Nudelsalat – German Pasta Salad

German pasta salad aka Nudelsalat is a delicious and simple recipe to prepare. It is an excellent side dish for a variety of meals and can even be served as a whole lunch or dinner.

There are so many reasons to love pasta salad. For one, it’s a dish that can be made ahead of time and easily transported, making it ideal for potlucks and picnics. Secondly, pasta salad is a great way to use up leftover cooked pasta.

Thirdly, it’s a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking with any number of add-ins. Fourth, pasta salad is relatively inexpensive to make. And lastly, it’s just plain delicious!

If you like to try more hearty, versatile salads, try this Rhineland-style German potato salad.

Jump to:

Cultural Background

German macaroni salad is a popular side dish in Germany. Everybody loves it and it complements a large variety of grilled meats and sausages. If you are invited to a German barbecue, potluck, or dinner party and are asked to bring something, a wonderful Nudelsalat is always a good choice.

Group of German people at a barbecue with sausages and German beer.

How is pasta salad called in German?

The German word for pasta salad is “Nudelsalat”. Der Nudelsalate (m) in singular and die Nudelsalate (f) in plural.

How to pronounce “Nudelsalat” the correct way in German?

Listen to this audio file to hear how to say “Nudelsalat” the right way.

Ingredients

This German pasta salad recipe calls for a simple ingredients, all of which are easy to locate in practically any grocery store.

Ingredients for the pasta salad:

Ingreidents for Nudelsalat: pasta, corn, eggs, cheese, Frankfurter sausages or bologna, onions, pickles, and peas.

  • Rotini pasta or other pasta varieties
  • peas, frozen or canned
  • corn, frozen or canned
  • yellow or red onion
  • eggs
  • pickles
  • Frankfurter sausages or Bologna (optional)
  • Swiss cheese, Berkkase, cheddar, or pepper jack (optional)

Ingredients for the pasta salad dressing:

Ingreidents for German pasta salads: mayo, sour cream, heavy cream, pickle juice, garlic paste, sugar, paprika powder, ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper.

  • mayonnaise or salad cream
  • sour cream
  • heavy cream or pickle juice
  • garlic paste
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • paprika powder
  • sugar
  • salt and pepper

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Making this pasta salad requires very little effort; but, for the best results, you should let the salad marinate for at least two hours before serving. This will allow the flavors to fully develop.

Nudelsalat recipe step 1: cooked noodles in a white sieve.

Cook the noodles al dente according per package directions. Hard-boil eggs. Set pasta and eggs aside to cool completely after rinsing with cold water.

Nudelsalat recipe step 2: mixing ingredients for German pasta salad dressing in a white bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, add mayo, sour cream, heavy cream or pickle juice, garlic paste, ketchup, mustard, paprika powder, sugar, and salt & pepper.

Nudelsalat recipe step 3: mixing dressing ingredients for German pasta salad in a glass bowl.

Mix all of the ingredients until nicely blended and add the cooled pasta on top of the dressing.

Nudelsalat recipe step 4: adding corn, pickles, peas, and onion cubes to the German pasta salad in a large glass bowl.

Finely chop the pickles, eggs and onions and combine them with the drained corn and peas if using canned vegetables. Frozen vegetables do not need to be thawed before being added.

Nudelsalat recipe step 5: adding sausage and cheese cubes to the German pasta salad in a large glass bowl.

Optional: Cube the Frankfurter sausages and/or cheese and add to the salad.

Toss everything together and set aside for at least 2 hours to marinate.

Hint: Frozen peas and corn do not need to be thawed ahead of time; They will defrost fast during the marinating process.

Substitutions

  • Pasta – The recipe calls for Rotini pasta, but you can substitute any other type of pasta you like in its place. Rigatoni, Farfalle, Fussili, and Macaroni are my favorite choices. My personal preference is to use pasta with three different colors, but choose whichever pasta you like best.
  • Onions – You can use green onions instead of yellow or red onions for the salad. If you have difficulty digesting raw onions, saute them in a teaspoon of butter. This helps to digest the onion more easily and provides a great flavor to the dish.
  • Vegetables – you can exchange peas or corn for red or orange bell peppers or your favorite veggies. If you want to prepare the salad the day before serving it, I would not recommend to add cucumber and tomato because they will become soggy if marinated overnight.
  • Cheese – For this salad, my go-to cheese selections are either Swiss cheese or Bergkase. However, cheddar and pepper jack are also wonderful choices.
  • Low Carb – Use cauliflower or low carb pasta varieties like chickpea or lentil noodles instead of wheat pasta.
German macaroni salad in a white bowl with halves of boiled eggs on a wooden board and fork.

Variations

Give the dish a special touch.

  • Curry Powder – to give this salad a unique flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons yellow curry powder to the dressing. This is excellent when grilling kebabs or lamb.
  • Spicy – add some pickled jalapeños or banana peppers to the salad, or spice the dressing up with cayenne pepper or Sriracha.

Equipment

To make this recipe, you need these kitchen tools.

  • large pot to cook the paste
  • small saucepan to cook the eggs
  • sieve
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • large bowl
  • salad servers

How to serve

A noodle salad is the ideal side dish to go along with grilled foods of any kind, whether they be beef, chicken, sausages, pork, tofu or fish.

If you add some protein, like Frankfurter sausages and cheese, this pasta salad can also serve as a complete meal for lunch or dinner. Canned tuna is also a great addition as protein source and super delicious.

Wooden board with a white bowl.  The bowl contains german pasta salad, hard boiled egg halves and a fork.

Storage

Because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, the dish is ideal for meal prepping. It is not advisable to freeze any leftover salad because it will become rather watery after being defrosted in the refrigerator.

Top tip

You created much too much noodle salad, and you’re just not in the mood to consume it for the next few days in a row? Even if it might ridiculous at first, why don’t you turn it into hot dish?

Heat the salad up in a small sauce pan with some cream or butter, then stir in some Parmesan, or some mozzarella, and serve. Because this is such a seamless makeover, nobody will be able to tell that this was originally a German pasta salad.

Recipe

German nudelsalat in a white bowl, garnished with a slice of egg, on a wooden board.

Nudelsalat – German Pasta Salad

Angela Schofield

Pasta salad is one of my favorite dishes. I love the versatility of pasta salad. Pasta salad is a great dish to bring to potlucks or barbecues because it can be served cold and it’s always a crowd pleaser.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 8 mins

2 hrs

Course Main Course, Salads, Side Dish, Snack

Cuisine German

Servings 8 portions

Calories 571 kcal

Ingredients

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • 1 pound Rotini pasta
  • 2 eggs

  • ½ onion medium
  • 3 pickles large
  • ½ cup peas frozen or canned
  • ½ cup corn frozen or canned
  • 3.5 oz. Frankfurter sausages or Bologna
  • 3.5 oz. Swiss cheddar, or pepper jack

Dressing Ingredients

  • cup mayo or salad cream
  • cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or pickle juice
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook noodles al dente and hard-boil the eggs. Rinse the pasta in a sieve with cold water. Set pasta and eggs aside to cool completely.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, heavy cream or pickle juice, garlic paste, ketchup, mustard, paprika powder, sugar, and salt & pepper.

  • Place cooled down pasta on top of the dressing.

  • Finely cut the pickles, eggs and onions and add them into the salad with the drained corn and peas if using canned vegetables. Frozen peas and corn do not need to be thawed ahead of time; They will defrost fast during the marinating process.

  • (Optional) Cube Frankfurter sausages and/or cheese and add to the salad.

  • Toss everything together and let it sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Nutrition

Yield: 1PortionCalories: 571kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 15thgFat: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gNet Carbohydrates: 46g

More German Recipes

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment