You will love this classic German pasta salad. Super quick to make, this is the perfect side for your picnic, barbecue, or next potluck!
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ creamy German pasta salad?
I am super excited to share my family recipe: perfectly cooked pasta coated in a creamy, dreamy dressing that’ll have you coming back for seconds.
The best part is that you can whip this German Nudelsalat or Pastasalat up in no time!
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What are the ingredients:
You don’t need fancy ingredients to make this German noodle salad:
- Pasta: I love any shape but have used rigatoni in this recipe
- Mayonnaise: Make your own mayo or use store-bought
- Gherkins: Sometimes also called cornichons, they add good flavor and we’ll use the pickle juice as well
- Bell peppers: I like to use yellow and red bell peppers
- Peas: Little frozen peas work best for this cold pasta salad
- Frankfurters: While the original German recipe calls for “Fleischwurst”, I always use Frankfurters or Wiener sausages
- Seasonings: Season with salt and black pepper to taste
Useful tools and equipment
Again, you probably have all the tools to make this classic German pasta salad:
- Large pot: You will need a large pot to cook one pound of pasta
- Large bowl: This recipe makes at least 8 servings so be sure to use a large bowl for mixing
- Sharp knife: This makes cutting your ingredients a snap
- Cutting board: I love my large wooden cutting board
- Wire whisk: While not strictly necessary, I love using a whisk for making the dressing
Substitutions and variations
This is where the fun starts! The basic recipe is super delicious but there are a lot of substitutions or nice additions:
- Vegetables: You can mix and match any of the following vegetables: green onions, corn (fresh or canned), some red onion, or a green bell pepper.
- Herbs: You can always add a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley or chives as a garnish.
- Sausage: Franks are easy to find but more original is something like a German bologna. There are some very tasty non-meat options, too, if you’d like to make it vegetarian.
- Eggs: Many people like to add chopped hard-boiled eggs to their German pasta salad.
- Dressing: I sometimes add some sour cream or yogurt to the salad dressing. You can even add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to it.
- Pasta: This German noodle salad recipe is great with any pasta shape you can find: rigatoni, elbow, farfalle, fusilli, or orzo. If you’d like to make it a macaroni salad, simply use macaroni.
How to serve
This crowd-pleaser is the perfect side dish for your next picnic, barbeque, grill party, or potluck. It goes really well with all your grilled meats and other vegetable dishes.
However, you could make this a main course with a side of garlic bread.
Make ahead of time?
While this noodle salad is perfect as soon as you have made it, I actually think it tastes so much better the next day. Just keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
If you’d like to keep it longer, you can transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
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How to make this great salad
1. Boil the pasta:
In a large pot, bring plenty of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. I recommend cooking the pasta slightly al dente (otherwise you might end up with mushy pasta!). Set the cooked pasta aside.
2. Make the creamy dressing:
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the pickle juice and mix until creamy.
3. Chop the ingredients:
With a sharp knife, cut the bell peppers, sausage, and gherkins into small pieces. I like to have them match the size of my pasta shapes.
4. Assemble the pasta salad:
Add the chopped vegetables, sausage, and pasta to the bowl with the dressing. With a large spoon, mix all the ingredients until well-combined and coated with the dressing. Season with salt and black pepper.
Classic German Pasta Salad
- 1 pound dried pasta shapes
- 1 whole red bell pepper
- 1 whole yellow bell pepper
- 5 beef hot dogs (Franks or Wieners)
- 5-10 cornichons
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup pickle juice
- salt and black pepper
- In a large pot, bring plenty of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Cook the pasta slightly al dente (otherwise you might end up with mushy pasta!). Set the cooked pasta aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the pickle juice and mix until creamy.
- Cut the bell peppers, sausage, and gherkins into small pieces. I like to have them match the size of my pasta shapes.
- Add the chopped vegetables, sausage, and pasta to the bowl with the dressing. Mix all the ingredients until well-combined and coated with the dressing. Season with salt and black pepper.
- You can also add chopped, hard-boiled eggs, corn (fresh or canned), green bell peppers, or spring onions.
- Sour cream or yogurt are great additions to the creamy dressing.