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 Recipe with Bacon

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). 

::gasp:: I actually like mushrooms now! Well, at least when they're cut into small pieces and mixed into a recipe for maximum flavor like my easy beef stroganoff soup. I'm not at the point where I can chomp into a huge raw mushroom yet. ;)

Hot German Potato Salad with Bacon 

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. Whoopsies!

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 sure.

Hot German Potato Salad with Bacon

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. 

What Is Hot German Potato Salad (a.k.a. Warm German Potato Salad)?

As the name implies, it's a hot or warm potato salad, which is a little different than the typical "cold" mayonnaise or mustard-based potato salads that are popular in the summer months here in the United States. 

How does German potato salad taste? 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 an excellent side dish to make when you need a break from traditional cold potato salad and want tons of flavor packed into each bite. Or, you have an abundance of potatoes on hand that need using up. (In that case, make a batch of my spicy zuppa toscana soup while you're at it.) 

And even though it's a warm dish, this potato salad is great all year long. In fall and winter, fix a batch on your stove to keep the kitchen & your belly warm, then in spring and summer months, make a batch ahead of time and keep it warm in a crock-pot while the rest of the meal is grilling away outside. Or just fix it right before dinner for an easy side dish.

Easy Hot German Potato Salad Recipe with Bacon

What Goes With Hot German Potato Salad?

And as someone who 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 (smoked) sausage or, heck, practically 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. :)

But...this potato salad would actually go well with quite a few things, so I'll make a list below for easy reading (skimmers probably skipped the previous paragraphs).

What to Serve With Hot German Potato Salad:

  • bratwurst (grilled or pan-fried)
  • kielbasa sausage (pan-fried, roasted, or grilled)
  • smoked or slow-cooked brisket
  • crock-pot BBQ ribs (smoked would be even better!)
  • roasted or grilled chicken
  • pan-seared or grilled fish fillets (like salmon or mahi-mahi)
  • slow cooker pork shoulder (shredded & mixed with BBQ sauce so it's pulled pork)
  • stove-top or slow cooker pot roast
  • sauteed or caramelized onions + sweet peppers
  • pan-fried or roasted cabbage
  • coleslaw (vinegar or mayo-based)
  • sauerkraut (make sure it's the real stuff - no vinegar in the ingredients)
  • good-quality mustard

yield: 4-6 servingsprint recipe
Hot German Potato Salad Recipe

Hot German Potato Salad

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 40 mins
An easy hot German potato salad recipe with crunchy bacon, red onions, celery, and a tangy, savory, and slightly sweet apple cider vinegar and mustard sauce.


  • 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 (like stone ground, spicy brown or Dusseldorf)
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain off the water and then pour the sauce into the stock pot over the potatoes. 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.
  5. 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.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Adapted from's Hot German Potato Salad and The Good Hearted Woman's Hot German Potato Salad

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 flavor 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. 

Easy Hot German Potato Salad Recipe with Bacon

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P.S. Keep Reading! More Posts From The Rising Spoon:

Kielbasa Sausage & Vegetable Soup (one of my favorites!)

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