Summertime Salad – Pennsylvania German Potato

Pennsylvania Potato Salad n

Sweet and sour, savory custard-like dressing sets this potato salad apart from the traditional.

Summer celebrations, potluck gatherings and warm weather inspire me to prepare delicious cold salads so we’re ready for anything. We enjoyed our roasted potato and caramelized onion salad so much, we wanted to try another potato salad. I thumbed through a 30-year old cookbook a friend gave me from her toss-before-I-move pile. It was one of those community collection recipe books. Many of the recipes were tried and true, but not particularly inspired. But in between a lima bean salad and a recipe for marinating mushrooms, there was a Pennsylvania German potato salad that sounded delicious. Seeing how Jack is the expert on all things Pennsylvania (compared to me, anyway), I asked him if he ever had this salad. He remembered many summertime meals featuring this style of potato salad when he was growing up in Pennsylvania.

Inspired by Janet Jokinen, author of the original recipe, I set out to create my own version of Pennsylvania German potato salad. I cut the sugar and upped the flavors by adding German-style stone-ground mustard, seasonings, and, of course, bacon. My favorite thing about the salad is the dressing. Cooking the egg-based dressing in a double boiler produces a rich, savory custard. We made a double batch of the dressing to keep in the refrigerator in anticipation of future potato salad cravings.

Pennsylvania German Potato Salad


  • 6 large potatoes, cooked and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • chopped chives to taste
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon – diced, cooked, and drained
  • smoked paprika
  • chopped parsley


  • 7 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp German mustard
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onions
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. Bring water to a simmer in bottom of double boiler.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients in top of double boiler.
  3. Stir dressing continuously over simmering water until thickened. Dressing will coat back of wooden spoon when done.
  4. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, celery, diced eggs, chives, and bacon.
  5. Toss potato mixture with dressing.
  6. Garnish with smoked paprika and chopped parsley.
  7. Serve warm or chilled.

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