My German Potato Salad recipe or Kartoffelsalat is the style of potato salad you find in the southern part of Germany and is made with lots of bacon, herbs, and a coarse grain mustard vinaigrette. Since I was a kid, this has been one of my favorite potato recipes and I love making it for cookouts. The bacon, mustard, and vinegar give these potatoes a really bold flavor, perfect for roasted meats and barbeque. Technically, I believe the potatoes in a more traditional German Potato Salad recipe are boiled, but I like to brown mine in the bacon fat. I prefer the color and the flavor of the browned sauteed potatoes to boiled potatoes. I always get the good bacon from the deli or meat counter at the grocery store, the packaged bacon just doesn’t have enough flavor and shrinks down to nothing when you fry it. Since the bacon at the deli and the prepackaged stuff is pretty close to the same price anyway, why not get the good stuff?
Ingredients in German Potato Salad
- Potatoes: Waxy potatoes that hold their shape when cooked are the best potatoes for German potato salad. I use small red potatoes and leave the skin on, you can peel them if you don’t like the skin, however, there are a lot of nutrients in the potato skin, that’s my reasoning for leaving it intact.
- Bacon: Good quality smoked bacon is a must for the best potato salad. I prefer to buy the bacon from the butcher counter at the grocery store, it’s better quality than the prepackaged stuff and for some reason, it’s actually cheaper.
- Red Onion and Scallions: The red onion is more visually appealing in the potato salad, and it is a little more pungent than some of the other varieties, perfect for German Potato Salad. Use both the white and green parts of the scallion, they have different textures and the combination looks nice.
- White Wine Vinegar: This is what gives the German Potato Salad it’s acidity and a little sweetness. It has a huge impact on this potato salad with a great depth of flavor without being overly astringent.
- Coarse Grain Mustard: I like a good quality brown mustard with some of the whole mustard seed still visible. The seeds look nice and let people know that the potato salad has mustard in it.
- Fresh Herbs: Dill is the traditional herb used in most German Potato Salads, I like dill, but I don’t always have it on hand. I will often substitute flat-leaf parsley since it is one of my pantry staples.
Here’s my German Potato Salad recipe:
German Potato Salad
- 2 Pounds Red Potatoes Sliced or cubed, skin on
- 1/2 Pound Bacon 1/2-inch dice
- 1 Cup Red Onion Sliced
- 3 Tablespoons Coarse Grain Brown Mustard
- 1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Scallions White and green parts, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Dill or Flat-Leaf Parsley Chopped
- Place sliced red onion, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl, mix to combine. Do this first to give the vinegar time to slightly pickle the raw onion
- Sauté the bacon in a large skillet, when browned, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, save 2 tablespoons of fat and discard the rest
- Put the potatoes into the skillet over medium-high heat, cover, brown on all sides
- Remove from heat, add onion mixture, stir to coat the potatoes evenly
- Taste, adjust seasonings if necessary
- Add dill or parsley and chopped scallions, stir to incorporate. Serve warm