Austrian Potato Salad

January 17th, 2013

I have always been aware of French potato salad, hot German potato salad and good old American potato salad.  But Austrian potato salad is a new one to me.      I know now that Wolfgang Puck has a wonderful recipe for warm Austrian potato salad.  I found this particular recipe because I could not sleep.  Sometimes we insomniacs get up in the middle of the night to read in the hopes that it will lull us back into sleep.  I finished the last 20 pages of the novel I was reading and still wasn’t tired.  There was a stack of  old Cooks Illustrated magazines sitting on my book shelf, so I dragged them out hoping that another half hour of perusing their pages would do the trick and send me back to bed.  I found the recipe for this potato salad and became intrigued, as I always am by any potato recipe.  But the question that nagged at me was – “What makes Austrian potato salad different from German potato salad?”  Or American for that matter?

The difference is American potato salad is mayonnaise-based.  German potato salad has bacon in it.  Austrian potato salad is lighter; using very little fat.  Instead it uses the starch from the potatoes by mashing a few chunks into chicken broth to form a thick and velvety dressing.  It still has the tang of vinegar and a crunch with cornichons and diced red onions.  Unfortunately, when I made it the next day I did not have cornichons.  So I substituted the pickled red onions that I had made in my previous post.  Also instead of chives, I used parsley.  The dish is forgiving of these substitutions.

Traditionally Austrian potato salad (erdapfelsalat) is served with Wiener Schnitzel.  We had it with grilled barbecued ribs.  I highly recommend it.  Sometimes insomnia is a good thing.



2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
Table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small red onion, chopped fine
6 cornichons (pickles), minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Ground black pepper

1. Bring potatoes, broth, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar and 1 tablespoon vinegar to boil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes offer no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 17 minutes.  Remove cover, increase heat to high (so cooking liquid will reduce), and cook 2 minutes.

2. Drain potatoes in colander ser over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid.  Set drained potatoes aside.  Pour off and discard all but 1/2 cup cooking liquid (if 1/2 cup liquid does not remain, add water to make 1/2 cup).  Whisk remaining tablespoon vinegar, mustard, and oil into cooking liquid.

3. Add 1/2 cup cooked potatoes to bowl with cooking liquid mixture and mash with potato masher or fork until thick sauce forms (mixture will be slightly chunky).  Add remaining potatoes, onion, cornichons, and chives, folding gently with rubber spatula to combine.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable recipe


19 responses to “Austrian Potato Salad”

  1. Linderhof says:

    I will have to try this — I love a good German potato salad (and in summer, the American version) and anytime, the French one but this sounds yummy — and I’ve been craving Reubens and nothing beats potato salad as a side dish with a Reuben.

  2. Sharon Nimtz says:

    Man o man, Penny. That must’ve been a doozer of an insomniac episode, I imagine not too many of us have made potato salad during one!

  3. Susan says:

    Penny, this sounds so good. I am thinking I will miss the bacon like in the German salad, but so willing to try this. Yes, sometimes insomnia is profitable.

  4. Penny says:

    I love any kind of potato salad and this one sounds really good! Your photo makes me want to dive right in with a fork!

  5. Larry says:

    Sounds good too me Penny – everything goes well with ribs. Next time you need something to put you to sleep, read my old blog posts. 🙂

  6. Jane says:

    I’m glad you made these comparisons between the salads, it makes me want to try this recipe. Honestly, I didn’t know what cornichons were until you said pickles. I have to look for them. Thanks so much and hope you are doing well in sunny Florida. It has been in the 20’s all week here. 🙁


  7. Lyla Fox says:

    We love German potato salad but hate all the fat. Thanks for providing what looks to be a great and far-less-deadly substitute.

  8. Susan says:

    This sounds like a great alternative to fattier recipes! I love the flavor of pickles or pickle relish in potato salad.

  9. Karen says:

    This sounds good. I love to make potato salad because you can just about add anything to it. I made some the other day but didn’t have celery, so grated up a carrot for the crunch. My favorite way to make potato salad is potatoes, black olives, green onions, and a mixture of mayo & sour cream.

  10. KathyWalker says:

    We love German Potato Salad…it is such a great side dish! Yours looks quite delicious!!

  11. Cathy at Wives with Knives says:

    I do the same thing when I can’t sleep. I just wander around on the internet and have found some wonderful recipes while doing it. This sounds delicious, Penny. I love German potato salad but sometimes don’t care for the “mouth feel” of it if it has too much bacon fat. I like your lighter version.

  12. Kate Zeller says:

    That’s kind of like German Summer Potato Salad but with more stuff – love it. Bookmarked for summer!

  13. Monica Morelli (Nash) says:

    I love potato salad (well, potato anything really – what can I say, it’s my Irish roots!), but I have a few friends who are anti-mayonnaise. I love the idea of using mashed up potatoes to make the creamy dressing. Thank you for the recipe!
    PS: Beautiful pictures! They make me want to dive right in.

  14. sjs says:

    THIS is the German Potato salad recipe I have been searching for for YEARS! While in Germany a German woman told me verbally how to make it and of course I never wrote it down. She used thinly slice cucumber in place of the pickles. Bookmarking and making one day soon!

  15. Martha says:

    Sounds like a lovely version of potato salad, and love that it’s forgiving too – I often substitute depending what I have on hand.

  16. Reeni says:

    I remember reading about this awhile back! I was intrigued by the chicken broth! So unique for a potato salad. It looks absolutely delicious. I bet those pickled red onions added a nice pop of flavor! So glad you visited me – love your blog!

  17. Leigh Powell Hines says:

    I wanted to say hello. I’m a travel writer in Raleigh, and a friend of mine just sent me your website for the teriyaki chicken in the crock pot. When I saw you were living in Lake Lure, I had to say hello.

    • Penny says:

      Hi Leigh. We love the Raleigh area. Our Son and DIL live in Cary and we get there quite often. Thanks for the comment and hope you like the teriyaki chicken and any of the other recipes you find on my site.

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