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German recipes: Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat (potato salad)

A plate of potato salad, on top of a red napkin, cutlery and glasses in the backgroundMy Oma’s potato salad (Kartoffelsalat) is the best.  She showed me how to make it and it always turns out pretty good, but there was something about Oma’s that made her potato salad extra special.  It may have been her old aluminium pots that gave the potatoes that extra flavour, I haven’t worked it out yet.

This is a Schwabischer Kartoffelsalat (south-west region of Germany) as opposed to many other varieties around Germany.  I always make this the day before we want to eat it, as it tastes so much better on the second day and keeps for a few days.


  • 8 large red waxy potatoes
  • beef stock (1/2 cup or one stock cube in half a cup of water)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • just under 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper


In a large pan, add the potatoes in their skins and just cover with water.  Bring to the boil and then simmer until they’re just cooked, which is about 20 minutes.  Pour out the water and cool enough to handle.

Peel the skins from the potatoes with a small vegetable knife.  Slice the potatoes into 1cm (1/2 inch) thick slices into a large bowl.

In one cup, mix the beef stock and water.  In another cup mix the vinegar and oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Taste this dressing – it should have a good strong flavour.

Add half of the dressing and half of the beef stock to the potatoes. Mix gently and allow to sit for one hour, stirring very occasionally.  This may look odd, as there is a lot of liquid, but the potatoes really drink it up and it’s why it tastes so good.

Taste test the potatoes. You will need to add more of the stock if the potatoes are too dry and more dressing if the potatoes are too bland. In my experience, you will probably need to add both, but not all. You don’t want the potatoes to be soggy or fall apart due to the amount of liquid in the salad, but you don’t want them to be dry either. This salad should taste good enough to be eaten all on its own. Always tastes better on the second day.

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