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German-Style Potato Salad

German-Style Potato Salad

So, I’m not entirely sure how traditional this German-Style Potato Salad is. My brain just decided that since it had no mayonnaise, and instead bacon fat, it must be German potato salad. Good reasoning skills brain!

This potato salad is served warm, which makes it all the more delicious because then the potatoes and bacon are still crispy and wonderful. Plus, what’s more comforting than warm potatoes? Warm potatoes engulfed in bacon fat, you say? Oh, then perfect!

What I love most about this potato salad is actually the inclusion of tarragon. Tarragon is a very underutilized herb in my kitchen, and after this salad, it is something that I am vowing to change! Tarragon has a rather unique favor to it; it’s slightly like anise or fennel, but yet still in a category all its own. And, when combined with the parsley and thyme, here, it has a zesty freshness to it that totally elevates this dish.

By the way, leftovers make an awesome hash the next morning with a fried egg on top!

I would just like to add at the end here that I think it’s absolutely imperative to use a sweet onion in this dish. Since the onion is left raw, I believe that any other type (red, white, shallot) would overpower the other flavors of the dish. I used a Texas Sweet Onion, but a Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui would all work perfectly. I love the crunch and slight sweetness that the onion provides, and I would never leave it out!

German-Style Potato Salad
German-Style Potato Salad

German-Style Potato Salad

recipe adapted from here


  • 4lbs baby/new potatoes
  • grape seed oil, salt, and freshly-ground pepper, to dress the potatoes
  • 6-8 slices thick-cut bacon (about 1/2 lb or a bit more)
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • roughly 1/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin to get paper-thin slices)
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon, torn
  • small handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, torn
  • leaves from 3-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes. Halve the potatoes so that they are bite-sized (the really small ones you can leave whole). Toss the potatoes in a couple tablespoons of grape seed oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 25 minutes, or until they are slightly golden and the insides are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the bacon into small strips. Cook the bacon until crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon pieces from the pan and place them on a plat lined with a paper towel. Pour the bacon fat from the pan into a glass measuring cup. Add some grape seed oil to the measuring cup to get it to the 2/3 cup mark.
  4. For the vinaigrette, pour the vinegar into a large salad bowl. Add salt to taste. Whisk in some pepper, and the mustard. Add the bacon fat/grape seed oil combo in a thin stream, all the while whisking. Add the onion and herbs to the bowl and allow them to macerate while the potatoes continue to cook.
  5. When the potatoes are done, pour them into the bowl, and very gently toss to coat. Add in the bacon pieces and mix. Serve warm.

German-Style Potato Salad
German-Style Potato Salad


8 Responses to “German-Style Potato Salad”

  1. Haschel — May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    This looks delicious!

    I can't stand mayo-based potato salads, but vinegar-based potato salads are delicious! I may have to try this recipe at the next family gathering.

    • Rachael replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

      I'm not wild about mayo-filled potato salads either! It's not that I hate mayonnaise, it's more that I hate an over-abundance of it!

  2. Sandra — May 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I wouldnt really call it a German Potato Salad (I live there), you dont use terragon or so much oil here. But hey.. it´s potato salad, which has probably 10.000 recipes.. 😉
    Here in the south of Germany we use broth instead of mayonnaise. So simply add 1/2 up to 1 cup of broth and mix it with the onions, vinegar, some oil (not that much) and salt/pepper/herbs. The potatos should soak up the broth, so dont use too much. And usually we cut the potatos in small slices. With the big pieces, it will not soak up so much.

    Still.. it looks delicious.. I get hungry.. 😉

    • Rachael replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 11:51 am

      Hah, yes, that's why I said I wasn't sure how authentic it was. For whatever reason, in America, we call potato salads that use bacon fat and a vinegar German Potato Salad- no idea why!

      Thank you so much for sharing your version! Broth sounds delicious in a potato salad!

  3. marla — October 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Such a beautiful potato salad!

    • Rachael replied: — October 5th, 2012 @ 9:58 am

      Thank you, Marla!

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