Hot red potatoes dressed in a warm bacon, mustard and vinegar dressing are what make this traditional mayo-less potato salad a family favorite.
I can taste the pucker now.
It’s the telltale sign of the ultimate German potato salad. That vinegar punch mixed with spunky, grainy mustard in a bacon studded dressing. The unexpected zing that makes me wonder who could possibly pass up a mayo-less ‘tater salad?
Not this German girl.
Although when I just asked Smudge her opinion on which photo to use as the main for this post, she said, “That’s potato salad? I didn’t know it was potato salad when we have it. I always thought it was just hot cooked potatoes.”
I suppose potato salad served warm in a fry pan threw her for a BBQ-side-dish-loop. Surprise is good for her. And for all of us when it comes to giving traditional dishes a try.
Leave it to the Germans who originated Christmas, Legos, Nutella and the VW bug to hand down yet another classic.
About the Recipe
This potato salad is super simple to bring together and a must when we make our Beer Braised Bratwurst with Onions. It’s adapted from one of my German-immigrant grandmother’s handwritten recipes she added to the inside cover of her dog eared and worn Joy of Cooking cookbook. I’m finding I’m reaching for that cookbook to remake her recipes more and more these days.
To start, I quarter medium size red potatoes and cook them in generously salted water. Once they’re easily pierced with a fork and the skins are juuuuuust beginning to pull away from the cut edges, they should be cooked. Pull them from the water and allow to cool until you can hold them then slice into large chunks.
While the potatoes are cooking, it’s time to cook the sliced bacon in the skillet you’ll be mixing all the goods in so allow room for the amount of potatoes. Somewhat frozen bacon makes for the easiest slicing, unless you have a sharp knife like my favorite knife here. Simply pop the bacon in the freezer for 10-15 minutes then slice away.
A course ground or stoneground mustard is key to flavoring this salad and the better the quality, the better the salad. The whole mustard seeds add tons of flavor to the dressing that you won’t get from yellow, brown or Dijon mustard. Don’t even bother with trying to achieve that classic taste if you don’t have this classic mustard. It’s easily found in the grocery aisle so just take a gander and toss it in your cart.
The onion is quickly cooked in the reserved bacon renderings—aka fat/grease/drippings—and then the vinegar and mustard is whisked in and all the ingredients are tossed together so that the warm potatoes soak up the warm dressing. It’s the ultimate flavor bomb.
German Potato Salad
- 3 1/2 to 4 pounds medium red potatoes quartered
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion minced
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons coarse or stoneground German style mustard
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the potatoes over high heat in a large saucepan until water comes to a boil. Season generously with about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Reduce the heat to medium so that the water is still gently bubbling and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork and the skins are barely starting to pull away from the cut edges of the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and cool until they can be handled. Cut into large dice and add back to the pan you cooked them in to keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the sliced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. Transfer the bacon to a plate topped with paper towels to drain. Add the onion to the bacon grease and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the onion is transparent but not brown. Stir in 1 cup water, the white vinegar, mustard and sugar and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the dressing has reduced to about 2 cups. Add the potatoes back to the pan with the dressing and toss to coat. Add the chopped bacon and parsley. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm.
One Potato, Two Potato, Four More…
I seem to have a hankering for potato salads, some with dressing, some that emulate my favorite baked potato fixins and some that are simply piled with good stuff. Here are a few more salads to consider for any side dish any time of the year.
This has been the most popular recipe on my blog this year. How to Make the Best Potato Salad Ever is my grandma’s famous family recipe and now it’s found its way into so many more kitchens too. Grandma would be proud.
Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon Dressing is a favorite recipe from my sister-in-law Audrey, and a staple when we head to her house for family BBQs. I love the chopped eggs in it.
My Loaded Baked Potato Salad is perfect for serving to a crowd that loves baked potatoes—with all the fixins’. And yes, there’s bacon in this one too.
There’s a whole lotta flavor going on in my Chunky Stetson Potato Salad inspired by a layover in the Phoenix airport.
Have a great day guys, and get in the kitchen to cook something good!
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