Southern German Potato Salad

Most people have probably heard about the famous German potato salad, but few know what really makes it different from other salads. I have heard about it already a long time ago, but, as in the case of many vaguely known dishes, I didn’t feel like doing it until I saw it at a friendly food blog. When Kiki (from Fraeulein Trudes Kochversuche) posted her Southern German style potato salad, I quickly understood why it was so special. First of all, contrary to most potato salads, this one doesn’t contain an ounce of mayonnaise or any thick, fat similar sauce. It almost “swims” in a light, well seasoned stock. Moreover, it’s served warm and, as I learnt later, its cold version isn’t even half as good. Last, but not least, the taste is terrific!

The amounts of certain ingredients and adding raw onion were the only things I modified in Kiki’s recipe (see the original here). I have also added Maggi sauce, but I don’t consider it as a change since this is the way apparently Kiki’s father does. Maggi brings back my childhood memories and usually goes well with marjoram, so I am very happy to use it from time to time. I think it fitted very well this salad, but it’s absolutely not an obligatory ingredient. With or without without Maggi, this dish has an original, complex flavour and is surprisingly light  (in spite of the bacon). Thank you, Kiki, for this unusual and delightful recipe!

TIP: Do not use instant stock. It is too important in the overall taste of the salad.

When the salad gets cold, you can microwave it (it’s not as good as freshly made though).

Preparation: 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 3):

about 1 kg potatoes (firm after being cooked)

3 tablespoons finely chopped smoked bacon


1/3 cup thick, rich home-made stock (Kiki advises beef stock, but I have used chicken stock since I had a big batch in the fridge)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons canola oil or another neutral tasting oil 

1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small onion (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

salt (depends how salty your stock is; mine was almost without salt, so I used 1/2 teaspoon salt)

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

(1 tablespoon Maggi sauce)

Wash the potatoes and cook them whole until they are slightly soft (they cannot be too soft, otherwise they will fall into pieces in the salad).

When the potatoes are still hot, but you can manipulate them, peel them and cut into big chunks (I have cut them into slices and the halved them).

Put the potatoes in a bowl.

Combine the sauce ingredients and heat them until it is hot (do not boil).

Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes, give the salad a delicate stir.

In the meantime fry the bacon.

Pour the remaining sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle them with bacon.

Serve warm.




38 Replies to “Southern German Potato Salad”

  1. Looks delicious!!! Thanks for sharing your version!

    I’m thinking of applying the Southern German approach to other salads such as macaroni salad.

    1. Thank you so much, Hiroyuki! I’m very happy to see your comment. This salad is really extraordinary!

  2. I love potatoes as you know. Now this dish is interesting to me. I love how you used smoked bacon and the simple seasonings with mustard and vinegar is really appealing! Oh I love marjoram too! This looks so delicious Sissi. This is going to be one serving for me. 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Nami! Marjoram goes very well with pork (I always use it in pork roast) and it was perfect here too. I also love potatoes, but always feel so bad when I use lots of mayonnaise in potato salad… this is a delicious, guilt-free alternative!

  3. I don’t think I have ever tried this salad. I think I will make it this week. This no doubt sounds delicious.

    I didn’ realise maggi was/is popular in your country. And I didn’t realise it was widely available in Europe. I guess Europeans are more advanced than I thought, and their taste is better than I thought:)

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. This salad is perfect for cold days and the taste is unusual. It’s funny because every nation thinks Maggi is their invention/traditional sauce etc.. I still remember my Swiss friends surprised Maggi is THE sauce of my childhood (they thought it was something typically Swiss while I was very surprised to see it here in every supermarket!). Now I learnt it’s also very popular in Asia! Incredible! Thank you, on behalf of Europeans, for your compliments 😉

  4. So funny, all the above comments about maggi. But it is interesting to know that Maggi isn’t just an Asian thing.
    This is a very interesting salad, Sissi. I think I’ve only ever seen potato salad always with mayo or some cream sauce of some kind. This I thought was more Japanese, you know, like those sides they have with a soy/miso sauce?

    1. Thank you, Ping. I also have found it very funny to learn that Maggi is popular in Asia! I would have never thought of this salad as Japanese (I always have in mind the Japanese potato salad, with mayonnaise of course!).

  5. We pretty much make it the same way just that we use Extra wurscht instead of the bacon. lol
    I wish I could translate it in a way… its a kind of thin sliced sausages but the pressed pink one without veggies or the such in it.

    Thats a great salad too with a beer some Semmel bread and knödel and Sauerkraut. My heart is aching for this food!!!

  6. Potato salad which isn’t drenched in mayonnaise? What is this sacrilege?! 😀 Well, actually drenching everything in mayo is a much more modern addition to the salad – I never had such a salad like this before – though it looks delicious. I like to make a summer potato salad with potatoes, radishes, just a touch of olive oil – I bet adding stock and bacon makes a lovely meal, especially for the winter. I’m all out of stock at the moment but I’ll be giving this a try when I get it back in 🙂

    1. Isn’t it? It’s the first potato salad without mayonnaise I have ever seen. Of course some bloggers make up “diet” salads without mayonaise, but this one is genuine, traditional etc.. With home-made stock the sauce is so good, I have almost felt like drinking it 🙂

  7. Potato salads without mayo, has this world gone mad? 😉 I bet this version is absolutely delicious, with bacon and raw onion, not to mention Maggi sauce. Doesn’t that sauce make just about anything yummy?

    1. Thank you, Jeno. I still am astonished at how Maggi is popular! (I have put the wikipedia link thinking many people will ask themselves what Maggi is… silly me!).

  8. Mmm… smoked bacon…. I’ll be honest, I haven’t spent a great deal of time with potato salads ;0 however, I find the marjoram very intriguing in this recipe… sets it apart from the others that I’m more familiar with – I also like that it is not drenched in fake mayo (as is also typical in potato salads – at least in this part of the world) – your seasonings sound just right and I love the simplicity of this recipe too. Very nice Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. You are right, marjoram is very important here and somehow binds the flavours. I never eat potato salads outside of home, but I can very well imagine how horrible they must taste with fake mayonnaise.

  9. I remember all the potato dishes were so good in Germany. I think I had a similar dish and thought it was incredibly flavorful. Now I can recreate at home with your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hyosun Ro, frankly I have never been to Germany, but I’m sure many delicacies are waiting for me 🙂

  10. Dear Sissi,

    I’m fine without any mayo or egg in a potato salad although it would make a difference in taste.

    But what I believe is really important are those beautiful brown bits of bacon that always make a potato salad great!

  11. I love the simplicity of the salad and have to admit never seen a potato salad without tons of mayonnaise. I believe this one should be much better for the waistline :)))

    1. Thank you, Greg. It’s the first German salad I have ever made or tasted, but it’s really worth trying (especially for those who are not fond of mayonnaise 😉 )

    1. Hi, Mr. Three-Cookies! I’m so happy you have made this salad and most of all that you liked it! Thank you so much for letting me know. You have seriously improved my humour tonight 🙂
      As always, I’m very grateful for your correction (I think it’s the funniest typo I have ever made).

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