German Potato Salad

To those who’ve never had the good fortune to have eaten German Potato Salad before, in all its hot (or cold!), sour, sweet, bacon goodness, I think you’re in for a treat.

The grandparents called it Kartoffelsalat.

I grew up eating a lot of German cooking and have a soft spot in my heart (and stomach) for it. And over the years I have had the pleasure of inflicting that soft spot on my family and friends who welcome the chance to share these meals with me.


Real Food

Start with good, firm, red potatoes. A bit on the small side works best. Preferably organic. We’ll boil them all at the same time so try to grab ones that are roughly the same size so they cook at the same rate. Do NOT peel them yet. (And be aware, russets will dissolve too much to make this work. Hence the waxier and firmer reds.)

A small onion. Organic as well if you can. Dice this fairly small.

Good bacon. Beyond my plea that you only eat from animals that were humanely treated and not loaded with garbage, chemicals, and medicines, choose good-tasting bacon. We get ours from a local butcher, sliced to order. It costs the same or less than the grocery store brands and tastes twice as good!

Or, if you don’t mind the price, I can highly recommend Beeler’s for just about anything pork (it’s often in the freezer section at the grocery). I want to be able to recommend Costco’s Kirkland Signature bacon, and I can testify that it does taste pretty darn good, but last I checked it also contains nitrites so I avoid it.

German potato salad ingredients

Cover the potatoes with water in a pot and some salt. Bring to a boil and cook until done all the way through but still reasonably firm. By which I mean sliceable with a sharp knife firm.

I test them using a paring knife — if it goes in easy with little resistance, you’re good. But be careful not to overcook them down to mushy or they won’t slice.

Red potatoes in a pot of water

Finely dice your onion. Again, use a small onion or half of a large one (and then you can use the other half in another dish!).

Cook the bacon about half way and toss in the onion. Cook this until the bacon is done and the onion is tender and translucent. Don’t be in too much of a hurry. Medium heat is plenty. Bacon likes to quickly burn over high heat.

Bacon and onions cooking

Then, stir in everything else but the potatoes: beef stock, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and dried parsley. Let that cook on medium-low for a few minutes until the flavors all start to blend and the liquid reduces down just a tad.

Remove the potatoes from the water when they’re done. Wait a couple minutes for them to cool until you can safely peel them. The hotter they are, the easier they tend to peel, so it’s a compromise. I use a small pair of tongs like these to peel them while they’re still pretty hot (rather than burn my fingers).

Thinly slice the potatoes. If they’re larger potatoes, I halve them lengthwise first. The biggest you can be and still be bite-sized is the goal.

GENTLY toss in a bowl with the dressing. You want to do this while the potatoes are still warm and will absorb the dressing.

Serve hot, warm, or chilled from the refrigerator. It’s all good.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Bill

German Potato Salad can be served hot or cold because it's just that good. Sour, sweet, smoky, and bacon. Visit to learn more.



  • 6 medium red potatoes (2-3 pounds)
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced into small pieces about 3 strips
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard or Dijon
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley (or a couple fresh chopped if you have it)
  • salt and pepper, to taste, if desired


  1. Cover the potatoes with salted water in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook until done but still a bit firm.

  2. Meanwhile, in a fry pan, render the bacon until about halfway done and then add the onions. Continue to cook until the bacon is done and the onions are tender and starting towards translucent.

  3. Add the stock, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and parsley. Stir well and let it continue to cook over medium-low heat so the flavors meld and the liquid reduces just a little.

  4. Peel the potatoes and thinly slice. Toss gently in a bowl with the dressing while still warm. 

  5. Taste and season with salt and/or pepper if desired.

  6. Serve hot, warm, or chilled from the refrigerator. 

Be well, friends, and thank you for stopping by. Cook for each other and until next time, peace.
Bill (signature)

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7 thoughts on “German Potato Salad

  1. ‘The parents’ called it ‘Kartoffesalat’ – being something oddly called Baltic Baronial from my Mom’s side, , I guess this was part of the scenario 🙂 ! . . . and, yes, it is ‘real food’ and, if I make it and, yes, I do serve it sort’of ‘room’ temperature . . . do you ever make it Russian Style: with the kitchen sink added with beetroot in the mix ere you add anything else . .

  2. Never, ever believe I am trying to Q your given post !! Try ‘rosolje’ or ‘rassolnik’ in my case , , , , , give this ‘space’ and talk along perchance differences . . .

  3. I too was raised eating Kartoffelsalat instead of that goopy mayo/mustard stuff one sees. Here we have färskpotatissallad, which is very similar. There are various varieties, but the one made with a dill, Dijon and fresh lemon juice dressing and often served with rocket (arugula) is the most previlant in these parts. You’ll also find a version with a crème fraîche type dressing, but I prefer the first version. We use fresh (new) waxy potatoes which usually begin arriving around midsommar.

    • You have to marvel at the way potatoes can take on such differing flavors. Dill or tarragon or what have you. Funny, by the way, fewer people I talk to know rocket, they’ve only ever heard arugula. Kind of like “salad oil,” eh?

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