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Simple German Potato Salad

This German Potato Salad is a simple hot potato salad recipe with fork-tender potatoes, savory bacon, and fresh parsley tossed in a delicious tangy dressing you will love.

Closeup view of a bowl of German Potato Salad with mult color baby potatoes

Summer is near, and picnics and backyard BBQs are on the horizon. It’s grilling season. And with it comes all kinds of delicious summer side dishes that make the meal.

Right? Who doesn’t absolutely love the sides? My hand is raised high!

I can’t imagine a Memorial Day or 4th of July, or summer BBQ, or an Oktoberfest without a potato salad.

Roots

There was rarely a time when my German grandmother’s kitchen was without potatoes and onions cooking, searing or frying. The memory of that aroma is still with me today.

One of my earliest memories of her was standing over a pot with a pairing knife in one hand and a potato in the other. There was no one on earth (in my world) that could handle a potato with lightning speed like her.

Whether she was peeling, chopping, or slicing. It was rather stunning to a little girl completely in awe of her grandmother.

I’ve never mastered that potato skill. But I suppose with 13 brothers and sisters on a wheat farm, preparing potatoes may have been an everyday activity.

Side view of German Potato Salad in a white bowl with fresh parsley

Origins of German Potato Salad

One of the beauties of American culture is its amalgamation of foods that evolve from various cultures and become new favorites rooted in tradition.

Is German Potato Salad actually German?

Yes, and yes… kind of.

Much like Hot Slaw, German settlers brought a variation of savory hot potato salad dressed with bacon and vinegar when they emigrated to Pennsylvania.

Here’s what we know:

The earliest written recipes for American potato salad date to the mid-19th century. Cooked potatoes were typically dressed with oil, vinegar and herbs, which culinary historians believe were introduced by German immigrants who had a penchant for sour, sweet and spicy ingredients such as vinegar, sugar and coarse mustard. Hot potato salad, usually made with bacon, onion and vinegar dressing, was so closely associated with German immigrants that it was called “German potato salad.”

NPR

This German Potato Salad is most closely associated with the Bavarian region of southern Germany where they serve amazing potato salads. Although you will find that from family to family, establishment to establishment, each recipe twist of a warm potato salad is uniquely delicious.

This is my twist on German Potato Salad. With input from my family living in the Black Forest region.

Top view of German Potato Salad ingredients on a round wood board

German Potato Salad Ingredients

These simple ingredients will make the most delicious warm potato salad. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Potatoes. I like to use mini red potatoes. Remember my mention of slicing and dicing potatoes? Yep. Mini potatoes only require halving. Which is quick and easy. I’m using multi-color mini baby potatoes, but any variety will do. The size of the potato will determine how long they need to boil.
  • Bacon. Absolutely necessary for flavor. The accumulated bacon grease will be used in adding additional flavor to the hot dressing.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This brings a tangy depth of flavor to the dressing. You can absolutely substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Sugar. This will balance the tang of the vinegar and mustard and give the salad a slight sweetness that is incredibly delicious.
  • Dijon mustard. If you have access to authentic German mustard, use that, but I find Dijon works deliciously!
  • Fresh parsley. This brings a fresh, crisp flavor to the salad… and makes it pretty too!

How to Make German Potato Salad

Boiling multi color baby potatoes in a pot with water

Step 1: Boil the potatoes

Begin by placing the mini red potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.

Onions in a skillet browning for German Potato Salad dressing

Step 2: Make the hot dressing

While the potatoes are cooking, place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp. Remove from the pan, drain, chop, and set aside.

Then add the onion to the bacon grease, and cook until browned. Stir in the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, and then turn off the heat.

Tossing cooked potatoes in dressing for German Potato Salad

Step 3: Dress the German Potato Salad

Add the hot dressing to the potatoes and gently toss to coat. Fold in the bacon and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Do You Serve German Potato Salad Hot or Cold?

This potato salad is best served warm but is delicious at room temperature too.

During warm months, it’s important to not let it sit at room temperature for more than an hour before being refrigerated.

Reheating German Potato Salad

While this salad can absolutely be eaten cold, just as my guys when they find it in the refrigerator, it’s most delicious when warm.

To reheat, transfer the salad to an oven-safe baking dish, cover with foil and place in a 325-degree oven until heated through; about 30 minutes.

You may want to drizzle additional olive oil over the top as the potatoes tend to absorb the dressing over time.

Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave at 50% power in 1-minute increments until heated through.

How Long will German Potato Salad Keep?

This potato salad will keep in the refrigerated for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container.

To reheat individual leftover servings, microwave at 50% power for 1 minute at a time (stirring and testing after each increment) until heated through.

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View of German Potato Salad with olive oil in the background
Closeup view of a bowl of German Potato Salad with mult color baby potatoes

German Potato Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This German Potato Salad is a simple hot potato salad recipe with fork-tender potatoes, savory bacon, and fresh parsley tossed in a delicious tangy dressing you will love.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs baby new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 6 slices bacon (12 ounces)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan, drain on a paper towel, then chop and set aside.
  3. Add onion to the bacon grease, and cook over medium heat until browned. Stir in the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, and then turn off the heat.
  4. Add the hot dressing to the potatoes and gently toss to coat. Fold in the bacon and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 631mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 8g

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