Northern Germany's Best German Potato Salad Recipe ~ Kartoffelsalat

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

Oma's best German potato salad recipe is traditional in northern Germany. Yes, this Kartoffelsalat is made with mayonnaise. In the South, it's often made without mayo and the link to that one is down below. Both authentic and wunderbar!

This cold German potato salad comes from my Mutti's handwritten cookbook. It was always such a treat when she served it since she usually kept this as a special Sunday luncheon or for party buffets.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know below.

Mutti's signature presentation included crumbling cooked egg yolks over the top with finely chopped cooked egg whites as an outer ring. A sprig of parsley finished it off. People hesitated to dig in to the serving bowl because it always looked so pretty. They didn't hesitate long though! After all, this is German food at its best!

Learn how to make German Potato Salad from northern Germany

And yes, this one is German. In fact, the mayonnaise in this tells me it's from the northern part of Germany. Southern Germany's salads rarely have mayo. Looking for a non-mayo one? Take a look at this non-mayo bacon and vinegar potato salad.

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 this very traditional German food.

Above, I've served this potato salad with a very German Knackwurst, aka Knockwurst, which comes from the northern part of Germany. A perfect pairing. Add mustard and this is real German food!

Oma says,

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 below. My Mutti, coming from Berlin, made it this way. It's the only way I ever had it until I took my first trip back to Germany as an adult.

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. Take a look at all my potato salads here.

Grab your copy of Oma's favorite salads in her Summer Salads e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Summer Salads eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

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 the hot potatoes easier, gently dump them in colander or sink; briefly pour cold water over them. Let cool slightly 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.

Lydia Remembers...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma, and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like this German potato salad! 

I love Oma's German potato salad! I ALWAYS request this one. Especially during summertime, it's the perfect accompaniment to a fresh bratwurst off the BBQ. 

Want to make sausage just like that beautifully cooked one below to pair with your potato salad? Here's the recipe for Oma's bratwurst sausage!

German sausage with German potato salad

I remember making this salad recipe with Oma many times! It is such a hit amongst our family and is an absolute staple during our summer get-togethers.

I know what you're thinking, "But Lydia, I can just go to the store and buy one already made." Well, why would you buy it when you can make it just like Oma! 

There are so many great reasons to make your own potato salad. Not only can you make a bigger portion, but you can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that to spruce it up and really make it your own! Play around with some seasoning, or you can add more potatoes and pickles if you wish. 

That's the best part of making your own! You can alter it to be truly yours!

My favorite part of Oma's potato salad is the pickles. They give it a nice extra crunch and punch of flavor! Pickles are also my favorite food ... so it really is a treat for me. When I make this potato salad at home, I always add quite a few pickles in there, just because. :) 

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!

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.

But first, here's the salad just like my Mutti used to make ...

Ready to make this Best German Potato Salad?

Northern Germany's Best German Potato Salad Recipe ~ Kartoffelsalat

Learn how to make potato salad that tastes just like it does in northern Germany. This cold German potato salad, aka Kartoffelsalat, comes from my Mutti's handwritten cookbook. I've also simplified it in this easy version.

And yes, this one is German. In fact, the mayonnaise in this, tells me it's from the northern part of Germany. Southern Germany's salads rarely have mayo.

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time


Total Time

20 minutes


Makes 6 - 8 servings


  • 3 - 4 lb potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup brine from dill pickles
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 dill pickles, chopped 
  • 3 - 4 large eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
  • salt and pepper


  1. Mix mayonnaise and enough brine to get a nice creamy dressing.
  2. Pour a little dressing in bottom of large bowl.
  3. Either slice or cube a layer of potatoes on top of dressing.
  4. 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.
  5. Repeat with more potatoes, salt, pepper, pickles, onions, egg and dressing until all potatoes have been used.
  6. Gently toss all together.
  7. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Either serve immediately or let stand to improve flavor. Keep refrigerated to store.


  • 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 her salad - Yummy!
  • If you're wanting a quicker and easier version of this, check out my easy German potato salad

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Learn how to make German Potato Salad from northern Germany

Northern Germany's Best German Potato Salad Recipe ~ Kartoffelsalat

Northern Germany's Best German Potato Salad Recipe ~ Kartoffelsalat
Oma's best German potato salad recipe is traditional in northern Germany. Yes, it's made with mayonnaise. In the South, it's without mayo. Both authentic and wunderbar!

Ingredients: potatoes, dill pickle brine, mayonnaise, onion, dill pickles, eggs, seasonings,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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Proverbs 12:25 (NLT)