German Potato Salad

German potato salad is a  traditional autumn favorite,  served warm  with bacon and  a sweet and sour vinegar dressing.
German Potato Salad

German  Potato Salad

By Sue Lau |Palatable Pastime

German potato salad is my recipe  of the day.

German Potato Salad

I have always loved German potato salad. Even though I don’t recall my mom ever making it from scratch. Time was, when I had it, it would have come out of a can, or have been something I got from a restaurant. Cans aren’t really where you want to find your potato salad. And relying on restaurants really doesn’t soothe the soul when cravings strike.

German-American  Style

Not the typical style potato salad that Germans today might serve. This is still German in that it has its roots in German immigrants to the United States. Particularly the Pennsylvania Dutch and other immigrants from that part of Europe who settled in the areas stretching from Pennsylvania to Ohio. And beyond, and even into the upper Midwest. In these areas you can see many recipes which evolved from the original cuisine to adapt to the needs and tastes of new Americans.

It’s a Family Favorite

And having married a man of German ancestry, whose autumn cravings abound with European style wursts and sausages, German potato salad is going to come up from time to time. Especially when this Wisconsin born soul craves his bratwursts in a hot tub, a classic recipe from that state. Being a Green Bay Packers fan, a nice plump grilled brat smeared with whole grain mustard and served with a side of kraut or German potato salad is just the thing to keep him happy on game day.

And having learned over the years how to make the salad from scratch has made me a happy camper as well. My favorite combo is to serve it with a toasty grilled Reuben sandwich, oozing with melted Swiss cheese.

But however you choose to enjoy your potato salad, it is easy to prep up, even ahead (it easily reheats) for your game day or autumn meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

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German Potato Salad

This  doesn’t have  an  overwhelming  amount  of dressing, so you might wish to double that to your own preferences. I find it adds the flavor so I don’t need more.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Sue Lau
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, German


  • 2 pounds small or new red potatoes
  • 4-6 slices bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 scallions or green onions sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup warm water


  • Cook potatoes whole in boiling salted water for 20-25 minutes, or until a small knife easily inserts into a potato.
  • Drain potatoes, and when cool enough to handle, slice them thickly with skins on.
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the red onion and garlic until the onion is soft.
  • While onion is cooking, stir together the sugar, vinegar and water until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add sliced potatoes, crumbled bacon and sliced scallion to the pan and heat until it is warmed.
  • Add the sugary vinegar water and mix gently, heating until water is mostly absorbed. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with additional chopped scallions or fresh parsley if desired.


From the kitchen of
Keyword Hot Potato Salad
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German Potato Salad

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This post has been updated from 2014 to reflect fresh photography.

8 responses

  1. I love German potato salad and had lost my recipe. I’d tried other recipes and they all came up short but this looks like the real deal! Off to the store for some red potatoes. Thanks, Sue.

  2. Wow! This is such an easy recipe to make and we loved it!!! Next time, will probably double the red onion, garlic and scallions, as I found myself wanting more of that rich sweetness! This recipe is a definite keeper – thanks for posting! Made for Susie’s World Tour, Team Incredibles (hello, teammate!).

  3. I was not aware that potato salad is available in cans in the US. We always make it from scratch. There are a lot of local differences and your versions is more like from the southern part of Germany where they use oil and vinegar. The more northern you travel the potato salad is made with mayonnaise instead.
    My husband is swabian and we grate the lukewarm potatos and the dressing is made of vegetable stock, vinegar, mustard, sugar and onions.
    Next time I make I will blog the receipe.
    I realy like your recipes and I will prepare some of your dishes.
    Best regards from autumnal Germany.
    Katja aka Kaffeebohne

    • You’d be surprised what I have seen in cans! If they can put it in there, there try it. 😉 I think they still sell the canned stuff too.
      This version is more Pennsylvania Dutch from German immigrants who came here in the 1700’s onward. From there it may have it’s own evolution blending with culinary traditions of other immigrants, many who were English and Scottish.
      It is good and has a nice sweet and sour tang. Perfect to go with wursts and kraut.
      Glad you like the blog! 🙂

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