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Kartoffelsalat (German Potato Salad)

Kartoffelsalat (German Potato Salad)

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Kartoffelsalat (German Potato Salad) is a warm, sweet and tangy potato salad perfect for grilling season!

Unlike its American counterpart, German potato salad has no mayonnaise and is served warm. The dressing is a savory and tangy combination of bacon, vinegar, sugar and mustard powder. Because none of these ingredients are perishable in the hot hot sun, it’s a great dish for grilling, potlucks, and any other excuse you can think of to eat outside.

The entire concept of potato salad is thought to have originated in Germany. This version, kartoffelsalat, has its roots in the Bavarian region of southern Germany.  In northern Germany, the potato salad is more similar to what Americans typically think of as potato salad. Both were brought to America (and across the globe!) by immigrants.

This recipe falls under the umbrella of summer-cookout-recipes, just like the Honey Butter Quinoa and Corn recipe I posted last week. Clearly I have one thing on my mind! It looks like we all might finally have some nice days in front of us if we just hang in there a little longer – and get vaccinations! I think we could all use a little friendship and food.

Because my day-to-day life is so perpetually full of dirty pots and pans, sometimes when I create recipes I forget to be mindful of the number of dishes I may be forcing on an unsuspecting person. To that end, I will say that this recipe is possible to make in one pot, and indeed I have.  Simply boil your potatoes in a heavy-bottomed pot until cooked; drain and set aside. The bacon can be cooked and dressing made in that pot. It will increase your time a little, but decrease your number of dishes. Compromises!


My advice when cooking the bacon is to make it a little crispier than you normally would and to stir it in last, after the dressing. The bacon will soften some as it sits in the dressing. I’d also like to add that setting some of the bacon aside and using it as a garnish is a great choice.

Here’s another pro-tip: when I was messing with this German potato salad recipe, all of my instincts told me to cook the onions in the bacon grease. This actually proved to be incorrect- you really want to get the crunch and brightness of the raw sweet onions. In fact, I recommend slicing them slightly thicker than you normally would for maximum excellence in texture.

Kartoffelsalat (German Potato Salad)

Kartoffelsalat (German Potato Salad) is a warm, sweet and tangy potato salad perfect for grilling season!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, German
Keyword bbq side dish, grilling side, warm side dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 people as a side


  • 3 lbs russet potatoes (about 4 large)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (mustard powder)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pepper to season


  1. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Peel russet potatoes and dice into bite-sized pieces. Boil for 10-12 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and place in a medium serving bowl.

  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt. Set aside.

  3. Slice onion into medium-thick slices. Dice bacon into larger-than-bite-sized pieces (they will shrink!)

  4. Heat a pan over medium heat. Cook diced bacon until it reaches your desired degree of doneness - I recommend cooking them a little crispier than you normally would as they will soften some in the dressing. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper-towel lined plate, reserving the grease in the pan.

  5. Add the flour to the bacon grease and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until you can't smell raw flour anymore. Add the vinegar and water mixture and let simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

  6. Pour dressing over the potatoes and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in bacon, reserving some to use as garnish, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste, being extra generous with the pepper! Serve warm.

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