Oma’s German Potato Salad

April 1, 2012

in Domesticated Dishes, Potluck Pleasers, SideShow Acts, Sound Bites, Vegetarian-Ish

An incredibly wise and wonderful woman once told me that there are recipes which tell the stories of our lives and the people that we love.

This is one of those recipes.

 It is my Oma’s German Potato Salad.  And it is at the center of every single family event I have any memory of growing up.  Birthdays, Graduations, Easter Celebrations, the Fourth of July, Family Reunions – none are complete without her potato salad.  At each and every gathering, we line up with our plates in one hand and our tupperware in the other to dish out as much potato salad as each can hold before moving on down the line to squeeze the hotdogs and burgers onto what little remaining space there might happen to be.  Then we pull up a picnic table, a bench, a lawn chair, or just a piece of turf and dig in.  Surrounded by those we love and those that love us, we fill up on the latest gossip and the entirety of the potato salad Oma had made early that morning.

My memories of Oma’s potato salad, however, begin well before that first bite.  And, truth be told, it isn’t just Oma’s potato salad.  It’s Oma’s and Pop’s.

Before each and every family gathering, Oma would get up early in the morning, as soon as the sun rose, to start her preparations.  And Pop would be right there with her.  Just as he always was.  Keeping her company while she got the potatoes boiling on the stove top before sitting down to eat breakfast with him.  When the potatoes were done, he’d sit at their enormous kitchen table, picking the tender golden orbs out of the steaming pot as soon as they were barely cool enough to touch and gently peeling the papery skin off of each and every one.  All 25 pounds of them.  He’d peel them and cut them up while she got busy frying the bacon and chopping the onions, whirling around the kitchen in perfect harmony with him (because he knew well enough to stay at the table, out of the way!), talking about their plans for the day and what family they’d get to see.  By the end of the morning, you could tell exactly what they’d been up to just by looking at their hands.  Hers a bit red from where she grabbed a pot right out of the oven, his a bit red from where he grabbed a potato a tad too soon.  And both of them just as happy as could be for the time they’d just shared.

So when we all sat down to share Oma’s German Potato Salad?  We knew they’d made it together.

Because this?  Is not a recipe you make, or eat, alone.

5.0 from 2 reviews
German Potato Salad
Dish: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Feeds: 12
  • 12 Medium - Large Yellow Gold Potatoes (About 5 pounds)
  • 12 Strips of Bacon
  • ⅓ - ⅔ cup Bacon Fat, reserved from frying the bacon - eye ball it.
  • 1½ cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 2-4 Tbs Corn Starch
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • 1 tsp Celery Seed
  • Pepper to taste
  • 6-8 Kosher Dill Spears, chopped
  • 2-3 Chicken bullion cubes dissolved in 1½ cups warm water
  • 1½ cups of equal parts cider vinegar and pickle juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp Fresh or dried parsley
  1. Boil potatoes in their skins until just tender. (Not falling apart tender). Drain, and allow to cool just enough to handle. Peel, then set aside to cool a while longer. Once cool, slice or chunk potatoes and place in large oven-safe pot/container or bowl of a crock pot.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut bacon into bits and fry until crispy. Set aside to drain.
  3. Reserve some of the bacon fat in skillet and saute the chopped onions in it just until they turn yellow (do not brown). Stir in corn starch, starting with 2 Tbsp and adding more as desired, (I put in 3 total to get a nice just-thinner-than-gravy consistency), sugar, salt, celery seed, parsley, and pepper to taste. Gradually add chicken bullion and cider mixtures. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour this over the potatoes, and add in pickles and mix thoroughly.
  4. If using a pot, place in oven on lowest heat setting possible (warm or 200degrees), for 4hours. You want to keep it warm while it marinates, but not dry it out so you may need to occasionally turn the oven off and then back on again to keep it from getting too hot. OR
  5. You can put it in the crock pot on the warm (not low) setting for 4 hours. Just keep the husband out of it so the moisture will stay in!
  6. Just before serving, add in the bacon and stir until mixed thoroughly.
It WILL taste a bit acidic at the beginning - but by the end of the 4hrs, everything has blended and mellowed into the perfect potato salad!




Krystyn May 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Every time my mom visits, I ask her to make it…I always thought it was a family recipe..turns out it’s Betty Crocker!

NSC May 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hmm…I’ve never been a big fan of german potato salad, but the bacon entices me. I might have to try this!

Jan May 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I love this post. My Nana uses bacon (and the grease) in her potato salad as well, and when she makes it, I eat it. I call dishes like this, “Quality Calories”–food worth the fat, or rather, worth being fat for! )

Marcie May 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Beautiful story about your grandparents. I’ve never made my own potato salad. Perhaps I should try this recipe!

Marsha Thompson April 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

When ever there was a get together we would all say please ask Aunt Erica to bring her famous Potato Salad. When my brother Buddy married Joann our family got a lot larger -Uncle Sonny and Aunt Erica made us all feel like we were part of their family.What wonderful memories ! Thanks for sharing

Jeanette April 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

You sure did hit the nail on the head Meg. Thanks for sharing a wonderful memory, especially today. Love you

Joyce April 1, 2012 at 8:19 am

Thanks for sharing!!! You hit the nail the head with this one!! Love you

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