German Potato Salad

CATEGORIES: Kate, Potatoes, Salads

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how crazy the last few months have been–between a never-ending February-May cold, my husband’s hospital adventures, school getting out, and traveling all over the country, I am seriously beyond excited to do laundry, load the dishwasher, clean out drawers and closets, take the time to make dinner instead of throwing something desperate together, and scrub the bathtub. I feel like I’m nesting at the end of pregnancy, only I actually have the energy to do it (and I don’t have a giant basketball under my shirt).

I made this to go along with the Garlic-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin we had for dinner the other night and it instantly became a favorite at our house, even with the picky kiddos. Seriously, this is the potato salad for people who think they don’t like potato salad (and those of you who do!) Instead of mayonnaise dressing, it has a vinaigrette dressing and it’s actually served warm. It’s great for potlucks and picnics because you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold, and it’s also a little more sophisticated than your average potato salad. Plus, it has bacon in it. And a good, solid Our Best Bites rule is that bacon makes everything better, right?

You’ll need 2 pounds of small red potatoes, some minced onion, minced garlic, white wine vinegar, dill weed (fresh or dried), salt, pepper, bacon, sugar, and Creole mustard. Zatarain’s and Tabasco are both great national brands, but if you can’t find them, try a coarse mustard that’s in a squeezy bottle and not a jar. Walmart actually has a great store-brand coarse mustard that’s not too strong and has a really nice flavor.German potato salad ingredients

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, quarter or slice the potatoes. When the water comes to a boil, add the potatoes and cook until you can pierce them with a fork but not to the point where they are mushy or falling apart. Drain the potatoes and run some cold water over them.

While the potatoes are cooking/cooling, cut 6 ounces of bacon into bite-sized pieces. Place the bacon in a cold skillet and then turn the heat up to medium and cook until the bacon is crispy. While the bacon is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Set aside. Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.

Add some minced onion and minced garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Add the vinegar/mustard mixture and turn the heat to high. Cook on high for about 3 minutes or until the dressing has reduced by about 1/3. Remove from heat and add the cooked potatoes. Gently toss the potatoes in the dressing and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and dill and gently toss again and then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs and serve immediately.Finished German Potato Salad


  1. I have been looking for a good recipe for this German Potato Salad for a long time! If it is Our Best Bites worthy, then I know it will be perfect 🙂 I made your fish tacos last night and my husband LOVED them. You ladies make cooking fun again! Thank you:)

  2. I totally know what you mean about “nesting”! I just finished my medical boards and my “vacation” has consisted of vacuuming, scrubbing and cooking – which I am loving :-)!

  3. This looks interesting!! I would probably substitute another herb for the dill though since I am not a fan of it! By the way, I am saying “hi” and Cupcake Diaries sent me! I am a fan of your blog as well as theirs and she is even giving your cookbook away in a give away! I am hoping to score this jewel!! Have a great day!!

  4. just curious– why is there a distinction made between the mustard in a squeezy bottle and the ones in the jar? I know you must have a reason and I’m curious as to what it is…

    1. That’s the easiest distinction I can make between all the ground mustards, haha! 🙂 The ones in the jars (except for Tabasco) tend to be whole grain mustards made with wine and sometimes horseradish. They’re usually more expensive and they’re also very strong and distinct. Sometimes they’re good, but sometimes they’re very overwhelming. The ones in the squeezy bottles are usually “cheaper,” but I like them a lot more–they’re not overpowering and they are good complements to ingredients like bacon, onions, and potatoes without being the only flavor, you know?

      1. Not the stout little bottles of coarse grain mustard they got for us in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen, nooooo! This made me giggle. Creole mustard is definitely a different beast than coarse grained mustard, and one of the yummiest things on earth.

      2. Made this german potato salad for a picnic. Got rave reviews. However, I love the spicier mustards. I used a whole grain mustard. It added flavor and texture and a visual impact. Got a really big thumbs up from someone who said the only place she had had better German Potato salad was when it was made by Germans. Love your site.

  5. This looks yummy and I think I’ll try it tonight. FYI- I noticed in the second paragraph it says “while the onions and garlic are cooking” instead of “while the bacon is cooking”.

  6. Yay! I will definitely try this for our upcoming 4th of July weekend event, so glad that I wont have to worry about refrigerating. BTW congrats on your upcoming baby, I’m due Aug. 7 and I think my nesting is already getting on my hubby’s nerves lol

  7. Another great recipe!! I love your blog! I found cupcake Diaries from your blog and they sent me back to you with their giveaway of your book! Can’t wait to try the potaoe salad this week!

  8. Love coming to your blog, it’s a breath of fresh air! Life is crazy busy, but after last Friday I think I can step into my neglected kitchen and feel normal again. I spent the last 3 months practicing for a “friendly” full contact powder puff fundraiser for our youth to be able to play. My family is happy to have me back and I am now nursing my battle wounds and loving every minute of it. Thank you for keeping me sane when I need a little escape from the football world, hope your hubby is okay!

  9. Do you think this would be good reheated? The one thing I like about cold potato salad is that I can make it ahead of time… But, I am kind of burnt out on my usual mayo based cold recipe. I am throwing a Bavarian Birthday Bash for my husband in a couple weeks and I thi k this will be perfect!

  10. This looks so good, because I can’t stand the stuff in normal potato salad–hard-boiled eggs, pickles, and mayo. Quick question though: is there something I could substitute for the mustard, since I’m not a fan of that either?

    1. Hmmmmm…that’s tough. *IF* you use something like Creole mustard, the mustardy flavor is very mild; definitely not as tangy as yellow mustard or as strong as Dijon/wine-y mustards. But if you 100% can’t stand mustard, I’d try leaving it out altogether and then taste the potatoes and if they need a little something extra, try adding just a TINY bit of mustard to see if that helps.

  11. Funny thing, I’m Korean and my brother is German and I grew up on this. My mom made this and a Korean dish to keep our heritage. Food evokes memories!

  12. It’s about time OBB has a potato salad recipe! Co-inky-dinkily, not too long ago I was searching the site for a warm dill potato salad. Guess this will work! yay!

    Hey, how about some recipe posts for egg rolls (a good recipe version is on the back of the egg-roll wrap packing), mac-n-cheese, and loaded oatmeal cookies (lower-fat and less sugar)?

  13. I love your site and have followed for what seems like forever:) ps i was sent to swoon you with my love for food from cupcake diaries:) thanks so much for all you do!!!!!

  14. So funny! I just made German Potato Salad for the first time on Father’s Day! It was very good, but I think I made too many potatoes or not enough dressing or something. I would have preferred it to be “saucier”. Yours has the mustard, which is different, and I think I will give it a whirl!
    Do you think you could use regular white vinegar? Is there a difference? Also, could this be made okay in the crock pot?

  15. I have been looking for a good german potato salad recipe for forever! It’s my favorite, and really the only kind I like, so when I saw the post I got wicked excited! and yes, we will be having this for dinner tomorrow night!!! thanks so much!

  16. Mmmmmmm….kartoffelsalat! Thanks for sharing this – when it comes to potato salad, the german’s DEFINITELY have it right. Now if you can come up with a recipe for Curry Wurst…. 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for posting this. I learnt how to do something similar in Home Ec *coffs and blushes* would you believe a couple of years ago? I’ll be giving it a go on the
    weekend. Warm salad will go down a treat on a cold winter’s day.

  18. When we visited Germany and Austria this spring, most of the restaurants that we ate at served this type of potato salad with the meal. It usually came with some greens atop the warm salad to sort of eat along with it. So yummy! I gobbled it up fast.

  19. There seem to be a billion types of potato salad. But this one sounds delicious. I love the fact that it has the mustard and bacon and doesn’t sound too sweet. Thanks!

  20. wondering – when it says whisk together vinegar, water, sugar, ‘salt’, ‘pepper’….. there are not amounts for the salt and pepper. Is that just to taste or specific amounts. I’ll guess on mine today, but was curious! Thanks –

  21. We love German Potato Salad in our house- but my mom’s recipe calls for the cooked potatoes to crisp up in the bacon drippings, then you add in hot dogs and sausage, and diced pickles, with a few tablespoons of pickle juice. You cook it in the skillet for 5 minutes more so all the flavors blend. The pickle juice gives it the vinegar/dill flavor your recipe calls for. But obviously the sausage and hot dogs make it a main dish- and not for someone watching their calories! We serve it with the mustard and ketchup on the side to dip the potatoes in.

  22. I’m so glad you posted this! I tried German Potato Salad a couple of weeks ago in Fredericksburg (TX) and have been searching for the perfect recipe to try ever since! 🙂 And I have complete faith that yours is the ONE.

  23. Mmm. I love german potato salad. I use my great grandmother’s recipe and we use cider vinegar with a little sugar and plenty of bacon. its pretty much to die for in my opinion. i am not a huge fan of mayo or mustard (or eggs now that you mention it), so german potato salad rocks my world.

  24. I made this for a party yesterday and it was great. I did make it the night before and it turned out fine reheating it (I had asked about it in a comment above… thanks for the info).

    Although… when I went to reheat it in the microwave, the bowl got caught on the microwave spinny thing and it shattered on the kitchen floor (the spinny thing, not the bowl). Oh well – the salad was still tasty!

  25. Will definitely try this salad as it sounds yummy but as an ex-pat living in Germany I can say that regular potatoes are more popular than the red ones. In fact, the red ones aren’t very popular here. Also, you’d be hard pressed in Germany to find “creole” mustard. Maybe this should be an “American” German salad but the general gist is right. They do love pork in everything.

  26. My intent wasn’t to be critical of your recipe, only that this type of mustard is not that popular here in Germany. Mayo in potato salad isn’t popular either. The link you provided states that majority of the Germans that settled in LA were from the Rhineland area and the Swiss border region which indicates that there was a strong Swiss/French influence anyway and as they married may French it could be how creole mustard can be attributed to have some German roots. The Rhineland region only represents a small portion of Germany and the tastes vary from region to region, much like in the US. There are many types of mustard here but creole is not a popular version.

    1. Well, this recipe doesn’t have mayo in it, so we don’t have to worry about that. 🙂 I use Creole mustard because it’s my favorite and a good, universal coarse-grained mustard, but feel free to use whatever you like best.

  27. Who cares if the potato salad has a culturally acceptable name?! It could be called Kate’s spud throw together and I would still love it. 🙂

  28. Forgive me, I try to avoid “stupid questions that have already been answered or are common sense.” But, I signed up to take a potato salad to a funeral luncheon. Would this work? If I cooked it, brought it to the church to sit in the kitchen for an hour would it still be good, or gross and congealed (SP?)? Should I attempt to hurry back to the kitchen to microwave it before serving? Thanks.

  29. Long time reader here. I have been making this recipe for office potlucks for four years running. It’s one of my husband’s favorites and I make it all year long!

    Some tweaks that have worked well for me after much experimentation:

    – Since there’s no creole mustard to be found where I live, any kind of sweet mustard will do (I prefer Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Molasses Mustard)… and I’m VERY generous with it 😀
    – In the fall/winter I substitute apple cider vinegar for white wine, and maple bacon for regular (and I always double the bacon quantity too)
    – The potatoes get more flavor coaxed out of them if roasted in the oven instead of boiled (though boiling is easier/faster)
    – Most crucially: I always make sure I let the potatoes sit in the dressing for AT LEAST 12 hours in the fridge. Then I reheat, mix in the fresh dill and bacon, and we’re good to go!

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes as always, ladies 🙂

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