I like all kinds of potato salads, but German might be my favorite!
What Is German Potato Salad?
For German potato salad, sliced potatoes are tossed with bacon, sautéed onions, fresh herbs, and a mustardy white wine dressing. It’s a nice change-up from the classic mayonnaise-based version, and you can serve it warm or chilled.
How to Make the Best Potato Salad
I follow a couple rules to ensure an excellent potato salad.
- First, I make sure to use waxy potatoes, the smaller the better. The baby red potatoes I used in the photos are about six to a pound, and they steam in just 20 minutes. You can use creamer or fingerling potatoes instead if you like -- those will cook even faster!
- Second, I let the potatoes cool for at least 20 minutes before handling them. They’re easier to deal with when they’re cool, and you can easily peel off the skins with your fingers or a paring knife.
The potatoes are also more firm and less likely to fall apart once they’re a bit cooled, so you can easily cut them into even slices. (Don't worry if the slices don't have perfectly clean edges -- that's part of the charm!)
Butter, Oil, or Bacon Fat?
Some recipes for German potato salad use butter or oil, but I find that the bacon provides plenty of richness all on its own.
For a vegetarian version, you could cook the onions in butter or oil instead. Just up the salt, or else add a handful of capers for a salty, savory twist!
How to Serve German Potato Salad
Make-Ahead Potato Salad
You can make this salad up to a day ahead. Serve it chilled from the fridge or let it come up to room temperature.
Leftovers will keep for up to five days in the fridge.
Try These Other Potato Salads
- Classic Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
- New Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Dill
- Mediterranean Potato Salad
- Creole Potato Salad
Want even more inspiration? Check out all of our potato salad recipes!
German Potato Salad
This salad can be made up to a day ahead. It can also be easily doubled or even tripled.
Vegetarian variation: Instead of bacon, sauté the onions in butter or oil. Stir in 2 tablespoons of capers along with the fresh herbs, or increase the salt in the vinaigrette to taste.
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 8) small red potatoes
- 3 slices (about 4 ounces) thick-cut bacon, diced
- 2 medium (3/4 pound) red onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs (I like a mixture of chives and parsley)
Steam the potatoes:
Fill a pot with an inch or two of water and set a steamer basket inside. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Rinse the potatoes and place them in the steamer basket.
Steam the potatoes, covered, for 20 minutes. To test for doneness, use a paring knife to pierce one of the potatoes; steam for a few more minutes if not quite done.
Remove the steamer basket from the pot and let the potatoes cool for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooling, make the bacon dressing:
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until it begins to render some of its fat, about 5 minutes. (For crispier bacon, cook for 8 minutes.)
Add the onions and sauté for 5 more minutes, until the onions are softened and translucent, and the bacon is cooked through.
Add the vinegar to the skillet. Stir it in with the onions and bacon and let it reduce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, mustard, salt, and pepper, and turn off the heat.
(If your potatoes aren't quite ready yet, turn off the heat, but then warm briefly again before mixing in the sliced potatoes in Step 4.)
Peel and slice the potatoes:
Use your fingers or a paring knife to gently peel the potatoes. (You can also leave the skins on if you like a more rustic potato salad.) Slice the potatoes 1/4-inch thick.
Stir the potatoes and herbs into the warm dressing:
Add the potatoes and chopped herbs to the skillet with the vinaigrette. Gently stir until the potatoes are coated evenly with the herbs, onions, and bacon.
Serve the salad warm or chilled:
This salad can be made up to a day ahead.