Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (2023)

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This Bavarian-style Hot German Potato Salad is a scrumptious blend of sweet, tangy, bacony goodness. Tried-and-true heirloom recipe; serve warm or cold.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (1)
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  • What's the Story on German Potato Salad?
  • What Goes into this Recipe
  • How to Make Bavarian-style Potato Salad
  • More German Recipes
  • Hot German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

What's the Story on German Potato Salad?

Frau Müeller, my high school German teacher, often brought German foods to class for us to try. She introduced us to exotic new-to-us delicacies like Butterkase (pronounced “booter-keh-zuh”; literally, butter cheese), Kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes), and a profusion of heavenly Bavarian pastries. However, one dish stood out above the others: her traditional Bavarian Kartoffelsalat – commonly known in the United States as Hot (or Warm) German Potato Salad.

Recipe with Bavarian Roots

Dressed with bacon, onions, and vinegar, German potato salad as we know it in the US has its roots in the south of Germany. Known historically as the Bavarian region, it hails from the home of all things Oktoberfest: brightly embroidered lederhosen and dirndl skirts, decorative beer steins, and festive Oompah bands.

Warm German potato salad is distinctly different from American potato salad; most notably, it is completely mayonnaise-free. However, it shares one important attribute with its American counterpart: no two potato salad recipes are quite the same!

This heirloom recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, adapted over decades from that of Frau Müeller's. Its sweet, tangy, bacony deliciousness make it perfect for picnics, barbecues, and potlucks - and essential for any Oktoberfest celebration!

What Goes into this Recipe

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (2)

Ingredients & Substitutions

★ Red potatoes - We prefer to use small red potatoes, quartered. You can use any red potato, cut into about ¾- to 1-inch cubes. (Cubed potatoes stand up to the cooking process much better than potato slices.)

★ Bacon - Use a high-quality, thick bacon for best results. We prefer to use an unpeppered, smoky bacon.

★ Red onion - Red onions add more color, and have a sweet undertone that works well in this recipe. You can use yellow or sweet onions, but the flavor will be slightly different.

★ Sugar - We use white sugar for this recipe, and don't recommend using any alternative sweeteners, as they can dramatically change the overall flavor profile.

★ Apple cider vinegar - We have successfully used red wine vinegar with this recipe, but much prefer the flavor added with apple cider vinegar.

How to Make Bavarian-style Potato Salad

We strongly suggest making this potato salad ahead of time. (We always make it at least a day ahead to allow all the flavors to mingle and meld, and then rewarm it to serve for our big Oktoberfest meal.)

Prep the Potatoes

Cut potatoes into ½- to ¾-inch cubes and put them into a medium saucepan. (Leave skins on.) Add enough cold water to cover the tops of the potato cubes.

Salt the water, cover the pot, and bring the potatoes to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender but still firm.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (3)

While the Potatoes are Cooking

In a 10-inch Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan, cook the bacon pieces over medium heat until crisp.

Remove from heat. Remove bacon pieces from the pan and set aside. Leave bacon drippings in pan.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (4)
(Video) How to make traditional German Potato Salad

Return pan to medium heat, and sauté the onion in the reserved bacon drippings.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (5)

Reduce heat on the sautéed red onions down to medium-low. Add the vinegar, sugar, water and celery seeds.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (6)

Heat onion-vinegar mixture a low simmer. Remove from heat.

Put It Together

When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them in a colander, and then immediately add them to the onion-vinegar mixture in the Dutch oven. (Make sure liquid and potatoes and both very hot when mixed together.)

If the vinegar mixture in done before the potatoes are cooked, remove it from the heat, then reheat it for a minute just before you add the potatoes.

Add the cooked bacon pieces to the potatoes and vinegar mix, and stir everything together gently to combine.

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (7)

Salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered in the Dutch oven or a casserole dish for 30 minutes at 325°F (163°C).

FAQs & Expert Tips

We eat the leftovers cold… with our fingers… from the fridge. (Try it - you'll like it!) It makes a great picnic salad, too!

How long does German potato salad last?

Sealed in an air-tight container in the fridge, hot German potato salad will stay good for up to a week.

What's the difference between German potato salad and American potato salad?

There are two basic differences between the two:
Salad Base: American potato salad is mayonnaise -based, while German potato salad is completely mayonnaise-free.
Temperature: American potato salad is always served cold. German potato salad is traditionally served warm. (However, we think it is delicious at any temperature.)

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (8)

More German Recipes

  • Rheinlander Swiss Cheese Fondue
  • German Dark Rye Bread
  • Bavarian-style German Lentil Soup (Linsensuppe)
  • Traditional German Sauerbraten
Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (13)

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(Video) 3 Traditional German Potato Salads - German Potato Salad with mayo and without mayo

Authentic Hot German Potato Salad (Bavarian Kartoffelsalat) (14)

5 from 15 votes

Hot German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

German Potato Salad is a scrumptious blend of sweet, tangy, and bacony goodness. Tried-and-true heirloom recipe; serve warm or cold.

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Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Bavarian, German

Prep Time:30 minutes

Cook Time:30 minutes

Fridge Time (optional):1 day

Total Time:1 day 1 hour

Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 195kcal

Author: Renee

(Video) A German Food Classic! How To Make Delicious German Potato Salad | German Food Made Easy


US Customary - Metric

  • 2 lbs red potatoes any waxy potato will work
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon chopped 12-to ¼-inch
  • 1 medium red onion sliced thinly, from stem to blossom end.
  • cup sugar
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • cup water
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pepper


  • Cut potatoes into ½- to ¾-inch cubes and put them into a medium saucepan. (Leave skins on.)

    Add enoughcold waterto cover the tops of the potato cubes.

    Salt the water, cover the pot, and bring the potatoes to a boil.

    Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender but still firm.

While potatoes are cooking:

  • In a 10-inch Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan, cook bacon over MEDIUM heat until crisp.

    Remove from heat.

    Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Leave bacon drippings in pan.

    (Video) Authentic German Potato Salad

  • Return pan to MEDIUM heat, and sauté the onion in the reserved bacon drippings.

  • Reduce heat on the sautéed red onions to MEDIUM-LOW.

    Add vinegar, sugar, water and celery seed.

  • Heat onion-vinegar mixture a low simmer.

    Remove from heat.

  • Add the hot potatoes to Dutch oven. (Make sure liquid and potatoes and both very hot when mixed together.)

    Add cooked bacon pieces, and stir everything together gently to combine.

  • Salt and pepper to taste.

    Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 325°F [163°C].


German Potato Salad is always better the second day! Prepare it ahead of time and simply reheat (or serve cold) when you're ready to serve it.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.9g | Protein: 7.6g | Fat: 6.1g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 624mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 10.1g | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Have you tried this recipe?Mention @TheGoodHeartedWoman or tag #thegoodheartedwoman!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.

Originally published October 2, 2014. Updated with new content, images, and directions to improve reader experience.

(Video) How to make Potato-Salad south-german way -Kartoffelsalat bayrisch- German Recipes -


What is traditional German potato salad? ›

American potato salad is usually mayonnaise-based, German potato salad, especially in Bavaria, is made with bacon drippings and vinegar dressing.

What is the difference between American and German potato salad? ›

There are two main difference between American and German Potato Salad. American potato salad is usually tossed in a mayonnaise-based dressing and served cold. German potato salad is tossed in a vinegar-based dressing and is traditionally served warm (but you can totally serve it cold too! It's still delicious!).

Does Kroger sell German potato salad? ›

Read® German Potato Salad, 15 oz - Kroger.

Can you reheat German hot potato salad that is made earlier in the day? ›

Storage and reheating:

Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Best consumed within 3-5 days. To reheat, place in microwave safe dish and heat at 50% power in one-minute increments, stirring after each minute.

What country is Kartoffelpuffer from? ›

Alternative namesKartoffelpuffer
TypeFritter, street food
Place of originGermany
Region or stateRheinland
Main ingredientsPotatoes
1 more row

How long does German potato salad last in the refrigerator? ›

This side dish should last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator if sealed in an airtight container.

Why are German potatoes so good? ›

They have lovely crispy outsides and fluffy insides when roasted, and they can make good mash, though you need to be very careful not to overwork them or it'll end up gluey.

What is a potato called in Germany? ›

Kartoffel (German for potato) is a derogatory slang term used by other cultures to describe Germans.

Why do Germans love potatoes so much? ›

According to legend, King Frederick II of Prussia believed in the economic and nutritious value of potatoes. He tricked local farmers into planting more of the so-called apple of the earth by posting soldiers around the potato fields to protect them. It worked — highly valued goods taste even better.

What brand of potato salad does Costco sell? ›

Costco Stonemill Kitchens Homestyle Red Potato Salad.

Can German Potato Salad be left out overnight? ›

Don't leave German Potato Salad out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This salad will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. Serve hot or cold. I prefer the taste of German Potato Salad when it's warm, however the cold leftovers are delicious too.

How long can potato salad be left out of the refrigerator and still be safe to eat? ›

Potato salad, like most perishable foods, cannot sit out for more than two hours, and closer to only one hour when the temperature is above 90°F and you're dining outside.

Why is my potato salad too crispy? ›

Undercooking or overcooking the potatoes.

Don't let them cook long enough, and you'll be left with firm, crunchy potatoes — not a texture potatoes should ever take on in this dish. Cook them too long, and you'll have mushy potatoes. → Follow this tip: The potatoes should be cooked so they're soft, tender, and creamy.

What do Russians call potatoes? ›

In Russian, potato is картофель, or “kartofel”—a borrowing directly from the German Kartoffel. The typical colloquial term is картошка, or “kartoshka”. Картоха is a less-common variant.

What are french fries in Germany? ›

In Germany, they are usually known by the French words pommes frites, or only Pommes or Fritten (derived from the French words, but pronounced as German words).

How do you say potato pancakes in Yiddish? ›

A latke (Yiddish: לאַטקע latke; sometimes romanized latka, lit. "pancake") is a type of potato pancake or fritter in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine that is traditionally prepared to celebrate Hanukkah. Latkes can be made with ingredients other than potatoes such as cheese, onion, and zucchini.

Can you freeze potato salad and eat it later? ›

Store leftover potato salad in a ziplock plastic freezer and squeeze out as much air as possible without squishing the potato salad. Use within three months of freezing. A warm potato salad will fare better because you can heat it back up, but cold, defrosted potato salad is a lackluster version of its former self.

Why does potato salad get watery? ›

Maxi R.: Potatoes hold a lot of water, so you'll need to allow time for the water to drain by leaving them to cool in a strainer. If potato salad is made while the potatoes are warm, they will continue to release the water, making the salad watery.

How long can you keep potato salad with mayonnaise? ›

Assuming your potato salad is stored in the refrigerator, the USDA recommends that it be consumed within five days of when it was mad. But keep in mind, five days is intended as the absolute maximum and this rule only applies if the salad was held at a temperature below the danger zone range the entire time.

Why don't Germans cut potatoes with a knife? ›

Traditionally, Germans cut fish, potatoes and other similar foods with the side of their fork instead of the knife as this indicated that the food was tender and properly cooked.

What is the healthiest potato in the world? ›

Red Desiree Potatoes are part of the Red Potato family and are considered to be the healthiest of all potatoes, as they contain the highest levels of vitamins, minerals and healthy phytochemicals.

Why Germans are called Kartoffel? ›

The use as an ethnic nickname is due to the prominence of potatoes in German cuisine. Compare Spaghetti (“Italian”), Käskopp (“Dutch person”).

What are pickles called in Germany? ›

Globalization has brought foods from around the world to grocery stores near you. And in some cases, it's also brought contentious food politics. For instance in Germany, the land of pilsners and bratwurst, on this issue consider the gherkin—the pickle, depending on which side of the Atlantic you call home.

What is Kartoffel in English? ›

noun. potato [noun] a type of plant with round underground stems (called tubers) which are used as a vegetable. fried potatoes. potato [noun] the tuber or tubers.

What time do Germans have dinner? ›

The typical meals are divided in a rather copious breakfast (6 am – 8 am), lunch (12 pm – 2 pm) and dinner (6 pm – 8 pm).

What race eats the most potatoes? ›

Based on a comparison of 161 countries in 2020, China ranked the highest in potato consumption with 69,312 kt followed by India and USA. On the other end of the scale was Central African Republic with 1.00 kt, Guinea Bissau with 1.00 kt and Comoros with 1.00 kt.

What is the average dinner time in Germany? ›

Dinner time in Germany

Ever practical, the Germans sit down to dinner between 6-7pm, but don't worry if you miss a meal – there's an abundance of after hour food options in Germany, including the ubiquitous and satisfying kebab stores.

What ingredient in potato salad makes it spoil? ›

Though mayonnaise is often blamed for spoiled potato salads it is rarely the problem. In fact, it's the potatoes that are more likely to go bad. The bacteria usually responsible for spoiled potato salad are found in soil and dust, and they thrive on starchy foods like potatoes.

How does Rachael Ray make potato salad? ›

  1. Cover potatoes with stock and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes 12 to 15 minutes until tender. ...
  2. Combine the scallions, celery, vinegar, sugar, horseradish and olive oil in a small bowl. ...
  3. Season the salad with celery seed, dill, salt and pepper.

Does Aldi sell German potato salad? ›

Aldi German Potato Blend

The Deutsche Küche German Potato Blend from Aldi is a warm potato salad consisting of fried potato slices, scrambled eggs, onions, and spices. Perfect for Aldi Oktoberfest.

What can I add to store bought potato salad to make it better? ›

You will want to add more flavor and color to the potato salad. Consider a little celery seed or some fresh dill. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed or 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh dill. Both add wonderful flavor to a potato salad.

What is Khloe Kardashian's favorite salad? ›

7 years of KUWTK has taught us that Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie all tend to opt for Health Nut's ultra-filling 'Chinese Chicken Salad'. To complete the order, the sisters often add a Mango Iced Greentini, which is a refreshing combo of green tea, mango, and honey powder.

Why do you Soak potatoes in water before baking? ›

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

Why do you soak potatoes before baking? ›

Soak the potatoes in cold water to remove the excess starch from the outside of the potato. There are a few reasons why you want to remove that starch (it makes the potatoes burn, it keeps them from crisping up, it turns to sugar) but all you really need to remember is to soak them at least one hour.

Is it safe to put warm potato salad in the fridge? ›

A: Here are the USDA guidelines: To prepare, once potatoes are cooked and mixture has mayonnaise added then “cool to 70º F in 2 hrs or less and then to 41°F in 4 hrs or less.” Note, the USDA recommends that “if the potato salad was held in excess of 41°F for over two hours, then discard.”

Is it OK to leave mayo out overnight? ›

The perishable nature of mayonnaise is also why you should throw out mayo that's been left out unrefrigerated overnight. It could be totally fine—until you get food poisoning. And, in general, the FDA recommends tossing perishable foods, including mayo, that have been left out at room temperature for two or more hours.

Should potato salad be hot or cold? ›

Potato salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. The salad should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours for food safety reasons. The potatoes are cooked unpeeled and are peeled while they're still hot because this way the potatoes will better soak up the salad dressing.

What happens if you left potato salad out overnight? ›

If it sits out for longer than an hour, your best bet is to throw away the leftovers. And if the ice melts in the cooler? Yup, throw that food away too—cold water does not prevent mayo-based salads from becoming contaminated the way ice does. Down with food poisoning, up with safe and delicious barbecues!

Should you make potato salad the day before? ›

Yes, potato salad gets even better if left to sit overnight in the fridge. The flavors combine and the potatoes absorb more of the seasoning/dressing, making for a more flavorful experience.

How many days in advance can you make potato salad? ›

You can make the Potato salad 1 or 2 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I often make my potato salad the night before serving for best results. Store the bacon separately or cook it up right before you serve to keep it crispy.

What does vinegar do to potatoes? ›

Vinegar causes the potatoes to form a thin crust that further helps in retaining their shape. Vinegar increases the acid pH levels of water which further helps the potato just like when you add a little salt to the water while boiling eggs.

Does putting potatoes in cold water make them crispier? ›

The additional step of allowing the peeled, washed and cut potatoes to soak in cold water removes excess potato starch from the outside. This will help with the crisping up of the potatoes when they bake or roast. Soaking the potatoes in cold water also prevents the potatoes from browning too fast when cooking.

Does soaking potatoes in water make them softer? ›

It Gives a Firmer Texture

Since soaking potatoes in salt water draws out excess moisture and reduces their ability to absorb oil, it helps them have a firmer texture.

What are German potato dishes? ›

10 Popular German Potatoes
  • German Potato Salad.
  • Bratkartoffeln.
  • German Fried Potatoes.
  • German Potato Dumplings.
  • German Potato Soup.
  • Potato Pancakes.
  • German Boiled Potatoes With Butter and Parsley.
  • German Potato Soup with Vienna Sausages.
Aug 10, 2022

What is the history of German Potato Salad? ›

early settlers in America noticed that the German Immigrants made this salad that was warm, and had bacon and onions and a nice sweet and tart dressing so they started calling it Hot German potato salad. German Potato Salad is very popular and unique most probably coming from using left over roasted or boiled potatoes.

What does it mean to be a German potato? ›

November 2021) Kartoffel (German for potato) is a derogatory slang term used by other cultures to describe Germans. It is also used in a humorous way and as a self-denomination.

What is the most famous German dish? ›

Sauerbraten is regarded as one Germany's national dishes and there are several regional variations in Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia and Swabia. This pot roast takes quite a while to prepare, but the results, often served as Sunday family dinner, are truly worth the work.

What is the most eaten dish in Germany? ›

Of all these regional and national dishes, Germany is most famous for Currywurst, sausages, pretzels and Black Forest Gateau, but as you can see, there is plenty more to German cuisine than just these.

What is the national dish of Germany? ›

Sauerbraten is a traditional German roast of heavily marinated meat. It is regarded as a national dish of Germany, and is frequently served in German-style restaurants internationally. It can be prepared from a variety of meats, most often from beef, but also from venison, lamb and mutton, pork and horse.

Why is potato salad so fattening? ›

No matter which recipe you choose, potatoes are often accompanied by good-for-you veggies and herbs like celery, onions, carrots, parsley, dill and basil. Cons: The addition of m ayonnaise, oily dressings and sometimes bacon will fatten up potato salad. You're looking at over 420 calories and 30 grams of fat per cup.

What is considered rude in German culture? ›

Basic Etiquette

It is rude to chew gum or keep one's hands in one's pockets whilst talking with someone. Cross your legs by putting one knee over the other. It is impolite to rest your feet on furniture. Tight punctuality (Pünktlichkeit) is expected in most professional and social situations.

What does it mean when a guy calls a girl a potato? ›

In a slang, potato is someone uninteresting,dull,strange ,ugly or fat.

What is a German American called? ›

The Transatlantic Relationship. Famous German-Americans. German-Americans (Deutschamerikaner) can be described as citizens of the United States with German ancestry, or people from Germany who have since become naturalized US citizens.


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