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German Potato Salad has tender chunks of red potatoes plus chopped bacon in a warm, tangy-sweet dressing.
German Potato Salad is a flavor sensation!
It seems that there are many variations of German Potato Salad – every family has their own recipe that they’ve tweaked over the years to suit their own tastes.
But the common thread is a warm potato salad with chunks of tender potatoes and chopped bacon, all tossed together in a tangy-sweet dressing made with bacon fat, cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, garlic, and chopped fresh parsley. Some recipes include diced onions cooked in bacon fat as well.
This mayonnaise-free German Potato Salad is an explosion of flavor! That tangy-sweet bacon infused dressing coats every chunk of potato and, of course, cooked chopped bacon also adds more deliciousness.
While you can make this salad ahead of time, it is known for being served warm (or at the very least, room temperature) so plan to serve it immediately after being dressed, or a quick zap in the microwave can also take the chill off any refrigerated potato salad.
Why you’ll love German Potato Salad
- Between the tangy, slightly sweet dressing and loads of bacon throughout – the flavors in this potato salad are fantastic!
- It’s a delicious alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salad recipes.
- This makes a great menu addition for cookouts or game day gatherings. It’s also delicious served as a side dish for a weeknight dinner of pan-seared steak or baked chicken.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Red Potatoes – Red potatoes are a waxy variety that is perfect for this recipe. The potatoes stay firm but are still tender after being cooked.
- Bacon – Chopped cooked bacon is added to the potato salad, plus warm, rendered bacon fat is mixed into the dressing as well.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – This lends a distinctive tangy flavor to the salad.
- Granulated Sugar
- Fresh Garlic
- Dijon Mustard – Or a German mustard can be used.
- Fresh Parsley
- Salt & Pepper
- (Optional) Onions – Diced onion is an optional ingredient but often included in this recipe. If you decide to add it, cook in the bacon fat before finishing the dressing. Note that we did not use onion in our recipe today.
Special Tools Needed
- Pot – To cook the potatoes
- Large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven – To cook the bacon, mix the dressing, and combine the finished potato salad.
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Wooden spoon
Tips & Tricks
Similar to the method used in Jack’s popular Potato Salad recipe, we cook the potatoes whole. Once tender, we take them out of the cooking water one-by-one, cut them into bite-size pieces, then immediately add them to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat.
Cooking them whole stops the potatoes from absorbing water as they cook (which can lead to a watery, soggy potato salad). And, immediately coating the cut potatoes in the dressing helps them stay moist.
How do I make German Potato Salad?
- Cook whole unpeeled potatoes in salted water.
- Cook the chopped bacon. Set the cooked bacon pieces aside on a plate or bowl, but leave the rendered fat in the pot.
- (Optional Step) Cook the onions in the bacon fat. (We did not add onions to our German Potato Salad.)
- Remove pot from the heat, then add the garlic to the pot and sauté until golden.
- Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
- Cut cooked potatoes and add to the dressing, tossing to coat the potatoes.
- Add in cooked bacon and parsley.
- Serve hot or warm.
Tips & Tricks
To prevent scorching, we recommend that you cook the garlic off any flame, using only the residual heat in the pot of bacon fat. If adding onions, cook on medium and once the onion is cooked, turn off the heat, add garlic to cook, and finally the remaining dressing ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make German Potato Salad ahead of time? Yes, but this salad is traditionally and best served warm.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Heat individual portions in the microwave, or warm through in a small skillet on the stove.
- Can I freeze? No, once thawed, the potatoes will be mushy.
You might like these other Potato Salad Recipes:
Click here for more delicious Salad Recipes!
2 pounds red potatoes (try to buy potatoes of similar size so that they become tender at the same time)
1 teaspoon kosher salt to salt the water
12 ounces bacon, diced
(Optional) 1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water at least two inches above the potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the teaspoon of salt.
- Depending on the size of your potatoes, the cooking time will be 20-40 minutes. Our potatoes were medium sized and took 30 minutes. I used a small thin paring knife to pierce one of the potatoes to make sure it was tender through to the center. Try not to pierce more than one, or the skins will split and cook off before the center is tender.
- While potatoes are boiling, in a medium Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about ten minutes. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
- There should be about ¼ cup of fat left in the pan. If using optional onions, keep burner on medium and cook the onions for three minutes. Turn off burner then stir in garlic.
- If not using onions, remove the bacon fat from the burner, give it a few minutes to cool slightly and add garlic. Cook off heat for just a minute being careful not to brown.
- Add the vinegar, being careful to watch for splattering. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from pan bottom.
- Whisk in the sugar, mustard, salt and pepper and let sit off heat until you are ready to add the potatoes.
- As the potatoes become tender, remove each one at a time carefully with a slotted spoon and using a pair of tongs to hold the potato, cut in half, then cut each half into bite sized pieces. As you cut each potato, slide into the dressing and gently toss to coat until all potatoes are cut and mixed in the dressing.
- Toss in the cooked bacon and the chopped parsley and then pour finished warm potato salad into a serving bowl and serve.
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