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German Potatosalat (Potato Salad) Recipe: How to Make This Dish

German Potatosalat (Potato Salad) Recipe: How to Make This Dish

German Potatosalat (German Potato Salad) is a potato salad dish popular in Germany. It’s an iconic dish with a hearty and savory taste in traditional German flavors. Gourmet chef skills aren’t required to make even the best German potato salad!

With a simple list of ingredients and an easy-to-follow process, you can easily make your own warm German potato salad and enjoy deliciously traditional German cuisine at home.

Our authentic German potato salad recipe is easy to follow and yields a delicious side to a more substantial meal. Make this recipe in bulk and save your leftovers for an easy add-on to midweek dinners when the time to cook is sparse.

What Is German Potato Salad?

Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat mit Maultaschen

The complete list of ingredients for German potato salad can vary slightly by region. However, it typically contains potatoes, bacon, onion, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Some variations also include apple, carrot, or celery.

Germany is often considered to be the birthplace of the humble potato salad. If you’re ever planning a trip to Germany, you’ll find many local cooking classes that will take you through how to make this popular side dish. While other varieties first spread across Europe and then across the waters to America, the German potato salad will always be the OG.

See Related: Best Food Tours in Germany to Take

Our German Potato Salad Recipe

Hot German Potato Salad
Image from TripAdvisor

Servings: 12-14


  • 8 -10 medium-sized potatoes
    • Top tip – If you want a firmer potato salad, use red potatoes over other types, such as russet potatoes. Red potatoes don’t fall apart as easily as other types of potatoes when boiled. When diced, they also hold their shape nicely. If you’re after a creamier potato salad, pop Yukon Gold Potatoes on your grocery list.
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 eggs (not boiled – boiling them will make them harden, which makes it difficult to stir them through without breaking them up).
  • 2/3 cup of vinegar
    • Top tip – If you don’t have white vinegar, try substituting apple cider vinegar. It has a milder flavor than White Vinegar and is not as sour. When preparing the German potato salad, mix 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar with just 1-2 cups water instead of the usual 3 cups vinegar to 2 cups water ratio.
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or chicken broth
  • 4 garlic gloves
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chopped, fresh parsley (for garnish)


Potatoes boiling on a pot
am13photo / Adobe Stock
  • First, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Then, pop your unpeeled potatoes in for about ten minutes. After this time, cut potatoes through with a fork. If the fork slices through without difficulty, your potatoes are ready. Once cooked, immediately rinse all the potatoes in cold water.
    • Top tip – To give the potatoes more flavor, add one teaspoon of white wine vinegar to every cup of water.
Hand Chopping Potatoes
SergioNicolas / Adobe Stock
  • When the cooked potatoes have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins. Then, dice your peeled potatoes into approximately 1/2″ cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Top tip – Pop in one tablespoon of salt with your potatoes to help soak up excess moisture, and drain any excess water before mixing in other ingredients.
Woman chopping different vegetables
Anastassiya / Abobe Stock
  • Stir your chopped celery in with your potatoes.
Cube sliced bacon
Only 4K Ultra HD / Adobe Stock
  • In a separate saute pan, chop the bacon, finely mince the garlic, and cook together until the bacon is browned.Top tip – For a slightly sweeter subtleness to the flavor of your sauce, you can add just a dash of sugar (no more than one teaspoon).
Chopped onions
Mara Zemgaliete / Adobe Stock
  • Then, chop your onions and add to your saute pan. Saute the onions, bacon, and garlic together over a medium-low heat. It’s important to stir frequently to ensure your ingredients cook evenly and avoid undesirable burnt bits. Do this until your onions start becoming translucent. Top tip – If your tastebuds call out for a more meaty and salty-tasting dish, don’t drain the bacon grease after frying with the onions and garlic. While it does make the dish a little less healthy, it can make a big difference in flavor!
Woman using a mixing bowl
rocketclips / Adobe Stock
  • Mix the vinegar, sugar, beef stock (or chicken broth), eggs, salt, pepper, and mustard in a medium bowl or large measuring jug. Do this until the eggs are well incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.
Potato salad in a bowl
LemonStudio / Adobe Stock
  • Transfer your mixture from the measuring jug with the bacon, onion, and garlic to the saute pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbling and thickened.Top tip – Save some of the bacon pieces to sprinkle over your potato salad when serving.
German potato salad ingredients - Fresh potatoes, bacon, onions, and herbs
  • Pop your potatoes onto a serving dish and evenly pour over your sauce from the saute pan. Sprinkle over the leftover bacon pieces and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy! If you want to make even more potato salad in one go, just double up the ingredients on our recipe and follow the directions as normal.

Traditional German Potato Salad is a very versatile dish. Add other ingredients like apples, carrots, green onions, and celery to the salad for added taste.

You could even stir in a little Dijon mustard to your sauce for a more intense flavor. Some German potato salad recipes also call for pickles and hard-boiled eggs.

But what if you sit down to eat your delicious German potato salad but struggle to finish your meal in one sitting? Well, don’t fret! This dish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days in an air-tight container (or longer if put in the freezer).

It’s perfectly safe to reheat, or you can still enjoy it just as much when served cold. Leftover potato salad makes for a perfect addition to breakfast with a fried egg and some quickly fried-up bacon.

Regional Variations of German Potato Salad

Delicious German potato salad with mayonnaise dressing recipe.

While the traditional German potato salad stays the same at its core, it does experience regional differences. Our German Potato Salad recipe features a dish more typical to the Southern region of Germany.

The dressing typically served with German potato salad in the North of Germany is creamy due to ingredients like mayonnaise or yogurt. Southern Germany contrasts this with a more complex tangy vinegar dressing, giving it a more bold and punchy flavor.

You’ll also sometimes find the flavor between North and South to be quite different, too. Northern Germany favors a milder flavor than the South’s robust and sometimes smoky notes.

Additionally, where the North will use a variety of potatoes, including the more floury types, the South has a preference for waxy red potatoes. Waxy potatoes have a preferable texture and improved ability to absorb flavors.

Finally, another major factor to consider when looking at the regional differences of potato salad throughout Germany is the temperature at which it’s served. While you can enjoy cold and warm potato salad throughout Germany, due to the regional differences in dressing, you’ll often find more of a tendency to be served cold in the North and warm in the South.

What Can I Eat With German Potato Salad?

A person enjoying traditional German potato salad at an outdoor picnic.

Enjoy this dish served warm or cold, as a main, side dish, or even as an appetizer before your main meal. For a simple meal, you can garnish your potato salad with fresh parsley and maybe a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

However, for a more substantial meal, you’re truly spoilt for choice as a traditional potato salad accompanies main courses such as grilled pork chops or chicken steak. A spot-on pairing would be with the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel, a popular dish in Germany.

Keep things traditional and go for something authentically German! Schweinebraten (roast pork) goes particularly well with a hot German potato salad. But you could also opt for something like Bratwurst (German sausage dish) or some German Jägerschnitzel.

See Related: Different Types of German Sausage to Try


What is the difference between American and German potato salad?

American-style potato salad differs slightly from German potato salad primarily because of the dressings used and the temperature at which the dish is generally served. German potato salad is usually served with a warm, tangy dressing, whereas American potato salad features a simple and creamy dressing, often including mayonnaise as a main ingredient.

Moreover, you’ll more than likely be served hot German potato salad (or at least room temperature potato salad) in Germany, but in America, it’s typically served cold. American potato salad is similar to the German potato salad typically served in Northern Germany, emphasizing a creamy and simple dressing.

Is German Potato Salad Vegetarian Friendly?

While the traditional and authentic German potato salad features bacon, you can make an alternate veggie-friendly version. Skip on the crispy bacon and instead opt for vegan bacon alternatives.

Otherwise, I would suggest introducing a little paprika in your dish for a similarly lovely smokey flavor. You could also consider adding in some shitake mushroom to add that chewy texture lost by the absence of bacon.

While not traditionally German, there’s nothing wrong with a little fusion cuisine to suit your diet! The cooking process will be the same: swap out the bacon from our German potato salad recipe for shitake mushroom or vegan bacon alternatives, and sprinkle in some paprika at the end for a final dash of flavor to make a deliciously veggie-friendly dish.

Is Germany famous for potatoes?

Germany is much more famous for its meatier sausage dishes and, of course, the mighty pretzel. But you’ll find over 270 varieties of potatoes grown on German soil. It was King Frederick the Great who first introduced the potato to Germany in 1756, and from then on, the cultivation of potatoes in Germany began, and many tasty German potato dishes followed suit!

Famous German potato dishes extend from the humble potato salad. There’s also the German potato pancake or even the delicious Kartoffel Klöße(potato dumplings). Boiled, mashed, fried, or sliced potatoes, it doesn’t matter; there’s a good chance they’ll go with a popular German dish! The hearty German cuisine matches perfectly with the satisfying and homely potato.

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