This authentic German potato salad recipe has a rustic homemade taste and texture that makes it a great side dish for any summer BBQ or special occasion.
I make potato salad all the time. My grandmother had a great recipe that she served on Thanksgiving and it is scrumptious. But sometimes I am not in the mood for a cold potato salad.
At times like this, a warm classic German Potato salad fits the bill. It is just delicious – so full of flavor and hearty, and none of the mayo that goes along with normal potato salads.
Difference between German Potato Salad and American Potato Salad
An American potato salad is creamy and slightly sweet. It is mayonnaise based and quite calorie laden. A German potato salad has a dressing made from bacon drippings, and vinegar and is often combined with sweet pickles to give it a tangy and sweet flavor.
Making this German Potato Salad
Authentic German recipes are hearty. They are usually full of meat and brimming with flavor in every bite and definitely fit the description of home made.
A true German potato salad is both sweet and sour, spicy, savory, rich, hearty, and warm. This potato salad combines waxy potatoes with bacon, onions, sweet pickles and mustard for a great flavor profile that replicates the authentic recipe from Germany.
Waxy potatoes like Yukon gold potatoes, red bliss, or red skin potatoes work especially well in this recipe but if you don’t have them any firm potato will do.
I like to make my chunks of potato quite large (about 1″ in size). You can make them smaller, of course, but the salad can get a bit mushy, so take care on the size.
I have found that if I do this, the dressing will to stick to each bite of the potato for a lovely texture not be in some mushy mixture.
Cook the potatoes with just enough water to cover them. Don’t over cook them. I brought my water to a boil and then cooked the potatoes for just about 10 minutes until I could just pierce them with a fork.
Recycled potato water gives nourishment to plants in the garden in the form of potato starch. This only works with unsalted water but is a good source of plant food. Find out how to use potato water in the garden here.
On the other hand, I chopped my onions fairly small. You want the flavor of onions to compliment the bacon, potatoes and dressing, not over power it.
Cook the bacon in a hot pan until it is browned and crispy – about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and allow the fat to drain away. This helps to keep the calories lower.
When you drain the bacon fat out of the pan, be sure to keep 2 1/2 tbsp of it to cook the chopped onion in. This will give the onions a delightful bacon flavor and you won’t need to add any other fat or vegetable oil.
Making the dressing for the Authentic German Potato Salad Recipe
The dressing is so much lighter than one that you will find in a normal potato salad. It has no mayonnaise but gets its flavor from sauces, fresh herbs and spices that are used in it.
Add the wine vinegar, water, mustard, sugar, chives, salt and fresh ground pepper into the saucepan with the onions and whisk them all together. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until mixture is reduced to about 2/3 cup.
Crumble half of the bacon into the pan, along with the potatoes. Try to separate the slices so that dressing gets on each piece of potato. Mix in the sweet pickle, and chopped green onion.
Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the top, garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve warm. DELICIOUS!
With a salad that has bacon drippings as an ingredient in the dressing, how can you go wrong? This really is one of the best German potato salad recipes that I have ever eaten. Seriously. As in really good!
Each bite of this authentic hot German potato salad is brimming with the tangy, sweet flavor of vinegar and pickles. Bacon gives it a smokey taste with a warm burst of flavor, and the fresh herbs compliment the whole thing beautifully.
Bring this old fashioned German potato salad with pickles to your next pot luck and watch it disappear. It’s always a favorite of my friends when I take it along as a side dish
Would you like a reminder of this recipe? Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest cooking boards so that you can easily find it later.
This recipe is surprisingly light for a potato salad. It has only 148 calories per serving and is fairly light in fat too, with only 2.6 total grams of fat. It is also gluten free.
Like German cooking? Try The German Cookbook: A guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking from Amazon.com. (affiliate link.)
For another warm potato salad, check out this recipe for Tuscan Potato salad as well.
Admin note: This recipe first appeared on my blog in May of 2014. I have updated the post to add more photos, additional instructions, nutritional information and also added a video for your enjoyment.
- 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
- 1/4 cup of diced sweet pickle
- 4 (or more) slices bacon
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp coarse mustard
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Place the potatoes into a saucepan, and fill with enough salted water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside.
- Sauté the bacon in a hot pan until browned and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Keep 2 1/2 tbsp of the bacon fat and add the chopped onion to the pan, and cook over medium heat until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the wine vinegar, water, mustard, sugar, chives, salt and fresh ground pepper to the onions. Whisk the ingredients together. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until mixture is reduced to about 2/3 cup.
- Crumble in half of the bacon along with the cooked potatoes. Try to separate the slices so that dressing gets on each piece of potato.
- Mix in the sweet pickle, and chopped green onion.
- Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve warm. DELICIOUS!
Nutritional information is approximate and depends on the brands of ingredients that you use in your version.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147.9Total Fat: 2.6gSaturated Fat: 1.1gUnsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 904.5mgCarbohydrates: 27.7gFiber: 3gSugar: 9.2gProtein: 4.0g
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."