Cold German Potato Salad Recipe

Cold German Potato Salad

This cold German potato salad recipe, aka Kartoffelsalat, comes from my husband's Mutti. It was always such a treat when we were invited over for supper. Was I ever surprised to discover how easy it was! The mayonnaise in this, tells me it's from the northern part of Germany. Southern Germany's salads rarely have mayo.

It seems like there are as many traditional recipes for German potato salad as there are German Omas (grandmothers). Each has just a slight difference, meaning, there's no ONE way of making it.

Cold German Potato Salad Recipe


  • 3 - 4 lb potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup juice from dill pickles
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 dill pickles, chopped 
  • 3-4 eggs, hard boiled and sliced


  • Mix mayonnaise and enough pickle juice to get a nice creamy dressing
  • Pour a little dressing in bottom of large bowl
  • Either slice or cube a layer of potatoes on top of dressing
  • Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, sprinkle some chopped dill pickles, chopped onions, and some egg slices on top. Pour some dressing over all
  • Repeat with more potatoes, salt, pepper, pickles, onions, egg and dressing until all potatoes have been used
  • Gently toss all together
  • Either serve immediately or let stand to improve flavor. Keep refrigerated to store.
  • Serves 6-8
  • Depending on the 'dryness' of the potatoes, you may need more dressing. Just mix extra as you need it
  • Adding extra fresh or dried dill makes this salad even tastier. You can add this to the dressing or sprinkle on each layer
  • Once you know about how much salt and pepper you like, add them to the dressing first, instead of sprinkling on each layer
  • Add more or less eggs, or omit altogether
  • Adding green onion or using red onion looks extra special
  • Adding some chopped apple (leaving skin on for color), adds flavor and texture
  • My sister always adds pineapple chunks to this salad - Yummy!

More Potato Salad Tips ...

  • Use new potatoes or regular ones. Scrub them and cook unpeeled in water to cover until tender (gently pierce with a knife to check). Depending on their size, this can take from 15 - 30 minutes. Do not overcook or they may fall apart.
  • To make peeling easier, gently dump the hot potatoes in colander or sink; briefly pour cold water over them. Let cool before peeling. You can cook them the day before, but I find peeling them while they are still warm is easier.
  • This is a traditional recipe done in a traditional way, but when I follow an "assembly line" method, it goes fairly quickly. Having everything chopped and ready to go helps make the preparation of this traditional potato salad go fairly quickly.

When questioned about the authenticity of its German origins, I did some research.

Each family, it seems, has their own way of how to make potato salad. And each is delicious. 

In northern Germany, most potato salads are cream based, such as this one above. My Mutti also made hers similar to this (coming from Berlin).

In southern Germany, most potato salads are made with a vinegar, bacon, and broth base. Check out this one sent in by one of our readers. 

This potato salad is also what I'm usually asked to bring to parties. It always brings rave reviews and I've learned to have the recipe ready to give out. 

If you want a still easier and quicker recipe, try the adaptation of this, my Easy Potato Salad.

More Potato Salads

More German recipes ...

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