Last Updated on 11 months by Tim
I’ve been writing this blog for half a year now and still haven’t published a basics post about German-style boiled potatoes yet.
In the old days, the mighty potato was to Germans what plain rice is until today for most Asians. A staple food that is filling, nutritious, and harmonizes with almost any dish.
There are more than 2900 different potato cultivars around the globe and countless preparation and processing methods.
In this post, I want to give you an overview of the potato varieties used in German cuisine, the basic potato cuts, and how to make perfect boiled potatoes.
The Building Blocks of German Cusine Series
This article is part of my basics series, which will introduce you to key ingredients and preparation methods. You can find all these articles in the ‘Basics’ category of this blog. Listed below are the articles that have yet been published in this series:
- Swabian Soup Noodles (‘Schwäbische Suppennudeln’)
- French Fries (‘Pommes frites’)
- Swabian Pretzels (‘Schwäbische Laugenbrezeln’)
- Kratzete, Eierhaber
- Duchess Potatoes (‘Herzoginnenkartoffeln’)
- Ribbon Noodles (‘Bandnudeln’)
- Muesli (‘Müsli’)
- German Bread Rolls (‘Weizenbrötchen’)
- Potato Puree (‘Kartoffelbrei’)
- German Potato Dumplings Bavaria-style (‘Bayerische Kartoffelknödel’)
- German Potato Dumplings Thuringia-style (‘Thüringer Kartoffelklöse’)
- German Bread Dumplings (‘Semmelknödel’)
- German Potato Pancakes (‘Reibekuchen’)
- Potato Noodles (‘Schupfnudeln’)
- German Boiled Potatoes (‘Kartoffeln’)
- Homemade Beef broth (‘Fleischbrühe’)
- German Pancakes (‘Pfannkuchen’)
- Homemade Semolina Soup Noodles (‘Hartweizen-Suppennudeln’)
- Chicken Broth (‘Hühnerbrühe’)
- Spaetzle (‘Spätzle’)
Waxy vs. starchy potatoes
Potatoes can be divided into two subcategories depending on their cooking characteristics.
There’s a third type of potato known as ‘
Here’s an overview of the most popular potato varieties used in German cuisine:
- Bamberger Hörnchen
- La Ratte
- Blauer Schwede
- Rote Emmalie
If you’re outside of Germany a lot of these potato varieties might be hard to source, so feel free to use locally available potatoes. Always make sure to inform yourself about their cooking characteristics before purchasing.
The different potato cuts
Germans prefer to keep their potatoes whole. Even though whole potatoes take longer to cook than smaller sized pieces the flavor of whole potatoes is considered far superior.
Germans generally distinguish between unpeeled jacket potatoes, which get peeled after being cooked, and salt potatoes, which get peeled before cooking.
The jacket potatoes are considered the noblest form of potato as all the flavor stays locked inside the potato and there’s no chance for them to turn watery.
Salt potatoes are often served whenever a dish includes a lot of sauce that needs to be soaked up.
The three basic potato cuts commonly featured in German cuisine are cubes, french fries, and wedges.
Potatoes can be cut into cubes prior to cooking whenever you’re short on time. That way they cook much quicker and are ready to eat in minutes.
French fries are usually blanched in oil before deep-frying them for a second time at a higher temperature. Potato wedges are usually blanched in saltwater before oven roasting them.
The best way to cook German boiled potatoes
If you’re cooking regularly I’m sure you’ve boiled potatoes countless times already. They’re one of the simplest foods to cook and there’s really not much that can go wrong.
The only thing to remember is to always start with salted cold water. That way the potatoes cook more evenly so that you don’t end up with an overcooked edge by the time the center is done.
The cooking time of potatoes depends largely on their size. Smaller potatoes take about 15 minutes to cook once the water is simmering while larger potatoes can take 20-30 minutes to cook until tender.
You can easily check the doneness of your potatoes by piercing them with a sharp paring knife. If your knife runs through the potato without resistance, and the potato falls easily off the knife, then it’s ready. Drain the cooking water and eat the potatoes immediately or use them in further preparations.
Boiled potatoes are the basis for many popular German dishes like: