German Potato Salad – Throw Back Thursday

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Welcome to the new feature – Throw Back Thursday. Every other Thursday, a vintage recipe will be posted. Some may be the original versions, while others maybe an upscaled and updated version of the original. And to start it all off – The German Potato Salad.

german potato salad

So what makes the German Potato Salad different from any other potato salad?

American salad is made with a mayonnaise base that is served cold, where as the German salad is a vinegar base, typically served warm. Kartoffelsalat (the German name) originated in Southern Germany. The northern version is similar to our American salad, which was inspired by the German Potato Salad.

The potato itself has an interesting history, traveling from South America to Spain and then to other parts of Europe more than 200 years ago. In the 1700’s in Germany, there were many wet summers that ruined the wheat crops. Ol’ King Frederick the Great ordered all farmers to grow potatoes for human consumption. Up to that point, they were primarily fed to the pigs and peasants! During this time, the kartoffelsalat (kartoffel being the German word for potato) was created.

German immigrants brought this sweet and sour salad to America. It wasn’t called a “German” potato salad. It was simply associated with the German community – hence the “German” potato salad. And it is the addition of ham or speck (German bacon) that makes it unique. This salad has been around for decades. Look at any cookbook from the 1950s and you’ll find a recipe. And I think every German grandma made it too. I know mine did. That’s where I learned the simplicity of the dish.

Red potatoes are typically used because they have less starch and hold their shape well. But any kind of potato can be used. Here I used new potatoes from my garden (yukon gold and rose finn) mixed with the last russet we had on the shelf.

You’ll also find a new way to cook the potatoes the yields evenly and perfectly cooked potatoes. Are you ready?

Here’s How to Do it:

Place the cold water in a large sauce pan. Add the salt and stir. Drop in the cut potatoes while the water is still cold. If you start with boiling water the outside will cook much faster than the inside. You want them to be cooked evenly.

Bring the water to a boil and keep boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat.

In about 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and let them cool.

Heat a heavy skillet on high heat, then reduce to medium high. Cook the bacon until it’s nearly but not quite crisp. Drain it on paper towels and then chop it into pieces. Save the fat!!

Heat the bacon fat over a medium high heat. Be careful not to over heat and burn it. Add the onions and sauté until just starting to soften. Add the bacon and continue to cook until it’s crisp.

In the same pan, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, dijon and garlic. Stir until well blended. Give it a taste and add fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste. I like a lot of pepper – the way grandma made it.

Gently stir in the potatoes until they are well coated.

Serve with chopped parsley on the top.

german potato salad

© Copyright 2021 The Lazy Gastronome

German Potato Salad

An authentic recipe from my German grandma - and so easy to make!!

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Keyword: bacon, onion, potato, potatoes, vinegar
Servings: 4 servings
Author: HelenFern
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cut potatoes - about 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces try to cut them the same
  • 4 cups COLD water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 slices thick bacon I got mine at the German market
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - preferably flat leaf
Instructions
  1. Place the cold water in a large sauce pan. Add the salt and stir. Drop in the cut potatoes while the water is still cold. If you start with boiling water the outside will cook much faster than the inside. You want them to be cooked evenly.

  2. Bring the water to a boil and keep boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat. In about 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and let them cool.

  3. Heat a heavy skillet on high heat, then reduce to medium high. Cook the bacon until it's nearly but not quite crisp. Drain it on paper towels and then chop it into pieces. Save the fat!!

  4. Heat the bacon fat over a medium high heat. Be careful not to over heat and burn it. Add the onions and sauté until just starting to soften. Add the bacon and continue to cook until it's crisp.

  5. In the same pan, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, dijon and garlic. Stir until well blended. Give it a taste and add fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste. I like a lot of pepper - the way grandma made it.

  6. Gently stir in the potatoes until they are well coated. Serve with chopped parsley on the top. 

Recipe Notes

© Copyright 2021 The Lazy Gastronome

Here are some things that are perfect to use for this recipe!

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4 Responses to German Potato Salad – Throw Back Thursday

  1. Leslie says:

    Vintage recipes are the best Helen! I am not a fan of mayonnaise. This is a potato salad that I could love!

  2. Jhuls says:

    This potato salad looks so good! Love anything potatoes. Yum! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party.

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