German Vocabulary List: Potatoes – Kartoffeln

As mentioned in the post about Friedrich II. of Prussia and his Kartoffelbefehl, Germans love potatoes. The spuds are even counted among the Grundnahrungsmittel = staple foods in the German-speaking countries.

Depending on the region you visit or live in the Kartoffel can have other names such as Erdapfel, die Erdäpfel pl., just like the pommes de terre in French. In colloquial German the Kartoffel is also often simply called Knolle (fem.) which is spud or tuber.

Again, Germans eat between 60 to 70 kilos of Kartoffeln each year. You might think that this is a kind of boring diet but as the spuds are so versatile we have come up with lots of different ways how to prepare them. Below you will find a German vocabulary list of dishes or sides made of Kartoffeln. So next time you are in Germany, you might want to try some of them out!

Beilagen = sides

  • die Salzkartoffel, Salzkartoffeln (pl.) = boiled potatoes
  • die Pellkartoffel, Pellkartoffeln (pl.) = potato in the skin
  • der Kartoffelstampf = mashed potatoes with bigger chunks
  • der Kartoffelbrei = mashed potatoes with nearly no chunks
  • das Kartoffelpüree = mashed potatoes with no chunks
  • der Kartoffelknödel, Kartoffelknödel (pl.) = potato dumpling
  • der Kartoffelkloß, Kartoffelklöße (pl) = potato dumpling

Hauptspeisen = main courses

  • der Kartoffelsalat = potato salad (also as a side)
  • das Kartoffelgratin = au gratin potatoes (also as a side)
  • die Kartoffelsuppe = potato soup
  • Bratkartoffeln (pl.) = fried potatoes (also as a side)
  • die Backkartoffel, Backkartoffeln (pl.) = baked potato
  • der Kartoffelpuffer, Kartoffelpuffer (pl.) = fried potato patty

Now, if you are looking to buy Kartoffeln in a German supermarket or on a farmers market you will notice that most of them have a sign that either says mehlig kochend or festkochend, along with sub-categories like vorwiegend festkochend. This is important when it comes to choosing the right variety of Kartoffel for your recipe.

Mehlig kochend is used for floury potatoes and literally translates as “cooks floury” and festkochend are the waxy potatoes and literally means “cooks firmly”. You can take the mehlig kochenden Kartoffeln for example to make Kartoffelsuppe and Kartoffelbrei and the festkochenden Kartoffeln for Bratkartoffeln and Kartoffelgratin.

Another quite popular speciality which you can buy at most German bakeries is Kartoffelbrot. This bread is made with about 50% Kartoffelmehl = potato flour and I personally like it as it tends to be juicier than normal bread.

What is the importance of Kartoffeln in your home country? Do you like them or cook with them? Share your favorite potato recipe with the Deutsch Happen community members!