Mama's famous German potato salad


I have a really bad memory. So bad that even if I've made something a thousand times I still have to look at the recipe each. and. every. time. That's why I like making up recipes as I go along. Add a bit of this, a dash of that, a squirt of lemon here... But there are two recipes that I remember without ever having to do a search. Patterson family spag bol, and my mama's famous German potato salad.

Everyone in my family has their own version of this salad, but with a fairly consistent signature running throughout. I put it down to the consistency of the potatoes (I hate big chunks of hard potato), dill pickles/gherkins, and never, ever using a cheap, fake-tasting mayo (whole egg is the only way)! Also, there is a fine line between not enough mayo and too much. But I'll let you work that out for yourself...

I never measure quantities, I always go by look and taste, and whatever I'm in the mood for on the day. You can just guestimate quantities and add more/less as you go along. That's part of the joy of this recipe, it's really hard to stuff it up because it's all in the ingredients (good quality and usually European is the trick)!

What you need:

  • bag of potatoes (pink eye are the best), washed
  • whole egg mayo (about 3-4 table spoons)
  • dill pickles (European), chopped - keep the juice from the jar!
  • 4-5 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
  • seeded mustard (a decent tablespoon or two)
  • chives or shallots (I prefer chives), chopped
  • dill, chopped
  • Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper


  1. Wash potatoes and place in pot of cold water with skin on, bring to boil. If the potatoes are really big, then I usually cut them, or if I'm in a rush I'll peel them first and halve/quarter so they cook quicker. But my mum swears it tastes better cooking them in their skins.
  2. While the potatoes are bubbling away, chuck another pot on and boil the eggs. I mostly never get eggs right (even hard boiled) so just google cooking times for this if you're unsure of how long to boil them. Set aside to cool when done, then chop. You can use one of those egg slicers, that look really fun, but are always somewhat disappointing, but I just roughly chop.
  3. Slice the dill pickles in half, length ways, then chop. If you like a lot of pickle, add a lot, if you don't like pickle... then maybe just google a standard potato salad recipe because this one is all about the pickle!
  4. Chop the herbs
  5. Once potatoes are soft enough for you to stick a fork in them, but not too cooked that they fall apart, they're ready. Take them off the hotplate and run them under cold water for 10 seconds. Then when they've cooled down, peel the skin off and chop in half or quarters depending on the size of your potato, and how "potatoey" you like your potato salad.
  6. Add the potatoes, eggs, pickles, herbs, salt, pepper, mustard and mayo to a large mixing bowl and stir through gently so you don't moosh the potatoes.
  7. Now I know my mum uses a stock cube in here somewhere but I forget when and how much, and I tried it once and the whole thing went too mushy, so I've never tried it again. But here is the secret to this recipe - pour a little of the dill juice from the pickles into the bowl!
  8. Sprinkle with some fresh parsley to garnish.

And that's pretty much it. Now go make, it'll be a hit at your Australia Day BBQ this weekend!

(Thanks mama, feel free to edit if I missed anything xx)