Authentic Recipe For German Potato Salad

recipe German potato salad

My family loves my recipe for German potato salad and always asks me to make it. To be precise, I am talking about my cold potato salad recipe as opposed to a warm one which is very different to make.

We are eating my authentic potato salad traditionally on Christmas Eve with frankfurters and small meatballs (the tastiest meatballs ever, by the way – recipe still to come). It is also the most popular side dish for our family barbecues.

It is also a great dish to take to a tailgate party, potluck dinner, or picnic. My friends are always asking for the potato salad recipe because of its delicious taste.

It is easy to prepare in advance and keeps fresh in the refrigerator for at least two days.

best german potato salad
German potato salad served with German Bratwurst and Spiegelei (fried egg)

Here is an important tip: My German potato salad should be made at least four hours before you want to eat it.

This way, all the flavors can develop, making it the best potato salad you’ve ever tasted.

If you ask a German family how they make their potato salad, you’ll most likely get hundreds of variations.

More German recipes you may like: Authentic German Potato Pancakes [Deutsche Kartoffelpuffer]
Homemade German Apple Cake Recipe – More Apples Than Dough
Crusty German Bread Rolls | No Kneading

The recipe I am sharing with you is the way my mum and grandmother have made this potato salad. It is our much-loved family recipe and for me, it is the most delicious way to make it.

authentic German potato salad

We also add a ‘secret’ ingredient that you won’t expect. And by the way, you’ll only need four ingredients. It can’t get easier than that.

As mentioned before, we enjoy this potato salad on Christmas Eve with frankfurters and homemade meatballs. This is a German tradition we have done for generations.

Other Christmas recipes are: The Best Trifle For Any Occasion and The Best Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Recipe For German Potato Salad

If you like our recipe for German potato salad and have tried it, please leave a rating and a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Please note, that the recipe card contains affiliate links for the equipment.

Are you ready to check out my easy and tasty recipe for cold German potato salad? Put on your apron and dive right in.

German Potato Salad

This traditional German potato salad is the easiest and tastiest potato salad ever. You'll only need four ingredients (the potatoes not counted). Important: The salad needs to be prepared a few hours before being served.
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Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 4 hours
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 5 people


  • 1,5 to 2 kg small waxy potatoes the potatoes should retain their shape after they have been boiled
  • 5 small pickled gherkins
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 1/4 apple (peeled) our 'secret' ingredient

The Dressing

  • 1 jar mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper (I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/3 cup gherkin brine from the jar


  • In a large pot cover the unpeeled potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until they are tender.
    1,5 to 2 kg small waxy potatoes
  • Drain off the water and set it aside. Wait until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.
  • Now peel off the skin and cut into small cubes.
  • Place the potato cubes into a large bowl.
  • Cut the gherkins and the onion into small cubes and add to the potatoes.
    5 small pickled gherkins, 1 medium sized white onion
  • Lastly, dice a 1/4 of an apple finely and add. This is our secret ingredient and makes the salad even more flavorsome.
    1/4 apple (peeled)

The Salad Sauce aka Dressing

  • In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, some gherkin brine, salt, and freshly ground pepper until smooth.
    1 jar mayonnaise, 1/3 cup gherkin brine from the jar, salt and pepper
  • Pour over the salad ingredients and mix with a large spoon until well combined.
  • Cover the salad with cling wrap and put it into the fridge.
  • Half an hour before serving take it out of the fridge and serve at room temperature.
  • Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Enjoy!



I can’t stretch it enough, this salad has to be prepared a few hours before you want to serve it so all the flavors can develop.
In saying that, it should be served at room temperature.Β 
Also, please check if you need to add more seasoning before serving.
This German potato salad is perfect for your next barbecue, tailgate party, or summer dinner.
Keyword easy, only four ingredients, tasty
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

German Potato Salad Recipe Faqs

How do I store the German potato salad?
It is best to keep the potato salad in a covered container in the fridge. Please make sure to take the potato salad out at least 1 hour before serving to bring it to room temperature.

How long will the potato salad keep fresh?
It is best to consume the salad in two to three days. In fact, the potato salad will taste even better the next day.

Can I substitute the mayonnaise with sour cream?
I recommend using mayonnaise for the best taste. You could add some sour cream in addition to the mayonnaise. Because it is my mum’s recipe I stick to her ingredients but feel free to experiment.

Can I leave the pickled gherkins out?
No, you can’t. It is one of the main ingredients. If you don’t like gherkins then I recommend finding a different potato salad recipe.

What type of potatoes should I use?
I like to use small waxy potatoes that retain their shape after they have been boiled. Another great variety is the redskin potato. If the potatoes are large, simply cut them in half so they cook faster.

What can I enjoy with the potato salad?
Our German potato salad is the perfect side dish for BBQ’s, light dinners, lunch, or even picnic’s. You can enjoy it with any kind of meat on the side. Think of bratwurst, frankfurters, schnitzel, or fried eggs. Fried fish would be great also. Or, keep it vegetarian, with a veggie burger for example.

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