With crispy bacon and a simple grainy mustard dressing, this German Potato Salad is a fun departure from traditional mayo-based potato salad that your entire family will love!
One of my favorite aunts (hi, Aunt Frances!) married into a very German family and started cooking some fabulous German eats. I LOVED spending the night at her house because she always surprised us with towels right out of the drier after my shower (so sweet, right?) and she served the BEST potato salad. Though I didn’t know much of German Potato Salad at the time, I knew that her’s was tangier than the usual mayo-loaded variety – something I loved.
What’s is German Potato Salad?
Now that I’ve played around in the kitchen a bit more, I’ve come to know a couple of different potato salad options. The first, and most classic (in our home) involves mayo + mustard, plenty of dill relish, and hard-boiled eggs for the top. I’ve even made a low-carb cauliflower potato salad! German-style potato salad is unique in that there are no pickles, no mayo, but bacon and a grainy mustard vinegar dressing instead. It may not look like much, but it has quickly become one of my favorite side dishes because the flavors are out of this world!
A lot simpler (as far as ingredients go) than your typical potato salad, this tangy German potato salad calls for just 7 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) – here’s what you’ll need:
For the Potato Salad:
Red Potatoes – we’ll use 3 pounds of red chopped red potatoes as the base of our potato salad.
Bacon – 12 ounces of bacon will get crisped and crumbled, and we’ll even use some of the bacon fat to saute the onion!
Yellow Onion – 1 diced onion will get sauteed in the bacon fat (YUM!) until slightly caramelized (double YUM!)
For the Dressing:
Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar is the base of our tangy German potato salad dressing.
Grainy Mustard – we’ll add 2 tablespoons of grainy mustard (dijon mustard will work great too!) to the ACV.
- Honey – Just a touch of honey adds a little sweetness to balance the acidity of the apple cider vinegar.
Green Onions – thinly sliced green onions get added to the mix, and…
Salt + Pepper – …a pinch each of salt and pepper finish it all off!
What are the best kind of potatoes for potato salad?
We opt for red potatoes in this German potato salad. First, because they are the classic potato in most German potato salad recipes, and secondly, because they are a waxier potato variety, they hold up really well (aka they don’t turn into potato mush!)
How to Make German Potato Salad
This German potato salad is super simple to make, though it does take a bit more cooking than your typical potato salad. Here’s how you’ll make it:
Chop + Boil the Potatoes – chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes, then boil the potatoes in a large pot on the stove until tender. Once finished, drain the potatoes in a colander, and transfer them to a large bowl.
Crisp the Bacon – cook bacon until crisp in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crispy, set the bacon aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and drain half of the bacon fat off (leaving the other half in the pan to use for sauteing).
Saute the Diced Onions – add the diced yellow onions to the pan with the bacon fat and saute 6-8 minutes, until browned and slightly caramelized. Once finished, add the onions to the large bowl with the potatoes.
Crumble the Bacon – once cooled to room temperature, crumble the cooked bacon and add it to the large bowl with the potatoes + onions.
Make the Tangy Dressing – in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey green onions, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat.
Serve warm + enjoy!
Do you eat German potato salad hot or cold?
German potato salad is traditionally served warm, and we prefer it this way too! When served warm, the flavors just seem to marry a little bit more than they do when served cold (think: the bacon fat makes its way throughout the salad once warmed). With that being said though, you can eat this potato salad hot or cold – totally up to your preference!
What does German potato salad go with?
This potato salad is perfect for Spring, Summer, or any family gathering! For a special occasion, I’d serve it right alongside this Honey Mustard Pork Roast OR this Slow Roasted Greek Lamb for a fabulous mixed cultural meal. For a more casual gathering, this potato salad goes great with hamburgers, hot dogs, or any other Summer BBQ main course!
How long does potato salad last in the refrigerator?
When sealed in an airtight container (this set is a great glass option) in the fridge, your potato salad will last for about 5 days. To warm, simply put your desired amount on a microwave-safe plate (or bowl), and pop it in the microwave to heat until warm!
I hope you enjoy this warm, tangy, bacon-y (that’s a word, right?!) German Potato Salad as much as I do!
German Potato Salad
For the Potato Salad:
- 3 pounds red potatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 12 ounces bacon
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- Chop the potatoes into 1 inch cubes, then place in a pot with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and fill the pot with water up to 1 inch over the potatoes. Bring the pot to boil over high heat (this should take 10-12 minutes), then reduce to medium-high to simmer until easily pierced with a fork (about 8-10 minutes). Drain the potatoes in a colander then transfer to a large bowl.
- Cook the bacon until crisp in a large pan over medium heat. Once done, remove bacon from the pan and drain half of the bacon fat off.
- Add the diced yellow onions to the pan with the bacon fat and cook 6-8 minutes until browned and slightly caramelized. Add the onions to the large bowl with the potatoes, then crumble the cooked bacon and add it in as well.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, green onions, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat. Serve warm.