Swabian Potato Salad - German style

Originally, this recipe of an authentic Swabian German potato salad was inspired by my college friend AM. We grew up together, went to elementary school, high school and even college together. While I grew up with my Mom's fantastic potato salad that uses pumpkin seed oil, this is not an authentic Geman potato salad. AM was the first with whom I cooked an original Swabian German potato salad :)

However, my brother really has brought this salad to perfection. While both recipe versions (from AM and my brother) follow the same basic rules of an Swabian potato salad (using vegetable broth and oil), my brother described a more precise and detailed way of preparing it. He also specifies the brand of used ingredients, and he added mustard which was not included in AM's recipe. I updated the recipe to reflect my brother's recipe.

Why "Swabian"?

There are fundamental differences between the American and German potato salad. While the Americans like to use mayonnaise, the Germans use a simple salty broth as a dressing, making it a little lighter for the summer. However, there are also substantial differences regarding the regions of Germany. Depending on where in Germany you end up eating a potato salad, you can experience major differences. For example, Bavaria is putting bacon in it.

This recipe is a potato salad that you can find in the Black Forest area of south-west Germany, an area that you can also call "Schwaben-Land" (where I grew up). This Swabian version is probably the simplest and purest version.


What is so special about this simple Swabian potato salad? In order to be authentic, the potato salad needs to be really juicy, smooth and creamy, kind of thick. The potatoes need to soak in the vegetable broth/oil mixture and become real mushy. In German (or better in "Swabian") this is called "schlotzig".


  • 6 big potatoes (waxy and firm - in German "festkochend")
  • 1 liter salted water
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1/4 cube or 1 teaspoon vegetable stock/bouillon (clear and see through, e.g. from Alnatura)
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch or corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon water (cold)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar, sweet (e.g. red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar, strong (e.g. "Weinbrand" vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (medium spicy, not grainy)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons flax seed oil 
  • optional: 1 tablespoon sliced spring onion or fresh chives


    1. Prepare the potatos: Put the potatoes with skin on in cold salted water. Bring to a boil for about 15-20 minutes till they are soft (depending on size of potatoes). The potatoes are ready when you try to lift them with a fork and they slowly fall off. Then, drain the water. Wait a few minutes till the potatoes are a bit cooled off, but they still should be warm. Peel them. Next, slice them. You can use a knife or a mandoline. Finely dice onion and and add to the potato slices. I like to use a red shallot as it is a little softer and not so spicy.
    2. Prepare the dressing: Bring water to a boil, add the piece of the vegetable stock cube and stir. Don't add too much, it should not overpower the salad flavor. In a small cup, add 2 tablespoon cold water and 1 teaspoon potato or corn starch and mix well till smooth. Slowly, pour the starch mix into the boiling vegetable broth and stir till it reaches the desired consitency. You want to have it a little thicker, creamier in consitency. Now, add the mustard, the oil, and the two different vinegars. Stir till you have a good emulsion. Add salt and pepper. 
    3. Finish the salad: Pour the vegetable broth/oil mix over the potatoes and mix till all potatoes are a little bit covered. Don't overmix as you still want potato pieces and not mashed potatoes :) Now, pour the flax seed oil over the potatoes. The potatoes should now soak up the dressing, but there should still be a little left in the bottom of the bowl. Let sit and soak for a few hours. I like to put it in the fridge for that time.
    4. Serving: Before serving, add the chives/spring onion slices or chopped parsely and mix. I like the crunchy addition and little added color. This potato salad is a good side dish for Wiener Schnitzel, Wiener Sausages, or "Maultaschen".

      Updated: November 2018

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