Food On The Hill: German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad. Photo by Felicia Orth
Food on the Hill
Los Alamos
German Potato Salad
Growing up, this was the only potato salad we ate, usually prepared in large quantities by my Grandmother Mabel for the summertime holiday celebrations in St. Louis.

It’s best when served near room temperature, or just a little warmer, so if you make it in advance take the chill off it before serving. It is not a difficult recipe, but it is important to dress the potatoes as soon as possible after they cook; otherwise they don’t absorb the other ingredients. Here’s to nourishing picnics!

Serves 15

German Potato Salad


5 pounds red potatoes (Mabel always chose by hand the smallest ones she could find. Yukon Gold also work.)
1 pound bacon (center cut, if possible)
1 red onion, chopped small
1 tablespoon Dijon or other mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar (Other vinegars work, too, including red wine vinegar.)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 generous tablespoon sugar (Mabel used a little more.)
2 teaspoons kosher salt and 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 bouquet parsley, stemmed and chopped
2 generous tablespoons fresh dill, stemmed and chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)


Wash the potatoes, remove obvious blemishes, and place them in a large stockpot; cover with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Cook the bacon until crispy and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the grease in the pan, and add the chopped onion, cooking over medium heat for just a few minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper and cook just a minute or two more. Taste the dressing and adjust for sweetness or saltiness if necessary. Cover to keep warm if the potatoes are still cooking.

Drain the potatoes, and allow them to cool just briefly. If you want to peel them, the best way is to use a tea towel and rub off the peels—they will come off easily. (I look for organic potatoes and I don’t peel them.)  Slice thinly, or cut into small chunks and place in a large bowl. From here, they will need to be handled gently.

Pour the warm dressing over the potatoes and stir or toss lightly until the potatoes are covered and glistening. Sprinkle the parsley and dill over them and toss lightly again. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and warm slightly for later serving.

Editor’s note: Felicia Orth is a local home cook; she can be reached at

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