
  • Add the potatoes and combine. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Add them to the skillet along with the cooked bacon and sliced scallions, then immediately toss everything gently to combine. Taste and add salt if desired. Garnish with parsley.
    A black cast iron skillet showing the progression of making potato salad, with caramelized onions on one side and raw sliced potatoes and chopped green onions on the other side.

Notes

You want to have about two tablespoons of fat left in the pan after cooking and setting aside the bacon pieces. If your bacon rendered off less than this, simply add a splash of olive or vegetable oil to the pan before continuing. 
Be careful not to overcook your potatoes. You will want to strain them as soon as you can easily put a fork in the largest one. If the potatoes are overcooked, the dish might look more like mashed potatoes than potato salad (but still delicious!)
The potatoes will stay warm for quite a while after cooking, so it’s best to wait until your sauce is fully prepared before slicing the potatoes. That way, the potatoes are still a bit warm and will be better able to absorb the dressing.
When reducing the dressing, you want it to be thick enough that your spatula leaves an empty trace on the bottom of the pan when you drag it through the sauce. The hot potatoes will absorb most of the sauce (which is what we want!), but there should still be enough loose sauce to coat the outside of the potatoes. If the potato salad looks a bit dry after it’s been mixed together, simply add a splash of chicken broth or olive oil to loosen things up a bit.
If you’re bringing this Hot German Potato Salad to an event or potluck, keep a little bit of the bacon, scallions, and parsley set aside to use as a garnish when serving.
Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1426mg | Potassium: 1331mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

Every time I make this Hot German Potato Salad, it’s like a mini celebration at our table. It’s one of those recipes that everyone in my family agrees on, which is a rare victory given how different our tastes can be. The blend of tangy mustard and savory bacon wrapped around tender potatoes—well, it just brings everyone together. This dish has turned into our go-to for picnics and potlucks, and it never fails to earn compliments.

Serving Suggestions

We love to serve this with an authentic German dish like beef rouladen. Or for an easy summer dinner, with grilled bratwurst, cucumber salad, and rye bread.

Give it a try—I bet it’ll become a favorite in your house, too!

Potato Salad Tips

  • Choose the Right Potatoes: While the recipe suggests small red potatoes, the key is consistency in size so they cook evenly. Opt for potatoes that are approximately the same size to avoid some being overcooked while others are just right.
  • Perfect Bacon Crispiness: For bacon that is perfectly crispy without being overly hard, consider oven-baking it instead of frying. Lay the bacon slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F until they’re just crispy enough. This method allows for even cooking and easy fat management.
  • Balance the Dressing: The flavor of the dressing can make or break this salad. If the apple cider vinegar’s tanginess is too strong for your taste, balance it with a bit more honey, or if it’s too sweet, a little extra mustard. Adjusting these components slightly can help you tailor the salad to your taste.
  • Dressing Absorption: For the potatoes to absorb more dressing and flavor, try slicing them while they’re still warm. Warm potatoes are more porous and can soak up the dressing better, enhancing the overall flavor of the salad.

Key Ingredients and Tools

Here are a few tools and ingredients that play a key role in making this potato salad stand out.

All ingredients for the Hot German Potato Salad recipe neatly arranged on a countertop, including diced bacon, red potatoes, red onion, green onions, garlic, and jars of mustard and apple cider vinegar.
  • Large skillet. A good quality skillet is crucial for frying the bacon and sautéing the onions, ensuring even cooking and perfect texture.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This gives the salad its signature tangy flavor. Found in the condiment aisle, it’s milder than white vinegar but sharper than balsamic, making it a perfect middle ground for dressings.
  • Dijon mustard. Essential for the depth of flavor in the dressing, Dijon mustard is smoother and less vinegary than yellow mustard, adding a sophisticated touch. It’s usually located in the condiment aisle alongside other mustards.
  • Colander. After boiling, the potatoes need to be drained quickly and efficiently to stop the cooking process and keep them firm. A sturdy colander is perfect for this task.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! Making it a day ahead can actually enhance the flavors as the potatoes have more time to soak up the dressing. Just give it a quick stir before serving, and you’re good to go.

What if I don’t have apple cider vinegar?

No worries! You can substitute it with red wine vinegar for a similar tangy flavor. It’ll still taste great.

Is there a vegetarian option for this salad?

Yes, you can leave out the bacon and add a bit more salt or a splash of smoked paprika for that smoky flavor. Use a vegetable broth in place of chicken broth to keep it vegetarian.

Can I use another type of potato if I don’t have small red ones?

Sure thing! Yukon Gold potatoes are a great substitute as they hold up well in salads and have a similar texture. Just try to avoid Russet potatoes, as they can get too mushy.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or need more tips on making this recipe just right!

Storing Leftovers

Storing this is pretty straightforward. Here’s how you can keep it fresh:

Refrigerator: You can store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Before serving again, you might want to give it a quick stir or even a brief warm-up in the microwave or on the stove to revive the flavors and textures.

Freezing: I wouldn’t recommend freezing this potato salad. Potatoes can become grainy and watery once thawed, which would compromise the texture and overall quality of the salad. The dressing may also separate, making it less appealing when reheated.

Just keep it in the fridge and enjoy the leftovers while they’re fresh for the best taste and texture!

Remember, the key to a great potato salad is not overcooking the potatoes and getting the dressing just right. Have fun cooking, and don’t hesitate to put your own twist on it.

Hot German Potato Salad freshly tossed in a black cast iron skillet, garnished with green onions and parsley.
The Best German Potato Salad Recipe (An Easy Side  Dish Everyone Loves)
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