I usually make the mayonnaise type potato salad which is served cold. I wanted to try German but I want to serve it cold. Recipes I found serve it warm.

No problem is obvious to me, what am I missing?

3 Answers 3


Actually, what do you expect from „German“ potato salad? There are many potato salad traditions in Germany, including mayonnaise based salads that are usually found in northern Germany. As you mention warm potato salads you are propably refering to vinaigrette or broth based salads found usually in the south (Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat or Swabian potato salad)

It is important that you peel and marinate the potatos while they are hot as the cold potatos won‘t absorb the marinade and will lead to a salad with some dressing but not the desired „infused and emulgated“ potato salad you are looking for.

If all you have is cold potatos, do a mayonnaise based salad, or try a yoghurt based one.

Either way the southern type potato salads can be (and are) eaten either warm or cold. It‘s only in the making where the temperatures matter

  • 1
    In the US, “German” potato salad is usually understood as the non-mayonnaise type, similar to Swabian, but often with bacon. That said, your post is spot on about the importance of working with hot potatoes, which is the core difference apart from the ingredients. Serving temperature largely depends on the time between finishing the salad and serving it. Side note: From a food safety perspective, the broth-and-vinaigrette type is better suited for picnics and buffets in the summer than the mayonnaise kind.
    – Stephie
    Jun 24, 2021 at 6:40
  • FWIW, all vinagrette-based potato salads should be mixed while warm.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 27, 2021 at 2:37

You are not missing anything...it's cultural/traditional. If you want to serve it or eat it cold, there is no reason not to.


Kartoffelsalat (with or often without mayonnaise) is often served as a side dish.

Therefore it depends on what you are serving it with and whether you want it to have a similar temperature as the main dish.

  • Now I am confused: How does the temperature of the other items matter?
    – Stephie
    Jun 24, 2021 at 5:52
  • @Stephie With a Schnitzel or Rinderrollade, where everything is warm, you would not want a cold Potato salad. With a Wiener sausage and bread, where the Potato salad is with mayonnaise and pickles, the salad is served cold (this is often more of a 'fast food' than a real meal). Jun 24, 2021 at 6:03
  • 4
    That’s probably more about what you are used to than anything else. Here, a hot Viennese Schnitzel and a cold (or room temperature) Swabian potato salad is perfectly normal as a dish.
    – Stephie
    Jun 24, 2021 at 6:20
  • @Stephie Not knowing where 'here' is, I can't say. In Germany it is mostly served warm (room temperature). Jun 24, 2021 at 6:36
  • Here=Swabia. That’s basically home turf for potato salad.
    – Stephie
    Jun 24, 2021 at 6:42

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