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German Potato Salad

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Skip the mayo! Creamy potatoes, pickled red onions, and a zingy vinaigrette make this German potato salad a summer standout.

German Potato Salad

I am a big fan of German-style potato salads, which are quite different from what we’re used to here in the States. German potato salads swap the usual mayo dressing for a zingy vinaigrette, making them lighter, brighter, yet still super filling. This particular recipe, inspired by David Hagedorn’s version in the Washington Post, is a keeper. Not only does it make a big batch, but it also seems to get tastier as it sits — a total win for potlucks or picnics. The salad is made with new potatoes, which keep their shape and have a delightful creaminess to them. Plus, a bonus: no peeling required. The recipe calls for a whole raw red onion, which might seem like a lot. However, once those onions are slightly pickled in the vinaigrette, they lose their bite and turn tangy-sweet. They are honestly the best part of the salad – and that’s coming from a long-time raw onion-phobe.

What you’ll need to make German potato salad

ingredients for German potato salad

Step-by-Step Instructions

baby potatoes in cold water

To begin, place the potatoes in a large saucepan and fill the pan with enough cold water so that it covers the potatoes by about 1 inch. Add one tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes.

simmering baby potatoes

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oil, rice vinegar, sugar, remaining tablespoon salt (I know that sounds like a lot; feel free to add less and season to taste at the end but keep in mind that potatoes require a lot of salt), pepper, smoked paprika, red onion and parsley.

German potato salad vinaigrette ingredients in mixing bowl

Stir to combine. Set aside, stirring occasionally and allowing the onions to marinate and pickle in the dressing while the potatoes cook.

mixed German potato salad vinaigrette

Drain the potatoes in a colander. While they are still hot, cut them bite-size into halves, thirds, or quarters, depending on the size, and place in the bowl with the dressing.

adding potatoes to the vinaigrette

Using a large rubber spatula, toss the potatoes with the dressing, being careful not to break up the potatoes too much. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally until the potatoes soak up all the vinaigrette.

mixed German potato salad

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving, stir well and taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with more smoked paprika and parsley.

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German Potato Salad

Skip the mayo! Creamy potatoes, pickled red onions, and a zingy vinaigrette make this German potato salad a summer standout.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time

Ingredients

  • 3½ pounds baby gold or red bliss potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons salt, divided
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped parsley, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and fill the pan with enough cold water so that it covers the potatoes by about 1 inch. Add one tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue cooking until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oil, rice vinegar, sugar, remaining tablespoon salt (I know that sounds like a lot; feel free to add less and season to taste at the end but keep in mind that potatoes require a lot of salt), pepper, smoked paprika, red onion and parsley. Stir to combine. Set aside, stirring occasionally and allowing the onions to marinate and pickle in the dressing while the potatoes cook.
  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander. While they are still hot (as hot as you can handle), cut them bite-size into halves, thirds, or quarters, depending on the size, and place in the bowl with the dressing. Using a large rubber spatula, toss the potatoes with the dressing, being careful not to break up the potatoes too much. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally until the potatoes soak up all the vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, bring the potato salad to a cool room temperature. Stir well, then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, or sugar, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with smoked paprika and parsley.
  4. Potato salad should be left out for no more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees). Leftovers should be promptly refrigerated.
  5. Make Ahead: This potato salad can be made and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead of time.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 355
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 591 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Well, it’s an interesting rendition on German Potato Salad, but traditionally things like paprika, parsley are not used, potatoes are always sliced and marinate in beef stock, vinegar and chopped onion. Later they are drained, a little oil is added, some pepper, chopped chives, and that’s it in the south of German. The Northern variety typically also includes mayonaisse and may include some chopped eggs, chopped bacon, pickles, etc. Overall, it’s a pretty simple dish.

    • — Klaus on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Too much oil. 10+tbls

    • — Michael Matza on December 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Could I sub parsley with cilantro here? Have cilantro that I need to use up. Thank you!

    • — Lynn on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was bland to me. I added plenty of salt, but I think the rice vinegar is too mild for me. I like to taste acid in recipes. I’m the only one eating it, a few leftover bites at a time. Maybe I’ll whisk the dressing with Dijon to punch it up. Won’t make again.

    • — Jay Em on August 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • I added more vinegar and it tasted amazing!

      • — Danielle on September 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • Excellent! I had it with a grilled garlic gruyere chicken sausage for lunch today and it was the best lunch ever!

    • — Lyn P. on August 4, 2023
    • Reply

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