Debby’s German Potato Salad


German Potato Salad

I was blessed to grow up in a family of wonderful cooks.  My mother was a gifted baker and cook who set a beautiful table and filled it with creative and delicious dishes.  My grandmother, equally adept in the kitchen, was more down to earth, cooked without recipes, and was the person we looked to for everyday soups, stews and roasted meats.  Her schnitzel was so tender and crispy…it almost melted in your mouth.   Unfortunately she never wrote down her recipes and I was young enough when I helped her in the kitchen that I didn’t ask detailed questions about what herbs and spices she used, what ingredients went into which dishes…things like that…so, as often as I tried, I haven’t been able to duplicate some of her recipes that were my favorites.  She made a stuffed breast of veal that was out of this world and, even if I could find that cut of meat today, I wouldn’t have a clue what was in her stuffing or how she roasted it to perfection.  It was what I always asked for on my birthday dinner.  It’s just going to have to stay a wonderful memory.

German Potato Salad

What initially got me hooked on my friend, Debby’s blog, A FEAST FOR THE EYES,  were her stories about her Mutti and all the wonderful German dishes she made for her family when Debby was growing up.  Her mother owned a Bavarian Delicatessen in the town where they lived and she prepared this salad every morning for her customers.   I remember many of the recipes Debby posts from my own German upbringing and am thrilled to finally have some of the recipes I tried to duplicate in the past.   We love German potato salad and Debby’s recipe is a little different from the one I have used for years so I decided to give it a try.  This is a keeper and will be my recipe from now on.   The red onion and Japanese rice vinegar add so much flavor…so does pouring the cider vinegar over warm potatoes.  Because this salad doesn’t contain any mayonnaise it travels well and is perfect for picnics during summer months.   I halved the recipe for a dinner for 5.


When my own Mutti and I were in Bavaria years ago we were served a lunch of roasted brats, sauerkraut and potato salad on beautiful pewter plates like this one.  I loved the heart shape (and the delicious lunch) and was able to purchase one of the plates to bring home with me.  Every single time I look at it I remember that wonderful time with my mom.  

German Potato Salad
: Serves 8
  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ½ pound bacon strips
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Japanese rice vinegar (optional)
  • ½ to 1 cup vegetable oil to taste
  1. Slice the bacon and cook until crispy. Drain on paper towels and save about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Finely chop the cooked bacon and set aside.
  3. Finely dice the onion, parsley and fresh dill (or use dried dill)
  4. Prep all your ingredients first because once you peel and slice the potatoes you need to add the "dressing" so that it better absorbs into the potatoes.
  5. Boil the potatoes, skins on, until fork tender in water. Drain and allow to cool slightly so they can be picked up and held in a clean tea towel. Gently remove the skins. Cut each potato in half and then into fairly thin slices (about ¼") into a large bowl. Pour the vinegar, salt and pepper over the warm potatoes and give it a few minutes to absorb. I poured about half the amount of vinegar on the potatoes and then tasted as I added more to be sure I got the right amount of tang for my family's taste.
  6. Add the bacon, onion and dill. Add reserved bacon fat and chicken stock.
  7. Gently mix with a large spatula, being careful not to press the potatoes too much.
  8. Add about ¾ cup vegetable oil. (I added about ½ cup because I knew I could add more if needed)
  9. Add 1 teaspoon sugar,additional salt and pepper if needed and the fresh parsley. Mix well.
  10. I like to prepare this potato salad several hours ahead so the flavors can mingle. If made the day before allow it to come to room temperature or warm SLIGHTLY before serving.

This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm


  1. says

    Cathy, love Debby’s recipe and that plate of yours….I have never seen anything like it. I recall the wooden boards in the Black Forest, but not such a beautiful plate. Great photos. Yum!!
    Susan recently posted..Bacon JamMy Profile

    • says

      We were in a weinstube in Nuremberg, in old town close to the square. It was a long time ago. I wish I had bought more than one, but at least I have that. I have only been there in the winter for the Christmas markets. Hope to get there during the summer sometime soon.
      Cathy recently posted..Debby’s German Potato SaladMy Profile

  2. says

    This looks like the German potato salad that my DH loves so much, Cathy. He grew up next to a German household & she & his mother exchanged foods all the time, never letting anything to to waste, during the Depression. He says for the longest time, he was mixed up as to what was Polish food & what was German. LOL

    I bet the recipe your Mom made was a version of the traditional German recipe for Gefullte Kalbsbrust, a classic dish of veal breast stuffed with a mix of minced pork and beef bound with egg and breadcrumbs that’s cooked (braised) in a spiced stock and served sliced with the thickened stock as a gravy. Google it & you’ll get lots of ideas on how to make it like your Mom’s. Of course, it will never compare!


    Hey, since you’ve got a “dish” featured in this post, you could qualify for Cuisine Kathleen’s “Lets Dish” party this Wed.
    Rettabug recently posted..Fathers Day Food: Hash Brown Potato Casserole & Fruit Salsa DessertMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Rett – Do you think Kathleen would think I qualified for her party with only one dish to show? Maybe I’ll try it to see what she says. Thank you so very much for the information about my favorite dish. I know with a little trial and error I could probably come close to the veal dish my mother used to make. The big obstacle is that there is no veal breast to be found in the greater Portland area. I have tried every butcher shop I can think of and even contacted some ranches that raise beef and nobody know where I can find this cut. I’m sure there isn’t much of a market for it. But I’ll keep trying. No luck even at Whole Foods. Veal is un-PC here.
      Cathy recently posted..Debby’s German Potato SaladMy Profile

  3. says

    Oh this looks amazing Cathy! I absolutely adore German food and we heard of a new place here in Boise. We went for the Schnitzel and hoped they would have German Potato Salad. We were sadly disappointed on both counts. You might just want to head my wait and open a place!

    Great to visit again…
    renée recently posted..Olive Garden Salad DressingMy Profile

  4. says

    Cathy, you cannot know how much this post has made me smile. My Mutti would have been very proud of your kartofel salat. The entire meal is absolutely beautiful (though I’m a sucker for red cabbage). The sausage is perfectly cooked. All I’d need is a cold beer and a broetchen to go with this– and some Bavarian oom pah pah music. Thank you, friend, for the Blog Love. As you know, I’ve been a fallen soldier with this new knee of mind, and haven’t felt much like blogging. You just lifted my spirits. Thank you!
    Foodiewife recently posted..Olallieberry Dutch BabyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Debby – Thank you so much for coming to visit. I know this is a tough week for you with your new knee replacement. I know you will bounce back quickly and in a couple of weeks all this will be a distant memory. I will think of you and your Mutti every time I made this delicious potato salad.
      Cathy recently posted..Debby’s German Potato SaladMy Profile

  5. says

    I LOVE that HEART!!!

    My DSIL made a great potato salad for father’s had dill too..
    Love the rice vinegar I think Cathy! I also enjoy the seasoned one:)

    I am trying to remember the show I just watched..or book I just read that mentioned memory is usually good!
    I watch what I eat..but must say if you put a potato salad in front of me..I will gravitate towards that and NOT the dessert.
    Monique recently posted..Dream a Little Dream..My Profile

  6. says

    I just recently learned this trick or tip of adding the vinegar to the potatoes while warm. This is the type of inside information I am looking for, those things that take the dish from ordinary to extraordinary. I mean no disrespect, but my Mom used to say mix it until it taste right. What kind of help is that? So I haunt the blogs that give up the answers. Thank you. Oh, and any other tips will be appreciated. :)
    Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon recently posted..Farro With VegetablesMy Profile

  7. says

    My husband has a lot of German blood in his veins and we were fortunate to find a fabulous German eatery in the Georgia mountains several years ago, where I savored my first bites of German schnitzel. It was mouth-watering! Sadly, due to lack of demand, the doors closed and we have yet to find another good German restaurant, since it is one cuisine I have no experience cooking. Thank goodness, I can try my hand at the unbelievable sweet cakes and pastries that Germans are famous for.
    Roz recently posted..Superb Spicy Fried Buttermilk-Garlic ChickenMy Profile

  8. says

    My paternal grandfather was first generation German and my grandmother, a Southerner, tried and tried to duplicate his German potato salad. She never made a dish the same, so sometimes it was great and sometimes not so much. Glad to have this recipe. I saw it on Debby’s blog and it brought back great memories of my grandfather.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Spicy Fresh Cherry SalsaMy Profile

  9. says

    A wonderful post, Cathy and what a wonderful treasure from travels with your mother! I’ve saved many if your recipes and will save this one to try too.

  10. says

    I have had this one marked to make for a while and haven’t gotten to it…well, you motivated me. The bacon is cooked, the everything is chopped, the vinegars are measured and the potatoes are cooking! Thanks.
    Kate recently posted..Glazed Coconut Pound CakeMy Profile

  11. says

    What a wonderful memory, and the plate is so beautiful!

    I have been working for over a month getting ready for gson’s first bday this Sat. So much painting, cleaning and gardening, and now all the cooking. I am rarely at the computer. I just finished making the clam chowder, iced 60 cupcakes, pork fried rice, among other things. The list is long the stamina fading!
    Kathleen recently posted..I had the flowers, the cloth, but not the time!My Profile


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