My Oma Sieghilde’s creamy German potato salad ('cremiger Kartoffelsalat' in German) with lots of dill pickles, eggs, Wiener sausages, and (you guessed it) plenty of potatoes, makes a great contribution to an outdoor or indoor outing with family and friends. When I spend time in Germany in the summers, it's a must-have for grilling outside, served with grilled German bratwurst, Schwenkbraten and baguette!
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What Is German Potato Salad?
German Potato Salad comes in many different varieties. In America, the most known version is this Bavarian version with oil and vinegar, also popular at Oktoberfest. However, I love this creamy potato salad that my grandma Oma Sieghilde always made whenever we were grilling (although she did not like raw onions, so she left them out). I love using local, fresh ingredients whenever possible (keeping the carbon footprint low). I shop at my favorite farmers market in town because they have an amazing variety and I get to meet the people that grow my food. For this salad, I am using a mayo and broth based dressing.
The preparation method is similar to the Bavarian version only in that it starts on the stove by warming up the broth with pickle juice, vinegar, mustard and a little sugar, salt and pepper. After cooling down, the creamy mayo gets mixed in, and all other salad ingredients like boiled potatoes, onions, pickles, eggs and Wiener sausages get added. The potato salad is then garnished with more boiled eggs cut into slices or wedges, chopped parsley and sliced pickles. I left the pickles off the top of mine and added some microgreens from from Food Life Joy (available at our local Overland Park Farmers' Market) for a pretty color addition.
How to Make German Potato Salad
German Potato Salad like this creamy version is super easy to make! The one thing to remember is to boil your potatoes the day before making your salad, so they're easier to slice. That being said, don't worry if you just now read this! When in a hurry, I have peeled and sliced the potatoes while hot, and while the slices did not hold up as well, the salad tasted and turned out just fine.
What's most important is to use Yukon Gold potatoes or some other kind of waxy potato like the ones I got from Pearl Family Farm (they also sell at the Overland Park Farmers Market). For full details, read the recipe card below. This particular German potato salad is a creamy version that I grew up with in Germany and that my Oma used to make, but if you're feeling like more of a Bavarian version (basically swap the mayo for oil and the Wieners for bacon), check out this recipe.
Whenever I shop for ingredients to make my recipes, I try to shop local as much as possible. I partnered with the Overland Park Farmers Market for this post, which has been my favorite local market to shop at for years!
- Waxy potatoes like Yukon gold potatoes. I got mine from Pearl Family Farm at the Overland Park Farmers Market.
- Onions. I use yellow onions and dice them finely (sorry, Oma - she did not like raw onions).
- Vegetable or chicken broth work in this potato salad recipe. You will warm it up with some of the other dressing ingredients before folding in the mayo after cooling it down.
- Pickle juice from your pickle jar.
- White wine vinegar. You could use apple cider vinegar instead if you don't have white wine vinegar.
- Dijon mustard. I also like using mild to medium spicy German mustards.
- Salt, pepper, sugar to taste. A pinch of sugar will be added to the broth and vinegar mixture to balance out the sour notes. As a natural sweetener, you could also use honey.
- Mayonnaise. The real and good stuff.
- Eggs. You'll need lots of them. I usually get my eggs from Dragonfly Farms (the mushroom man at Overland Park Farmers Market). You have to be quick though because they only sell a few cartons. Yoder Farms also has great eggs if you can get your hands on them.
- Wiener sausages. When possible, I like to get mine from this German sausage company. You could also use these ones in a glass.
- Pickles. For inside the salad, I typically use diced up barrel pickles by Hengstenberg and recently I have fallen in love with Grillo's garlic-dill pickles. From our local farmers market, I love using Pat and Rachel's Gardens pickles or Kansas City Canning Company 'Cucumber Dilly' pickles. As garnish, I typically add more pickle slices on top.
- Parsley. It's that garnish you see over and over again in German cuisine. I topped my potato salad with it and some microgreens purchased at my local farmers market from Life Foods.
What To Do With Leftovers
This German potato salad is the king of leftovers. You can store leftovers in your fridge for up to 5 days and enjoy them every time you open the fridge door. Just kidding. Or am I? This salad makes a great side to go with any kind of grilled meats like the famous Schwenkbraten or even sandwiches.
Creamy German Potato Salad (Cremiger Kartoffelsalat)
- 2 kilograms waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold potatoes, you can cut them up into smaller pieces before boiling if you're low on time.
- 150 grams onions I use yellow onions
- 400 milliliters vegetable broth you can use chicken broth instead
- 100 milliliters pickle juice
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt, pepper, sugar to taste
- 250 grams mayonnaise
- 5 eggs
- 4 Wiener sausages I usually order mine from this German sausage company. I have also used these jarred Wiener sausages before.
- 200 grams pickles I love using the German barrel pickles by the Hengstenberg brand (you can find it at World Market), but when I don't have them, I use Grillo's pickle chips and chop them up.
- parsley chopped
- 2 eggs boiled
- sliced pickles optional
- Add potatoes with the skin still on to a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes completely. To bring down the cooking time, you can cut up the potatoes before boiling, leaving the skin on. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until a fork inserts into the potatoes with ease, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. Drain the potatoes and do not run cold water over them. I have found that this makes the potatoes fall apart more easily. Do this ideally the day before preparing the salad. That being said, don't worry if you just now read the instructions and are in a time crunch. I have also peeled the potatoes hot and sliced them and the salad turned out just fine! The slices may crumble okay a little more, but that is okay!2 kilograms waxy potatoes
- Then peel, leaving the potatoes whole, and keep cool and covered until ready to put together the salad. When ready to use, slice the potatoes into about ¼ inch thick slices and combine them in a bowl with the small diced onion.150 grams onions
- Boil your eggs to medium consistency (making sure to boil a few additional eggs for garnish). Heat a pot of water until boiling. Carefully drop in the cold eggs using a spoon and boil for 7 minutes and 22 seconds (yes, I tested this). Drain and pour over cold water to stop the boiling process. Peel immediately under cold, running water, so the shell comes off more easily. Let them cool and dice (I cut the eggs I use as garnish into wedges.)5 eggs, 2 eggs
- Medium dice the pickles and Wiener sausages. Combine everything in a medium sized bowl.4 Wiener sausages, 200 grams pickles
- In a medium sized pot, combine broth, pickle juice, vinegar and mustard and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste (it should not be too sour or else grandma gets mad!). Let cool slightly, then pour over potato-onion mixture and let marinate for 10 minutes before folding in the mayo.400 milliliters vegetable broth, 100 milliliters pickle juice, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, 250 grams mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Combine with the diced pickles, eggs and Wieners. Serve right away or keep cool in the fridge, and garnish with more eggs, pickle slices (optional) and parsley before serving.5 eggs, 4 Wiener sausages, 200 grams pickles, parsley, 2 eggs, sliced pickles
- This salad keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge and is perfect when served as leftovers with sandwiches or on its own.