This German potato salad is boiled baby potatoes tossed in a warm bacon and mustard dressing, then garnished with fresh herbs. A unique, mayonnaise free salad that’s great for parties and potlucks.
I love to serve a variety of salads during the warmer weather months, including black bean salad, cauliflower salad, and this vinegar based German potato salad. This salad pairs well with grilled meat and seafood and always gets rave reviews.
Potato salad is a summer staple, but in my opinion, the mayonnaise laden version can be a bit heavy at times. This German potato salad has a savory mustard and vinegar dressing, with plenty of bacon and herbs for added flavor.
What is German potato salad?
German potato salad differs from the traditional American style salad in that the potatoes are dressed in a warm mixture of vinegar, sugar, mustard and bacon grease. There is also bacon in the actual salad. American potato salad involves a mayonnaise based dressing and often contains ingredients such as celery, pickles and eggs.
How do you make German potato salad?
Start by boiling two pounds of baby red potatoes. After the potatoes are cooked, cut them in half or in quarters. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the rest of the salad. Saute bacon in a pan until it’s crispy, then remove the bacon from the pan. Make the dressing by whisking mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper into the warm bacon grease. Pour the warm dressing over the potatoes, then toss to coat. Stir in the bacon along with fresh herbs, then serve immediately.
The best potatoes for potato salad
I prefer to use a waxy potato for this recipe as this variety of potato will hold its shape and not get mushy when tossed with the other ingredients. I prefer to use baby red potatoes as they hold together the best and also look the most elegant. You can also use larger red potatoes cut into cubes if you prefer. If you don’t have red potatoes on hand, Yukon Gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes are also great choices.
Tips for the perfect salad
- Boil the potatoes in heavily salted water so that they get seasoned as they cook.
- This salad is best served immediately, but you can also serve it at room temperature. I don’t recommend serving it cold as the dressing can congeal.
- If you don’t have enough bacon grease to get to 1/4 cup, you can add a little olive oil to the pan.
- You can use smooth or grainy Dijon mustard, whichever you have on hand. I tend to use grainy mustard because I like the added texture of the mustard seeds.
- If you have any leftovers, you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat the salad before serving in the microwave, or on the stove over low heat.
This salad is delicious as-is, but you can add other flavorings to the mix to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: Add diced grilled chicken or hard boiled eggs to turn this side dish into a main course. You can also use a different cured pork product such as diced ham or Italian pancetta instead of the bacon.
- Vegetables: While veggies are not a classic addition to this salad, sometimes I do add them for flavor and color. Some good options include cucumbers, baby spinach leaves, roasted red bell peppers or sauteed onions.
- Low Carb: Looking to save on some carbs? Try swapping out the potatoes for steamed cauliflower florets.
Once you try this German potato salad, you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis! It’s a hearty side dish that’s perfect when served alongside grilled chicken and is sure to get rave reviews from family and friends.
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German Potato Salad Video
German Potato Salad
- 2 pounds baby red potatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces bacon coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard creamy or grainy
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh chives chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain the potatoes and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut them in half.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the dressing. Place the bacon in a large pan and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until partially cooked. Add the onion and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until bacon is crispy and onions are softened.
- Remove the bacon and onions from the pan. Leave 1/4 cup of bacon grease in the pan; discard any excess.
- Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt and pepper to the grease in the pan. Stir to combine. Simmer for 1 minute.
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and gently toss to coat. Stir in the bacon and onions.
- Add the parsley and chives and toss gently. Serve immediately.