Authentic German potato salad


From the Rhineland with love

There are essentially two main types of German potato salad. One is prepared with an oil and vinegar dressing, the other one with a creamy mayonnaise dressing. The former is most prominent in the South of Germany, the latter is very popular in the Rhineland, the region where I was born. This recipe features the Rhenish style. It’s a perfect side dish on a hot summer day for your BBQ, but also works great with all sorts of meat, like saussages or Schnitzel.

Rhenish potato salad embodies the Rhineland and its amazing people: it’s a down to earth dish, just like the people who live in the region. It’s a perfect match for a joyful evening with BBQ, friends and laughter. So it’s a gregarious dish, just like the Rhinelander are gregarious people. This salad is maybe not as old as the Rhinelands most renown sight, the Cologne cathedrale, whose foundation stone was laid in the year 1248, or the city of Cologne, which was founded by the Romans in the year 50 a.D., but it’s still a classic of the region.

Normally, this salad is made with baloney, but this recipe features a vegetarian version. Feel free however to add some baloney to the salad, if you prefer it meat-y.

The secret to a tasty German potato salad is cooking the potatos one day ahead and to allow for at least 2-3 hours of fridge-time after you prepared the dish for the dressing to infuse the ingredients (mainly the potatos).

One of the cardinal sins is attempting to prepare the salad when the potatos have not fully cooled down. The reason being that warm potatos (even if they only have a tini-tiny bit of heat left in them) turn into sponges. They soak up all the liquid, which in turn leaves you with no dressing. It essentially would make all the delicious creaminess disappear. Since the creamy dressing is the core reason why German potato salad from the Rhineland is so incredibly delicious, this would defeat the purpose.

My go-to method: cook the potatos the evening prior and prepare the salad in the morning and let it sit in the fridge until you kick off your BBQ. Also try this salad with German-style meat balls.

Servings: 4 * Calories per serving: 412 kcal * Preparation time: 20 min * Start to finish: 1 hour


  • 1 lbs (500 grams) of waxy potatos, cooked one day prior
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of sweet corn
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of peas
  • 2 pickles
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) carrots
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamico vinegar
  • 4 ounces (120 grams) of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • Meat option: 7 ounces (200 grams) of baloney

How to make German potato salad in few simple steps

Step 1: The first step is the dressing. Use a small bowl and mix the vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, mustard, sald and pepper in it until you have a smooth cream. Place it in the fridge until you are ready to add it to the salad.

Step 2: Next, chop the potatos, onion, carrots, pickles and egg into into dices and place them in a large salad bowl. Add the sweet corn and peas as well.

Step 3: Now pour the dressing over the German potato salad ingredients in your bowl. Use a large spatula to distribute the dressing and to toss the salad ingredients.

Step 4: Let the potato salad chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Thereby you allow the dressing to infuse the potatoes, since they are essentially natural sponges that soak up anything liquid that comes close to them. In fact, one of the secret ingredients to a perfect German potato salad is in fact time: the time you give it to rest in the fridge before serving.

Loved the German potato salad, one of Germany’s treasured soul foods, and want to try more comfort food recipes: