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Crispy bacon and tangy mustard take classic potato salad on a trip to Germany. Ideal for potluck menus and Oktoberfest celebrations, this German Potato Salad might just become your new favorite starchy side dish.

Plates of German potato salad.

German Potato Salad is warm with sweet-and-salty flavors, chewy bacon, and tangy vinegar. It is unlike cold American potato salad in almost every way (they both contain potatoes?), but it’s still delicious in its own right.

Unlike deli potato salad, a common picnic and party side dish, German potato salad really brings home the “meat and potatoes” menu with stick-to-your-ribs ingredients in a thick and hearty gravy. It’s a great side dish for dinner served with German classics like Bratwurst, Rouladen, and Pork Schnitzel.

But don’t get me wrong: people love it at parties too! It’s especially delicious on the side of Baked Ham or as part of a buffet.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step by step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. German Potato Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for German potato salad.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: Russets are the best spuds for many potato salads since they’re drier and have more starch than other varieties. Whole potatoes tend to cook unevenly (and take a long time!), so chop them into uniform pieces before you boil them.
  • Chicken broth: Opt for store-bought or homemade broth; either will do.
  • White wine vinegar: White distilled vinegar can be used in place of the white wine vinegar, if desired.
  • Sugar: The German Potato Salad I grew up eating erred on the sweet side. If that’s not your style, start with 1 tablespoon of sugar in step 4. Taste the roux after it thickens, and add more sugar if you think the sauce could benefit from it. Alternatively, you can omit the sugar entirely; make this German Potato Salad recipe your own.
  • Whole grain mustard: A store-bought brand like Maille or Inglehoffer works great, or feel free to make your own mustard.

Step by step instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by ½ inch. Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in a colander to remove excess water.
A colander with chunks of boiled potatoes (one pierced by a knife).
  1. In a medium-sized skillet medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Cooking bacon in a skillet.
  1. Make the roux by adding vegetable oil to bacon fat and heat until a pinch of flour sprinkled into the oil just begins to bubble. Whisk flour into remaining bacon fat, and continue to cook and whisk until a thick paste forms, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Making a roux for German potato salad.
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan combine chicken broth, vinegar, onions, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, sugar, and mustard. Bring to a boil, and cook uncovered until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add roux to broth mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce thickens. Discard any remaining roux.
Making a roux for German potato salad.
  1. In a large bowl, add warm potatoes and slowly add broth mixture, a little at a time, allowing time for the potatoes to absorb the mixture.
Adding bacon fat to a bowl of potatoes for German potato salad.
  1. Add bacon and toss to combine. Garnish with scallions. Serve potato salad warm.
Plates of German potato salad.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This German Potato Salad makes six (1-cup) side dish servings. It’s always a hit at parties and potlucks, so you may want to make a double batch.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The potatoes can be peeled, chopped, and stored covered with water in the refrigerator a day in advance. Drain well before proceeding with the recipe.
Plates of German potato salad.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between German potato salad and American potato salad?

German potato salad is served warm in a vinegar-based dressing while American potato salad is served cold in a mayonnaise-based dressing.

Do you put hard-boiled eggs in German potato salad?

You certainly can! This recipe doesn’t call for hard-boiled eggs, but it’s fine to add them if you like them.

The Ultimate Oktoberfest Menu

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A bowl of German potato salad.

German Potato Salad

Crispy bacon and tangy mustard take classic potato salad on a trip to Germany. Ideal for potluck menus and Oktoberfest celebrations, this German Potato Salad might just become your new favorite starchy side dish.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 6 (1 cup) servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Calories 314

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon diced, about ½ cup uncooked
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus more, if needed
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth (see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (see note 3)
  • 1 cup onion diced, about 4 ounces
  • 1/4 cup sugar (see note 4)
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (see note 5)
  • Scallions finely sliced, for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by ½ inch. Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in a colander to remove excess water.
  • In a medium-sized skillet medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Make the roux by adding vegetable oil to bacon fat and heat until a pinch of flour sprinkled into the oil just begins to bubble. Whisk flour into remaining bacon fat, and continue to cook and whisk until a thick paste forms, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan combine chicken broth, vinegar, onions, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, sugar, and mustard. Bring to a boil, and cook uncovered until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add roux to broth mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce thickens. Discard any remaining roux.
  • In a large bowl, add warm potatoes and slowly add broth mixture, a little at a time, allowing time for the potatoes to absorb the mixture. Add bacon and toss to combine. Garnish with scallions. Serve potato salad warm.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Potatoes: Russets are the best spuds for many potato salads since they’re drier and have more starch than other varieties. Whole potatoes tend to cook unevenly (and take a long time!), so chop them into uniform pieces before you boil them.
  2. Chicken broth: Opt for store-bought or homemade broth; either will do.
  3. White wine vinegar: White distilled vinegar can be used in place of the white wine vinegar, if desired.
  4. Sugar: The German Potato Salad I grew up eating erred on the sweet side. If that’s not your style, start with 1 tablespoon of sugar in step 4. Taste the roux after it thickens, and add more sugar if you think the sauce could benefit from it. Alternatively, you can omit the sugar entirely; make this German Potato Salad recipe your own.
  5. Whole grain mustard: A store-bought brand like Maille or Inglehoffer works great, or feel free to make your own mustard.
  6. Yield: This German Potato Salad makes six (1-cup) side dish servings. It’s always a hit at parties and potlucks, so you may want to make a double batch.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. Make ahead: The potatoes can be peeled, chopped, and stored covered with water in the refrigerator a day in advance. Drain well before proceeding with the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 7gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 516mgPotassium: 797mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. I guess there are lots of variations when it comes to German potato salad! My family (mother’s side) is all German. I grew up with a simpler German potato salad that does use mayo, but no mustard, no onions, no sugar, and no roux. Simple – cooked potatoes, mayo to taste, fried bacon, bacon fat, salt, vinegar, and hard-boiled eggs, I love it when it’s warm and tangy with the vinegar and flavorful from the bacon fat! :-)

  2. Thank you for the recipe for German Potato Salad. I misplaced mine.
    My son loves my German Grandmother’s potatoe salad. For his birthday party I put in in the crock pot to keep warm and the longer it warmed the better it tasted, I didn’t mind the potatoes getting too soft.
    I always check your great website to find seasonal recipes and cooking techniques.5 stars

    1. Hi Susan, that sounds amazing! I don’t mind either when the potatoes become a little soft, they taste so good! Thank you for stopping by to leave such a nice note, I hope you enjoy the other recipes on the site! Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Claudia, yes! I would recommend reheating to 165 degrees and not adding the crumbled cooked bacon and scallions until you are ready to serve. Enjoy – Meggan

  3. Thanks! This looks identical to delicious potato salad we had while stationed in Germany. I look forward to preparing this potato salad. Again, thank you!5 stars