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Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is an authentic German Potato Salad from the Swabia region of Germany. It’s made with creamy gold potatoes, diced onions and a tangy oil and vinegar dressing.

Try some of our other German recipes, like German Fried Potatoes (Bratkartoffeln) or Creamy German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat).

German potato salad on a white dish.

This simple German Potato Salad is a vinegar and oil based potato salad that’s delicious with fish, brats, Chicken Schnitzel, pork tenderloin, or just about anything you could think of! It’s tangy and refreshing and perfect for picnics and BBQs.

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Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat – a simple German Potato Salad

There are lots of different versions of German Potato Salad. Some are made hot with a bacon dressing, some are steeped in chicken or beef broth for flavor.

The difference between German potato salad recipes and American potato salad is that they are vinegar-based and don’t use mayonnaise like traditional American recipes.

In the Swabia region of Southern Germany, where my family is from, we make it with oil, vinegar, potatoes, and onions. Our version skips broth for seasoning, keeping it simple with just salt and pepper. It’s tangy with a hint of spice from the onions, making it a favorite over mayo-based potato salads.

If it’s a creamy potato salad you crave, try my Southern Potato Salad recipe.

Ingredients

  • White Potatoes – New potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes work the best.
  • Onion – White onion, peeled and diced. Red onions or green onions can also be used.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – White vinegar or champagne vinegar can be used as a substitution but will alter the intended flavor. We use Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar and find that it works the best; I have tried the raw and unfiltered kind and it just had a little different taste.
  • Vegetable Oil – A neutral oil like canola oil will also work.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional Garnish – Parsley or chives

How To Make Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

potatoes in a pot of boiling water.

Boil Potatoes. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the whole, unpeeled potatoes until they can be easily pierced but aren’t too soft or mushy. Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle.

Peeled potatoes on a wood cutting board.
Sliced potatoes on a wood cutting board.

Peel and Slice Potatoes. Once cooked and cool enough to handle, gently peel the potatoes with a thin paring knife and then thinly slice them. Sometimes they break apart a bit as you slice them and that’s totally fine. They don’t need to be perfectly round discs but often have a more rustic look.

Sliced potaotes and diced onions in a bowl.

Add Dressing and Seasonings. Stir in diced onions, salt, and pepper, then vinegar, then oil – in that order! If you do the oil first it will interfere with the potatoes soaking up the vinegar flavor.

A large serving spoon with potato salad on it.

Serve – Transfer to a large server bowl and garnish with fresh minced chives if desired.

Feel free to play around with the amount of vinegar, salt, and pepper until you love the flavor. I will sometimes add some parsley or green onion for color but white onions are traditional.

Serving Suggestions

Celebrate Oktoberfest with an authentic German meal! Here are some of our favorite German dinners to serve with Bavarian potato salad.

Of course, you can serve it with any dinner recipe that you love, like Chicken Fried Chicken, Baked Chicken Drumsticks, or Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs.

Storage

Leftovers should be stored in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will remain fresh and can be enjoyed for up to 3-4 days.

The potatoes will continue to soak up the oil and vinegar as they sit, so if it seems a little dry just add a splash of oil to moisten before eating.

Freezing – As it’s made with an oil and vinegar dressing instead of mayo-based, this German Potato Salad will actually hold up in the freezer. Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Keep in mind that the texture of the potatoes may change as they thaw.

Small bowls of german potato salad.

More Side Dish Recipes

Recipe

Easy German Potato Salad

4.69 from 82 votes
Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is a simple German Potato Salad made with creamy gold potatoes, diced onions and a tangy oil and vinegar dressing.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds White (New) or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup White onion finely diced (green onions could also be used)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Minced chives optional, for garnish
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Instructions
 

  • Boil potatoes whole and unpeeled for about 25 minutes, or until soft (they can easily be pierced with a fork or knife). Depending on the size of the potatoes, this could take a little more or less time. Drain and lay in a single layer on a flat surface to cool slightly.
  • When potatoes are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skin off with a thin knife (works best) or a potato peeler. You can also leave the potatoes in the fridge overnight and peel them the next day.
  • Slice potatoes into very thin discs and place directly into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper, stirring gently to coat the potatoes. Stir in onions and pour in vinegar and stir. Repeat with the oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Garnish with minced chives if desired.

Notes

You can cook the potatoes up to a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. Reserve peeling until you are ready to prepare the potato salad. 
Keyword german potato salad

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 307mgPotassium: 644mgFiber: 4gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 18.2mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 4.9mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Mary Lou says:

    Yes! This is how my Mom and family always made their potato salad. Simple and so delicious. She was from Nurtingen. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Mary Lou! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lara says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! This finally sounds like the perfect-for-camp-cooking, easy salad some newly-met German friends taught us in Camp 4 in Yosemite in the 90s. We adored it, never tasted anything like it before. Made it ourselves for a few years, but then I kinda forgot about it, and forgot the ratios. Never could find it anywhere online! All the German potato salad recipes had bacon, and we’re so much richer than this simple, tangy, onion-y recipe that we remembered. Thank you so much!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Lara! Thanks for stopping by to share.

  3. Barb says:

    We love your recipe for Easy German Potato Salad, can it be made a day before it’s to served?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes you could do it in advance, but the potatoes will soak up the liquid as it sits. You may need to add a little more dressing to moisten it back up.

  4. Charles Scheffold says:

    Been working on uncovering the secrets to making German potato salad the way I like it (and remember as a child) and this was a great help. Adding the vinegar first while the potatoes are warm is key. Also, it’s critical to boil the potatoes whole and then peel after cooking – why? Because by doing it this way, you retain all of the starch that would otherwise be lost in the boiling water. This starch gives the salad a creamy texture without the mayonnaise.

    I usually end up adding more salt and vinegar after letting it sit overnight rather than trying to adjust the seasoning right away.

    Thank you!

    1. Adrienne - Yellow Bliss Road says:

      Thanks for the feedback Charles!

  5. Cordy says:

    My Mom was from Stuttgart and this was exactly how she made her potato salad, WITH thinly sliced baby dill pickles for a nice briny bite. I still make mine this way and everyone raves about how light and tasty it is! Wirklich lecker!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Cordy! Thanks for stopping by to share.

  6. Kelly says:

    This was perfect! So easy and delicious, thank you for sharing!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Kelly! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Kristine E Aldrow says:

    I make similar salad use red skins leave skin on slliced thi n 2C finely sliced celery .
    I use salt between layers of potatoes onions and celery. My great Aunt Marge Gootemotes reciepe.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Kristine.

  8. Melanie says:

    My Mom was from Sandhausen, Germany. This was the only way she made her potato salad , although, she added her own flair to it… sliced hard boiled eggs, chopped tomatoes. Her additions added a bit of colour and another level of flavour.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Love that!

  9. Michele says:

    My grandma from Germany made this for us all the time and we love cold German potato salad! She didn’t follow a recipe for how much oil and vinegar she used but just eyeballed it so this recipe is very helpful for me, thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Michele! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ann says:

    My Australian mother (German background) made this potato salad and everybody loved it. I couldn’t replicate it until I found the recipe here and it’s just right. Adding the vinegar first is a handy tip that makes a big difference. Many thanks

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Ann! Love the feedback, thanks for stopping by.

  11. Lois J says:

    I have been looking for a recipe like this. My Mom made this for my graduation and communion dinners. She had not made this for a long time so I intend to make this for my husband and I know we will really enjoy it and think of my Mom. Thank you so much.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Lois! Thank for taking the time to share.

    2. Anne says:

      My mother in law was from Schwaebisch Hall, Germany and made this type of potato salad. She showed me how to make it, but I did not have measurements and after She passed, I felt like I just couldn’t get the right balance of flavors. Thank you so much for your recipe WITH measurements. I can now make it almost as good as She did.

      1. Adrienne - Yellow Bliss Road says:

        Thanks for stopping by Anne. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  12. t says:

    What oil? Olive, safflower, other?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Vegetable oil is listed in the ingredients.

  13. Vanessa J says:

    Loved this! It was simple and easy to make and I’ll be making it quite often in the future:)

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Vanessa! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Evelyne says:

    My mother is from the swabisch area of Germany and she would add some cucumbers ( outer skin peeled) into our potato salad to mix it up every now and then.

  15. Michele D says:

    I never liked the creamy mayonnaise type of potato salad so was interested in this type of recipe. It was excellent. I love the tanginess so would maybe add another splash of apple cider vinegar next time.

  16. Judy Reed says:

    This is the way my mom (now 98) made her German potato salad. Simple but delicious. We add some bacon crumbles sometimes…..served cold.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for the awesome comment Judy.

    2. Angela says:

      By far the best oil and vinegar based potato salad recipe. My parents are Croatian and this is the way we always had it with summer BBQs etc. Perfect with fish as well.

  17. Lisa Bahta says:

    Thanks Kristin for sharing your recipe. This looks very similar to the way my German Grandma made hers’. But, after peeling and ‘chunking’ (not slicing or cubing) the still warm potatoes, she’d add diced onion, vinegar, salt, and sour cream (not oil). Lightly mix, then add chopped chives and/or green onion. Tastes best after chilling for a few hours.

    I want to make some….but I need to get some Yukon gold potatoes first!…

    -Lisa

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      I could totally see this being delicious with sour cream! Love that it brought back memories for you.

  18. Donelda says:

    This is the way my mom always made her potato salad. Everyone loved it! They looked forward to coming to our place..they knew they would get potato salad.

    I don’t think you were mistaken, I do think your grandma put green onion in hers….mom always did in the summer when she had them in the garden.

  19. Mary Jo says:

    I have been looking for a recipe like this Germany. We lived in Bamberg for 6 years and I remember the wonderful Potato Salad served at many Guest Houses. Recipes in the USA call for bacon and I don’t remember that ingredient. Thank you for sharing this family recipe. Tonight we will enjoy an at home Oktoberfest in November!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Mary Jo! Thanks for stopping by.
      k.

    2. Bernie says:

      This recipe is so close how my mom made it. Slight differences, I use red potatoes, I create onion juice rather than mincing the onion, the oil I use is corn oil (prefer Mazola corn oil) and a pinch of sugar and of course salt and pepper. I only serve this at room temperature. .

      1. Kristin Maxwell says:

        Hi Bernie, yes it does sound very similar! Your tweaks sounds delicious though!

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