Authentic German Potato Salad
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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go to Germany, you’ve very likely experienced this amazing dish. The Authentic German Potato Salad is served practically everywhere in the country, usually alongside a Schnitzel as big as your head and a beer that’s definitely bigger than your head! The Potatoes make for a wonderful side dish, filled with rich flavors of Bacon, Onion, and a wonderful sweet and sour dressing that makes it truly German, and unique! It’s an awesome side dish whose flavor totally pops

How to make an Authentic German Potato Salad

For a dish with such big flavors, it’s a remarkably easy one to make. There are really 3 major steps in the process of making a classic German Potato Salad, which all follow some simple cooking techniques

  1. Boiling the Potatoes
  2. Cooking the Bacon
  3. Making the Dressing

Nail these three steps and you’re eating a delicious German Potato Salad in no time at all

1. Boiling the Potatoes

There’s not much to this step and for most of you I would assume this is something you’ve done many times before. The best result for boiling Potatoes is to place them into cold water, not boiling water. The reason for this is you get a gentler cook on the Potatoes, which means they will hold their shape better

Holding the Potatoes shape is an important factor in making a Potato Salad. You don’t want them to be breaking up and crumbling during the process. Boiling them from a cold start is a great technique to assist with achieving this goal (as is the types of Potatoes to use, which we cover a little later)

To save time, we recommend cooking the Bacon and Vegetables while your Potatoes are cooking in a separate pot

2. Cooking the Bacon

We much prefer to use Crispy / Streaky Bacon for this recipe, not the Meatier Loin section. The reason for this is simple, you want that Bacon to be as crispy as possible when it ends up in the Salad. The Bacon has so many important roles in this dish that it cannot be understated

The Bacon adds fattiness and flavor to the dish. We don’t use Butter or cream or anything like that, so the richness in this dish comes from the Bacon fat, which is rendered out of the Bacon as it cooks. Richness is important in an Authentic German Potato Salad because of how much acid is added with the Vinegar

Bacon also adds an all-important texture to the dish. It’s the crunchy element that elevates the dish. So, you want to make sure you’re cooking the Bacon well enough that it is lovely and crunchy. Just be wary to not overcook it. There’s sometimes a fine line between crunchy and burnt when it comes to Bacon

Bacon Pieces
Cook the Bacon until it is lovely and crisp. You want to keep the rendered fat in the pan to flavor the dish as we continue cooking

3. The Sweet and Sour combination of flavors is what makes the dressing of this Sauce truly unique

The dressing for an Authentic German Potato Salad consists of a combination of White Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Sugar, and Salt. These ingredients are at complete opposite ends of the flavor profile scale. They bring sweet, sour, bitter, and sharpness to the dressing. It’s a bizarre combination that works amazingly well in this dish

Once you add the dressing to the dish you will immediately be overwhelmed with quite an aggressive smell of Vinegar. White Vinegar is one of the more aggressive vinegars you can use, and it is the Vinegar that is traditionally used in Germany for their Potato Salads

You may be tempted to want to dilute the intensity of the Vinegar by adding some other ingredients, like more Sugar or Mustard. However, please don’t! The sharpness of the Vinegar is critical to bring the overall dish into balance. Remember, there’s a load of fattiness in the dish from the Bacon which need contrasting flavors to balance out, which is what the Vinegar brings

Once the Potatoes are added back into the pan they will absorb a lot of the flavor, which they can take. The overall flavor will mellow once the dish is completely cooked and what you are left with is a wonderful sweet and sour flavor that tastes amazing

Authentic German Potato Salad with Mustard
The sweetness and sourness of the dressing is what makes an Authentic German Potato Salad taste so good. Oh, and lots of Mustard!

Are there a specific type of Potato I need to use to make German Potato Salad

The traditional Potatoes that are used in this dish are Red Potatoes, but really any waxy potato will work very well. The main goal for the Potatoes is to retain their shape after being cooked in boiling water. If you’re using a starchy type of Potato there is a very high chance that they’ll break up and lose their shape once boiled

Ultimately, they may end up breaking apart when the Potatoes are added back to the Pan along with the Bacon and dressing to finish the dish. Therefore, choose a Waxy Potato that is going to retain it’s shape even after it’s cooked. Red Potatoes, Fingerling, or Yukon Gold Potatoes are therefore good choices for getting the most Authentic German Potato Salad texture and flavor

German Potato Salad using Waxy Potatoes
You want to use a Waxy Potato for the best result in a German Potato Salad

You can either cut your Potatoes before or after they’re boiled, it doesn’t really matter

Depending on what Potato you are using you can either cut the Potatoes before, or after they are boiled. Many recipes will call for the Potatoes to be boiled whole, and then cut once they’re cooled. Others suggest the opposite; cut your Potatoes and then boil them

Honestly, it really doesn’t matter and has very little impact on the overall result for the dish. If you are using smaller Potatoes like Red Potatoes or Fingerling, then we’d suggest keeping them whole when boiling, and cutting afterwards. Larger Potatoes such as Yukon Gold, we’d recommend cutting them beforehand before boiling

What you want is a Potato that is about 2 decent mouthfuls. That’s the perfect dimension for a Potato Salad Potato. One that can be cut down the middle with a knife and fork and eaten in two bites. The Potatoes are the predominant ingredient in the dish, so they need to be large, but still manageable on the plate

This dish is best served immediately; however, you can prepare it in advance and leave it on the stovetop in a saucepan while you’re preparing other ingredients. If you are making this Authentic German Potato Salad to eat alongside a protein, we recommend making this first before moving into the protein. The dish can just stay in a pot (lid on) and then re-heat it right before you’re ready to serve. That way you’re not rushing around trying to multitask on other dishes, especially if you’re looking at doing any kind of shallow fried or deep-fried dish!

Authentic German Potato Salad with Schnitzel
There’s nothing more delicious than pairing an Authentic German Potato Salad with a beautiful, crispy fried Schnitzel

Recipe Details


2 – 4 people

Prep time

5 minutes

Cooking time

25 minutes

Total time

30 minutes

Authentic German Potato Salad Recipe


  • 2 lbs. Potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 8 Bacon Rashers
  • ½ cup White Vinegar
  • 3 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Brown Onion, diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Chives, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. White Sugar
  • Salt

  1. Place the Potatoes in a large pot filled with Boiling Water that has been seasoned generously with Salt (1 tbsp. or so). Bring the pot to a Boil and cook the Potatoes for about 12 – 15 minutes, until they are cooked throughout, but still hold their shape
  2. Strain the Potatoes and then place back into the pot to dry out a little bit
  3. Cut the Bacon into 1-inch pieces and then place into a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the Bacon, stirring frequently until the fat has rendered and the Bacon is crispy, about 5 – 6 minutes. Set the Bacon pieces aside but retain the Fat in the pan
  4. Add the Brown Onion to the pan with the Bacon fat along with ½ tsp. of Salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until tender. Add the Garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant
  5. While the Onions are cooking, make the dressing by combining White Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Sugar, and ½ tsp. of Salt in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine and then add to the Pan with the Onions and Garlic
  6. Mix well to combine the ingredients for about 30 seconds, then add the cooked Potatoes. Turn off the heat, add the Bacon pieces and mix everything together well to coat the Potatoes
  7. Serve the Potatoes family style or on individual plates with a sprinkling of Flaky Salt and Chives

Recipe Notes

This recipe is enough for 2 – 4 people as a substantial side dish. If you are cooking for more people, we would suggest increasing the volume of Potatoes and just adding a little more Vinegar and Mustard to the dressing quantities

That’s all you need to do to create this simple and Authentic German Potato Salad dish! It’s a great side dish for many proteins, especially the classic German Pork Schnitzel (recipe coming soon!)

Check out our Side Dishes page here for more amazing side dishes to pair with your next big cook up. Here’s a few of our favorites that we would recommend that you try:

Happy Cooking!

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