Bavarian Potato Salad is a tangy vinegar based warm potato salad. It's lighter than the mayonnaise version and is perfect served alongside any German food like bratwurst and sauerkraut!
When we're having an off day in the field during harvest, I know it's time to whip out the German style potato salad. It's full of warm potatoes, it's hearty and it's an easy side dish.
It also tends to put a smile on the faces of the farmers I'm feeding.
Is it because German potato salads are served warm??? Do they love potato salad because it has bacon?
It's hard to tell, but it works, so I keep making it because we all like to eat potato salad!
This post was originally published in October 2019. It was updated in May 2021 for enhanced directions and better photos.
What is Bavarian potato salad
Here in the Midwest we have many ways of making potato salad and they're all my favorites for different reasons. This is an easy and authentic German potato salad is made with onion, apple cider vinegar, bacon and cooked potatoes.
I like to use apple cider vinegar in my potato salad for some added tang but you can use white vinegar or white wine vinegar if you prefer.
Now, I'm not sure what kind of potatoes they use back in the 'ole motherland in Germany, but my potato of choice for this side dish is Yukon Gold potatoes.
I love that they're thin skinned, they hold their shape, and you don't have to peel them before cooking. If they’re small yukon gold potatoes, the dicing is even easier!
If you want to up the flavor game you can cook the potatoes in vegetable broth or beef broth instead of water. It's totally up to you.
This recipe doesn't need vegetable oil or any other fat because the bacon does double duty, standing in for flavor and fat.
Ingredients for my Bavarian Potato Salad recipe
Y'all know I love using ingredients that can be found in any grocery store. And this recipe follows that rule! Here's what we need:
- bacon - acts on behalf of flavor and taste buds
- onion - I use white or onion. Either will do.
- apple cider vinegar - Apple cider vinegar actually has antibiotic and probiotic cultures that are great for gut health. Look for the cloudy type of apple cider vinegar, sometimes called "with the mother". If you need a substitution, you can use plain white vinegar.
- sugar - adds a touch of sweetness
- salt & pepper - adjust to suit your own taste
- cooked and diced Yukon Gold potatoes - I love using these potatoes because they don't need to be peeled. My estimation is that this will save you at least 15 minutes of prep time!
- fresh parsley or green onions for topping
How to make Bavarian Potato Salad
I have two methods for making this old fashioned potato salad.
You can boil the potatoes on the stovetop or you can cook them in your Instant Pot.
To cook the potatoes on the stovetop:
Wash and scrub potatoes. Cut potatoes into bite size chunks. Why chunks? They'll shrink as they cook so don't worry about making them perfect.
Fill a large pot with cold water to cover the potatoes.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce temperature to cook over medium heat. Simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5 to 8 minutes depending on their size. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
To cook the potatoes in the Instant Pot:
Prep the potatoes as outlined above. Don't worry, instructions are in the recipe card below, too!
Do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then a quick release and drain the potatoes.
To make the vinegar dressing:
In a large skillet or in your Instant Pot, fry the bacon until crisp, remove and set aside to drain on a paper towel.
Farm Girl Tip: You can also make bacon ahead of time and freeze it!
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Add onion to the pan with the drippings and cook until tender.
Add vinegar and water, cook until bubbly and slightly reduced. Add sugar, salt and pepper and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat.
Place cut potatoes in a large bowl. Pour warm dressing over the potatoes and bacon and parsley and stir to combine.
Tip: Allow the potatoes to cool for 15-20 minutes before adding the dressing and stirring. If the potatoes are too hot, you'll end up with mashed potatoes!
How long does Bavarian style potato salad last in the refrigerator?
Not long, in our household! But this potato salad will keep for several days in the fridge.
The bold and bright tastes of this German style potato salad really shine through when this potato salad is served warm or at room temperature.
If refrigerated, remove about 30 minutes before serving to allow the salad to lose the chill factor.
If you prefer a cold German potato salad, you can do that, too!
Potato Salad Shortcuts
- use packaged bacon bits instead of cooking the bacon
- use baby steamer potatoes and microwave them instead of boiling your potatoes on the stovetop or Instant Pot.
- make the dressing ahead of time and reheat it when you cook the potatoes
Other potato salads you'll love:
Other German recipes:
Dutch Baby Pancakes (German pancakes)
If you make this warm German potato salad, leave a recipe review or comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
Bavarian Potato Salad with Bacon
- 5 slices bacon
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups yellow potatoes cut into slices or bite size pieces
- chopped parsley optional
TO COOK THE POTATOES ON THE STOVETOP
- Fill a pot with cold water to cover the potatoes.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5 to 8 minutes depending on their size. Drain.
TO COOK THE POTATOES IN THE INSTANT POT
- Wash and scrub potatoes. Cut potatoes in bite size chunks (or if you prefer, you can cut them into potato slices). Add a steamer basket into the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water and the potatoes.
- Lock lid in place, and pressure cook for 15 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then a quick release. Drain the potatoes.
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
- In a large skillet or in your Instant Pot, fry the bacon until crisp, remove and set aside to drain on a paper towel.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add onion to the pan with the drippings and cook until tender.
- Add vinegar and water, cook until bubbly. Add sugar, salt and pepper and stir to dissolve. Allow to reduce and then remove from heat.
- Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes until slightly cooled but still warm. Pour the warm salad dressing over the potatoes. Gently stir to combine. The potatoes will soak up the dressing as they sit. Crumble bacon and add to the potatoes along with chopped parsley.
I'd love to say I have a super posed, fancy photo but here's what we have. #reallife
This batch is on its way out to the field!