Hot German Potato Salad - The Rising Spoon

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hot German Potato Salad

An easy German potato salad recipe with crunchy bacon, red onions, celery, and a tangy, savory, and slightly sweet apple cider vinegar and mustard sauce. Serve it piping hot straight from the stove or keep it warm in a slow cooker to feed your hungry friends and family at your next gathering.

Hot German Potato Salad
I was inspired to make hot German potato salad for the first time after visiting a German restaurant in the small town of Muenster, Texas. It's not too far a drive from my grandma's house, so my family (specifically my father and his best friend) have been frequenting it every year around Thanksgiving for practically my whole life. 

Of course, being a picky eater growing up I always opted out. Mind you, I used to hate traditional German foods like sauerkraut and mustard. Now I could eat them at every meal. 
Isn't it ironically funny how your taste buds drastically change over the years? Half the foods I used to abhor as a child are now my absolute favorites. Like onions, blue cheese, and sauerkraut. Still waiting on mushrooms, though (can't handle the texture).

Hot German Potato Salad with Bacon (And Other Goodies!)  

I originally wanted to share THIS hot German potato salad recipe with y'all last year (when I first made it); unfortunately, I forgot to write down the measurements. I was SO excited to chow down on a non-mayo potato salad with plenty of vinegary tang + onion and bacon, bacon, bacon that I didn't keep track of anything. It was all a little of this + a dash of that, take a taste and adjust, take a few more bites just to be sureWhoopsies!

Then I tried recreating it a few weeks ago and it wasn't quite right. It needed more sauce and an extra punch of vinegar and mustard. Did it taste good? Sure. But, I wanted a version that was SUPER YUMMY before I shared it with you. I'm considerate like that. Also, it would put my German heritage to shame if I touted a recipe that was lackluster in the vinegar and mustard department. 

Let's Get to the German Potato Salad Recipe

How would I describe this German potato salad? Like salt and vinegar chips in potato salad form, but more savory (with a hint of sweetness) and a little softer on the vinegar tang with crunchy bits of onion, celery, and crispy, salty bacon. 

In other words, glorious!

This is the perfect side dish to make when you need a break from traditional mayonnaise or mustard based potato salad and want a lot of flavor packed into each bite. And even though it's a warm dish, this potato salad is great all year long. In the warm months, you could make a batch ahead of time and keep it on the warm setting in a crock-pot while everything else is grilling away outside.

German Potato Salad Recipe
And as someone who loves, loves, loves all the following savory ingredients (vinegar, mustard, onion, garlic, bacon), this is the best potato salad to serve with grilled or pan-fried brats, kielbasa, or any type of sausage. 

Pile on the sauerkraut and extra caramelized onions & sweet peppers, then serve with plenty of good mustard and your favorite beer (perhaps an Oktoberfest variety) or hard cider. If you're looking for some recommendations, I enjoy Paulaner Oktoberfest (lighter than many of the other Oktoberfest I've tried) and Crispin Hard Apple Cider (very dry & refreshing + way less sweet).

All of the above is comfort food heaven for me, so it would make my heart all warm & toasty if you served my potato salad with a similar meal! Please let me know if you do. :)

Hot German Potato Salad
An easy German potato salad recipe with crunchy bacon, red onions, celery, and a tangy, savory, and slightly sweet apple cider vinegar and mustard sauce. Serve it piping hot straight from the stove or keep it warm in a slow cooker to feed your hungry friends and family at your next gathering. 
Adapted from's Hot German Potato Salad and The Good Hearted Woman's Hot German Potato Salad

2 lbs of gold or red potatoes, cubed or thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
6 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (I used THIS)
1/8 cup of real maple syrup* (I used THIS)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of good quality mustard (I've used stone ground & spicy brown)
1/4 cup of water
Sea salt, to taste (I used THIS)
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

*Increase the maple syrup to 1/4 cup if you like it sweeter; you can also sub other types of sweeteners (like turbinado, honey, coconut sugar, etc.) if you prefer, just make sure it dissolves fully in the sauce before mixing it with the potatoes.

Recommended Equipment
large stock pot with a lid or French/Dutch oven
cast-iron skillet (or your favorite type of skillet)

Wash and cube (or thinly slice) the potatoes, stick them in a big stock pot, then cover with a few inches of water + a dash or two of salt. Bring the water to a gentle (yet rolling) boil and cook until the potatoes are just fork-tender, but not falling apart. You don't want them to turn to mush when you stir in the sauce. When the potatoes are ready (which may be before or after the sauce is done depending on how you time it), drain off the water and keep them in the same stock pot covered tightly with a lid so they stay hot. They need to be warm in order to properly absorb the sauce.

The water will take a bit to get going, so meanwhile, fry up the bacon in a large skillet until it's crisp, then remove from the pan and pat dry. After the bacon has cooled for a few minutes, crumble it and set aside. At this point, your skillet will be full of delicious bacon grease. Don't dump it out! We're going to cook the onions, celery, and garlic in it so we keep all that bacony flavor in the final German potato salad dish. Keep the skillet on medium heat, thinly slice the onion and celery, then add 'em to the skillet and cook until they're soft (at least 10 minutes).

When the onions & celery are about ready, stir in the minced garlic, let that cook for 1-2 minutes, and make the sauce by combining the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and water in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Give the jar a few good shakes so everything is mixed properly (you can also use a bowl, but I prefer this method), then pour the sauce into the skillet with the onions, celery, garlic & bacon grease. If the potatoes are still cooking, reduce the heat to low while they finish. We want to keep the sauce hot, but not let it reduce. 

One the potatoes are cooked, take off the lid, then pour everything into the stock pot. It will look really liquidity at first, but that's okay. Within about 5-10 minutes, the potatoes will soak up the sauce, and trust me...the sauce it the best part! Give the potatoes a stir a few times to help them soak up the sauce, then season them with salt and pepper to taste. (I add a lot of black pepper, but that's just me). Stir in the crumbled bacon and garnish with thinly sliced green onion, if desired. 

As the name implies, serve this German potato salad hot (or warm) alongside your favorite main dishes. I love bratwurst or kielbasa with plenty of sauerkraut and extra mustard on the side.

Notes & Tips
  • If you don't have any bacon on hand to cook up for this German potato salad recipe, BUT you're the type that keeps a jar of bacon drippings (or grease) in your fridge, you can totally use that instead. The bacon flava flav will be less pronounced and you'll miss out on some of the crunchy texture from the bacon chunks, but it'll still taste good. 

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to make potato salad? Do you have a favorite mix-in or sauce? 
Hot German Potato Salad Recipe

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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

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