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This authentic warm German Potato Salad reminds me of my childhood! The simple combination of red potatoes, bacon, onion, and a sweet and tangy dressing creates the perfect potluck picnic dish or Oktoberfest side.

This authentic German Potato Salad recipe is an easy side dish for your next cookout or Oktoberfest dinner!

Warm German Potato Salad

German food has always been one of my dad’s favorite cuisines (it’s probably that winning combination of beer + sausage!), so I vividly remember my parents’ regular trips to the German deli as a child. I can even conjure up the smell of the little shop, which was full of a variety of homemade German sausages, meats, salads, and sides.

They would stock up on Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Knockwurst, mustards, pickled red cabbage, cold cuts, and my favorite — German Potato Salad.

Serve German Potato Salad with your grilled beer brats!

What is hot German Potato Salad?

Potato salad is a classic side dish that’s made with boiled potatoes and a variety of other ingredients. It’s believed to have originated in Germany, eventually making its way to other European countries and the European colonies.

A classic German potato salad is typically served warm or at room temperature and is dressed in a vinegar-based sauce. By contrast, American-style potato salad is often served cold or at room temperature, and is coated with a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt. Most potato salad recipes include other seasonings, herbs, or vegetables in addition to the potatoes.

The perfect potluck picnic side dish -- German Potato Salad!

How to make German Potato Salad:

After some time spent playing and testing in the kitchen, I finally landed on this delicious recipe for a homemade German Potato Salad with eggs that instantly sends me back to family dinners at home. Bonus — it’s really easy!

Ingredients for Warm German Potato Salad:

  • Red potatoes
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Hard-boiled eggs (optional)
  • Parsley or dill
  • Bacon
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Boiled red potatoes in colander

  1. Boil the Potatoes: start with the whole potatoes (skin-on) in a pot of cold water, and then bring the water to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water, and cook the potatoes until fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain.
  2. Cube the Potatoes: once they’re cool enough to handle, dice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. You don’t need to peel them since the skin on the red potatoes is so thin.
  3. Add Celery, Eggs and Parsley: in a large bowl, gently combine the warm, diced potatoes with the celery, hard-boiled eggs (if using) and the fresh parsley.
  4. Fry Bacon: cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp and brown. Then use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, reserving the drippings in the skillet.
  5. Make Dressing: prepare the dressing for the German potato salad by adding the flour to the bacon grease. Cook the flour for about 1-2 minutes, and then stir in the sugar, vinegar, water, dry mustard, salt, pepper and onion. Cook and stir until the onion is tender and the dressing has thickened.
  6. Toss Warm Dressing with Potatoes: add the bacon to the bowl with the potatoes, then toss with the warm dressing from the skillet.

An authentic German Potato Salad recipe is a must have for Oktoberfest!

What is the best kind of potato to use for German Potato Salad?

With so many different varieties of potatoes available at the market, it can be confusing to know which potatoes will work best in a creamy potato salad recipe. I’ve shown red potatoes here (which are the traditional choice), but Yukon Gold potatoes or other waxy potatoes will also work well. These potatoes hold their shape when cooked and keep their firm texture in the salad when you chop them up and toss them with dressing. You’ll want to stay away from starchy, thick-skinned potatoes like russets, which will fall apart during the cooking process.

For potluck season, this German Potato Salad made with red potatoes and bacon is a crowd pleasing side dish!

Should it be served hot or cold?

Unlike a traditional Southern mayonnaise-based potato salad which must be served cold, the German potato salad is best at room temperature or warm. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the side dish, so it’s just a matter of your personal preference. That warm bacon-flavored dressing is heavenly, though!

Everyone loves an easy potato salad recipe like this authentic German Potato Salad!

What to serve with German Potato Salad:

We love this recipe when paired with other German-inspired dishes. Here are a few great options that go well with the potato salad:

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • German potato salad can be made 1-2 days ahead of time. Leftover potato salad that has been kept properly chilled will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • If your potato salad has been sitting out at room temperature (or in the hot summer weather at a picnic) for more than 2 hours, you should discard any leftovers.
  • I do not recommend freezing this German potato salad. The ingredients will not retain the same consistency when thawed.

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • It’s important to put the potatoes in the pot of water before you heat up the water and bring it to a boil. This ensures even cooking. If you drop the potatoes into already boiling water, the outside of the potatoes will cook quickly, while the inside will stay hard.
  • Boil the potatoes whole. Do NOT dice or peel the potatoes before they go in the water. Cutting or dicing the potatoes causes them to release steam while cooking, which will result in a mushier potato.
  • The potatoes will take about 15-20 minutes in the boiling water to become fork-tender. If you’re using baby potatoes, they may only require about 10 minutes, so keep a close eye on them — you don’t want to overcook them and end up with mushy potatoes.
  • How much potato salad per person? It’s safe to assume that 1 pound of potatoes will feed about 3-4 people. In this case, 2 pounds of potatoes for the potato salad yields about 6-8 servings. If you plan to feed 20 people, you will need to triple all of the ingredients. To feed 50 people, you will need about 8 batches; for 100 people, about 15 batches…and so on.
  • Optional additions to the German Potato Salad: Garnish the dish with any fresh herbs that you enjoy (such as parsley or dill); the hard-boiled eggs are optional so feel free to omit them. If you don’t have dry mustard, you can add a dollop of Dijon mustard to the dressing.

Any home cook can prepare this easy authentic German Potato Salad recipe!

More potato salad recipes that you might enjoy:

German Potato Salad

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 261 kcal
The simple combination of red potatoes, bacon, onion, and a sweet and tangy dressing makes this authentic German Potato Salad the perfect side dish!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. red potatoes (about 8 medium)
  • 8 ounces bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ of an onion, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or fresh dill, chopped

Instructions

  • Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain.
  • When the potatoes are dry and cool enough to touch, cut into bite-sized cubes. Transfer the cubed potatoes to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp and brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  • Add the flour to the bacon drippings and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in sugar, vinegar, water, dry mustard, salt, pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is tender and sauce has thickened (about 5-8 minutes). If the dressing gets too thick while the onion is cooking, stir in additional water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Add celery, hard-boiled eggs (if using), parsley or dill, and cooked bacon to the large bowl with the potatoes. Pour hot dressing over the potato mixture and gently stir to combine.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • It’s important to put the potatoes in the pot of water before you heat up the water and bring it to a boil. This ensures even cooking. If you drop the potatoes into already boiling water, the outside of the potatoes will cook quickly, while the inside will stay hard.
  • Boil the potatoes whole. Do NOT dice or peel the potatoes before they go in the water. Cutting or dicing the potatoes causes them to release steam while cooking, which will result in a mushier potato.
  • The potatoes will take about 15-20 minutes in the boiling water to become fork-tender. If you’re using baby potatoes, they may only require about 10 minutes, so keep a close eye on them — you don’t want to overcook them and end up with mushy potatoes.
  • How much potato salad per person? It’s safe to assume that 1 pound of potatoes will feed about 3-4 people. In this case, 2 pounds of potatoes for the potato salad yields about 6-8 servings. If you plan to feed 20 people, you will need to triple all of the ingredients. To feed 50 people, you will need about 8 batches; for 100 people, about 15 batches…and so on.
  • Optional additions to the German Potato Salad: Garnish the dish with any fresh herbs that you enjoy (such as parsley or dill); the hard-boiled eggs are optional so feel free to omit them. If you don't have dry mustard, you can add a dollop of Dijon mustard to the dressing.
  • Cooking for a Smaller Family? Cut all of the ingredients in half to prepare just 4 cups of potato salad. The instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the salad (about 1 cup)Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 214mgPotassium: 595mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 41IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: German, potato salad, side dish
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: European
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I’ve always wanted to make German Potato Salad, but never attempted to do so, ’cause the recipes sounded way too complicated. I’m definitely going to make this one! I like that you’re using little red potatoes. I love using them, and also love those small Yukon Gold potatoes in potato salads. One thing that I do when cooking potatoes for potato salad, is to cook the potatoes with the skin on….that way the potatoes don’t absorb (much) cooking water, and the potato salad won’t turn watery after it sits a while. Overall, this recipe sounds super yummy, and I’m definitely going to make it this week for a cookout which we’re invited to. BONUS: No worry about mayo going bad when the salad is standing out for a while. Thanks Blair, you aced it once again!

    1. That’s wonderful, Angelina! I hope that you love the potato salad. It’s definitely perfect for a cookout this season!

  2. I am gong to attempt making this salad for an office Octoberfest Luncheon on Wednesday.. Hopefully it turns out as good as it sounds.

  3. I grew up on German and Irish food. My mom used to make this dish,and didn’t use parsley or eggs. I have always loved it and I’m making it now to take to a dinner. (Thanksgiving.I know that it is not at all a traditional Thanksgivig dish, and I am confident that it will be a hit. Thanks for the recipe and your personal story behind it
    . Happy Thanksgiving!It is by far my favorite Hollday.

  4. 5 stars
    So GOOOOD!!! Easy to make and delicious! We loved having leftovers to snack on, too! Needed a substantial potato salad to serve with sandwiches to serve to some very hungry friends and this recipe fit the bill. Thanks!!