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Grandma's Kitchen: Hot German Potato Salad or Traditional Potato Salad Recipes! Pick Your Favorite!

Updated on November 6, 2010

Potato Salad is One of America's Favorites!

Potato salad is very popular in the US, but it is hard to find a really good mayo based potato salad recipe. Hundreds have been written, but I have my own and you should really give it a try! German potato salad, while not as popular, has a distinctive, tangy taste brought to life by vinegar, and if you love potatoes or bacon, you can become easily addicted. It is much easier to make and takes much less time than the mayonnaise based potato salad. I will be sharing both of these recipes with you.

I have never written down the Traditional Potato Salad recipe before. I have told my daughters how to make it and given approximate measurements, but this will be the first time I have tried to actually write it. I will try to be as accurate as I can.

The German Potato Salad recipe was given to me by my oldest daughter. She and her husband invited me for dinner several years ago and I absolutely fell in love! In fact, just thinking about it now, I may end up making some this weekend!


Hot German Potato Salad Recipe From Grandma's Kitchen Proudly Stolen From My Daughter!

My Daughter's Hot German Potato Salad Recipe:

  • 8 medium to medium large red potatoes, cut into eighths (if you have russets, they are just as good. I don't peel the red potatoes, but if you are using russets, peel them.)
  • 1 pound of bacon, cooked in a large skillet, drained on paper towels and set aside. Keep the drippings in the pan, just remove it from the heat.
  • 1/4 cup of diced onion
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed (I prefer using about 1/2 cup of chopped celery leaves, from the inside of the celery and add some of the tender, small stalks in the celery heart, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 - 2/3 of a cup of white cider vinegar

Clean and cut the potatoes. Place them in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook them until they are just fork tender, not falling apart. When they are finished, drain them and set them aside.

Keep about 1/4 cup of the drippings from the bacon. Put the rest in a plastic container and refrigerate (bacon drippings are great to sautee fresh vegetables in). Heat the drippings that remain in the pan. Sautee the onions, green onions and celery leaves in the bacon drippings until the onions are tender and slightly carmelized. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, pepper (if you are using celery seed other than celery leaves, add the celery seed now).  Allow this to cook, bubbling for a couple of minutes, so that your potato salad doesn't have a raw flour taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the water and vinegar. Stand far enough away so that you don't end up with a vinegar steam facial. If will definitely clear your sinuses, but I don't recommend it. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. The mixture will thicken.

Chop up the bacon and add it to the mixture. Add the potatoes and heat for about a  minute, stirring so that all of the potatoes are coated. This will serve 6 - 8 people as a side dish or 4 - 6 as a main dish.


Traditional Potato Salad From Grandma's Kitchen And The Secret!

The secret to this potato salad is simple: Soak the cooked potatoes in sweet pickle juice overnight! It makes a huge difference and it is a difference that you will love! That is the simple trick that makes this potato salad stand alone as one of the best you have ever had! I have always had guests ask if they could take a little bit home for later!

I have always made this as part of a party meal or for a barbecue where there will be 8 or more guests. I am giving you this recipe as I would normally make it, so it will easily serve 8 - 10. For fewer people, cut it down accordingly. Start it the night before your party.

Traditional Potato Salad Recipe From Grandma's Kitchen:

  • 5 pounds of russet potatoes, cleaned, and a knife put through the center so they don't explode while cooking
  • 4 - 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 of a purple onion, diced
  • 3 large stalks of celery, diced
  • 6 - 8 sweet pickles. diced (for other things I will use a generic, but for my potato salad, I use a name brand pickle because the juice tastes better)
  • 1 jar of pimentos, packed in water and diced
  • 1 30 ounce jar of Kraft, Best Foods or Hellman's Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons of yellow mustard (I prefer French's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground, black pepper
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sweet pickle juice

Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover them with water. Add the 4-6 eggs gently at the top, making sure they are also covered. Bring to a boil. After about 12 minutes of boiling, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon. Cook the potatoes until a fork goes through them easily. When they are cooked, drain them in a colander. Allow them to cool and then remove the skins. For the most part, the skins can be pulled off by hand, even without the use of a knife. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces (1 inch squares) and put them into a large bowl. Pour the pickle juice evenly over the potatoes, cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight. In the meantime, chop or dice all of ingredients you will add to the salad. Make sure to put the jar of mayonnaise into the refrigerator. It will take less time to cool the salad if you start with cold ingredients. The following morning, in a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and add the chopped and diced ingredients. You will notice that there is no pickle juice remaining in the bowl. It will have absorbed into the potatoes. Gently toss them to mix with the potatoes. Add the mayonnaise mix to the potatoes and stir thoroughly, but gently. You don't want mashed potato salad. Cover with plastic wrap and put the salad back into the refrigerator to get cold.

I don't use any salt in this recipe. It doesn't take much salt to overpower it, so if people like salt, let them add their own at the table.

This really is a special potato salad! Once you get over the initial fear of soaking the potatoes overnight in pickle juice, you won't ever do it differently.

German or American? Can't Choose? Me Either!

I had eaten Hot German Potato Salad before my daughter served it to me. I always thought it was just okay, but since tasting her recipe, I really can't decide which I like better. The German Potato Salad is probably better suited as a side dish for a family meal, appropriate for any night of the week, but it is something I particularly enjoy during the winter or cooler months. Leftovers can be put in the microwave and warmed up for lunch the next day.

Traditional American Potato Salad has always been a spring or summer time side in our family. As my kids were growing up, I always made it as a side dish on Easter Sunday, with our traditional City Chicken (pork and beef) as a Celebration to the coming of springtime!

Don't make the choice. Keep both in your recipe collection and enjoy!


Submit a Comment
  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Donna Lichtenfels 

    8 years ago from California, USA

    Purple Angel! What a beautiful name you have chosen! We could all use some angels! Purple is one of my favorite colors, too! Thank you for reading. The pickle juice does give it some kick, yet it doesn't over power it. People always ask, "Why does this taste so good?" It is the pickle juice! Learned it years ago from my mother's best friend! She always made the best potato salad! Then she shared the secret, we tried it and have never looked back! Much peace and many blessings to you, too, Purple Angel!

  • purpleangel47 profile image


    8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    Ummmm ... both sound delicious! I had never thought of soaking the potatoes in pickle juice! It must give the potato salad quite a kick! Look forward to trying it. Thank you for sharing! Peace and Blessings :)


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