Not many side dishes are as versatile as this authentic Swabian potato salad. A humble potato salad recipe made with both, oil and vinegar that originates from Southern Germany.
This is the recipe that most people abroad associate with a German potato salad. The recipe differs from either an American and British potato salad, as the dressing does not use mayonnaise as a base.
What is Swabian Potato Salad?
This potato salad originates from the southern German region of Swabia. It is a simple salad made of potatoes, onions, vinegar, oil and broth.
Swabia encompasses part of the German states of Bavaria and Baden Wurttemberg. The region's cuisine is characterised by its humble rustic recipes. As the population tended to be less affluent peasants and farmers.
The Swabian-style potato salad differs from the Northern German Potato Salad version, as it is a lot lighter and not made with mayonnaise.
Because this potato salad is very light, it is popular during the fasting period. For example, it is a popular German Christmas Food, and it was common to eat Swabian potato salad with Frankfurters on Christmas Eve. This day still counts as the fasting period before Christmas.
Potato salad in Germany is called "Kartoffelsalat". "Kartoffel" is the word for potato in German, whereas "Salat" means salad.
There are thousands of different potato salad recipes across Germany but the Swabian Potato salad is one of the most famous ones.
How to make Swabian Potato Salad
- waxy potatoes (see below for some suggestions for varieties)
- vegetable oil for example rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
- white vinegar for example herb vinegar or white wine vinegar
- mustard you can use German mustard or Dijon mustard as a substitute
- herbs such as chives, parsley or spring onions.
Which potatoes are best?
For German potato salad, I recommend using waxy potatoes. These are low in starch and hold their shape when being boiled.
In the USA popular potato variety are Yukon Gold, and Red Potatoes (Chieftain, Norland).
In the UK suitable potato varieties include Jersey Royals, Charlotte Potatoes and Cornish Kings.
Recipe: Step by Step
- Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted water until soft.
- In the meantime, finely chop the onions.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by making/warming up the broth, and mixing in the vinegar, oil and mustard . Now place the chopped onions into the hot mixture, this will remove the bitterness from the onions.
- Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.
- Peel the cooked potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks.
- Add the vinaigrette, and then bit by bit to the potatoes. In Swabia, you want to achieve a wet, squelching consistency. In Swabia they speak of "schlotzing". The exact amount of vinaigrette needed will depend on the types of potatoes used.
- Leave the salad to rest for about an hour, for the flavours to develop and the dressing to be absorbed.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper before serving.
- Just before serving sprinkle over some fresh chives or other herbs such as parsley or spring onions.
- The salad tastes best when it has sat overnight in the fridge.
- add some pickles / pickled gherkins to the salad. You can also replace some of the vinegar with some juice from the pickle jar.
- Cube half a cucumber and add it to the salad for a fresh texture.
- Add bacon cubes to the salad. Fry them until crispy and simply mix in with the finished salad.
- Add some hard-boiled eggs to the salad.
How to serve this classic potato salad?
Just before serving this salad, I would taste it and then if needed add more salt and pepper. If you find the potatoes are too dry because they soaked up all the broth already, you can add more dressing.
In Swabia, you say the texture should be "Schlotzig". This means it should be shiny and moist. You want to hear a "squelching" sound when you poke your fork into it.
Serve the salad best at room temperature or lukewarm. It should never be served ice cold or fresh out of the fridge.
What to serve with German Potato salad?
This salad is super versatile. It should not be missed at a bbq but is also a refreshing alternative to boiled potatoes or fries.
- Serve it with grilled meats such as "Grillfackeln" or "Schwenkbraten"
- It is a classic side dish for Schnitzel such as Pork Schnitzel, Wiener Schnitzel, Turkey Schnitzel or Cordon Bleu Schnitzel
- Try it will a grilled Bratwurst or boiled Frankfurter sausage.
- It goes great with German Meatloaf
- Enjoy it with a slice of Rye Bread or just have it by itself.
A Swabian potato salad should keep up to three days in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container.
I would not recommend freezing this potato salad. Technically it is possible, and it would not make you ill. However, defrosted potato salad is often sweet and soggy. So for culinary reasons, I would refrain from freezing this salad.
More German Potato Salads
Simple Swabian Potato Salad (Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat)
- 1 kg potatoes 35 oz waxy (for example USA: Yukon Gold, and Red Potatoes, UK Jersey Royals, Charlotte Potatoes and Cornish Kings)
- 200 g onions 7 oz
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil for example rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
- 2 ½ tablespoon white vinegar for example herb vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 200 ml stock/broth 6.7 fl oz, ¾ cup * 1 tablespoon ( for the authentic Swabian version use beef broth but if you are vegetarian then vegetable stock will work too.)
- 3 teaspoon mustard you can use German mustard or Dijon mustard as a substitute.
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 30 g chives can be replaced with spring onions or parsley
- Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted water until soft.
- In the meantime, peel and finely chop the onions.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by making/heating up the broth, mixing in the vinegar, oil and mustard . Now place your chopped onions into the hot mixture, this will remove the bitterness from the onions.
- Season the vinaigrette with sugar and salt to taste. (Be careful with the salt, because every broth has a different salt level. Add the salt to taste).
- Peel the cooked potatoes and finley slice them.
- Add the vinaigrette , bit by bit to the still-warm potatoes. In Swabia you want to achieve a wet, squelching consistency. In Swabia they speak of "schlotzing". The exact amount of vinaigrette needed will depend on the types of potatoes used.
- Leave the salad to rest for about an hour, for the flavours to develop and the dressing to absorb. Ideally over night.
- Just before serving sprinkle over some fresh chives or other herbs such as parsley or spring onions and adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve at room temperature.