German Potato Salad

$4.79 recipe / $0.79 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.91 from 10 votes
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Okay, okay, okay, while I love a good rich and creamy southern-style potato salad, sometimes I want something different. I love German potato salad it’s a little bit lighter on the palate with its tangy mayo-free vinaigrette dressing, and still has plenty of body and flavor, thanks to BACON. It makes a great side dish for grilled bratwurst, kielbasa, or anything you might be serving at your back yard summer BBQ!

close up overhead view of German potato salad in a bowl.

What is German Potato Salad

German potato salad is a simple yet elegant dish featuring thickly sliced potatoes, bacon, onions, fresh herbs, and a tangy mustard vinaigrette dressing. The fat from the bacon is used to sauté the onions and acts as the fat in the vinaigrette, so everything has that wonderfully smoky bacon flavor. You can serve German potato salad hot or cold.

What Type of Potatoes are Best for Potato Salad?

Not all potatoes are equal. Russet potatoes, for instance, break down easily and are well-suited for things like mashed potatoes. Red potatoes hold up slightly better than russets, but a waxy potato like Yukon Gold will hold their shape even better. Personally, I love the color contrast of the red skins, so I went with red potatoes.

How Long Does German Potato Salad Last in the Refrigerator

You can keep this salad refrigerated for about four days. The dressing will absorb into the potatoes as it chills, so it may become slightly more dry as the days go on. You can either save some extra dressing to add just before serving, or make an extra batch to add later. 

What to Serve with German Potato Salad

German potato salad can be served hot or cold and makes a great addition to any potluck or BBQ spread. This week I served mine with my Glazed Pork Chops. It also goes great with sausage, like Bratwurst or Kielbasa! Just like creamy American potato salads, German potato salad also makes a great side dish for lunch items, like sandwiches.

Overhead view of German potato salad in the skillet.
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German Potato Salad

4.91 from 10 votes
German Potato Salad features thickly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, onions, and a rich and tangy mayo-free vinaigrette dressing.
Close up overhead view of a bowl of German Potato Salad in a bowl.
Servings 6 (about 3/4c each)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes


  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes ($2.40)
  • 1.5 tsp salt, divided ($0.07)
  • 4 oz. bacon ($1.33)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced ($0.38)
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard ($0.07)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar ($0.25)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley ($0.20)


  • Wash the potatoes well, then add them to a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add 1 tsp salt to the water to season the potatoes as they cook. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the pot to a boil. Continue to boil the potatoes until they can easily be pierced with a fork (12-15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, add the bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon from the skillet and leave the bacon fat in the skillet to cook the onions and make the dressing.
  • Add the diced onion to the skillet and continue to cook over medium heat in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Once the onions are soft, turn the heat down to low and add the mustard, sugar, pepper, ½ tsp salt, and the apple cider vinegar. Whisk the ingredients together until a light sauce forms, then turn the heat off.
  • When the potatoes are finished cooking, drain them in a colander and allow them to cool for a few minutes, or just until they're cool enough to handle. Once slightly cool, slice the potatoes into ¼-inch thick half-rounds.
  • While the potatoes are cooling, roughly chop the cooked bacon and the fresh parsley.
  • Add the sliced potatoes, bacon, and parsley to the skillet with the onions and dressing. Toss everything until evenly combined and coated in dressing. Give the potato salad a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to eat.

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*This is a prepared mustard, not powdered or mustard seed.


Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 205kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSodium: 764mgFiber: 3g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up side view of German potato salad in the skillet.

How to Make German Potato Salad – Step by Step Photos

Potatoes in a pot of water with salt being sprinkled over top.

Wash 2 lbs. of small red potatoes well. Place them in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by one inch. Add about 1 tsp of salt to the water to make sure the potatoes are well seasoned. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat on to high. Bring the pot to a boil, then continue to boil the potatoes until they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork (12-15 minutes, depending on the size).

Cooked bacon pieces in a skillet.

While the potatoes are boiling, cook 4 oz. of bacon in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon from the skillet. Leave the bacon fat in the skillet as it will be used to cook the onions and make the dressing.

Sautéed onions in the skillet.

Add one diced yellow onion to the skillet with the bacon fat. Continue to cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. The moisture from the onions should dissolve all the browned bits of flavor stuck to the bottom of the skillet from the bacon.

Dressing ingredients added to the skillet with the onions

Once the onions are soft, reduce the heat in the skillet to low and add 1 Tbsp grainy mustard, 2 tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar.

Onions and vinaigrette being whisked in the skillet.

Whisk the ingredients in the skillet until they form a light sauce, then turn the heat off.

Sliced potatoes on a cutting board.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander and let them cool for just a few minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick half-moons.

Sliced potatoes, parsley, and bacon added back to the skillet.

Roughly chop the cooked bacon and ¼ cup of fresh parsley. Add the sliced potatoes, bacon, and parsley to the skillet with the dressing.

Finished German Potato Salad in the skillet.

Toss the ingredients together until everything is evenly coated in dressing and parsley. Give the potato salad a taste and adjust the salt or other ingredients to your liking.

Overhead view of German Potato Salad in a bowl.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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  1. My husband loves this recipe only changes I did I use red onions and I put light garlic powder in it and I use spicy brown mustard it’s his favorite salad

  2. I have made this a couple of times for my family. Easy to put together and so YUM!!

  3. This is easy to make and tastes fantastic. I followed the recipe as written except I used Yukon Gold potatoes. I will definitely be making this again. WOW!!!!

  4. Will Spicy Brown Mustard work in place of the Stone Ground Mustard? That’s not something I use.

  5. It reminds me also of the wilted lettuce salad my part-German grandma used to make with bacon, vinegar, and hot grease (bacon fat or Crisco) with green onions, all over iceberg lettuce. She could make her own sauerkraut too.

  6. I made this for a potluck and got so many compliments on it. I did have to make it earlier in the day but I dressed it and then popped the whole thing in the fridge and served cold a couple hours later and it was still delicious. I’ll be keeping this one in my recipe for binder for another time for sure!

  7. I love this potato salad! It’s a great side for any season. It really gives you that potato fix without being heavy, thanks to the tanginess of the mustard/vinegar and the parsley gives it that nice Earthiness. And, I mean, BACON!!!

  8. I didn’t have any bacon, so I made it vegan by using olive oil to cook the onions, and then added a teaspoon of smoked paprika before adding the vinaigrette. Delicious!

  9. This is a great salad for the Pandemic! Everyone at my house loves it and it goes with summer food: ribs, sausages, burgers, and all things grilled. Even my picky husband loves it!

  10. I’m making it ahead but only adding dressing before we eat at the function good rule of thumb for any salad really 

  11. Microwave a bit and the dressing will help surface from the potatoes. Won’t be as dry. 

  12. I can’t believe how incredible this turned out. I made it for a BBQ earlier this summer and have been specifically requested to make it again twice since then. Total hit and it’s one of my go-to recipes now if I’m going over somewhere. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  13. Any suggestions or advice when making this ahead for a crowd?

    Also wanted to add that I discovered your website about a year ago and recommend it to friends young and old alike. So many great ideas and your recipes always turn out. We entertain a lot and your recipes work for small dinner parties, for when I feed ex-offenders and their families for READ (family literacy night for 70), and for family dinners when I’m looking for inspiration with produce from the farmers mkt. Appreciate your creativity and talent for great flavor combinations.

    1. Hmmmm, honestly I’m not sure how this would work out when made ahead for a crowd. The dressing may get absorbed by the potatoes as its stored, so it might get a bit more dry.

      1. I would leave dressing off until maybe half a day prior to serving. I’ll be doing the same for my crowd