German Potato Salad

There is something special about a country that celebrates its independence by gathering with friends and family. Backyard picnics and barbecuing burgers and hot dogs are time-honored, Fourth of July traditions I can fully stand behind. Over the years, I’ve come to accept that what my stateside friends consider potato salad will never be what I consider potato salad. I became the bearer of potato salad at picnics; which means, I gave out this recipe quite a bit. Making authentic, German-style potato salad is simple, as long as you follow each step in succession.

First, boil three or so pounds of whole potatoes—unpeeled. Use smaller potatoes or you’ll be boiling all day long. While they’re still warm, and here’s the key, peel the potatoes and toss them in a simple dressing that includes a generous amount of chicken stock*. Have patience. The potatoes will gradually soak up the stock to make a creamy sauce. And please, no mayonnaise!

Serves 6 to 8

3 pounds (about 7 to 8) small russet potatoes, 3 to 4 inches long, scrubbed

2 ½ teaspoons coarse sea or kosher salt, divided, more to taste

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ large onion, diced

2 meaty slices bacon, diced

2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, more to taste

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 ¾ to 2 ¼ cups Chicken Stock* warm


  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, bring potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and enough cold water to cover potatoes by 2 inches to a low boil. Continue to gently boil until potatoes are just tender in center when pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on size. Strain and leave potatoes in colander to partially cool. Return pot to stove.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon and sauté until both begin to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (bacon will still be soft). Add caraway seeds, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, and mustard and stir to combine. Transfer onion marinade to Dutch oven and add vinegar and 1¾ cups chicken stock*. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
  3. Peel potatoes while still warm and roughly chop into ½-inch pieces. Add warm potatoes to Dutch oven with vinegar-chicken stock, cover, and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. If potatoes soak up all the marinade, add remaining ½ cup stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


*In Das Cookbook the recipe calls for homemade ham stock, chicken stock is a delicious substitute for people who need to use store bought stock.