This German potato salad recipe makes a warm potato salad – also called a hot German potato salad – with a dressing of fried celery, scallions or spring onions, and bacon. Time things right and you can deliver it hot to the table in autumn or winter or serve warm in spring or summer. It’s fantastic with chicken schnitzel and a side of coleslaw.
You’re going to love this German potato salad recipe if you’re a lover or potato salads, especially warm potato salads, and you made my Mediterranean-style warm potato salad recipe with capers, anchovies, chives, and celery leaves and enjoyed that. Like that warm Mediterranean potato salad, this warm German potato salad is a perfect side to chicken schnitzel or our chicken schnitzel burger.
Our German potato salad recipe makes a warm potato salad that’s also called a hot German potato salad, hot German potato salad, because if you time it right by following our instructions and tips to the letter, it’s definitely possible to deliver a hot potato salad to the table.
While that’s definitely appealing in the chilly months of autumn and winter, in the warmer months of spring and scorching summer months, you might want to serve this potato salad warm or at room temperature.
Whatever temperature you decide on, this German potato salad recipe makes a terrific accompaniment to meatballs, roast chicken, sausages, any barbecued meats, and it’s also fantastic with a side of coleslaw.
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German Potato Salad Recipe for a Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions
There’s no dish that makes me more nostalgic for my childhood than potato salad. A staple of spring picnics, backyard summer barbecues and Sunday family meals, potato salad was the one dish that featured on every table – from baboushka’s pink beetroot potato salad and mum’s fancy potato salad with salmon to nanna’s creamy Australian potato salad.
While those were our regular potato salads for weekend barbecues, when mum got bored – and she could often be found at the dining table thumbing through cookbooks and recipe clippings from magazines – a more classic take on this German potato salad recipe occasionally appeared on the table. (My version has a few tweaks.)
Potato salads are one of those classic global dishes that pop up in so many cuisines – we love this Japanese potato salad, which is like a cross between potato salad and mashed potatoes, and this Burmese potato salad brightened with fresh fragrant mint and textured with crunchy fried shallots.
While we have the Spanish conquistadors to thank for taking potatoes to Europe in the 16th century – Peru is where potatoes were first cultivated thousands of years ago – we have the Germans to thank for inventing the classic potato salad.
Northern Germany is where the classic creamy potato salad with mayonnaise originated, which more closely resembles the Russian potato salads I grew up with, such as the Olivier salad, a version of which is called ensalada Rusa or Russian salad and is found all over Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Southern Germany is the provenance of this German potato salad recipe for a warm potato salad, made with slices of pink waxy potatoes, bacon and onion or scallions, and a hot dressing that was traditionally made with bacon fat, vinegar and mustard.
Of course, the reality is that there are more than just two German potato salads, with regional variations and an infinite array of potato salads made in German homes, in the German diaspora, and in countries where Germans settled, such as the USA. Just a few tips to making this German potato salad recipe with bacon and scallions.
Tips to Making this German Potato Salad Recipe for a Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions
As usual, I only have a few tips to making this German potato salad recipe with bacon and scallions, as it’s super easy and comes together quickly, in less than 30 minutes, especially if you follow my advice.
You really need to use pink waxy potatoes with this recipe so that they remain firm and hold their shape. Try to source small to medium sized potatoes and boil the potatoes whole starting with cold salted water.
While the potatoes are boiling, you should have time to prep the bacon, celery and scallions or spring onions, and fry them.
Depending on the size of potatoes you’re using, the potatoes should be tender after your frying; you may even have time to make the dressing. If you can, you’ll end up with a really nice hot potato salad.
Do fry each of the ingredients separately as per the instructions in the recipe. I found this works best. If you fry them all together, in my experience the celery will be very brown by the time the white parts of the scallions of spring onions are done, and the green slices of scallion or spring onions will probably have burnt.
I use a round flat-bottomed wok for my frying, as I find it’s faster, but by all means use your favourite frying pan or skillet. I also have a handful of small glass bowls on hand that we use for prep, both for chopped fresh ingredients and then for the fried ingredients.
My German potato salad dressing is fairly classic. I’ve just made a few tweaks. I’ve fried the bacon in olive oil, so I have more bacon oil for the dressing.
I’ve added a little ground paprika for warmth and an even tinier amount of turmeric for colour and earthy flavours. I reckon you could skip the turmeric if you’re not a fan, but don’t skip the paprika.
A lot of traditional recipes call for Dijon mustard or another yellow mustard but I love the added texture and tang of wholegrain mustard. Use whichever you prefer.
German Potato Salad Recipe for a Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions
- 500 g small pink waxy potatoes - scrubbed, skin-on
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 bacon rashers - sliced into strips
- 60 g celery - finely sliced, include leaves
- 100 g scallions or spring onions - sliced, separate white and green slices
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp ground paprika
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric - optional
- ½ tsp fresh dill - very finely chopped
- Transfer the whole potatoes to a medium sized pot of cold water, add the ½ tsp salt, bring to a boil until tender yet still firm, drain, cut into 1cm slices, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- In a round flat-bottomed wok, frying pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the bacon strips until they just start to crisp. Drain the bacon oil into a small bowl and set the bacon aside in another small bowl.
- Return a quarter of the bacon oil back to the wok or pan, and fry the celery until tender and just starting to brown, then transfer to a small bowl.
- Return another quarter of bacon oil and fry the white and pale green slices of scallions or spring onions until soft and beginning to brown, then transfer to a separate small bowl.
- Add another quarter of bacon oil and fry the dark green slices of scallions or spring onions only until soft and glistening, and transfer to yet another small bowl.
- In a mixing jug, whisk the remaining bacon oil, water, cider vinegar, wholegrain mustard, sea salt, sugar, ground paprika, optional ground turmeric, and very finely chopped dill to make the warm salad dressing, pour it into to the wok or pan, bring it to a boil, let it bubble for 30 seconds or so, then return it to the mixing jug.
- Add half of the fried bacon and all of the fried celery and scallions or spring onions to the salad dressing and mix well.
- Pour three quarters of the dressing over the potatoes, and combine gently so the potatoes don’t break but are completely covered in the dressing and are glistening.
- Transfer to a salad bowl, pour the rest of the dressing onto the salad, sprinkle on the remaining bacon, and serve immediately.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this German potato salad recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.