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Authentic German Potato Salad

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This authentic German potato salad recipe is what you will find served in restaurants throughout the country and is made with broth, vinegar, oil, and a dash of mustard of sugar.  This remains my favorite potato salad and is made just the way my Mutti and Oma always made it.

For more delicious traditional German salads be sure to try our Creamy German Cucumber Salad, Bohnensalat (German green bean salad), German Tomato Salad, and German Sauerkraut Salad!

german potato salad recipe authentic traditional swabian schwabischer vinegar broth

I’m a huge potato salad fan and I enjoy it in all its varieties.  But my all-time favorite is German potato salad like the kind I grew up with in the Swabia region of Southern Germany (Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat).

I’m also the ultimate critic when it comes to potato salads.  I’ve probably eaten Swabian potato salad a couple of hundred different times throughout my life in Germany and I will tell you, not all potato salads are created equal, that’s for sure.  Hands down the best versions I’ve had were served in southern German restaurants.  For any of you who have lived in or visited that area of Germany, you know exactly what I’m talking about:  You just can’t beat that restaurant-style Swabian potato salad.

There is one exception to this:  My mom’s Swabian potato salad comes closer to the restaurant versions than any others I’ve had.  (She also makes the best mayonnaise-based potato salad and it’s her recipe that inspired my Classic Potato Salad.)  And so I’ve taken my mom’s German potato salad recipe and have made just a few tweaks replicate that perfect German restaurant quality flavor and texture.  And I’m confident you’re going to love the results as much as we do!

german potato salad recipe authentic traditional swabian schwabischer vinegar broth

The ingredients in a traditional Swabian potato salad recipe are few and simple, but there are a few tricks that are absolute musts for getting it right – like the restaurants do.  Here they are:

Keys to Making the BEST German Potato Salad

1)  The right potatoes.  This is the biggest challenge here in the U.S.  In Germany you can find potatoes that you simply cannot find here.  Unlike Russet potatoes, for example, which are flaky, mealy, and generally flavorless, the kind used in potato salads in Germany are firm, deep yellow in color, buttery and flavorful.  And they keep their shape well.  The closest you can get to those here are Yukon Gold potatoes and those are the ones I recommend for this recipe.  Also, be sure to boil the potatoes in their skins – don’t peel them first.

2)  Beef broth.  There is no substitute, it must be beef broth.  And it must be very strong beef broth.  And it must be hot when you pour it over the potatoes so they soak it up.  Make sure you let the potatoes sit for at least a full hour after you pour the broth over.

3)  German mustard.  I know the recipe doesn’t call for much, but it must be German mustard (mild) if you want it to taste the way it’s supposed to.  The kind I use in most of my German recipes is the Alstertor Düsseldorf Style Mustard (click link for convenient access on Amazon).

4)  Vinegar.  No apple cider or balsamic vinegar.  It needs to be the strong white vinegar.  A vinegar very commonly used in Germany for this salad and salad dressings is called Essig Essenz (can also be found in some Asian grocery stores – Koreans like to use it for kimchi).  It’s super concentrated vinegar and you only need a very little of it.  If you have access to this vinegar, you would add just a teaspoon or two in addition to the white vinegar, and reduce the amount of white vinegar accordingly.  Of course you’ll always want to do a “taste test” before pouring the final mixture over the potato salad.

5)  Onions.  You want them crunchy but not overly so, and you want them saturated with flavor.  So add them to the beef broth/vinegar mixture when you heat it up.

6)  Oil.  Lots of it.  In olden days homemade beef broth would be used which contained plenty of fat.  Nowadays we mostly use store-bought broth in cans or beef bouillon cubes/granules which are all void of fat.  So adding oil is absolutely essential to achieving the right texture.  As my German mom says, Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat needs to be “schmalzig”.

7)  The longer the potato salad sits, the better it will taste.  I recommend making it the day before and letting it sit in the fridge until the next day.  Let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Follow these seven tips and you’ll be in German Potato Salad heaven!

German Potato Salad Recipe

Let’s get started!

Select small Yukon Gold potatoes that are uniform in size.  Scrub the peels and boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender when pierced with a fork.  Do not overcook – you don’t want them mushy.   Let them cool down until you’re able to handle them and peel them while they’re still warm.

Slice the potatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices.

Put the potatoes in a large glass mixing bowl and set aside.  (Don’t use metal or it will react with the vinegar.)

Add the beef broth, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and white pepper to a medium saucepan and stir to combine.

Add the chopped onions to the broth mixture and quickly bring it to a boil.  As soon as it starts boiling remove it from the heat.

Pour the onion/broth mixture over the potatoes, cover with plastic wrap or a large plate and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour.  Then pour the oil over the potatoes and carefully stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

The flavor of this Swabian-Style German potato salad only gets better over time and this tastes best the next day.

It’s also best served at room temperature.


german potato salad recipe best traditional authentic swabian restaurant style

For more delicious German dishes be sure to try our:  

german potato salad recipe best traditional authentic swabian restaurant style

Authentic German Potato Salad

This authentic German potato salad comes from the Swabia region of southern Germany where it remains one of the most popular and most delicious of all potato salads!
4.98 from 176 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 6
Calories 284 kcal


  • 3 pounds small firm, yellow-fleshed waxy potatoes (e.g. Yukon Gold) of similar size, skins scrubbed and peels left on
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water mixed with 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules (Vegans: use vegetable bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • a few splashes of Essig Ezzenz , (highly recommended for the best, authentic flavor)
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mild German mustard (If you can't get it, use regular yellow mustard)
  • 1/3 cup neutral-tasting oil
  • Fresh chopped chives for garnish


  • Boil the potatoes in their skins in lightly salted water until tender. Allow the potatoes to cool until you can handle them. Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Put the sliced potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Add onions, beef broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Cover the bowl of potatoes and let sit for at least one hour.
  • After at least one hour, gently stir in the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. If too much liquid remains, use a slotted spoon to serve. Serve garnished with fresh chopped chives. Serve at room temperature. Note: This potato salad is best the next day (remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving).


Read the "7 Tips" in this blog post to ensure success!


Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 876mgPotassium: 1059mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 16IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 2mg
Keyword German Potato Salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet May 9, 2014

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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Recipe Rating

4.98 from 176 votes (135 ratings without comment)


  1. This is almost the same as my grandmothers recipe. She added a bit less pepper and pieces of chopped bacon. I don’t know if it is authentic for Germany, but it is authentic for my family :) and quite tasty.

    1. Hi Mark, bacon is sometimes added in the Bavaria region of southern Germany and another variation throughout Germany is to add some thinly sliced cucumber. All authentic and all delicious! :)

  2. Great recipe. I from Munich so the addition of mustard is a novelty, but it definitely added something. I used a mixture of Hendelmaier’s sweet Bavarian and sweet German mustard. The leaving overnight in the fridge for the flavors to develop is essential and to give it that beautiful “schlanzige“ quality. Absolutely “Guad”

  3. *Schmatza, der Kartoffelsalat muss schmatza (schmatzen) or schlonza (schlonzen) Both are very distinct sounds lol
    Your recipe is spot on and the schwob would say “scho recht” which is the highest compliment you could get.

  4. In Bavaria we have the same one. :)
    Some do without mustard.

    We have a special pot to steam the unpeeled potatoes.

    Never cut the potatoes hot, you will get mash. Let them cool down a bit.

    Essig Essenz is essential!!!

    Greeting from near Regensburg

  5. I live here in Germany and love your recipes. I only wish you would tell me the type of ingredients you would use if you were in germany. For example, which potatoes to buy for this recipe?

    1. Thank you! :) Two popular German varieties that I grow in my garden (because I can’t buy them here in the U.S.!) are Nicola and Carola which should be readily available where you are. They’re firm, waxy, yellow potatoes that hold their shape well so are perfect for potato salad.

  6. Made this for my German husband and I because I love the potato salad I get when we got to Germany. It was delicious and he pronounced it ‘authentic tasting’. Will definitely make again!

  7. This is a must when I arrange an Octoberfest at home and invite friends. It goes perfectly with the Wiener Schnitzel. Follow this recipe and ”happy days” for a successful Octoberfest dinner

  8. Omg, this is exactly the kartoffelsalat I grew up with. My Mom never shared any recipes, so I was very happy to find this recipe. I found that using Rice vinegar eliminates the use of Essig Ezzenz. I too grew up in Swabia, Heilbronn to be exact and sure miss the Pretzels, Kartoffelsalat mit Fleischkaese, etc, etc. Vielen Dank for all your wonderful recipes.

  9. This was delicious but…

    I followed the recipe and *freshly* ground white pepper corns to get 3/4 tsp and the pepper flavour was overwhelming. Kimberly’s link shows pre-ground white pepper, so that could be why.

    I will defintely remake this recipe, just this time with 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of white pepper.

    1. Great recipe with all the essential flavors brought forward. I agree on the white pepper. The recipe calls for 3x more than is palatable, it’s overwhelming. Next time I would use 1/3 the amount of white pepper, double the mustard and 3 splashes of essig essenz. Closest recipe I’ve come across to Dallmayr Munich classic Kartoffelsalat.

  10. This looks delicious! I haven’t made it yet, but I will make it and hopefully find some feldsalat to go along with it. Or maybe I’ll make a salad like in Stuttgart: potato salad topped with shredded lightly pickled veggies (carrots, cucumbers and maybe some radish), lettuce and dressing – so good and fresh. I lived in Stuttgart for 2 years and loved living there. I’ve made your Jaegerschnitzel recipe many times and it’s absolutely delicious! I love that you serve the gravy with breaded schnitzel because schnitzel is better that way :-). Most of the time when I ordered Jaegerschnitzel in Germany it was unbreaded so instead I would order Schweineschnitzel with a side of Jaegersoss. SO good.

    1. Thank you, Laurie! I agree, I vastly prefer it breaded. Without the breading it’s not Schnitzel, it’s just a pork chop, lol! :) It’s also somewhat regional (I’ve seen it breaded more often than not in Swabia) or just comes down to the chef’s preference whether it’s served with or without. And I agree with you wholeheartedly about the salad plates with the potato salad and varieties of pickled veggies – I miss them! And definitely the Feldsalat. It’s near impossible to find in the U.S. and so I’ve been growing it in my own garden the last several years, something you could consider doing – it can easily be grown in a pot if space is an issue and is a great “cut and come again” green.

  11. My in-laws are from Graz, Austria and make it this way, but add a couple of teaspoons of pumpkinseed oil. It’s very good on this dish.