Old-Fashioned Hot German Potato Salad | Kartoffelsalat

If you are thinking German potato salad you are most likely thinking about this old-fashioned hot potato salad. You will find it in the kitchens and beer gardens all over Southern Germany. It is so delicious that I am sure it will be your new family favorite!

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Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • it is quick and easy to make
  • you can adjust the recipe to your liking
  • it is delicious on its own or with all your favorite meats and sausages
  • you can easily serve a crowd
hot German potato salad in blue bowl

The Potato Salad Debate – What is the Best German Potato Salad?

You may know that I grew up in Germany. More specifically, I was born in Stuttgart which is in the heart of the Swabia region of Southern Germany. At the age of ten, we moved to Northern Germany. There, the only recipes that I remember are the mayo-based potato salads that are somewhat similar to American potato salad. Now, often people tell me that creamy potato salads are not the authentic version – and I beg to differ. Both are authentic German potato salads! 

After a bit of online research, I can tell you that the different types of potato salad are due to regional and personal preferences. 40% of people favor potato salad with mayonnaise versus 22% who like the one with oil and vinegar.  In Swabia, people love the recipe with only bouillon the most which is why it is often called “Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat” (Swabian potato salad). 

You can read more statistics in this German newspaper article.

The ingredients

  • Potatoes: I always recommend using a waxy variety such as Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Onion: One small yellow or red onion adds a bit of crunch but 
  • Bouillon: A bit of chicken bouillon adds tons of flavor
  • Bacon: Most people love adding it but you can easily make a potato salad without bacon
  • White wine vinegar: I like using this for its neutral color and taste
  • Oil: My favorite type is avocado oil
  • Sugar: Just a little dash of sugar “rounds out” the flavor
  • Herbs: I like to add the classic German herbs of fresh parsley, dill, and chives for a pop of color
  • Salt and black pepper: Every dish gets better with these basic spices
avocado oil, bouillon, potatoes, white wine vinegar, onion, fresh parsley, dill, chives, salt and pepper on kitchen counter

Useful tools and equipment

  • Large pot: It definitely helps to have a pot big enough to cook two pounds of potatoes
  • Skillet: I love using a cast-iron skillet to create crispy bacon but any skillet will work
  • MezzalunaCalled Wiegemesser in German, this double-bladed chopper makes chopping herbs a cinch

Substitutions and variations

  • Potatoes: While I prefer waxy potatoes or red potatoes, you could use starchy potatoes, they might just not hold their shape as much
  • Bouillon: I find chicken broth perfect but you can also use beef broth or vegetarian bouillon
  • Bacon: A traditional German potato salad has bacon but you can either use vegan bacon or omit it altogether
  • Vinegar: I recommend using white wine vinegar but you can also use apple cider vinegar
  • Oil: A neutral oil such as avocado oil is great but you can also use olive oil
  • Herbs: You can use or substitute your favorite herbs 
  • Extra ingredients: Feel free to add your favorite additions such as spices (such as celery seeds) or a bit of Dijon mustard

How to serve

Traditionally, Germans serve hot German potato salad next to Frankfurters or Wiener sausages but it is also the perfect side dish for schnitzel, pork chops, German meatballs, or Leberkäse.

You can also garnish it with some hard-boiled eggs cut in half. 

hot German potato salad in blue bowl with wooden spoon

How long does it last?

While we prefer to eat this old-fashioned German potato salad fresh, you can keep any leftover potato salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you know you’d like to serve it the next day, I recommend adding the fresh herbs right before serving.

Of course, you can serve it at room temperature.

However, if you would like to serve warm, you can cover your heat-proof salad bowl with some foil and reheat it in the oven at 350˚F for about 15 minutes.

Other authentic German recipes you might like

German Schnitzel

Mayo-based potato salad

Beer cheese dip

German soft pretzels

How to make this dish

Just follow these simple step-by-step instructions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and just barely cover them with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high but then turn the heat to low. You want to gently simmer the potatoes so their skins don’t crack.
  2. In the meantime, cut the bacon into small strips or small pieces. In a heavy skillet fry the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon fat and keep the bacon in a separate bowl.
  3. Once the potatoes are barely tender, drain the water.
  4. Peel and dice the onion. Add the onion pieces to a large bowl.
  5. Add the oil and vinegar and mix to evenly coat the onion pieces.
  6. Do the best you can to peel the hot potatoes (they are easier to peel than cold potatoes).
  7. Optional: If you’d like to keep the potato salad warm, place the bowl over a bigger bowl with hot water.
  8. Cut the warm potatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices and add them to the bowl with the onions.
  9. Add the bouillon to a small measuring cup.
  10. Finely chop the herbs and add them to the broth.
  11. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper to the broth
  12. Pour the broth over the potato salad and mix well, breaking apart any slices that are stuck together.
  13. If using, add the bacon and mix it in. 
warm German potato salad in big blue bowl with wooden spoon

Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

hot German potato salad in blue bowl
Print Recipe
4.50 from 4 votes

Old-Fashioned Hot German Potato Salad

If you are thinking German potato salad you are most likely thinking about this old-fashioned hot potato salad.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 382kcal
Cost: $7


  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • ½ medium onion
  • 4 oz bouillon
  • 4 oz bacon
  • 6 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 1 dash sugar
  • 1 TBSP fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1 TBSP fresh chives
  • salt and pepper


  • Gently simmer the potatoes until just done.
  • In the meantime, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy. Drain the fat and transfer the bacon to a separate bowl.
  • Cut the onion into small dice and add to a salad bowl. Add the vinegar and oil. Mix well.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain the water. Peel the potatoes, cut them into ½" thick slices, and add to the onions. Mix well.
  • Pour the bouillon into a small measuring cup. Finely chop the herbs and add them to the broth. Add sugar, salt, and pepper to the broth.
  • Pour the broth-herb mixture over the potatoes and mix well.
  • Add the bacon and serve while still warm.


  • waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold are best for this recipe
  • to keep the potatoes warm as you are making this dish, you can place the salad bowl in a bigger bowl with hot water


Calories: 382kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @ourgabledhome or tag #ourgabledhome!


  1. Hello Anja!

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m a first generation Canadian and grew up with both versions of the potato salad. As you said, it’s a regional thing. My Oma, on my Mama’s side, made the mayo version (from Bottrop, near Essen) while my Papa’s Mutti made the hot oil version (from Eubigheim, just north of Stuttgart). We love both versions just the same!
    I’ve just found your blog and have been going through it when I can.
    I was very fortunate to grow up with one of my Oma’s living with us and learned how to cook and bake at a young age along side of her.
    No measurements ever lol!

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