Top Rated German Potato Salad Recipes
German potato salad is one of those multiple personality dishes — everyone seems to define it differently. I don't know what makes this potato salad "German" (incidentally neither does my Mom, whose recipe this is) but I do know what makes it taste so good. You can find the answer by following the directions below.Click here to see 9 Summer-Ready Potato Salads.
German potato salad is a traditional potato side dish brought over to the United States by immigrants from southern Germany. Unlike American potato salad, which is made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, German potato salad dressing is made from a mixture of bacon drippings, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Red potatoes are traditionally used, but Yukon Gold potatoes work well, too.
German-Style Potato Salad
Here is one of the BEST sides for summer BBQ and gatherings, a German-Style Potato Salad. This german-inspired take on potato salad is served warm with bacon, a tangy-mustardy dressing and sauerkraut. It’s zingy, it’s easy to make and it’s a total crowd pleaser!
The potato salads that I grew up eating were always that mayo-based creamy and chilled potato ‘salad’ served at potluck dinners and summer BBQs. But this one is totally different. My mother-in-law introduced me to this style of potato salad. She is an avid mayo-hater and an avid sauerkraut-lover! So of course, she loves this German-style potato salad so much more than a traditional potato salad.
Aside from the bacon and sauerkraut, the “dressing” is mind-blowing. Packed with tangy vinegar and mustard, it is what makes this potato salad oh-s0 addicting. Serve it alongside grilled hamburgers, grilled bratwursts, delicious grilled BBQ chicken or heck…just anything grilled! It’s the perfect, crowd-pleasing sidekick to any outdoor gathering and great for any Memorial Day weekend festivities!
When questioned about the authenticity of its German origins, I did some research.h family, it seems, has their own way of how to make potato salad. And each is delicious.
In northern Germany, most potato salads are cream based, such as this one below. My Mutti, coming from Berlin, made it this way. It's the only way I ever had it until I took my first trip back to Germany as an adult.
In southern Germany, most potato salads are made with a vinegar, bacon, and broth base.
Grab your copy of Oma's favorite salads in her Summer Salads e-Cookbook.
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German Potato Salad Recipe Ingredients
- Cooked Potatoes: I used red potatoes peeled. You can keep the skin if you prefer.
- Bacon: Pork bacon, any type works.
- Oil: I used olive oil but any mild salad oil works.
- Cider Vinegar: For this recipe I didn’t use the really good apple cider vinegar with the mother as it has such a strong flavor. I actually used the supermarket brand apple cider vinegar and it was perfect.
- Diced Onions: Use whatever onion type you prefer or have at home.
- Dijon Mustard and Whole Grain Mustard: I love whole grain mustard for this German potato dish.
- Sugar: You really need a bit of sugar to balance the tartness of the vinegar.
- Scallions and Parsley: Both add freshness and color to the potatoes.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper: I always use sea salt or Kosher salt but any type of salt will work.
German Potato Recipes
There are lots of great German potato recipes out there - and we have a few of our favorites below!
From German potato pancakes (which everyone seems to go wild for) to potato dumplings and potato soup, you're sure to find a recipe to suit your course and guests!
German Potato Pancakes
These hearty, crispy fried potato pancakes are simple to make and delicious to eat! Served best hot, these pancakes can be eaten with a sweet apple sauce, a savory garlic sauce, or even a creamy quark!
We love these potato pancakes because they are such a simple comfort food. They go great on a weekend morning for brunch. or you can just fry them up for dinner if you are craving potatoes!
German Potato Soup
This delicious German potato soup recipe is loaded with goodness - from potatoes, carrots, and leeks to celery root, sausage, and lots of freshly chopped parsley. Served hot, this soup makes a tasty appetizer or can be served up as the main course itself!
We love this soup because the broth is light but it still turns out creamy so it's a nice mix of hearty and light at the same time! You can also make it vegetarian or vegan by skipping the sausage and using vegan cooking cream!
German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklöße)
While there are many different kinds of German potato dumplings, these authentic Franconian-style potato dumplings are perfectly starchy and soft. They serve well with meat dishes like roulade - and don't forget the gravy!
There are SO many different types of German potato dumplings but we really like this version. Don't be afraid to compare and try out different potato dumpling recipes until you find one that you really enjoy.
Creamy Potato Soup (German-Style)
A creamy potato soup is a really great dish for when the weather turns cold.
This smooth and delicious soup is made from blended potato, leek, carrots, and celery. With a bit of rich cream, it's a fragrant and hearty soup that is pretty easy to make.
Be sure to add on some freshly chopped parsley and/or some freshly-made pan fried croutons for an added crunch!
German Fried Potatoes
Delicious German fried potatoes are always a hit. Soft on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside, these golden brown potatoes go great as a flavorful side dish to a main meal. They serve with a few fried onions and/or classic sauces like ketchup!
Funny enough, these fried potatoes were also eaten by Eric growing up so we can confirm that this is a super tasty recipe that pleases most guests!
Schupfnudeln (German Potato Noodles)
Popular in Germany and parts of Austria, Schupfnudeln are a delicious dinner options. Similar to a type of gnocchi, these German Potato Noodles are pretty easy to make.
With a combination of potato and flour, you can enjoy these noodles in many different ways from savory to sweet.
We really like our Schupfnudeln pan-fried in butter and with a touch of fresh parsley sprinkled on top!
Vegan German Potato Salad (Swabian)
This super easy German potato salad is both delicious and flavorful. Made from a base of oil and vinegar - and not mayo - this potato salad is vegan and makes a great side dish to a hearty main!
We also like creamy versions of potato salad but this vinegar version is lighter and goes well with lots of different dishes. Of course, we have been known to eat the whole bowl ourselves.
Hot, Quick, Cold, Easy . Potato Salads .
Potato salads are great for picnics on hot summer days, but they also become an unexpected treat in the winter too.
Now, hot potato salad is something my Mom never made. I didn't even realize it was a traditional German dish until I was looking through some cookbooks.
Since one of my favorite foods is potatoes, I thought, "Why not give it a try?" and am I glad I did.
Not only that, but since my regular cold potato salad does take a bit of time to make, I got busy in the kitchen to do some improvising. WOW! What a success. I now have one recipe that can be used hot, warm, or cold! Great for those quick suppers or unexpected company.
There's even one made with sweet potatoes that I got the recipe from my daughter-in-love, Sylvie. It looks so pretty with the bits of orange sweet potatoes peeking through the creamy dressing of this potato salad.
German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)
This creamy German Potato Salad makes the perfect side dish. Packed with potato and egg, this Kartoffelsalat is made with German meat salad, pickles, and overall deliciousness!
- 2 lbs potatoes (waxy, all-purpose), boiled
- 2 cups German meat salad (see notes)
- 1 small onion (optional)
- 4 eggs, hard-boiled
- 2 baby dill pickles
- 2 tablespoons mayo (more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- chopped parsley for decoration (optional)
- Peel the boiled potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Add the cubes to a large bowl.
- Finely chop the onion (optional) and the baby dill pickles. Add them - as well as the German meat salad (click link for recipe) - to the bowl and give everything a stir. If you don't want to make German meat salad first, see the notes below.
- Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut three of them into small cubes. Save the last one for decoration. Place the egg cubes in the bowl with the potatoes.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayo, yogurt, pickle juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and stir well.
- Taste the potato salad and add more spices or mayo to taste. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours before serving.
- For decoration, quarter the last hard-boiled egg and place it on top of the potato salad. You can also sprinkle some chopped parsley and/or paprika on top.
- There are tons of different versions of German potato salad - this is just the version that Lisa grew up with on her mom's side of the family. We like that it is quite easy to make (in Germany, you can buy meat salad in every grocery store or at the butcher).
- If you don't have Fleischsalat and don't want to make any, you can just add a little more mayo, a few more baby dill pickles, and a little bit of fried bacon, for example.
- If the potato salad hasn't been sitting out in the heat, you can store leftovers for up to two days. However, if it has been sitting outside in the heat for a while, we'd recommend not keeping any leftovers.
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.
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What to serve with German Potato Salad
- The type of potato makes all the difference! I recommend using Yukon Gold potatoes, Yellow Potatoes, Charlotte, or New Red potatoes because of their waxy flesh and firm texture. Don’t use starchy potatoes like russet!
- Potato salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. The salad should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours for food safety reasons.
- The potatoes are cooked unpeeled and are peeled while they’re still hot because this way the potatoes will better soak up the salad dressing.
- The vinegar gives the salad its authentic taste, don’t use apple cider or balsamic vinegar!
- Sprinkle the salad with chopped chives or parsley before serving but don’t use more than 2 Tbsp. The potatoes should be the star of the dish!
- There are many variations of potato salad throughout Germany and each region makes it a bit differently. Some are made without bacon, some are made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, but this is the version I grew up with in Bavaria.
It's bacon time for this German potato salad recipe
While the potatoes for this German potato salad recipe are cooking, take a 12-ounce package of bacon and cook it in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until crispy, which will take approximately ten minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set the bacon aside to cool.
"Any kind of traditional American bacon can be used here. I would avoid Canadian bacon, as it doesn't have the fat content needed to create the sauce," Rylie said. "Cooking bacon low and slow in its own grease makes sure all your bacon bits get nice and crispy. If you cook bacon bits too fast, some will be over-cooked and others under-cooked."
Be sure to reserve the bacon grease for the next tasty step.
- 3 pounds scrubbed, unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
- 1 cup crumbled cooked bacon (from 8 ounces)
- 2 thinly sliced shallots
- 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds
In a large pot, cover potatoes with at least 2 inches of water and season generously with salt. Boil until fork-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together butter, oil, and vinegar and toss with warm potatoes. Stir in bacon, shallots, and caraway seeds. Adjust seasoning as desired serve warm.
Kartoffelsalat is the name of German Potato Salad in the German language.
Either! German Potato Salad can be served either warm or cold. It’s a matter of personal preference, and it is delicious either way.
Storage of Leftovers: When chilling, you can simply cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. For longer term storage, this salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it can be enjoyed cold, no reheating is required.
Other German Recipes:
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