I had my first taste of German Potato Salad 7 years ago and it was love at first bite! It’s made with baby red potatoes, yellow onion, and an apple cider vinegar dressing consisting of salt, pepper, mustard, and sugar. And then it’s topped with cooked bacon, chopped chives, and a drizzle of olive oil! This potato salad is served warm and makes a great side dish!
German Potato Salad Recipe
I have to thank my Mother in Law for introducing me to German Style Potato Salad! Because up until a few years ago, the only potato salad I knew of was the very American version featuring globs of mayo, chopped celery, and hard boiled egg. I’m not a mayo fan, so naturally, I wasn’t a potato salad fan either.
But then one day my MIL brought home a little container of German Potato Salad from the deli and everything changed! As I mentioned above, I was hooked after one bite! I absolutely love anything tangy, so the fact that this salad is vinegar based instantly won me over. And the crispy bacon bits and tiny slivers of chives really rounds out all of the flavors… and makes stopping at one serving almost impossible!
It’s been years since we’ve lived close enough to that deli to stop by and grab a pint of potato salad. So I decided to use my memory to create my own homemade version. And after some trial and error, I can tell you with confidence this is 100% the best German Potato Salad I’ve ever had! And if you’re looking for a German theme, serve it with a slice of German Apple Cake!
Bonus: it makes just enough for me and my husband to enjoy and have a small bowl of leftovers! Which I strangely enjoy cold for breakfast the next day. I know… I’m an odd duck. But I digress! My point in telling you this, is that you can totally upscale this recipe.
If you’re serving a large crew, please feel free to double or triple this recipe as needed!
Can I leave the Bacon Out?
I really don’t recommend it! I understand not everyone consumes meat, but the bacon really makes this recipe, and without it, it will definitely lack “oomph”. You can certainly try vegan or vegetarian friendly bacon bits… but if I’m being 100% honest, it’s not going to be the same. And I would recommend finding a vegetarian or vegan friendly recipe instead. Especially since the bacon grease also enhances the dressing flavor.
Because I know getting to the grocery store can be tough in general (not to mention in this time of Covid-19 and riots), I wanted to suggest a few subs that I think will work!
- Although this recipe calls for baby red potatoes, baby yellow potatoes will work! And in a pinch, you can use larger potatoes and then cut them into cubes.
- If you don’t have apple cider vinegar at home, white vinegar will make a fine substitute. But I really do prefer ACV. The flavor is so perfect in this salad! And it’s super healthy, so definitely pick a bottle up when you can! They’re cheap and last forever!
- And finally, if you can’t find chives, I find scallions – very thinly sliced – make a nice substitute. They’re don’t flow as harmoniously with the ingredients as chives, but they will add a nice kick and crunch to the salad.
How to Make German Potato Salad
So one of the very best things about this recipe is it’s so quick and easy to make! If you prep your ingredients while the potatoes boil, it should only take you 15 to 20 minutes!
- Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Toss in the potatoes. When they’re soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork, remove from heat, drain, and run the cooked potatoes quickly under cold water. Place on a cutting board and slice into 1/4″ inch rounds.
- In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook bacon until crispy. Quickly dap with a few paper towels. Then roughly chop into bacon bits!
- Add in the onions to the pan (leave most of the bacon grease!) and cook until translucent.
- While the onions cook, combine the vinegar (I really prefer apple cider, but white vinegar will work in a pinch), mustard, both sugars, salt and pepper in a spouted measuring cup.
- Once the onions are cooked, toss in the vinaigrette and cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly thickened. Toss in a 1/4 cup of the bacon and all of the potatoes and toss well to coat.
And just like that, your German Potato Salad is ready! The finishing touch is transferring it to a serving dish and sprinkling on some chives and the remaining bacon. If you fancy, feel free to add a drizzle of olive oil right before serving.
If you’ve been searching for a mayo free potato salad to try this Summer, I can’t recommend this one enough! It’s so easy, super flavorful, and doesn’t leave you feeling super heavy or bloated!
And it pairs delightfully with burgers, hoagies, crab cakes, ribs, chicken, steak, and beyond! Basically, it’s perfect for any picnic, potluck, or party! Or just as an exciting side dish for dinner tonight!
P.S. While I do recommend serving this warm, it can definitely be served at room temperature or even cold! I would just suggest tossing it every so often to ensure it doesn’t get too dry!
More Summer Salads:
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Easy Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
- Italian Macaroni Salad (this one is so ugly but so good lol)
More Potato Side-Dish Recipes:
- Extra Crispy Baked Garlic and Herb Potato Wedges
- Broccoli and Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Extra Crispy Sweet Potato Wedges
If you try this recipe for German Potato Salad, please let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day.
German Potato Salad
- 2 pounds baby potatoes
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish
- Place the potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 13 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Drain potatoes and quickly run them under cold water until cool to the touch. Then transfer to a cutting board and carefully slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool for a minute. Then transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop into small pieces. Drain about half of the bacon grease from the pan, then place the pan back over medium heat.
- Add the onion into the skillet with the remaining bacon grease and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- In a spouted measuring cup combine the the apple cider vinegar, both sugars, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and stir until well combined. Pour into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly thickened.
- Add in 1/4 cup of the bacon and the sliced potatoes and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then transfer to a serving dish.
- Top with the remains crumbled bacon and chives. Serve warm.