German Potato Salad

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German potato salad is a no-mayo, vinegar-based potato salad that’s traditionally served warm. Baby red potatoes are gently tossed with a tangy, and savory bacon Dijon dressing that’s seriously amazing. It’s perfect for potlucks, parties, barbecues, and of course, Oktoberfest!

A big bowl of German potato salad
Photo: Gayle McLeod

Whenever I want to switch up my classic potato salad routine— this authentic German potato salad with a tangy sweet dressing is a wonderful alternative. It’s perfect for when you’d like a vinegar-based, no-mayo potato salad, but with extra oomph. And that’s all thanks to the deliciously warm bacon vinaigrette, similar to the bacon Dijon dressing in my favorite sautéed carrots recipe.

I first enjoyed German potato salad (many times over) when I lived in Heidelberg, Germany in college, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Traditionally, this Bavarian “meat and potatoes” recipe combines baby red potatoes with ham or speck (German bacon) and it’s served warm. But I think it’s equally tasty served cold for potlucks and summer cookouts!

So if you need a new potato dish to obsess over, this German potato salad recipe is it. It’s tasty, full of flavor, and will satisfy all your hungry guests.

Ingredients for German potato salad on a table

German Potato Salad Ingredients

Who doesn’t love a simple, yet flavorful side dish? Here are a few things you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Potatoes: German potato salads typically use baby red potatoes as they have thinner skin. No peeling is needed here!
  • Bacon: The crispy bacon bits are one of the main elements that make this salad so good. I prefer thick-cut bacon.
  • Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette: This warm vinaigrette cooked in the pan is a blend of onions, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  • Fresh herbs: Don’t forget to grab a bundle of parsley! It’s the finishing touch to tie this salad together.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below

How to Make German Potato Salad

Boil and slice the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and season the water with salt. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork tender, but not overly soft. Drain the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot, and let them steam dry and cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, slice the potatoes into chunks and place them back in the pot. Usually, I’ll slice the potatoes into quarters for the perfect chunky texture.

Sliced potatoes for German potato salad

Cook the bacon. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet until it’s nice and crispy. Then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Cooking bacon in a pan for German potato salad

Cook the onion and garlic. Make sure you leave all the bacon grease in the pan! Then add the onion to the skillet and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Cooked onions in a pan for German potato salad

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Add the honey, mustard, salt, and pepper to the skillet. While whisking those ingredients together, pour in the vinegar, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until it’s slightly reduced.

Making sauce in pot for German potato salad

Toss everything together. Add the potatoes and crispy bacon back to the pot. Pour the dressing on top and gently toss together. Be careful not to over-mix, as you don’t want a mushy potato salad.

German potato salad in a pot

Serve. Add the salad to a large serving bowl and sprinkle the parsley over the salad before serving! Side note: this salad can be served warm or cold! If you want it chilled, just let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

A big bowl of German potato salad

Storage Tips

  • To store for the week: This salad is great if you want to make it ahead of time. It will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Freeze for later: With how good this salad is, you’ll want to make an extra batch for the freezer! Just make sure to let it cool completely before storing it in a freezer-safe container. It will last for up to 3 months.
A closeup of German potato salad

More Salad Recipes

There’s always room for more salads on the table. Here are a few classics that you can never go wrong with. And if you need even more inspiration, peruse my list of salad recipes!

I hope you love this tasty German potato salad as much as I do. If you make it, let me know your thoughts in the comment box below!

German potato salad in a white bowl

German Potato Salad

4.89 from 18 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This easy German potato salad is the best combination of tender red potatoes, and crispy bacon bits, tossed with a warm honey Dijon vinaigrette. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions 

  • Cook the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and season the water with salt (about a tablespoon). Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork tender, but not overly soft. Drain the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot, and let them steam dry and cool for 5 minutes. Once cool to the touch, cut the potatoes into chunks and place them back in the pot.
    Cooking potatoes in a pot for German potato salad
  • Fry the bacon. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
    Cooked bacon bits in a pan for German potato salad
  • Saute the onion and garlic. Add the onion to the skillet, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
    Cooked onions in a pan for German potato salad
  • Whisk the dressing together. Add the honey, mustard, salt, and pepper to the skillet. While whisking those ingredients together, pour in the vinegar, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly reduced.
    Whisking German potato salad sauce in pan
  • Toss together. Pour the dressing over the chopped potatoes in the pot, add the crispy bacon, and gently toss together (you want the potatoes to stay chunky, and not get too mashed).
    A pot filled with German potato salad
  • Garnish. Serve warm and garnish with fresh parsley.
    A big white bowl of German potato salad

Lisa’s Tips

  • Here are a few substitutions: You can swap the Dijon mustard with wholegrain mustard, and the baby red potatoes with baby white potatoes. Traditionally, processed sugar is also used, but I prefer honey. Maple syrup also works! And for the vinegar, you can also use white vinegar or white wine vinegar. 

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 667mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: German Potato Salad, Potato Salad, potato salad recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




44 Comments

  1. This recipe turned out so good! My family loved it! So yummy! I made this for a barbecue we attended. Thanks @downshiftology! :)5 stars

  2. Made this tonight, 4 stars right now. Letting it sit in the fridge and can’t wait to heat some up tomorrow! I’ve only had it out of a can before I can already tell it’s the bomb! I can’t wait for friends to try it because nobody I’ve told àbout German potato salad has ever tried it before. They’re in for a surprise! Not everyone will like it.4 stars

  3. Made your German potato salad yesterday. A refreshing change from mayo, really delicious. My husband and I both loved it .

  4. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it… That said, I have hesitancy of using an entire pan of bacon fat in the dressing. I’m thinking that what I might do is maybe save one tablespoon of it and then dump the rest. And perhaps use Avocado oil heated gently in the pan after I wash it out and add the tablespoon of the bacon fat for flavor. Do you think that could work? I just have a hard time thinking that I would be consuming all of that bacon fat4 stars

  5. This is the first ever review I’ve written for a recipe and that’s for good reason. Dang this salad is so so good! Ate it on a hot summer day, and would be even better after a cold ski day in the winter.5 stars

  6. Made this for a Fourth of July party and everyone RAVED about it!! So delicious, and the steps made it so easy to make – a truly foolproof recipe! I actually used a five pound bag of potatoes because my husband prefers things less saucy, and there was still plenty of sauce to give great flavor. 5 stars

  7. Hi Lisa!  Many of the comments are asking how to warm up the German potato salad. Well I have another idea, eat it at room temperature as we did in my house growing up. My mom made it often and that is how we always had it. It really seems to have the best flavor at room temperature.
    Keep up the good work Lisa!  Love your recipes 🤗

  8. I made this for our 4th of July neighborhood block party and it’s delicious! Your recipes are easy to follow and are foolproof! I also love the videos that show all the steps so clearly! We are eating clean and your recipes are perfect! One favor – can you make a hot chocolate fudge sauce recipe? For putting on ice cream. Thank you for your wonderful website and all the recipes and information you share!!!5 stars

  9. Hi Lisa,
    what do you think is the best way to warm this up? I wanna make the salad today and bring to a July 4th pool party tomorrow. The recipe says its best enjoyed warm so i was wondering what the best way to heat this 

    thank you!
    Dafi

  10. Hi Lisa , hope you are well! Can you put a link to what bacon you buy? The streaky bacon that is sold in our supermarket has ingredients like: Pork bacon 95%, salt, sodium lactate, emulsifiers (di-and triphosphates), dextrose, maltodextrin, stabiliser (carrageenan), sugar, sodium diacetate, antioxidant (sodium ascorbate), preservative (sodium nitrite). Please help because I want to make your lovely recipe. Thank you! 

    1. Oh yikes, that’s an ingredient list for sure. I usually buy Applegate Organics or Pederson’s Farms. :)

  11. Fan-freaking-tastic! I made chicken drumsticks, red cabbage vinegrette coleslaw, and this potato salad and it was the best dinner I have made in a long time that wasn’t a 1 pot meal. Can’t wait to try the potato salad tomorrow! I bet it’s delicious after melding together overnight. Thank you so much, Lisa! ♥️♥️♥️5 stars

  12. How many days in advance do you think this could be made? I’m thinking it would be perfect for a camping trip next week!5 stars

  13. I made this just as the recipe instructed and it was a huge hit.  My husband said he usually doesn’t like warm potato salad, but lapped it up and even took seconds!5 stars

  14. My daughter does not like mayo (!) Even my delicious homemade mayo-is she even my child ? However, she loves this potato salad! and the chimichurri version, so thank you for these delicious options!! They are great recipes!!5 stars

    1. Oh, wonderful! I’m happy she loves this version (and the chimichurri one). It’s always fun to switch it up!

  15. Tried just making the potatoes, without any bacon – as I couldn’t be bothered to go to the supermarket hehe – and it still turned out super yummy!5 stars

  16. Hello ….I was wondering what you could substitute the bacon with?  Something that would taste as good.   I do not like the bacon that’s not “real” bacon.  

    I don’t eat red meat.  Just chicken and fish.  If you could recommend a substitute, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you… 
    Congratulations on your cookbook .
     I recently bought it , and look forward to trying your recipes. 🤗

    1. Hi Barbie – how about turkey bacon? Otherwise, it would be hard to replicate the same flavor of the bacon, especially given the bacon grease in the dressing. I’d recommend my regular potato salad or chimichurri potato salad for alternatives. :)

    1. I think the bacon is pretty integral to this recipe. If you’d like another potato salad recipe, check out my classic version or my chimichurri version. Just use the search function at the top of the page. :)

  17. Wow! This hits the spot. With summer on the way, I am glad that I’ve added this to my recipe repertoire. Don’t leave out the dijon. It adds a spark of tang that goes with the honey.5 stars