How to Boil Potatoes ~ Saltzkartoffeln

How to boil potatoes

Here's how to boil potatoes, one of the most traditional of all German side dishes known as Saltzkartoffeln which translates as "salt potato." Peeled and quartered, potatoes are cooked in salted water. Boiled potatoes are star accompaniments to all kinds of meats and fish. Here they are shown along side pork hocks and sauerkraut salad. YUM!

If you need to keep the drained potatoes warm, cover pot with towel and then lid. Potatoes will stay warm without going soggy for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Saltzkartoffeln ~ How to Boil Potatoes


  • Use one medium potato per person.
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • Use one medium potato per person.
  • Wash well, remove sprouts and blemishes, and then peel. Use potato peeler or small paring knife.
  • Immediately put peeled potatoes into bowl of water to prevent discoloring.
  • When ready to cook, cut into quarters and place into pot. Cover with water.
  • Add salt. (optional)
  • Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and continue boiling gently until tender, approx. 20 minutes.
  • Drain by holding lid on pot with potholders and lifting lid a bit from the edge. You can also gently pour into large colander to drain water.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Save cooking water to use in soups or gravies. You can also add it when baking bread.
  • To make drained potatoes 'mealy', put folded towel over pot (remove cover first) for 5 minutes. Shake pot gently. Remove towel which will have absorbed excess steam.

New potatoes are great for cooking in their jackets (peels) and are called “Pellkartoffeln”, but once the potatoes are a bit older and the skins thicker, peeling is necessary. That's what's used for these “Salzkartoffeln.”

Another delicious way to use any leftover boiled potatoes is Hoppel Poppel, a recipe from Berlin. With added eggs and bacon, it's a great lunch or light supper.

How long to boil potatoes?” is a common question. Medium-sized potatoes that have been quartered will take about 20 minutes. Use a knife to check if they are ready. If the knife goes in easily, they're done. Overcooking will make them too soft and mushy and they may fall apart.

Among the many recipes using potatoes in German cookbooks, this is among the easiest. Leftovers can be used for Bratkartoffel, another traditional German side dish.

This is actually one of my very favourite treats. I usually boil extra potatoes just to have leftovers for this on the following day.

More German Potato Recipes

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