German Potato Salad

A favorite side dish is a classic German potato salad with contrasting savory and fresh flavors. This traditional and authentic recipe will help you make the best version possible. It needs only a few ingredients.

German potato salad covered in fresh chives and caramelized onions and bacon.

A German potato salad relies on deeply flavored bone broth or stock and savory, smoky bacon for it’s flavor. The mustard and vinegar creates a sharp contrast with the other ingredients.

This summer potato salad can be made ahead and is best served at room temperature.

Try some other traditional German side dishes, like German cucumber saladrotkohl (braised red cabbage), semmelknodel (leftover bread dumplings), and spaetzle dumplings.

Check out my other favorite summer sides, such as nasturtium salad, or blitva (garlicky chard and potatoes), and smoked tomatoes.

Ingredient Notes, Substitutions, & Variations

All of the ingredients needed to make this authentic and traditional German salad.
  • Potatoes: you want waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes. Boil the potatoes unpeeled.
  • Bacon is optional but highly recommended.
  • Bone broth or stock: A homemade one or high-quality store-bought is best. Beef is traditional, but I have used chicken, and it’s delicious.
  • Look for a good quality strong mustard.
  • White vinegar is traditional, but you can also use apple cider vinegar for a milder taste; maybe add more of it.

A Few Key Recipe Process Shots

Use these images to help you understand what a step from the recipe should look like.

Onions being cooked.

Tip 1: Your onions should look like this color-wise and size-wise. You can also caramelize them deeper if you prefer, or even smoke them.

Bacon being cooked.

Tip 2: Your bacon should be minced like this and crisped to this level or slightly longer.

German potato salad covered in fresh chives and caramelized onions and bacon.

Top Tips & Hints

Here are some (optional) top tips and tricks to elevate this German potato salad for those times you want to go the extra mile:

  • Opt for waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or Red potatoes, which hold their shape well after cooking and have a creamy texture.
  • Begin with cold water to ensure the potatoes cook evenly. Adding them to boiling water can cause the outsides to cook too quickly while the insides remain hard.
  • Salt the Water: Seasoning the water well will infuse the potatoes with flavor from the inside out.
  • Dress the potatoes while they’re still warm to help them absorb the dressing better, leading to a more flavorful salad.
  • Homemade Bone Broth: Use a high-quality homemade beef bone broth for deeper flavor. The gelatin in the broth adds body to the dressing.
  • Acidity and Sweetness: Balance the vinegar with a touch of sugar to round out the flavors if the acidity is too sharp. This doesn’t make the salad sweet but adds depth to the dressing.
  • Mustard Choice: Use a good-quality German mustard for authenticity and flavor. A combination of Dijon and a grainy mustard can add texture and complexity.
  • Herb Variety: Beyond chives and parsley, consider adding fresh dill or tarragon for an aromatic freshness that lifts the entire dish.
  • Consider adding finely chopped pickled cucumbers or capers for an extra layer of flavor and texture. Their acidity and crunch offer a pleasant contrast to the soft potatoes and rich bacon.
  • Onions: Add smoked onions or opt for raw onions.
  • Let the salad sit for an hour or two before serving.
  • Serve the salad in a beautiful dish and garnish generously with fresh herbs. A final drizzle of high-quality olive oil or a few sea salt flakes or smoked salt.
German potato salad covered in fresh chives and caramelized onions and bacon.

German Potato Salad

A traditional German recipe for potato salad made with bone broth, bacon, and contrasting vinegar and mustard flavors with fresh herbs.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: German
Servings: 6
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Jana Dziak


  • 3 lbs potatoes Washed but left unpeeled. Waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold or Red potatoes are best. About 1.5 Kg.
  • ¾ cup diced bacon About 200 grams.
  • 1 large onion Finely diced.
  • 1 cup hot beef bone broth High-quality, flavorful bone broth is best, especially with some fat in it. You can use chicken bone broth or stock as well.
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar You can add a bit more or less and adjust to taste. You can also use apple cider vinegar but will likely want to add more.
  • 1 tablespoon mustard German mustard is preferred for authentic flavor.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh chives and parsley Finely chopped. I use about 1 cup total, but this is very adjustable.
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Cook the Potatoes: Place the potatoes (NOT peeled) in a large pot and cover with cold water with a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. Drain the potatoes and let them cool just enough to handle, then peel the skins off. Slice the warm potatoes into thick slices as in the pictures.
  • Prepare the Bacon and Onion: In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. In the same skillet with the bacon fat, sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent.
  • Make the Dressing: Deglaze the skillet with a bit of the hot beef bone broth to lift all the flavorful bits from the bottom. Add the rest of the broth, vinegar, and mustard to the skillet. Stir well and bring to a simmer on low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the vinegar and mustard according to your preference. Add water or extra beef broth to thin as needed.
  • Combine: Pour the hot dressing over the sliced potatoes in a large bowl. Add the cooked bacon pieces. Gently mix everything together, taking care not to break the potato slices. The warm potatoes will absorb the flavors more effectively. Drizzle with the olive oil. Garnish and serve with chopped chives and parsley over the salad. Serve warm or room temperature.
    This salad is even better if allowed to chill in the refrigerator overnight and then brought to room temperature before serving with an extra drizzle of olive oil and more herbs.


Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 1056mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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