Bratkartoffeln (German Cottage Potatoes With Bacon)

Bratkarfoffeln (German potatoes) on a white plate

The Spruce / Oliver Hallmann

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
474 Calories
21g Fat
52g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 474
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 57mg 19%
Sodium 898mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 23mg 116%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 1478mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bratkartoffeln is a German food that people often want to recreate at home. This beloved dish that's hard to pronounce (brat-kah-toff-len) translates as "fried potatoes," and it's indeed that: pan-fried potatoes, bacon, onions, and seasonings.

The bacon that's traditionally used in this dish is called bauchspeck, which you can make yourself if you like. If you can't find that, a good quality thick-cut bacon that is more on the smoked side and less on the sweet side will do. You'll want to use a good starchy potato such as russets, too.

There are two main tricks to making this dish great. Start the potatoes in a single layer in the pan with plenty of fat and do not put a cover on the pan. These potatoes will take 20 to 30 minutes to cook to a crispy, golden brown but the wait is worth it. The smell of potatoes, bacon, and onions cooking is irresistible.

The recipe can be doubled easily, using two pans. You can eat it with all kinds of things, including German pork dishes (bratwurst, anyone?), but it's especially good with eggs. Try it instead of American-style fries as a side for burgers and sandwiches, and you may never go back.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound potatoes

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 to 3 ounces bacon, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed, optional

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Scrub whole potatoes of the same size and cook in salted boiling water until easily pierced with a fork. Cool slightly; peel while still warm.

  3. Chop bacon (or bauchspeck) into small pieces and cook in a large frying pan (11 or 12 inches) over medium heat until limp.

  4. Remove from the pan but keep the grease in the pan. Add the butter and melt, but don't brown.

  5. Slice the cold potatoes into 1/4-inch slices and place a single layer in the hot fat. Place any extra potatoes on top of the first layer.

  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the onions and bacon and let them cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

  7. Flip them when they become golden brown on the underside, but don't stir them.

  8. Sprinkle with marjoram, caraway, salt, and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes. Add more butter if necessary, to facilitate browning.

  9. Serve and enjoy!

How to Store Bratkartoffeln

These are best eaten right after they are made, but they can also be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat the potatoes in a hot pan with some butter or neutral oil.

Tips

  • Potatoes can be cooked several hours ahead. In fact, this dish is often made with leftover potatoes.
  • At home, these potatoes are traditionally served with fried eggs, pickles, and green salad.
  • If you're using a nonstick pan, the potatoes will need a lot of butter to brown properly.