How to Make Romanian Potato Salad – Salata Orientala Recipe

A grey ramekin with two handles, the potato salad in it. You can see wedges of eggs, black olives, bite size potato cubes, sliced red onions, and chopped parsley on top. There is a grey tea towel around the bowl.

I have always loved the Romanian potato salad. In Romanian it is called “Salata Orientala”, which translates as “oriental salad”. But trust me, there is nothing oriental in this delicious dish, just amazing flavours.

The Romanian potato salad recipe below is my version of this dish, and the way I like best. As always, there are many variations of this salad all around Romania. For me, this salad is a perfect balance of savoury and sour, with just enough pickles to make it tangy. Some people prefer to add pickled pepper as well, but that extra sweetness changes the flavour of the original potato salad. Other people add mayo to this salad instead of the oil and vinegar dressing, which in my opinion adds too much sweetness (and extra calories) to this salad. The recipe of the Romanian potato salad below is the one I grew up with.

Ingredients for the Romanian Potato Salad

A white bowl with pink polka dots on the left hand side of the photo, holding boiled, peel potatoes in it. On the right, there is a carton with three eggs in it. Below, there is a ceramic terracotta ramekin with two pickles in it, another one filled with olives, and a red onion between them. They are sitting on a yellow tea towel.

You don’t need many ingredients to make the Romanian Salata Orientala and most likely, you already have most of them in your pantry. This is why this potato salad is such a loved recipe all around Romania.

The main ingredients for this salad are potatoes, onions, and pickles. Most people like to enhance it with other ingredients, and my favourites are olives and boiled eggs.

The dressing for this salad is a simple one made with olive and vinegar.

How to Make the Romanian Potato Salad

Making this Romanian potato salad recipe is very easy. All you have to do is to boil the potatoes and the eggs, then chop all the ingredients down and mix with the dressing. It couldn’t be easier for a quick lunch!  

My advice would be to leave the salad in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving it, so that all ingredients get a chance to soak up the dressing.

Recipes Notes and Tips:

A close-up of the potato salad, inside a grey ramekin with two handles. You can see the potatoes, slices of boiled eggs, black olives cut in half, and slices of red onions.
  • As I always say, use good quality pickles for an authentic taste. The best pickles I can recommend are the Polish ones which you can find in Asda, in the chilled section, in a bag rather than a jar. If you are buying pickles in a Jar, make sure that they are pickled in brine and that there is no added sugar. If you have a Romanian shop nearby, check out the large 5-10L jars, those have the best pickles in them.
  • Don’t overcook the potatoes. You don’t want mashed potatoes instead of the salad. It is good to choose potatoes that will keep their shape once boiled, such as Charlotte, Jersey Royals or red potatoes.
  • Apple cider vinegar has a much milder taste than red wine vinegar. If you are using any other type of vinegar, make sure to reduce the quantity and taste before dressing the salad. You can use other types of vinegar, except for balsamic, as it has a different flavour profile and adds sweetness to the salad, which is not good.
A grey ramekin with two handles, the potato salad in it. You can see wedges of eggs, black olives, bite size potato cubes, sliced red onions, and chopped parsley on top. There is a grey tea towel around the bowl.

Romanian Potato Salad Recipe

This Romanian Potato Salad Recipe makes a great lunch or a side dish for a barbecue or grilled meat dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Romanian
Servings 4 people


  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 100 gr black olives
  • 2 pickles
  • parsley for decoration
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil the potatoes in their skins for 30-40 minutes, until they are cooked but not mushy. The boiling time depends on how big the potatoes are. If you over boil the potatoes, they will get mushy.
  • Allow the potatoes to cool down, then peel them and cut them in bite size pieces.
  • Slice the onion julienne.
  • Slice the pickles, the olives and the eggs.
  • Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar and water. Add salt and pepper to the dressing.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl, and add the dressing on top. Mix gently, without breaking the potatoes.
  • Decorate the salad with chopped parsley.
  • You can serve the potato salad on its own, as a main meal for lunch, or as a side dish, next to a meat dish without sauce.


How to store the Romanian Potato Salad?  

You can store the Romanian Salata Orientala in the fridge, in an airtight Tupperware container with a lid on. 

How Long Will the Potato Salad Last For?

When stored correctly, the Romanian potato salad will last up to five days.

For more similar traditional Romanian side dishes check out the following recipes:

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