German Potato Salad

5 from 5 votes

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German Potato Salad is a savory, no-mayo side dish that can be served warm or cold. The bacon vinegar dressing is what makes this dish a hit!

A bowl of halved red potatoes with a bacon vinegar glaze, garnished with parsley and bacon bits combined to make German Potato Salad.

German Potato Salad

This German Potato Salad is the perfect side dish for BBQs and potlucks. It is tossed in a flavorful bacon-dijon vinaigrette and full of flavor. It is the perfect “no mayo” potato salad for any occasion. My husband lived in a town bordering Germany and had this tasty side dish all the time. It quickly became one of his favorite German-inspired dishes, and for good reason! It’s delicious!

German Potato Salad vs. American Potato Salad

The biggest difference between German potato salad and American “homestyle” potato salad is the “dressing”. The German variation has a vinegar-based dressing while the American variation is mostly mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip) based. American-style will sometimes include egg while most German variations do not. German potato salad can be served warm or cold and American potato salad is always served cold.

For your next family BBQ, try one of our many popular BBQ side dishes including the recipe below or our popular Macaroni Salad or fresh and zesty Cucumber Salad.

A piece of a red potato on a fork. A bowl of German potato salad is in the background.

Best Potatoes for German Potato Salad

For German Potato Salad (or any potato salad for that matter), you want to use a good, waxy potato. Red potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes are a perfect example of a waxy potato. Russet potatoes are more starchy and don’t hold up as well in a potato salad. We like using baby potatoes, small potatoes, or potato gems for this recipe because they cook quickly and just need to be cut in half.

Small red potatoes in a bot of water on a stovetop.

To Peel or Not To Peel?

We like to keep the peels on the potatoes for this potato salad, but there are some authentic variations that call for the potatoes to be peeled. To do this, boil the potatoes just as you would if you are keeping the peels on. Don’t peel the raw potatoes with a peeler first. Drop the potatoes in the boiling water and when they are cooked to fork-tender, take them out and drop them in cold water. The peels should come off easily by hand. Use a knife to scrape off any excess peels.

More Add-Ins:

This recipe is great as-is, but there are several different add-ins you can add to bring out different flavors, including (add any of these, to taste):

  • Celery seed
  • Mustard seed
  • Dill
  • Dill Relish or chopped dill pickles
A bowl of German Potato Salad next to a spoon and a bunch of parsley.

Tips For Making German Potato Salad

  • Salt that water (or use broth). If you want your potato salad to have flavor, make sure you use plenty of salt in your potato water. After cooking, if you find your potatoes still aren’t flavored enough, sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt and gently toss to combine before adding the other ingredients.
  • Don’t overcook the potatoes. You want them to be fork tender only. If you overcook the potatoes they will become mushy and difficult to toss in the dressing.
  • Cook the bacon until it is crispy. Especially if you are using a thick-cut variety, you want to get that bacon nice and crisp.
  • Use red potatoes or Yukon Gold. As mentioned above, waxy potatoes are the best choice for potato salad.
Bacon and onion being sautéed together in a pan.

Mmmm Bacon!

You can either cook the bacon in whole strips and crumble it over the potato salad before serving or cut it up first and cook it with the onion. Either way, you want to cook the onion in the bacon grease so it absorbs that delicious flavor.

Should German Potato Salad Be Served Hot or Cold?

As with most potato salad recipes, it really just comes down to personal preference. We prefer German potato salad to be on the warm to hot side, but it still tastes great cold, especially for leftovers.


Can German Potato Salad be made ahead of time and served later?

YES! In fact, a lot of people like making it a full day ahead of time because the flavors have a chance to infuse the potatoes overnight. I actually think it tastes BETTER the next day, but that’s just me. You can re-heat it in the microwave or serve it cold.

Is German Potato Salad Gluten Free?

Yes, if you make the recipe as written below, it is a gluten-free side dish.

Can this be made without bacon?

Yes, technically it *can* be made without bacon but the flavor won’t be the same (or as good). You can make this without bacon by simply omitting the bacon and cooking the onions in canola oil.

What to Serve with German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad complements chicken, beef, and pork main dishes. The bright colors and textures also go well with other salads at a potluck or buffet. Try it with one of these recipes for a delicious meal.

How to Make German Potato Salad

German potato salad made with red potatoes, vinegar, onion, bacon, and parsley in a bowl.

German Potato Salad

5 from 5 votes
German Potato Salad is a savory, no-mayo side dish that can be served warm or cold. The bacon vinegar dressing is what makes this dish a hit!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 8 servings



  • Bring a pot of salted water or broth to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
    Small red potatoes in a bot of water on a stovetop.
  • Cut bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until bacon becomes crispy and onions are cooked through.
    Using a metal slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bacon from the pan and set on a plate lined with a paper towel. Remove all but about ⅓ cup of bacon grease from the pan.
    Bacon and onion being sautéed together in a pan.
  • Combine apple cider vinegar, dijon, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour vinegar mixture into the pan with the bacon grease and stir well, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Cut potatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Pour the bacon-vinegar mixture over the top and add the bacon. Gently stir with a rubber spatular to combine.
    Red potatoes being tossed with bacon, onion, and vinegar to make German Potato Salad
  • Garnish with parsley and serve hot or refrigerate to serve later.
    A close up of German potato salad made with mini red potatoes and a bacon vinaigrette.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 10gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 439mgPotassium: 654mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 32IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve always loved german potato salad ever since being stationed in Germany and having it on a frequent basis. Still love it to this day.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve always loved german potato salad ever since being stationed in Germany and having it on a frequent basis. Still love it to this day.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh I just love the taste of dill I have it growing right in my kitchen, This salad is fabulous I can eat just this and make a whole meal out of it and it was so easy to make!