An authentic German potato salad recipe with oil and vinegar. This typical Swabian potato salad is made with a broth-based dressing instead of mayonnaise.
There is a German word, “schlotzig” or “schlonzig” (depending on the region), which best describes the general feeling one gets when eating this German potato salad.
I tried to find a suitable translation, but although I found many suggestions, none of them could really catch the meaning of the German word or describe this salad the way the German word does.
Basically, it would mean something like creamy, wet, sloppy, slimy (but in a good way), moist, thick, smooth, and delicious, combined with the sound you hear when you stir this potato salad.
And what makes this salad “schlozig”? It is the broth used to make the dressing, which the tender potatoes will absorb. The liquid will slightly disintegrate the rough edges of the potato slices, forming this creamy and thick coating and creating a specific sound you will hear when stirring the potatoes.
I like to increase the schlozig-ness by blending a small amount of cooked potatoes with the broth.
- Potatoes: The kind of potatoes you use is essential. You need waxy potatoes to make the Swabian potato salad; starchy potatoes will lose shape and become too mushy.
- Pickles/ gherkins and some of their sweet brine. Pickles or gherkins are a small variety of cucumber that’s been pickled. I always use gherkins in a sweet and sour brine, not those that are just salted.
- Onions: I often use red onion, but white or yellow onion is fine.
- Beef broth. For a vegetarian/vegan potato salad, use vegetable broth instead. Chicken broth should also be ok, but you should use beef broth for an authentic flavor.
- White wine vinegar: Start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste. I always add more; I love tangy vinegar.
- Mustard: Preferably a mild German mustard for an authentic taste. You can replace it with Dijon mustard if you can't find it.
- Oil: You will need a neutral-tasting oil like canola or sunflower oil. Don’t use olive oil to make a German potato salad, it’s not typical, and the olive oil flavor would be too dominant in this recipe.
- Other ingredients: Fresh chives, a little bit of sugar, fine sea salt or kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
How to make German potato salad?
- Scrub and place potatoes in a large pot; add salt generously; the salt will increase their flavor. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes on medium heat until fork-tender. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
- Peel and slice: Drain well and leave them for about 5 minutes to cool down slightly (1). Peel the boiled potatoes while they are still hot. Slice them and place them in a large bowl (3).
- Take a few slices of the cooked potatoes and keep them separately in a small bowl; you will need them to make the Swabian potato salad dressing.
Oil and vinegar dressing:
- Cook onion: While the potatoes are cooking, chop the red onion very finely. Place the diced onion in a small pan, add the broth, and cook until the onions are soft; it will take a couple of minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the white vinegar and whisk in the mustard and the sugar. Finally, add the reserved handful of sliced potatoes and blend with an immersion blender (2).
- Slowly pour the warm dressing over the hot potatoes, mixing very gently and taking care not to break the slices (4).
- Leave the potato salad to cool and marinate at room temperature for one or two hours. The potatoes will absorb the broth, and the tangy dressing will become thick and creamy - schlonzig.
- Add the oil and stir gently to combine. Add pickles and fresh herbs (5).
- Taste and adjust the flavor with more vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, if necessary (6).
- Potatoes: They must be cooked whole in their peel and peeled after cooking. Please don’t leave them unpeeled to make the salad; ensure they are still hot when you add the broth.
- Leave them cool for just about 5 minutes and peel them immediately, even if it means burning your fingers a little. Then, mix them with the broth directly; it’s the only way to ensure they absorb it well.
- Oil: Only add it to the bowl after resting, after the potato slices have absorbed the broth.
- Additions: Although not traditional, many people like to add a couple of tablespoons of sweet pickle brine to the potato salad dressing. Start with one tablespoon and add more to taste.
- Other possible additions (but the recipe will not be authentic anymore) are crispy bacon (crumbled), hard-boiled eggs (small pieces), green onions, fresh parsley (finely chopped), grainy mustard, or celery seed added to the dressing,
They are called pickles in America and gherkins in the UK.
Please do. Refrigerate it overnight and let it come to room temperature before serving (for about 30 minutes). Adjust the taste again.
Refrigerate leftover German potato salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The Swabian potato salad is not suitable for freezing.
What to serve with German potato salad?
The salad makes a perfect side dish for typical German meat or sausage recipes. Try it with Wiener sausages, bratwurst, or similar sausages.
This Swabian potato salad makes a wonderful side dish for the German Jägerschnitzel – Hunter Schnitzel or the Wiener Schnitzel, or Baked Schnitzel. And it is also great with Frikadellen – German Meatballs, Veal Meatballs, Sauteed Chicken Breast, or Pork Roast.
Otherwise, bring the German potato salad with oil and vinegar to any potluck party. Make it for barbecues, as it is a great side dish for grilled meat.
More potato salads
German Potato Salad (with Oil and Vinegar)
- Large pot
- Small saucepan
- 2 lbs waxy potatoes 1 kg, Note 1
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup beef broth 250 ml, Note 2
- 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mustard Note 3
- 1 pinch of sugar to taste
- 5-8 pickles gherkins, depending on size and taste, optional, Note 4
- 4 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil Note 5
- fine sea salt or kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- a bunch of chives
- Boil: Scrub and place them in a large pot. Cover them with cold water, add salt generously, bring them to a boil, and cook them until fork-tender, about 20 minutes, but it really depends on their size; please check. 2 lb/ 1 kg waxy potatoes + 1 teaspoon salt
- Peel and slice: Drain them well and leave them for about 5 minutes to cool down slightly. Peel them while they are still hot. Slice them and place them in a large bowl.
- Remove and keep a few slices (3-4) of the cooked potatoes in another small bowl; you will need them to make the dressing.
- Slice them finely and add them to the bowl. 5-8 pickles/gherkins, depending on their size
- Cook onion: While the potatoes are cooking, finely chop the red onion. Place the diced onion in a small pan, add the broth, and cook until the onions are soft; it will take a couple of minutes. 1 small onion + 1 cup/ 250 ml beef broth
- Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and whisk in the mustard and the sugar. Finally, add the reserved handful of sliced potatoes and blend with an immersion blender. 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar + 1 teaspoon mustard + pinch of sugar + 3-4 slices cooked potatoes
- Combine: Slowly pour the warm dressing over the hot potatoes, mixing very gently and taking care not to break the slices.
- Leave the potato salad to cool and marinate at room temperature for one or two hours. The potatoes will absorb the broth.
- Add the oil and stir gently to combine. 4 tablespoon oil
- Chop the chives and add them to the salad before serving. Taste and adjust the flavor with more vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, if necessary. small bunch of chives + 1 tablespoon vinegar (or more) + oil, salt and pepper to taste
- Potatoes: It’s crucial to use waxy potatoes; starchy ones would fall apart.
- Broth: For the most authentic flavor, use beef broth. Otherwise, you can replace it with chicken stock or vegetable broth for a vegetarian/vegan potato salad.
- Mustard: It’s preferable to use mild German mustard. However, you can replace it with another mild yellow mustard if you don’t have it. Dijon mustard is also fine.
- Pickles or gherkins in a sweet sour brine. They are optional, but they add lots of flavor.
- Oil: It must be neutral-tasting. Olive oil is not suitable for making this salad.