Best German Potato Salad

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The Loon (Wesley) has declared this his all-time favorite potato salad. And he LOVES potato salads.

We love this salad for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it’s incredibly flavorful. It can be served warm or at room temperature. It’s a beautiful salad. And it’s perfect to serve all year. We especially love serving it at cookouts alongside grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and Caprese pasta salad.

An overhead view of a white bowl holding a large serving of German potato salad with a few whole baby potatoes and petite dill pickles surrounding the bowl.

How To Make German Potato Salad

Roasting the potatoes, as opposed to boiling them, allows the potatoes to stay firm, and not get mushy.

And, the salad can be made in advance. It’s really easy to put together!

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

This salad is wonderful because you can adapt the ingredients to your own liking. We think this version is an amazing combination of flavors that is truly special. Using bacon grease is traditional in the dressing for this classic salad.

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

Waxy Potatoes – We recommend a combination of baby red and baby gold. Yukon potatoes are a great choice, too.
Bacon – This is essential. Hold on to that bacon grease!
Red Onion – Finely chopped.
Broth – Chicken or vegetable is perfect.
Vinegar – We use white wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, or Champagne vinegar are all great choices.
Mustard – The combination of Dijon and spicy brown really pumps up the flavor profile. Grain, or Country-Style, is delicious, too.
Dill Pickles – These add texture and even more flavor. We love finely dicing cornichons, but any type of dill pickle will work.
Sweet and Savory – Salt, pepper, and sugar.
Chives – Save some for garnish

EXPERT TIP: Roasting the potatoes, rather than boiling them, keep them from getting mushy and taking on water. Once cool enough to handle, we like to cut the large potatoes in half and peel off the skin of about 1/3 to 1/2 of the roasted spuds. Once they bake, the skin becomes loose and easy to peel.

A person using a paring knife to slice a roasted baby gold potato in half with a more baked baby red and gold potatoes nearby.

Tips for Perfect German Potato Salad

Roast the Potatoes: Instead of boiling the potatoes, roasting the baby yellow and red potatoes to add extra flavor and texture to the salad. If you can’t find baby potatoes, go with the larger variety, but you will need to roast them longer. They are done when a sharp knife can easily slice through the potatoes.

Use Bacon Grease in the Dressing – Bacon grease adds a smoky and savory flavor to the dressing that complements the potatoes well. Starting with 4 strips of regular bacon will give you just the right amount of grease for the dressing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste greasy, at all.

Pump Up the Flavor with Herbs and Pickles – Fresh herbs, such as chives, and dill pickles add a pop of color and freshness to the salad. Toss them with the warm potatoes and dressing just before serving for the best flavor.

EXPERT TIP: When you pour the dressing over the potatoes, it may feel like there is too much dressing, as it will probably pool some at the bottom of the bowl. As you gently toss the potatoes in the dressing, they will absorb the dressing. In a short amount of time, there will no longer be excess dressing.

A person pouring a warm mustard dressing from a glass bowl into a large white bowl filled with baked baby potatoes that have been halved.

How To Serve

This salad is really delicious when served while the potatoes and dressing are still warm.

However, the salad is still spectacular once it has reached room temperature. This allows the flavor to meld even more.

Be sure to save plenty of crumbled bacon and chives to garnish the top of the salad.

A close-up view of a white bowl containing a pile of German potato salad topped with crumbled bacon and snipped chives.

Other Side Salad Recipes to Try

As mentioned, this German potato salad is a nice variation from the standard mayo-based salad. But, these classic recipes are still wonderful and always a hit when served to guests.

Classic Potato Salad
Creamy Horseradish Potato Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
Beet and Potato Salad with Dill Dressing
Classic Pasta Salad
Caprese Pasta Salad
Cheddar, Bacon, and Ranch Pasta Salad
Cajun Pasta Salad

These are all amazing, without a doubt, but doesn’t a spoonful of this salad look tempting?

A person holding up a wooden spoon that is filled with a small pile of German potato salad over a bowl of the same.

Ready to make the best potato salad this side of Berlin? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a white bowl holding a large serving of German potato salad with a few whole baby potatoes and petite dill pickles surrounding the bowl.

Best German Potato Salad

This German Potato Salad recipe is the perfect make-ahead salad. It is great when it's warm, of course, but it's equally as delicious when served at room temp. Perfect for picnics, cook-outs, and any other kind of gathering when a wonderful potato salad is needed.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, American / German
Keyword: how to make German potato salad, potato salad with our mayonnaise
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Roasting Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 245kcal

Equipment

  • Roasting pan or baking sheet
  • Large skillet for cooking bacon
  • Medium saucepan for simmering dressing

Ingredients

  • lb baby red potatoes
  • lb baby gold potatoes
  • 4 strips bacon
  • ½ cup red onion chopped
  • ½ cup chicken broth can substitute vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • ¼ cup dill pickles finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chives finely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Pierce the potatoes once with a sharp knife or fork (this will keep them from bursting in the oven). Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast them until tender, about 40 to 55 minutes. (check doneness by inserting a sharp knife).
    1½ lb baby red potatoes, 1½ lb baby gold potatoes
  • Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the larger ones in half and remove the skin from about half of them (the skin will be somewhat loose from being roasted). Place potatoes in a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep the rendered bacon grease in the skillet.
    4 strips bacon
  • Over medium heat, sauté the chopped red onions in the bacon grease until soft, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Crumble the cooked bacon and set aside.
    ½ cup red onion
  • In a separate saucepan, add the chicken broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the two mustards and the sautéed onions with the bacon grease. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    ½ cup chicken broth, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • Pour the warm dressing over the potatoes and add the chopped pickles, and most of the crumbled bacon and snipped chives (save some for garnish).
    ¼ cup dill pickles, ¼ cup chives
  • Use two large wooden spatulas or spoons to gently toss the potatoes in the dressing. Allow the salad to sit for a few minutes to absorb the dressing.
  • Taste and add more salt, if desired. Top with remaining bacon and chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
If you can't find baby potatoes, you can use larger ones. They will require a little longer baking. They are ready once the potato can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. 
Before baking the potatoes, we recommend piercing each potato once with a shark knife or fork. This will prevent any of the potatoes from bursting in your oven. 
The salad can be made 4 to 6 hours in advance of serving. Store in a container with a lid. We recommend not tossing with the bacon and chives until just before serving.
Leftovers (which are delicious) will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 662mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 94IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published April 2018, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in July 2023!

11 Comments

  • My mother, who’s French, always made potato salad like this. I didn’t know anything else growing up! When the potatoes were hot, she always added olive oil so they’d stay moist. I just add the vinaigrette, like you. But no pickles for me!

  • 5 stars
    I made this potato salad with grilled chicken tonight & my daughter licked her plate! So easy & so delicious!! Love your recipes!

    • Hi Diane! We are so happy you made the German potato salad and had such great success with it! And thank you to the moon and back for sharing and for the wonderful review! That means so much to us!!!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • So glad you’ve made a German potato salad recipe (and didn’t realize you had already done it in 2018). We had a favorite restaurant that had German potato salad as a side – it was so good, but the restaurant closed last year. So, really looking forward to trying this one!

    • Hi Claire!!!! This really has become our favorite potato salad. I love the classic mayo version, but this has such a vibrant bright taste! Let us know if you make and how it rates against your fav restaurant!! So good to hear from you!!!! xoxo

  • 5 stars
    I love the fact that the potatoes absorb the dressing. The idea of roasting the potatoes rather than boiling is excellent. And I love apple cider vinegar as the choice in this. 🙂

    • Hi Nancy! YES!!! The potato soak up that delicious dressing and they are SO GOOD!!Apple cider vinegar is a GREAT choice! We think they’re best served fresh, but we can’t stop munching on them the next day (if there are any left!). Thanks for the GREAT review, Nancy! You are the BEST!!

  • Looks like a really tasty recipe, just curious about something. In step 3 (making the vinaigrette) you mention adding the pickles and pickle juice but you don’t mention or specify pickle juice and how much in the ingredient list. I’ll just add a tablespoon or so and see how it goes but I’m wondering how much you add. Thanks for all the great looking recipes, made some of the tuna salad for my Mom today and I’ll bet she’s gonna love it!

    • Hi Chuck, we just realized we never answered you!! So very sorry about that! You were EXACTLY right in your guess as to how much pickle juice to add. Our mistake for not including the pickle juice and quantity in the ingredients! We’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. We hope you enjoyed the potato salad and we also hope you and your mom liked the tuna salad!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 4 stars
    My husband (35 years) never eaten any potato salad in the time I’ve known him. He claims he hates it. I love it. But because of him, I never make it. BUT I made this Warm Potato Salad and guess what!? HE ATE IT and LOVED IT! Delicious! I’ll definitely make this again. I’m so excited to have found your site! I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes! They look soooooo good! I live in Costa Rica though so some of the ingredients are hard to source. Substitution and creativity are necessary to make things work. Thank you!!

    • Hi Cindi! That is so awesome!! Congrats on converting your hubby to becoming a potato salad lover! We love this warm potato salad so much, too!! We are so glad you found us and we found YOU!! Please stay in touch!! Thank you so much for reaching out to us and for the nice review! We appreciate that so very much!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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