Wiener Erdäpfelsalat (Viennese Potato Salad)

Last week I was in Vienna for the first time, on a business trip for a day. We went to a rather tacky restaurant that played Austrian waltz music but served decent food. I decided to order the most Austrian thing I could find on the menu: Wienerschnitzel mit Erdäpfelsalat. Erdäpfelsalat is the Austrian word for what is more widely known as Kartoffelsalat. I was expecting potatoes in mayonnaise, but it turned out that in Austria (and also in southern Germany, it appears), potato salad is not made with mayonnaise but with oil, vinegar and beef stock. It was absolutely delicious and I immediately decided to replicate this at home. The next day we got a very similar potato salad (as well as mini Wiener schnitzels) for lunch during a business meeting, so I figured that this is truly the local style of making potato salad.

Back home I googled and compared a few recipes in German (and some even in Weanarisch, the dialect from Vienna that I could only understand by reading it out loud) and managed to replicate the Wiener Erdäpfelsalat that I tasted in Vienna very closely. The warm potatoes are mixed with warm beef stock and a dressing, and allowed to marinate for half an hour. They are then served while still lukewarm. The starch from the potatoes thickens the sauce and though it is hard to recognize there is beef stock in there, it provides great depth of flavor. Besides beef stock another unusual ingredient is sugar. It is optional according to the recipes I found, but both versions I tried in Vienna included sugar.

This is definitely something I will make again, and if you have never tried this I urge you to give it a try as it is so much better than a mayonnaise-based potato salad. Who would have thought that I would make a culinary discovery in Vienna? I certainly didn’t!

For this recipe small waxy potatoes are recommend. Waxy so they will stay whole when cooked rather than fall apart, and small potatoes such that the slices will have just the right size as well as look pretty. If you have large potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters first. I couldn’t resist and cooked the potatoes sous-vide because it is so easy and a good way to keep the flavor of the potatoes. The traditional preparation is to steam or boil the potatoes without peeling them first, plunging them briefly in cold water, and then removing the peel and slicing them while they are still warm.


For 2 servings

500-600 grams (1.1-1.3 lbs) small waxy potatoes

150 ml (2/3 cup) hot beef stock

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbsp minced red onion

3 Tbsp chopped chives


When cooking the potatoes sous-vide like I did, peel them and slice them thinly. Vacuum seal and cook for 45 minutes at 85ºC/185ºF. I explained the traditional preparation without sous-vide above.

Combine the vinegar, oil, powdered sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Whisk to emulsify.

Put the sliced potatoes in a large bowl. Add the dressing while the potatoes are still warm.

Also add the beef stock when the potatoes are still warm.

Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, powdered sugar, oil, white wine vinegar, or mustard.

Add most of the red onion and chives.

Stir again to mix. Allow to marinate for about half an hour at room temperature.

Serve garnished with the remaining chives and red onion.


Two years ago I organised an evening tasting 12 different wines with 12 different cheeses. Pairing wine and cheese is not as easy as serving a glass of port with everything, as for most cheeses there are much better pairings. Soon after there was a repeat performance with some differences.

We ate about 5 kg (11 lbs) of cheese between the 13 of us…

29 thoughts on “Wiener Erdäpfelsalat (Viennese Potato Salad)

  1. My mom used to make potato salad very similar to this. I wish I had her recipe. I definitely want to make this!! (When we lived in Malta I had an Austrian friend who made the most delicious chicken schnitzel. I miss her – and her schnitzel !!)


  2. Altho’ I have lived in Southern Germany and been to Austria a number of times I had totally forgotten about this version of ‘earth apple’ salad. Probably because I rarely eat potatoes. This however appeals greatly and I shall try, once again, to revisit my childhood days thanks to you 🙂 ! [And you are doing better at Wienerisch than I can and I speak absolutely fluent German 🙂 !!]


    1. The word erdäpfel is similar to the Dutch word aardappel. To me it seems strange that 2 hours from here it is called kartoffel in Germany, and then a bit further it is erdäpfel.
      I seem to have a knack for bluffing myself through reading languages that are similar to those that I already know 😉


  3. Servus Stefan – you had me “in stitches”. Like you, I can really understand proper viennase only by reading out loud. You are near A. and have never been to Vienna – I like to believe you see the errors of your ways now :). Lucky lucky you, living where you do you have a relative easy way to go back again and again. We will, and we are in India :). That potatoe salad is delicious, but at home we swapped between this and my Rheinland p. salad. Next time you h a v e to visit the Cafe Sacher (pref. with the person of your heart) – order 2 glasses of champagne and one piece of “Sacher Torte”. It will be served to you with 2 spoons (it is quite rich!). And btw, there are soooo many exquisite Restaurants in V., go back, enjoy yourself. Carina


  4. Interesting. This is the only way my mother ever made potato salad! Her father was Alsatian, so that’s probably the source. But I don’t think I’ve ever used so much beef broth. A very interesting recipe!


    1. I was surprised about the amount of beef broth in the recipe as well, but after half an hour of marinating it is not ‘soupy’ at all because it thickens so nicely.


  5. I have enjoyed this potato salad, Stefan, though Mom called it “German Potato Salad.” The last time I tasted it was at a German restaurant here more than a decade ago. I’ve always wondered how it was prepared and never would have guessed beef stock was used. Thanks for posting this recipe. I need to make this. 🙂


  6. In Berlin, though relatively in the North of Germany, both variations are served. the mayonnaise one is considered more posh than the oil, vinegar and stock version.


  7. Oohhh great thank you so much for this recipe! I lived in Vienna for around 4 months, and since I’ve been home I’ve been craving this very unusual but very tasty erdapfelsalat! x


    1. Well, now you can make your own! Please let me know how it turns out. I could only find the recipe in German or Wiener dialect (which is like German but more difficult to understand).


  8. When I was in Munich, I had lunch at the Hofbrauhaus. I really enjoyed the wienerschnitzel but absolutely loved the potato salad that came with it. I always wondered what made the salad so yellow. In fact, I initially thought it was scrambled eggs as the plate was coming my way. Thanks for the recipe. I will have to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for reminding me of this salad. I love it. I will sous vide the potatoes. I have a special cookbook I treasure that has two versions of this and both are great [Miller’s German Cook Book for Texans, 2nd edition 1969]. Both recipes are very close to yours. The recipes are really Bavarian (hence “German”) but most Texans wouldn’t know the difference between the sections of Germany, especially so in 1967 when this was originally printed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for your recipe. I’ve been looking for an authentic recipe in English for years. I lived in Vienna for a year and in Germany for 9 years and loved kartoffalsalat (along with all the others – weinerschnitzel, etc. etc.) and wanting to fix a near-authentic Viennese dinner for friends, I took a stab on Pinterest and found your recipe. I’m so glad to have found it. – J. Gill, Seattle, WA

    Liked by 1 person

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