My German Potato Salad Is a Summer Cookout Star

German Potato Salad

<p>Krista Marshall</p>

Krista Marshall

We dare you to name another side dish that's more synonymous with summer cookouts than potato salad. Every year when the grills get dusted off and we gather in each other's backyards, we enjoy plate after plate of this American classic. We all have our favorite versions and never seem to tire of them.

Potato salad truly is one of the most versatile summer sides that pairs well with everything from chicken and burgers to steak, so we can never have too many potato salad recipes! German Potato Salad is even more adaptable because it can be served hot, room temperature or chilled, which means it can be party ready whenever you are.

Related: 8 Best Potato Salads For Backyard Barbecues

German potato salad is one of those dishes that even those who haven't tried it know a couple of things about. It contains bacon and is served warm. But if you've ever tasted it, you know the flavor profile is unlike most other tater salads out there.

What Is German Potato Salad?

Potato salad is actually considered to have been a side dish founded in Germany. What we call German Potato Salad is a hot version originating in Southern Germany, while its northern counterpart is closer to the American version containing mayonnaise. The dish served warm that many Americans have come to know and love consists of potatoes, bacon, onion and a warm tangy dressing.

Related: 35 Best Crock Pot Potato Dishes

What Kind Of Potatoes Are Used In German Potato Salad?

I think this comes down to personal preference. I've seen recipes using red, Russet and my favorite, yellow potatoes. I like to leave the skin on when I'm making German potato salad and the yellow potatoes have a tender skin that doesn't affect the flavor of the dish. I also like to leave peel on because it helps the potatoes to stand up to the warm dressing without becoming too mushy.

What Ingredients Do I Need For German Potato Salad?

One of the best things about German potato salad is it uses a short ingredient list of everyday items:

  • Yellow potatoes

  • Bacon

  • Onion

  • Vinegar

  • Dried mustard

  • Flour

  • Sugar

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Parsley

Related: Best No-Mayo Potato Salad Recipes

How To Make German Potato Salad

Yellow potatoes are my pick because of their tender skin. You will need eight slices of bacon. I like to fry it whole and then chop, but vice versa would work too. Just make sure to reserve those bacon drippings! I always have white onions on hand, but yellow or even red would work too.

German Potato Salad Prep<p>Krista Marshall</p>
German Potato Salad Prep

Krista Marshall

1. Chop the potatoes into larger bite-sized pieces. You want the cooked potatoes to stand up to the warm dressing without turning to mashed potatoes when you mix it.

German Potato Salad Prep<p>Krista Marshall</p>
German Potato Salad Prep

Krista Marshall

2. After your bacon is fried, all of that yummy bacon grease is waiting for your diced onion. Cook it for 3-5 minutes until it is softened.

Dressing Prep for German Potato Salad<p>Krista Marshall</p>
Dressing Prep for German Potato Salad

Krista Marshall

3. Next, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then whisk in the mustard, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened. This is your warm, tangy dressing!

<em>Dressing Prep for German Potato Salad</em><p>Krista Marshall</p>
Dressing Prep for German Potato Salad

Krista Marshall

4. Once your potatoes are cooked, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the dressing down over warm potatoes and gently stir. Fold in the bacon, leaving some for the top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm! Or allow to come to room temp, or even chill until you're ready! You can even reheat it if you want to make it earlier in the day for convenience.

Final <em>German Potato Salad</em><p>Krista Marshall</p>
Final German Potato Salad

Krista Marshall

5. Your next summer gathering or supper could really use a flavor boost from sweet and tangy German Potato Salad. With so many people enjoying this classic recipe for generations now, you know it must be good!

Best German Potato Salad Tips

  • Using yellow potatoes means no peeling!

  • Fresh bacon is really the only way to go. Precooked or real bacon bits will not work because you need the bacon to release its fat for the base of the dressing.

  • I used white onion, but yellow, sweet or red would also work.

  • Serving this warm, room temp, cold or reheated gives you lots of options if it needs to travel.

What To Serve German Potato Salad With

Best Potato Salad Variations To Try

Authentic German Potato Salad Recipe


  • 2.5-lbs yellow potatoes, skin left on

  • 8 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped

  • ⅓ cup white vinegar

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp flour

  • ½ tsp dried mustard

  • 2 tsp dried parsley

  • salt and pepper

  1. Chop potatoes into large bite size pieces.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

  3. Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.

  4. Drain well.

  5. While potatoes cook, fry bacon in a large skillet.

  6. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

  7. Saute onion in bacon fat until soft, about 3-5 minutes.

  8. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.

  9. Add mustard, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper.

  10. Bring to a simmer while whisking.

  11. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.

  12. When potatoes are drained, add to a large bowl.

  13. Pour dressing over potatoes.

  14. Add bacon and gently stir.

  15. Sprinkle with parsley.

  16. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.