Swabian Kartoffelsalat ~ Simple German Potato Salad

Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is a simple German Potato Salad hailing from the Swabian region of Germany that features sliced potatoes, minced onions, hot broth, oil, vinegar, and fresh parsley.

Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat with text overlay.


It's potato salad season, friends! And seeing as how I've shared recipes for Classic Potato Salad and Herb + Greek Yogurt Potato Salad and German Potato Salad (the hot bacon/vinegar kind) in summers past, it's high time I share the traditional type of potato salad found in the region of Germany where my mom grew up and where my relatives still live today: Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat!

(Aren't German words fun? So many letters, so little time...)

Swabia is a region in southern Germany (think Stuttgart) where my mom's side of the family originates and still lives today. Every few years we go back to visit, and this is the type of potato salad we frequently enjoy on each trip, whether made by my grandmother, aunt, cousins, or served in a biergarten or restaurant. Ironically, it's not the kind of potato salad that my mom always made when I was growing up...she (*gasp*) Americanized her potato salad recipe by adding some mayonnaise. Additionally, this Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is different than the bacon-vinegar potato salad sometimes associated with the Bavarian region of Germany (hello, Oktoberfest!).

Close-up of Swabian Kartoffelsalat on a plate.

How to Make Swabian Kartoffelsalat

The bottom line is that this Swabian Kartoffelsalat is absolutely delicious in its simplicity and versatility. The potatoes available in Germany are different than those found here in the good ol' U S of A, so I recommend Yukon golds (or, at the very least, yellow potatoes) as the variety that most closely replicates German potatoes.

German potato salad always starts with potatoes that are boiled whole in their skins and then peeled while still hot. As a child, it always amazed me how my mom could hold and peel a steaming potato straight out of the pot, but for us mere mortals, it's highly advisable to allow the potatoes to slightly cool and then hold each one upright with a fork while peeling with a small paring knife. The skin slips right off so it doesn't take very long. Next, thinly slice the potatoes and douse with well-seasoned beef broth (or chicken broth may be used instead).

Aerial close-up of Kartoffelsalat with onions and parsley in dish with spoon.

The Ever-Important Broth

A quick word on this broth-dousing step...the more flavor the better, since the potatoes are going to soak up all of that broth. For me, this either means using some of my treasured homemade stock from the freezer, or splurging just a bit on a better brand of broth at the grocery store. For my every day recipes -- soups and stews and such -- I usually just buy whatever grocery store brand organic broth that I can find. But when I make a recipe that's dependent on broth for flavor (like this one), I spend a little more and buy a box of high-quality broth, which tends to be darker and more concentrated (I like the Pacific brand).

The potatoes are left to marinate in the broth along with white wine vinegar, minced onion, salt, and pepper. Then, after the potato slices have absorbed all of that delicious flavor, a bit of vegetable oil is stirred in to add richness, the seasonings are adjusted, and the whole shebang is finished off with a shower of chopped fresh parsley. And that's it! German Potato Salad -- er, Kartoffelsalat -- perfection.

Bowl piled high with potato salad.

A Note About the Onions

Now, those of you who know me -- whether in real life or as long-time followers of this blog -- know that I loathe onions. Yet here you see them, plain as day, on Five Heart Home! Allow me to explain two good reasons for this anomaly:

  1. When I recently wrote my cookbook, I begrudgingly had to suck it up and cook with onions, y'all. And don't tell anyone, but after spending six solid months buying onions and chopping onions and taste-testing recipes including onions, I actually don't hate them as much as I used to. I KNOW. I never thought I'd see the day.
  2. Swabian Potato Salad invariably includes onions. In fact, this wouldn't be Swabian Potato Salad without 'em! That being said, I always covertly pick out the onions (more like, I scoot them to the side) when I eat potato salad in Germany (shhhhh!). Furthermore, my dear sweet mother always made me my own separate portion of onion-free potato salad when I was a kid. And today, since I'm the head chef and all, I make an onion-free bowl of potato salad for myself in addition to the onion-laden batch for my family. So see? I still avoid (okay, abhor) onions, despite writing a cookbook that does include onions in some of its recipes. But trust me...any onions can always be left out by you fellow onion haters, and that goes for today's recipe as well! Just don't tell the Swabians... 😉
Areial view of two plates of Swabian Kartoffelsalat.

So whether you're looking for a summer side dish to complement your burgers, barbecue, and picnic fixins' -- or a year-round accompaniment to a big plate of wurst and kraut -- Swabian Potato Salad is sure to become a new family favorite!

And if you've ever traveled to Germany and occasionally find yourself craving that simple, scrumptious kartoffelsalat that you enjoyed with just about every meal, well, this recipe is here to save the day.

More German Recipes

Aerial close-up of Swabian Kartoffelsalat on white plate.

Swabian Kartoffelsalat

Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is a simple German Potato Salad hailing from the Swabian region of Germany that features sliced potatoes, minced onions, hot broth, oil, vinegar, and fresh parsley.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 164kcal
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  • 2 pounds small Yukon Gold OR yellow potatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, DIVIDED, plus more to taste
  • ¾ cup good-quality beef broth OR homemade beef stock, heated until very warm
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons mild-flavored vegetable oil, such as sunflower OR safflower
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley


  • Scrub the potatoes and place in a large pot covered with an inch of cold water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and boil until tender, which will probably take anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and allow to slightly cool.
  • Once the potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel them using a small paring knife and cut them into ¼-inch slices. Place the potato slices in a large bowl and pour the warm beef broth over the top. Top with the minced onion and white wine vinegar. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Use a large spoon to gently stir until all of the potatoes are coated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vegetable oil and the parsley and serve immediately, using a slotted spoon if too much liquid remains at the bottom of the bowl. Alternatively, you may cover and refrigerate the potato salad overnight, then allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before gently stirring and serving.



  • I like to use small Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe (but not new potatoes, since it takes longer to peel a bunch of tiny potatoes). If I can't find Yukon Gold, I use regular yellow potatoes.
  • The potatoes should be boiled until tender when pierced with a fork but not crumbling and falling apart.
  • Beef broth/homemade beef stock is preferred, but you may use chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock) if you wish.


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 723mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    I have been searching for this potato salad for some time. German restaurant I grew up up going to had the best. This came close. Thank you. Have you ever made a German potato salad with grated cucumber in it ?

    1. Hi Margie! While in Germany, I've had potato salad portioned in the same dish as cucumber salad, which naturally mix together a bit when you eat. So while I've not put grated cucumbers directly in my potato salad before, I imagine it would give a similar result. 🙂

    1. My family is from the part of Swabia in Baden-Württemberg, not Bavaria. This is the potato salad from their region. And in my experience, most Schwäbisch people I know (all of my relatives in Germany) do not consider themselves Bavarian. 😉

      1. 5 stars
        I've lived many years in Karlsruhe (also Baden-Württemberg), and although Karlsruhe is just down the autobahn from Stuttgart, the potato salad is very similar but different. I've always classically used "branntweinessig" which is a brandy vinegar & chicken stock. Both being typical of that part of BW. It always amazed me how many variations there were in such a compacted country, but then again so were the numerous dialects. Thank you for sharing this recipe, because it'll definitely cure the 2nd home away from home sickness 🙂 Ohhh, and it wouldn't be authentic in Karlsruhe to leave out those delicious lil fried specks of "speck"

    2. 4 stars
      Swabian here! If you don’t like onions, try adding chives instead. It will give a similar flavor but the chives have a much more pleasant texture. You can also try the soft part of green onions. My family’s recipes never had onion in them either

  2. 5 stars
    My German mom always made 2 kinds of GPS (German Potato Salad). The kind with bacon, a sweet-sour kind. And one similar to this but with raw egg white! It wasn't written down and I've never seen a similar recipe. When my parents retired and moved, their neighbor was from Swabia and made a wonderful potato salad very much like yours, but no beef broth. I tried yours yesterday, and it was wonderful!

    Speaking of Bienenstich - my mom's never had the custard layer that I see in so many recipes. It used a yeast dough with the honey and nuts on top. Anyone heard of that kind?

    1. Carol, do you mean butter cake? It‘s yeast dough and has no custard or buttercream layer. Just lots of molten butter, sugar and almond flakes on top. No honey, though.
      Bienenstich always has a buttercream layer - or sometimes custard, depending on the region.

  3. we lived for 6 (amazing!) years in Merkling (Weil der Stadt) and i miss the food we had there. the potato salad was an interesting combination of the Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat and your warm potato salad. as someone else mentioned some places also added chopped gherkin, others sliced eier - but never both. i like the suggestion of Brigitte of the radish also. can’t wait to start finding *my* perfect combo to remind me of ‘home’. just don’t let my Niederländisch family know 😉

    1. Ha ha, Vicki...your secret is safe with me! 😉 Thanks for your comment. I hope you figure out your perfect potato salad! 🙂

  4. My dear friend Johanna, a Bavarian gal, never understood why everyone asked her to bring her potato salad! She was adorable! She said, in her thick accent "it's just potatoes with some salt, pepper & vegetable oil!" But her touch made it out of this world!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Samantha,
    So happy to have found your website. I was looking for a potato salad recipe that resembles my late mother’s and yours is almost exactly the same! She added thinly sliced radishes as well as onions and small pickle cubes, but not many. The wonderful taste was her combination of oil, vinegar (mixed with the still warm potatoes) salt, a touch of pepper, and chopped dill and parsley. She always had a ring of hard-boiled eggs around the edge (cut into quarters and sprinkled with paprika). i still prefer this type of potato salad to one made with mayonnaise. Never use bacon or bacon grease either. Thank you for posting this recipe and giving me a lovely nostalgic meal!

    1. I'm so happy that this potato salad brought back happy memories of your mother, Brigitte! I'm going to have to try her other additions sometime...they sound delicious. Also, I have a relative in Germany with your beautiful name! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Made this becsuse it looked and sounded lok e my hubbys grandmothers recipe. She did not use the broth but I decided to try it. I think its better without it but it was still delicious. The tips for the potatoes were helpful. And the history was nice..none of us knew this. Had never seen anyone else do this version ...its always the sweet sour version served hot. But this is our favorite. Thank you.

  7. Hi Samantha,
    My grandmother and my mom were born in Worms ahm/Rhine, my great-grandmother was born in Denmark. She would pay for us to go to Germany to visit and sometimes she would come here. And she would make German Potato salad, but hers is different, it's got the boiled potatoes, she would cut bacon into small pieces, fry it up and add to it, there was onion too ( I don't like onions either, and would pick them out, lol. It has diced boiled eggs, salt & pepper, vinegar & oil. It's generally served warm but it's also great cold (with fried chicken on a picnic). Sometimes, depending upon her mood, she would add a splash of Maggie.
    My great-aunt would make a cucumber salad that contained thinly sliced cucumbers, onion, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, also depending upon her mood, she would add thinly sliced boiled potatoes to the cucumber salad. It was so yummy. I'm the 1st American born on my mom's side of the family and I try to follow all the traditions and cooking recipes that my family over there taught me. I love Roulade, Goulash, potato pancakes, and (my spelling is off but I will spell how it sounds) Frickadilla. We also make a lot of Germany cookies and desserts that my family taught me. I love all your recipes.

    1. What a wonderful heritage you have, Dina! Thank you for sharing. My mom often makes Rouladen for holidays. I always find it so interesting how the same recipe can differ so much across the various regions of Germany! I'm hoping to go back soon to visit our relatives there. 🙂

    2. I love that you published a gurkensalat recipe! My paternal grandparents are from a town, Viernheim, which is close to Mannheim and Weinheim. They lived here in the US, but would travel every summer for several months back home to Germany. As the first grandchild, when I was 5, I went with them. Embarrassingly, I was a world class picky eater. Just about the only thing I would eat was gurkensalat! Quite a brat! Anyhow, we learned a lot of German cooking growing up from our Oma. What Germans can do with potatoes is amazing. Potato dumplings, spitzbubbe, on and on. If you ever have recipes for those sorts of things, that would be great. I still make Gotterspeise from Oma's recipe to make my brothers happy! Also love Bienenstich, if you have a recipe for that, I would love it. Sorry, I don't know how to add all the proper accents on my phone! Thanks!

      1. Thanks so much for your comment, Linda! I love hearing from fellow Americans who also have German grandparents and grew up visiting Germany. 🙂 I actually have plans to start sharing more German recipes on the site, so stay tuned! And I, too, love Bienenstich (though I haven't had it in forever) but I've never heard of Gotterspeise...I'll have to ask my mom about that one! 😉 Thanks again for taking the time to leave note!

  8. Hi, I'm dying to try this recipe as I remembered this from a visit to Germany when I was 16 , that was 50 years ago ! Only one ingredient that I'm puzzled over , that is the beef broth, here in the north of England that means a thick soup with chunks of beef, vegetables and lentils ! Do you mean a beef stock made from boiled beef or beef stock cubes ?

  9. I'm so happy to find this! My daughter and I traveled Europe last Winter. Three meals in Munich all had "potato salad" that was not the German potato salad we were used to. Almost a warm, vinegary, salty loosely mashed potato. We loved it and I've been trying to think how to replicate it. This seems the closest and I can't wait to try it out!

    1. Hopefully this recipe will come close to what you remember from your time in Germany, Amy! 🙂

  10. I was so pleased to read your potato salad recipe but you won't be able to guess why. I am a Muenchner Kindl, was born and raised in Munich and have a lot of likes and dislikes I find in "German Recipes". One of my dislikes is the liberal use of sugar in savory dishes, The potato salads I have tasted in Bavaria never had sugar used as one of their ingredients. I FINALLY FOUND ONE!!!
    Thank you, that's how I always make it. I do love onions.....

    1. I'm so honored that this recipe gets your approval, Irmgard. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. My Oma, from Esslingen, used onion juice instead of those darned onions. (I’m with you on onions). Onion juice can’t be bought easily anymore, but I have tried to squeeze my own. The flavor is all you need. Of course my Opa always got a bowl of onions on the side. Lol.

    1. I love that story, Gisela!❤️ I've never tried squeezing an onion but I may have to give it a try... 😉

  12. THANK YOU SO MUCH! That's EXACTLY the potato salad my ex-sister-in-law (a genuine Schwäbin, born in Ulm and raised in Stuttgart) used to make. Unfortunately, you know how family feuds are, and we're not on speaking terms, so I couldn't ask her for the recipe. I did remember the rough details, including the importance of the broth and that the potatoes are sliced, not diced, so that there is a larger surface to absorb the seasoning better. I also remember how she stressed that one should be careful with the vinegar, as the salad must be only mildly sour. But I didn't remember the exact proportions, and I knew they were important. I'm going to try and make it now. Thanks again!

    1. Oh, Samantha, by the way, I'm a VERY picky eater, and I believe I'm a borderline case of ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder - Google it if you've never heard about it, it's only recently been recognized as a real and serious condition). I say "borderline" because I still eat a lot of things - you wouldn't believe how insanely restricted the diet of serious cases is, like eating only French fries cut in a certain way and NOTHING ELSE, or only cookies from a certain brand! I'm not nearly like that, I can even eat some vegetables!

      But like all true ARFID cases, if I try to eat something from my forbidden foods index, I gag and can't swallow it, and I'd be perfectly capable of starving to death if I only had access to "banned" foods. I have avoided traveling to places where they eat mostly or only fish, for example, because I can't stand even the smell of fish or seafood and look away from the fish section at the supermarket. And I have such a loathing for cucumbers that I can't eat anything that merely TOUCHED a piece of cucumber!

      All that's to say that curiously, I've always LOVED onions! They seem to be the commonest food aversion of all, as a large proportion of non-ARFID ("normal") people can't stand onions, but I, the picky eater, love them... There must be a genetic component to it - this has been already proven for the case of cilantro (which I hate with a passion!). Just like that PTC test, it has been proven that people taste cilantro differently depending on their genes. Some people taste it like a pleasant and refreshing aromatic herb, but others (including me) taste it like a mixture of crushed stinkbugs, soap and a hint of sewage. Onions probably have some genetic factor like that.

  13. My mother-in-law is from Southern Germany (Ulm) She has no written recipe so nobody knows exactly how to replicate her potato salad. It was passed down to her from her mother. Yours is the most authentic to hers I've found. The ingredients and instructions are hers exactly. The only difference is she adds really thinly sliced peeled and sliced English cucumber. Also she has a secret step passed down to her. She boils some noodles beforehand and sti s in some of the pasta water at the end. Just enough to marry the flavors. I can't wait to try this. Thank you!

    1. To clarify the pasta water step, you don't add any pasta to the potato salad, just a little of the reserved water they were cooked in. You don't want it soggy so add a little at a time until it looks right. She'll have everyone tasting it before she serves it to make sure it's just right. It's always perfect. Everyone always asks her to make this. It's a staple on Christmas with fried schnitzel that is drizzled with fresh squeezed lemon juice.

      1. Your comment made me smile, Sandy! I'm so glad that this recipe might help you replicate your mother-in-law's potato salad. I love the idea of adding some thinly sliced cucumbers to Swabian potato salad, and how interesting about the pasta water! I'll have to try both of those suggestions sometime. Also, I'm very familiar with Ulm and have actually climbed the Ulmer Münster several times in my life! I'll probably do it again once my kids are old enough to make it all the way up without whining -- ha. 😉 Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Hope you have a great week!

  14. I have a friend form Germany and each year he invites a few of us round to his for amazing BBQS, as all Germans he loves his potato salad, i shall try this recipe and see if i can impress him with it this year, thankyou.

  15. I have this recipe! Many years ago, my husband and I were living in a little town called Marbach am Neckar. He was doing German history research in the Deutsches Literaturarchiv, and at noon the cook would make meals for the researchers (for a minimal fee). Sometimes I would join him and always looked forward to her potato salad. Before we returned to the States, she gave me her recipe. Of course, I had to convert the measurements to those we use in the U. S., but since then, I have been able to successfully make this over and over--and it tastes like that cook's!

    1. Awwww...thanks, Tessa! You're making me blush. 🙂 So happy you found some recipes that appeal to you and I hope you enjoy them when you have a chance to try them! Happy Friday and have a great weekend!