Bavarian Potato Salad: Step-by-Step Guide for an Authentic German Side Dish

Dive into the world of **Bavarian Potato Salad** with our simple guide! Whip up a taste of Germany on your plate for your next feast with this tasty, real-deal side dish.

Bavarian Potato Salad Overview

Bavarian potato salad, or Kartoffelsalat, is a treasured side dish originating from Southern Germany. It’s distinctly different from the creamy American version and is known for its tangy flavor profile.

Historical Roots

Bavarian potato salad has deep roots in German cuisine and culture. As you dig into this beloved dish, you’re not just enjoying a side at Oktoberfest, but also a part of Bavarian tradition.

This authentic German potato salad hails from Bavaria, a region in Southern Germany, where recipes have been perfected and passed down for generations. Unlike its American counterpart, the German version is typically bacon-infused, with a dressing made from vinegar and mustard, known for accompanying a variety of German recipes, particularly during festive times like Oktoberfest.


While the core ingredients of Bavarian potato salad remain consistent, featuring potatoes, bacon, onion, vinegar, and often a type of broth or oil, variations do exist.

IngredientBavarian Potato SaladOther German Potato Salads
PotatoesTypically peeled, cooked, and sliced or dicedOften left unpeeled and chunkier
DressingVinegar-based with mustard, sometimes with broth or oilMay include mayo or be solely oil-based
TextureUsually served warm, allowing flavors to meldCan be served warm or cold
Bavarian Potato Salad: Ingredients

Whether you enjoy your Kartoffelsalat warm as a cozy addition to a chilly evening, or you savor it cold at a summer graspicnic, this dish invites you to taste a piece of Bavarian heritage.

Making Bavarian Potato Salad

Potatoes, onions, and bacon being fried in a skillet. Vinegar, mustard, and broth being mixed in a bowl. Ingredients being combined in a large bowl

Experience the flavors of Germany by crafting your own Bavarian potato salad. This dish pairs the earthy taste of potatoes with a tangy and savory dressing, making it a beloved side for various occasions.

Selecting Ingredients

For this salad, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold, red potatoes, or Charlotte potatoes are ideal because they hold their shape well after cooking.

Yellow onions offer a milder taste that won’t overpower the salad.

Fresh ingredients like chopped parsley and fresh dill elevate the flavors, while bacon adds a smoky crunch.

For the dressing, a combination of vinegar and oil is essential; you can choose between white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar based on your preference.

German mustard, preferably a mild German mustard or Dijon mustard, will give the salad a traditional tang.

Ensure you have broth on hand, with options such as beef broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian variant.

1.5 lbsWaxy potatoesYukon Gold, red, or Charlotte
1Medium yellow onionThinly sliced
6 slicesBaconCut into small pieces
1/4 cupVinegarWhite, apple cider, or white wine
3 tbspOilVegetable or olive
2 tbspMustardGerman or Dijon
1 cupBrothBeef or vegetable
1/4 cupFresh parsleyChopped
To tasteSalt and pepper
OptionalFresh dillChopped
Bavarian Potato Salad: Ingredients

Salad Preparation

Begin by boiling your chosen potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, typically around 20 minutes.

After they’ve cooled slightly, peel and slice them into half-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon until it’s crispy, and then set it aside, retaining the fat in the pan.

In the same pan, sauté the onions until they’re soft and translucent.

Dressing the Salad

The dressing is what makes this salad truly Bavarian.

Add vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and mustard to the pan with the bacon fat, and whisk to combine.

Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gently fold the dressing into the warm potatoes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Finally, stir in the crispy bacon, chopped parsley, and fresh dill (if using).

This salad can be served warm or chilled, making it versatile for any meal.

Remember, it’s best enjoyed the day it’s made, but leftovers will keep in the fridge.

Serving and Pairing

A bowl of bavarian potato salad next to a platter of grilled sausages and a basket of soft pretzels on a rustic wooden table

When you’re ready to serve your Bavarian potato salad, presentation and the choice of accompaniments can make all the difference. Whether served warm or at room temperature, this dish is versatile and pairs well with a variety of foods, especially traditional German fare.

Presentation Tips

Serve Warm: To maximize flavor, it’s best to serve your potato salad warm. This helps to enhance the dish’s natural moistness and tangy taste.

If you’re preparing in advance, simply reheat gently before serving to ensure the potato salad remains moist without becoming mushy.

Garnish Wisely: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives can add a pop of color and provide an herby freshness that contrasts beautifully with the rich flavors.


Bavarian potato salad is a superb side dish that complements many main courses, especially those typically served at holiday gatherings or festive events like Oktoberfest.

Meat Pairings:

  • Schnitzel: Particularly veal schnitzel, as the light breading and tender meat contrast well with the heartiness of the potatoes.
  • Bratwurst or Sausages: The spiciness of sausages balances the tanginess of the salad.
  • Pork: A classic pairing, the fattiness of pork works well with the acidity of the salad dressing.
  • Chicken: For a lighter option, the subtlety of chicken allows the flavors of the salad to shine.

Other Pairings:

  • Bread: A crusty loaf is perfect for mopping up any remaining dressing.
  • Sauerkraut: For an authentic German experience, add some sauerkraut to balance the dish with its sour crunch.
  • Ham: Smoked ham adds a savory depth to the meal.

Holiday Suggestions:

  • Christmas Eve: Serve as a cherished side during a traditional Christmas Eve dinner.
  • BBQ or Lunch: Perfect for outdoor events, it pairs wonderfully with grilled meats and cold drinks.


Main CourseBavarian Potato SaladDrink
Veal SchnitzelServe WarmGerman Lager
Grilled BratwurstRoom TemperatureApple Cider
Smoked HamServe WarmRiesling
Roast PorkServe WarmDark German Beer
BBQ ChickenRoom TemperatureLemonade
Bavarian Potato Salad: Main Course

To ensure your salad stays fresh, always store leftovers in an airtight container. For food safety, don’t leave the salad out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Tools & Expert Tips:

  • A good cutting board is your best friend for preparing ingredients.
  • Keep a close watch when simmering potatoes to prevent them from becoming too soft.
  • Remember that unlike mayonnaise-based salads, this warm potato salad gets better as the flavors meld together over time.

Our Opinion about Bavarian Potato Salad

This Bavarian Potato Salad recipe is a delicious testament to the simplicity and heartiness of German fare. Give it a try and get Bavaria right to your home.

FAQ about Bavarian Potato Salad

Is Bavarian potato salad served hot or cold?

Bavarian potato salad is typically served warm or at room temperature, unlike other variations that are served cold.

What are the key ingredients in Bavarian potato salad?

The main ingredients include potatoes, bacon, onions, vinegar, and a broth-based dressing.

Can Bavarian potato salad be made in advance?

Yes, Bavarian potato salad can be made in advance and tastes even better after the flavors have had time to meld.

Did you recently make some Bavarian Potato Salad? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hauke Müller

Hauke was born in Northern Germany and has made it his mission to bring people closer to his homeland with this blog. He is fascinated by the beauty, diversity, good food and tradition in the individual parts of the country and invites you to get to know the best sides of Germany with him. Join him on a journey through wonderful Germany.

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