Traditional German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

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If you like easy yet delicious potato salads like the Greek Red Potato Salad, you’re going to love this creamy German Potato Salad.

Tender potatoes are combined with boiled eggs, and pickles and served in a simple yet irresistible creamy dressing. This is German comfort food at it’s best.

Someone's digging into the potato salad with a fork

About German Potato Salad

Want to enjoy this potato salad as the Germans do? This German Potato Salad is as traditional as it gets. Try it as a side dish with schnitzel, beef franks, or even frikadellen.

What You’ll Need To Make

Ingredients for the German Potato Salad
  • POTATOES – Use your favorite potatoes. Yukon Gold or Kennebec are two good all-purpose white potatoes that work great in a potato salad. 
  • EGGS – Any eggs will work, but I try to look for cage-free organic eggs whenever possible.  
  • PICKLES – (organic) dill pickles are delicious, and they are perfect in this salad. You’ll need to reserve some of the pickle juice. It’s going to be part of the dressing
  • MUSTARD – For this recipe, look for good quality dijon mustard like this one.

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How To Make German Potato Salad

Making this potato salad is easy and takes no time at all. While the eggs and potatoes are boiling, you finish prep. Putting it all together takes just a few minutes.

Eggs and Potatoes

BOILING THE POTATOES

  1. Fill a large pot with the peeled potatoes and add enough water, so all of the potatoes are submerged.
  2. Bring the water to boil and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. You can add about 1 tablespoon of salt to the water once it’s boiling, but it’s optional.
  3. The exact length of time of cooking time will depend on the size of the potatoes. If you use medium-sized white potatoes, stick a fork into the center of the potatoes to make sure they are soft and tender.
  4. Transfer the potatoes into a colander and pour cold water over the hot potatoes. This will stop the cooking process

BOILING THE EGGS

  1. Remove the eggs from the fridge and allow them to sit at room temperature. Meanwhile, use a large pot, fill it with cold water and bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling, use a spoon to gently place the eggs into the boiling. 
  2. For this recipe, you’ll want hard-boiled eggs. This means you’ll want to cook your eggs between 9-12 minutes. The exact length of time depends on the size of your eggs and your personal preference.
  3. Transfer the cooked eggs into a bowl of cold (preferably iced) water. Chill for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the eggs. Peel and set aside

Finishing Prep and Making the dressing

While the eggs are cooking, take 4-5 medium sized pickles and finely chop them. For this German Potato Salad, I recommend kosher dill pickles.

Set the chopped pickles aside.

FOR THE DRESSING

On the left all the ingredients to make the dressing + the finished dressing on the right
  1. Combine 1/4 cup of the pickle juice, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
  3. Optional. You can add salt and pepper to season the dressing. I always find that between the mustard and the pickle juice, there’s already plenty of flavor in this dressing.

PUTTING IT EVERYTHING TOGETHER

Left Image: add eggs to the potatoes and pickles | Right: combine potato salad with the creamy dressing
  1. Chop the cooked potatoes and peeled eggs and transfer them into a large salad bowl. Add the chopped pickles and combine well.
  2. Pour the salad dressing over the potato salad mix well.
  3. Optional – Drizzle some chopped parsley for presentation.

More Simple Salads

How Long Does This Salad Last

close up of the German Potato Salad

If you store this cold potato salad in an airtight container in the fridge, you can safely keep it for 3-5 days.

German Potato Salad is one of the salads that tastes even better on day 2. The flavors get a chance to unfold fully.

When you’re ready to serve potato salad that’s been stored in the fridge, be sure to remove it about 15 minutes before serving. This will take the chill out.

FOOD SAFETY TIP: If you’re serving this salad during an event like a barbecue or a potluck, make sure that the salad isn’t exposed to room or higher temperatures for more than an hour. Two hours is probably safe, too, but every time I include eggs, I like to play it extra safe.

Recipe Notes

This German Potato Salad is just one of many different types of potato salads you’ll find in Germany. This recipe is exactly the way my mom’s mom used to make it.

My dad’s mom uses a completely different recipe, which includes apples, yogurt, and red onions, among other things. And believe me, that recipe is just as delicious as this one.

Not all German Potato salads are served cold. There are some delicious warm potato salads. Some of them are made with bacon and served with a vinaigrette. And believe me, I’m partial to those, too.

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more German potato salads.

German 101

There are many times when I’ll get asked how to pronounce those seemingly unpronounceable German words.

Disclaimer: I am bilingual, but not a professional German teacher. 😉 But I am happy to try.

In German, we use a lot of composite words.

This means we’ll happily combine various nouns to create new nouns. The trick to deciphering these longer words is to recognize shorter individual words.

Kartoffelsalat is made up of two words: Kartoffel (potato) and Salat (salad). If you’re curious about how to say potato salad in german, here it is: Kartoffelsalat: Car-to-fell-sala-t.

A bowl of German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

This delicious, creamy, high-protein German Potato Salad is easy to make and you'll just need 5 simple ingredients.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: German
Keyword: potato salad
AUTHOR: Maike
SERVINGS: 6 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Ingredients

  • pounds white potatoes peeled, boiled, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 large eggs hard-boiled
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 5 medium pickles finely diced
  • ¼ cup pickle juice

Instructions

Boiling Eggs & Potatoes

  • Add the peeled potatoes into a large pot. Make sure all of the potatoes are covered with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Use another large pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for 8-11 minutes (depending on the size of your eggs). Once cooked briefly submerge the cooked eggs into a bowl of ice water. Remove from the bowl and once peel the eggs.

Dressing

  • Combined mayonnaise, pickle juice, and mustard in a small bowl. Use a whisk and blend until well combined.

Putting The Salad Together

  • Chop the boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs into small bite-sized pieces. Chop the pickles into small pieces. Combine everything in a large salad bowl.
  • Add the dressing and combine well.

Video

Notes

This is a great recipe if you’re used to meal prepping. Both eggs and potatoes can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 184mg | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 5mg
5 ingredient German Potato Salad salad
Updated: May 30, 2020

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Hi, friends. My name is Maike. Nice to meet you. I am the blogger behind the Cheerful Cook. A Comfort Food blog where we celebrate easy German American recipes all year long
About the AuthorMaike
Hi There, I'm Maike. Welcome to the Cheerful Cook, where we celebrate easy German and American comfort food all year long.
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8 thoughts on “Traditional German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)”

  1. 5 stars
    I am ever such a big fan of potato salad so I am definitely going to have to try this traditional German recipe – it looks and sounds SO good.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I appreciate the tutorial on pronouncing this is German – I can usually manage French and a little Spanish, but I’m not as familiar with German! Sounds like a really tasty (and tangy) potato salad!

    Reply
  3. 4 stars
    I thought authentic German potato salad had hot dressing with bacon. This potato salad is really good, but it’s how I always make it

    Reply
    • You’re right, Suzanne. Hot potato salad is also a traditional German recipe. I think hot potato salad is more common in the south of Germany.
      One of the exciting things about German cuisine is that you can have the same dish cooked completely differently.
      I grew up in Dusseldorf (West Germany) and had two grandmothers who moved to Dusseldorf from different regions in Germany. And each of them used different potato salad recipes. Neither one of them made a hot one. 😉 Hope that makes sense. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply