Deli-Style German Potato Salad combines sliced potatoes, bacon, and carrots in a vinegary brine and is perfect for summer picnics and gatherings!

German poato salad in wooden bowl topped with bacon.


Tangy, tasty, and so easy to make, German Potato Salad is a must for your next warm-weather gathering!

It can be served warm or cold and is a great alternative to New York Deli-Style Potato Salad for those who don’t enjoy mayonnaise.

Serve it alongside your favorites from the grill, like burgers, grilled chicken thighs, or lemon garlic grilled lamb chops.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: red potatoes, vinegar, sugar, water, carrots, onion, salt, pepper, bacon, parsley, and chives.
  • Potatoes. Red new potatoes are best for German or any potato salad. If you can’t find them, look for a different waxy potato.
  • Bacon. The bacon and it’s fat are key ingredients in German potato salad. Use thick-cut bacon if possible.
  • Oil. Even though there will be a good amount of leftover bacon fat, vegetable oil or another type of neutral will be needed to give the potato salad enough viscosity.
  • Vinegar. Since this is a deli-style German potato salad, we’re using white vinegar since that is what’s used by most New York delis. The vinegar in addition to water, sugar, salt, and pepper create the tangy brine that this potato salad is known for.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Dice 6 ounces of thick-cut bacon, shred 1 cup of carrot, and mince 1 cup of onion. Place 3 pounds of red new potatoes or Yukon golds into a large pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until almost fork tender. Note: very large potatoes should be cut in half so that all potatoes are roughly the same size and will cook at the same rate. (Photo #1)
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat cook the bacon until crisp, then remove the bacon and place on a paper towel-lined dish to drain while leaving the bacon fat in the pan. (Photo #2)
German potato salad recipe process collage group one showing boiling of potatoes, cooking bacon, and making brine.
  1. Add 1/4 cup of neutral oil to the pan with the bacon fat along with the onion and carrot and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. (Photo #3)
  2. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper to the pan and whisk to combine. (Photo #4)
  3. Once the potatoes are almost fork tender, drain in a colander and run under cold water until they’re cool enough to handle, then peel the potatoes. The skin should come off easily. (Photo #5)
  4. Slice the potatoes into smaller pieces, then slice them into 1/8-inch or thinner pieces. You can also use a mandoline for this process but take care to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions. (Photo #6)
Recipe collage group two showing peeling of potatoes, slicing of potatoes, pouring sauce over the potatoes and mixing the potatoes.
  1. Place the sliced potatoes into a baking dish and pour the brine on top. (Photo #7)
  2. Mix well to coat all the potatoes, then taste test and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight, mixing at the halfway point. Right before serving, chop 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley and 2 tablespoons of chives, then toss with the potato salad along with the bacon pieces. Serve the German potato salad cold or warm and enjoy! (Photo #8)

Top tip

The brine. The key to getting a German potato salad to taste like it came from a NY deli is to let it brine and sit overnight. 2 hours should be the minimum the salad sits, but overnight and beyond will yield maximum flavor!

Optional draining. The potatoes tend to soak up most of the brine, but if you find there is too much left, simply drain it. I prefer German potato salad to be on the wetter side.

German potato in bowl with serving spoon and blue napkin.

More awesome deli salads

If you enjoy New York deli-style salads, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few tried and true deli-style recipes you will love!

If you’ve enjoyed this Deli Style German Potato Salad Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

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Deli-Style German Potato Salad

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
refrigerator time: 2 hours
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Deli-style German Potato Salad combines boiled potatoes, carrots, and onion tossed in a vinegar brine and finished with crispy bacon, parsley, and chives.

Ingredients 

  • 3 pounds New potatoes or Yukon Gold
  • 6 ounces thick cut bacon diced
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil vegetable, canola, avocado, etc.
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chives for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a large pan over medium heat cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined dish leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Add the vegetable oil, onion, and carrot to the pan and cook until soft (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until almost fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and run under cold water to cool them enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and chop into smaller pieces then slice them into 1/8-inch or thinner pieces. You can use a mandoline for this process. Place the sliced potatoes into a baking dish.
  • Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan with the onion and carrots and whisk to combine the brine.
  • Pour the brine onto the sliced potatoes and mix well to coat. Taste test and season with a bit more salt and pepper if required. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, mixing at the halfway point, but preferably overnight so that the flavors come together.
  • Garnish with the bacon pieces, chives, and parsley. German potato salad can be served warm or cold. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The key to getting the flavor is to let it sit for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.  
  • German potato can be served warm or cold.  
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 5 days and taste even better after a few days.

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.8g | Protein: 8.7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3.9g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 4.7g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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8 Comments

  1. Ricky Rivers says:

    5 stars
    I love your recipes

  2. Julia says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never put carrots in but I think that would add a little sweetness so I will give that a try. I also like lots of the dressing, so I Double or triple the dressing. I love the vinegar flavor. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re happy you enjoyed this one, Julia!

  3. Jackson Boylan says:

    5 stars
    Yes, yes and some more yes!!
    Very much like what I got as a kid from Barndt’s Deli…

    1. Tara says:

      So happy you enjoyed, Jackson!

  4. Kate says:

    5 stars
    Thank you. This is just the exact recipe I wanted and needed. Although I can throw together something close to it. I never hit the mark.
    Also, I need this recipe because my neighbor won’t eat salads with mayo. Hmm. But, then again, it’s better for outside barbecues due to no mayo! ❤️

  5. Mary S. says:

    Thank you!! 🙂 I requested this a few months ago, and will definitely give it a try.
    Amazing videos,website, and recipes! Thanks for your hard work. Cheers 🥂

  6. Nina says:

    That sound like a tasty variant of a potato salad.

    To make it an actual German potato salad, I’d personally drop the carrot and use finely sliced pickels/gherkins instead. Instead of water we usually use vegetable broth and a tablespoon of mustard for extra flavor.