Skip the Cold Side Dishes and Make Warm Oil and Vinegar Potato Salad

I think we all are familiar with the classic potato salad recipe. It’s that tried-and-true mayonnaise-covered dish that’s full of creamy flavor and always served cold, right?

Vertical image of a spoon mixing together potato salad in a white bowl, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Well, I think it’s about time we all step outside that box of normalcy and remember that there are other ways to celebrate the good old spud this summer.

Let’s be honest. That store bought glop that is always served at barbecues is kind of a filler side that no one truly loves.

To me, this oil and vinegar version is one that is truly unique, because it can be served up warm.

I know this might sound totally foreign to many of you, but it really is a tasty way to devour my favorite vegetable.

Vertical image of a big white bowl with a starchy side dish covered in herbs mixed by a wooden spoon next to herbs.

This recipe is similar to an old fashioned German potato salad, with the dijon and vinegary flavors that it features.

But let’s roll things back just a bit. Have you ever heard of German potato salad before?

Well, it’s a traditional side dish from southern Germany that isn’t made with a ton of mayonnaise. That’s the biggest difference between this recipe, and the American version that you are probably most familiar with.

You’ll also sometimes find that a German take on this classic includes bacon, but our version is vegetarian. Want to change things up? Feel free to throw some chopped crispy bacon in there!

Vertical close-up image of a white bowl with an herbed potato dish mixed by a wooden spoon.

It’s all about personal preference when you serve this side dish. It can be enjoyed warm, but you can also throw it in the refrigerator to let it chill out and serve it up cold. Honestly, it just depends on what you like better, and both ways are delicious.

I highly recommend tasting this dish the moment it’s finished, and then decide if you like it warm. If you don’t, you can cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and let it chill for a couple of hours.

So, how do you make this recipe?

It is so freaking easy to make. Seriously, it takes just 20 minutes and then you are ready to rock and roll, and get down to eating.

Vertical image of two black plates with potato salad, next to a larger bowl on a white napkin.

It starts with simply cooking the spuds of your choice in boiling water until they are tender. I prefer to use a golden type, but you can also use red-skinned ones if that’s your jam.

Then you remove them from the heat and rinse them with cool water until they have cooled a bit, but not so that they’re completely cold. Then you chop them up and add them to a bowl with the flavorful homemade dressing, full of mustard and vinegar.

Note that when you mix up this dish you can either leave the chunks of spuds mostly intact, or you can slightly mash them up with the back of your fork for a different texture. I personally like the chunkier version. But again, the choice is totally yours.

Vertical close-up image of a black plate with herbed potato salad, in front of another black plate and a large white bowl.

Since this isn’t made with any eggs or mayonnaise, it’ll travel really well. You can bring it over to a friend’s house for a party, or take it with you on a picnic, alongside our classic three bean salad. It tastes great warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

For more information on how to store this dish once you make it, be sure to keep reading after the recipe card for the details.

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Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with herbed potato salad with a wooden spoon.

Warm Oil and Vinegar Potato Salad

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Forget reaching for the same old mayonnaise-covered spuds and shake things up with this oil and vinegar potato salad.


  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes (red-skinned or Yukon gold)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water until they are cool enough to handle.
  3. Chop into 1-inch chunks and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add onion, herbs, sugar, mustard, vinegar, and oil, and toss until well coated.
  5. Stir to mash the potatoes slightly, until they reach your desired texture.
  6. Add salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Potato Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Side Dish

Keywords: potato, potato salad, vegetarian, barbecue, picnic, side dish

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal image of ingredients for potato salad in various bowls on a black surface.

Peel and chop about half of a medium-sized red onion. I know this isn’t everyone’s favorite kitchen task – check out our tips so you won’t have to weep over your cutting board!

Chop enough fresh cilantro or parsley leaves until you have about 2 tablespoons, plus a little more for garnish.

Scrub your spuds well, and remove any eyes or bruised portions. If any of the spuds are larger than the others, be sure to cut them in half so they are all about the same size.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list so they will be ready to go.

Step 2 – Cook

Horizontal image of steamed sliced potatoes in a metal bowl.

Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Place the lid on top of the pot, and bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Cook until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain the spuds in a colander, and rinse with cold water until they are cool enough to handle.

Using a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board, chop into 1-inch chunks. Transfer to a large bowl.

Step 3 – Assemble and Garnish

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with an herbed potato side dish.

Add the onion, cilantro or parsley, sugar, mustard, vinegar, and oil. Toss to coat well.

Want even more fresh flavor? Use an herb-infused oil!

Stir the potatoes to mash them slightly. This will give the salad a better texture, but you can also skip this if you prefer a chunkier salad.

Stir in the salt and pepper, give it a taste, and add more if you think it’s needed.

Horizontal image of two black plates with potato salad.

Garnish with additional cilantro or parsley.

How Do I Store the Leftovers?

When it comes to storing the leftovers, you can simply cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Then set it in the refrigerator.

If you are storing what you’ve made for a longer amount of time – say, more than a day – you should add it to an airtight container with a lid before chilling.

Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with herbed potato salad with a wooden spoon.

This salad can be enjoyed cold, and there’s no reheating required. Just like that, you’re good to go.

Here are a few more unique spud salad recipes to try this summer:

Will you serve up this tasty side warm or chilled? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 10, 2015. Last updated: March 4, 2024 at 19:24 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

3 thoughts on “Skip the Cold Side Dishes and Make Warm Oil and Vinegar Potato Salad”

  1. I made this today and served it cold. It is a good basic recipe but I feel the mustard is overpowering. I would start with 1 teaspoon and add more as needed. To counteract the mustard I added extra wine vinegar and also more salt.

  2. I made this Potato Salad last week and I am about to make it again! I like that the recipe requires very few ingredients and that it takes very little time or effort to prepare. (I used just 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard after reading one of the comments.)

    My husband loves potato salad and he enjoyed this recipe very much! Unlike my other potato salad recipe where I have to chill the salad overnight before serving it the next day, with this recipe, I love that I can serve it right away! Thank you for this great recipe!


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