German Potato Salad – a Perfect Cookout Side Dish

Hello! Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today’s recipe first appeared on Kelly’s Kitchen and I wanted to make it again today as part of this week’s round up of great recipes and ideas for your Memorial Day cookout and summer gatherings. This potato salad is great warm or at room temperature, which makes it perfect for bringing to a potluck or a picnic and it’s just easy – because you can make it well ahead of time. Let’s get to the recipe; it’s German Potato Salad!

German Potato Salad

Start with the Bacon

German Potato Salad ingredients

I prefer to bake bacon rather than fry it; the bacon cooks more evenly, it’s so much easier to clean up and it doesn’t make your whole house smell like bacon grease. Lay the strips on a wire rack placed in a rimmed sheet pan. This method helps the bacon cook on all sides and makes collecting the bacon fat easy. Bake it at 350 degrees. Timing will vary on the thickness of the bacon. But once you can smell it cooking (about 15 minutes), turn the tray in the oven and then just watch it from that point on (checking it every couple minutes).  

When the bacon is done, let the bacon cool slightly then roughly chop it into bite-size pieces. Set the bacon aside and collect the fat in a glass jar or bowl to use for the German Potato Salad dressing. 


I like to cut my potatoes before they’re cooked for a number of reasons: it cuts down on boiling time, they hold up better when you mix all the ingredients together (because we’re not making mashed potatoes!) and I don’t have to worry about them being too hot to handle once they’re cooked. We are starting with 2 pounds of small red potatoes.

Boil potatoes using cold water to start

Start your potatoes off in cold water, rather than adding them to the pot once the water is boiling; they will cook more evenly and retain the creaminess that makes red potatoes so good. Fill your pot to cover the potatoes and add a couple pinches of Kosher salt. Potatoes are done when they are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. 

German Potato Salad Dressing

Once the potatoes are done and drained, take the bacon grease you collected and add it the now empty dutch oven or large pot used to boil the potatoes. Add the cider vinegar to the fat, then whisk in the sugar, salt and the mustard.

Whisk together and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, add the minced garlic and bacon and cook for one minute.

Turn off the heat and add the cooked potatoes to the mixture. Gently stir to coat the potatoes in the dressing. Add a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper to tastes and stir to combine.

Toss in the chopped parsley and give it another gentle stir to incorporate the parsley.

Transfer the German Potato Salad to a serving bowl and that’s it!

Enjoy this salad warm or at room temperature. If making it ahead of time, once it cools to room temperature, cover and transfer to the fridge. Let it come up to room temperature before serving.

German Potato Salad

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you give this potato salad a go for your next cookout, it’s so satisfying and flavorful. It’s a perfect side to any barbecue main, and it will be a big hit with your family and friends. Looking for another great salad side for any cookout, check out my Antipasto Salad recipe. Give me a follow on Instagram and facebook, and stop by to say hello! I will see you again Wednesday for another great Memorial Day/summer cookout recipe! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

German Potato Salad

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
Side Dish German
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 Minutes Total Time: 45 Minutes

This potato salad is perfect for a potluck or a picnic; serve it warm or at room temperature – it's bacon-y, mustard-y deliciousness.


  • 2 lbs. Small Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 pinches Kosher Salt
  • 1 Package Bacon
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Whole Grain Mustard If you don't have a whole grain mustard, you can just use more dijon.
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Place a single layer of bacon on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.


Bake bacon for about 15 minutes, until cooked through but not too crispy.


Remove from oven and let bacon cool for about 5 minutes, then chop bacon strips into 1-inch pieces and set aside.


Pour bacon fat from sheet tray into a jar or bowl and set aside.


Add quartered potatoes to a dutch oven filled with cold water. Add a couple pinches of kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.


When potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes, drain potatoes and return empty Dutch oven to stovetop.


Add the collected bacon fat to the empty Dutch oven. Over medium heat, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer.


Add chopped bacon and minced garlic, stir to combine and cook for one minute. Turn off the heat.


Add the cooked potatoes and gently stir to coat the potatoes in the dressing and bacon. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste and stir to combine.


Add the chopped fresh parsley and stir gently to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm, at room temp, or cover and refrigerate for later service.


If serving after refrigeration, let it the salad come up to room temperature before serving.

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  • Terry
    May 24, 2021 at 9:42 am

    I love this potato salad. It’s easy to make and delicious. I’ve made this before when you posted in kelly’s kitchen definitely one of my favs ♥️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 24, 2021 at 9:56 am

      Hi Mom, It’s one of those recipes that is great to have in your back pocket! xo Kelly

  • Angela Grafe
    May 24, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Dear Kelly, good afternoon! First of all : you do a great job and your recipes are wonderful! Love your step by steps fotos! Today, why”german? ” potatoe salad? Very tasty recipe, but not really German style. We have in Germany different regions, i.e. different German potatoe salad, too . for the first time I ‘ll try with red potatoes in Kartoffelsalat and I am quite sure, that it will be not last time! Thank you so much for all your ideas and efforts!! Yours Angela

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 24, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Hi Angela, I have heard about all the different regional potato salads in Germany. It’s so interesting to to me that there are so many styles and methods. I suppose it’s the same in the states with things like barbecue styles being different in the different regions here. I am not totally sure why we Americans call this German potato salad, but I think it has to do with the mustard and then of course to differentiate it from American potato salad which has a mayonnaise sauce. I love mustard, so I much prefer the “German” style without the mayonnaise. The red potatoes are so creamy and delicious! Thank you so much for writing in, I do enjoy to hear from you all the way from Kartoffelsalat! Take care and be well! xo Kelly

  • Pamela
    May 24, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Kelly — another simple recipe for us to try — I especially like your recipes because I usually have most, if not all, ingredients in my pantry — will give this a try.

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 24, 2021 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Pamela, I am so happy you find the recipes easy and totally do-able. Definitely let me know how you like this one. It’s super easy, versatile and delicious. Have a wonderful week, xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    May 24, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Evening Greetings, Kelly. Once again, this recipe took me back to childhood and the neighbor who shared his Germam Potato Salad with our family. I find Angela’s comment so interesting! I had a coworker from Germany who treated the staff to exquisite desserts. One day I asked if she also baked German Chocolate Cake. She said that is not a German dessert, but an American dessert. Why it is called German was a mystery to her. Food can be quite intriguing with its origins, names, and such! Thanks for keeping it interesting. Hugs!~

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 24, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      Hi Sylvia, I remember your story about your neighbor and his potato salad. Isn’t it so funny how different cultures label recipes and dishes? I always wonder the provenance of the name of certain things. As an American I often think about what other cultures call our “American” dishes and how they differ in other countries and cultures. I am so happy to hear from you today, Sylvia. Take care, xo Kelly

  • Peggy
    May 25, 2021 at 1:02 am

    I’m definitely going to try this one. Sounds delicious and it seems a nice departure from the mayo-based one. I do a German dinner every now and then, this will be a perfect addition. Thanks, Kelly!

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 25, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Hi Peggy, this recipe is a nice departure from the mayo-based potato salad. It will go perfectly with your German dinner, let me know how it goes for you! Thanks for writing in, have a great day! xo Kelly