German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (2024)

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My German Potato Salad is made with vinegar, bacon, and onion and can be served warm or cold. A perfect hearty side dish for any occasion, from holiday dinners to BBQs!

German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (1)

I’m German and I love potato salad! I took my Grandmother’s recipe and tweaked it a little bit to make it easier for you to make an authentic German potato salad that tastes like the one you get in a Bavarian restaurant or at the Oktoberfest. It’s tangy and loaded with bacon and onions.

A Bavarian potato salad should be moist but not wet, the dressing will have an almost creamy consistency that coats the potatoes. It should definitely not be dry!

The hot potatoes soak up the flavor of the delicious dressing and the added bacon makes this simple recipe so finger-licking-good. Sprinkle the salad with chopped chives or parsley and voila: German potato salad perfection!

Why make this recipe

  • Uses only a few, simple ingredients
  • So easy to put together
  • Authentic German recipe from my grandmother in Germany
  • Tastes great with everything
  • Perfect to make ahead

Ingredient Notes

Here is an overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe.

German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (2)
  • Potatoes – The potatoes you can get in Germany are different from North American potatoes. For the most authentic potato salad, I recommend using Yukon Gold potatoes, Yellow Potatoes, Charlotte, or New Red potatoes because of their waxy flesh and firm texture. This varietymost closely replicates the potatoes used in Germany for this salad. Don’t use russet or other very starchy potatoes, they will crumble and make the salad dry!
  • Vinegar – I like to use German seasoned vinegar for salads (you can get it in German stores or the international aisle at the grocery store) but you can also use white vinegar or white wine vinegar. Do NOT use balsamic or apple cider vinegar!
  • Sugar – Authentic recipes are usually made with a little bit of sugar, but not more than 1 tsp! The sugar balances the flavor, it should not sweeten the salad.
  • Mustard – The best choice would be mild German mustard, you can often find it in the international aisle in the grocery store. The next best thing is Dijon mustard, it tastes a little stronger but similar enough. Don’t use American mustard!
  • Beef Stock – You need a quality beef stock with lots of flavor for this recipe. I like to use Better than Boullion (affiliate link) because it lets me make a more concentrated stock.

How to make this recipe

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found at the bottom of the page on the printable recipe card.

German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (3)
  1. Boil potatoes: Boil the potatoes in a large pot covered with an inch of water over high heat until tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
  2. Make the dressing: Meanwhile, make the dressing. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Take out the bacon and set it aside, leave the rendered fat in the pan. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent but not browned, about 3-4 mins (Image 1). Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and add vinegar, mustard, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper (Image 2).
  3. Prep potatoes: Let the potatoes cool slightly so you can handle them. Peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices or cubes and put them in a large bowl. (Image 3)
  4. Combine: Pour the hot dressing over the potatoes. Mix the salad gently then fold in the bacon pieces (Image 4). Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving so that the potatoes can absorb the flavor of the dressing.

What to serve with German Potato Salad

  • German Schnitzel
  • Air Fryer Breaded Pork Chops
  • German Pork Hock (Schweinshaxe Recipe)
  • Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Expert Tips

  • 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.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between American and German potato salad?

American potato salad is usually mayonnaise-based, German potato salad, especially in Bavaria, is made with bacon drippings and vinegar dressing. What Americans typically think of as “German Potato Salad” (unpeeled red potatoes, lots of parsley, sometimes garlic, lots of sugar) is not actually found in that form in Germany.

Is it better to boil potatoes whole or cut up for potato salad?

It’s better to boil potatoes whole and with the peel on. They are peeled while they’re still hot because this way the potatoes will better soak up the dressing and the salad will be more flavorful.

What does German potato salad go with?

In Germany, Potato Salad is often served as a side dish with Schnitzel, sausages, pork chops, or breaded fish. It’s also a popular dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck! Fun fact: Many Germans eat potato salad on Christmas Eve.

German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (8)

Leftovers

This salad keeps for about 2 days in the fridge, let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Looking for more German Recipes?

  • Easy German Spaetzle Recipe
  • Black Forest Cake
  • Bread Dumplings
  • Kaiserschmarrn

If you want to try more food from Germany I highly recommend taking a lookat my other German Recipes and please leave me a comment if you’re looking for a specific German recipe that I haven’t posted yet!

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German Potato Salad (Authentic Bavarian Recipe) - Plated Cravings (13)

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4.97 from 92 votes

German Potato Salad

By: Julia Foerster

My German Potato Salad is made with vinegar, bacon, and onion and can be served warm or cold. A perfect hearty side dish for any occasion, from holiday dinners to BBQs!

Prep Time: 20 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds waxy potatoes
  • 6-8 slices bacon, finely diced
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup beef stock
  • 6 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard, Dijon or mild German mustard
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sunflower or avocado oil work best
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, or chives

CupsMetric

Instructions

  • Boil the potatoes in a large pot covered with an inch of water over high heat until tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.

  • Meanwhile, make the dressing. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Take out the bacon and set it aside, leave the rendered fat in the pan. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent but not browned, about 3-4 mins (Image 1). Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and add vinegar, mustard, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper (Image 2).

  • Let the potatoes cool slightly so you can handle them. Peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices or cubes and put them in a large bowl. (Image 3)

  • Pour the hot dressing over the potatoes. Mix the salad gently then fold in the bacon pieces (Image 4). Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving so that the potatoes can absorb the flavor of the dressing.

Notes

  • 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.

Cooking potatoes in the Instant Pot

Place a trivet in the instant pot, add one cup of cold water, and place the potatoes on top of the trivet. Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 9-12 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Quick-release the pressure.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 813mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

German Potato Salad recipe originally published in 2017. New photos, updated recipe, and updated post in December 2020.

Categorized as:
German Recipes,

About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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