Top 10 German foods – with recipes

Top 10 German foods – with recipes

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Each German region has its own specialty dishes plus regional variations of top German cuisine. Here are 10 top German foods you have to try, recipes included.

German food is rich, hearty and delicious and many top German dishes make great comfort food. Each region has its own speciality dishes and traditional cuisine, and your list of top 10 German foods can easily change from one city to the next.

Many German foods are easier to make than you think, and you'll find it's not too difficult to incorporate one of these dishes into your weekly meals. Besides this, the German fermented cabbage salad known as sauerkraut has been found to be probiotic-rich and full of vitamins. What better way to explore German culture than creating your own German food specialties?

Here is a list of the top 10 German foods and some of the best German recipes to make your own – both authentic and with a twist. Guten Appetit!

Rouladen

This typical German food involves wrapping thinly sliced meat – usually beef but also veal or pork – around a filling of bacon or pork belly, chopped onions, pickles and usually mustard, and then browned and simmered in broth (braised). The mixture changes between regions, with some variations including minced meat. It is common to serve this dish with gravy, dumplings, mashed potato or blaukraut (cooked red cabbage). This was once considered a common dish using cheap meats but is now eaten at festivals, weekends and family meals.

Make your own:

Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Rouladen

Kasespatzle

These soft egg noodles are Germany's answer to pasta. Spätzle is especially popular in the south of Germany and considered a Swabian speciality and associated with the Baden-Württember state, although the origin of this dish is disputed and variations are found in neighbouring countries. These noodles made from wheat flour and egg are often served topped with cheese (käsespätzle) – rather like macaroni cheese – and sometimes with roasted onions too. They are also used to accompany German meat dishes that use lots of sauce or gravy, such as Rouladen, or in stews, such as Gaisburger Marsch (a Swabian stew).

They are sometimes served boiling hot, straight from the pan, so be careful. When cooking, a Swabian guide is to use one more egg than the number of guests. In some regions the dough is mixed with other ingredients, such as cherries or apples (Kirschspätzle or Apfelspätzle respectively, common in Allgäu), liver (Leberspätzle), saukraut (Krautspätzle) or even using beer instead of water.

Make your own:

Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Kasespatzle

Rote grutze

Rote grütze is a red fruit pudding that is a popular dessert in north Germany. It’s made from black and red currants, raspberries and sometimes strawberries or cherries, which are cooked in their juice and thickened with a little cornstarch or cornflour. It’s served with cream (sahne), milk or vanilla sauce or ice-cream. 

Make your own:

Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Rote grutze

Eintopf

A steaming bowl of eintopf will warm anyone on a cold day. The name of this traditional German stew literally means ‘one pot’ and refers to the way of cooking rather than a specific recipe. However, most recipes contain the same basic ingredients: a broth, vegetables, potatoes or pulses and then some meat (commonly pork, beef or chicken) or sometimes fish. There are many eintopf regional specialities, such as lumpen und fleeh (which means ‘rags and fleas’) in the Kassel area, similar to Irish stew, or with lentils  (linseneintopf) typical in Thüringen.

Make your own:

 
Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Eintopf

Sauerbraten

Germans love their meat dishes, and sauerbraten (meaning ‘sour’ or ‘pickled’ roast) is a pot roast that’s regarded as one of the country’s national dishes. It can be made from many different meats, which are marinated in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs and seasoning for up to 10 days. This recipe is ideal for tenderising cheap meat cuts. Schweinenbraten is a delicious roast pork dish usually served with braised cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings (knoedel), and washed down with a pilsner beer.

Make your own:


Kartoffelpuffer, Klosse and Bratkartoffeln

Surveying the top German foods, one might come to the conclusion that Germans love potato. Certainly it is a common ingredient in many German foods and side dishes.

Kartoffelpuffer are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or ground potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. You can enjoy them either salty as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon. Look out for them in outdoor markets in the winter.

German potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel or Kartoffel Klösse) are also a common staple in dishes, served either as a side or main dish, in soups or sweet. You may see dumplings on menus called Klösse (or Klöße, said 'kla-sa') in west and north Germany and Knödel (said 'ka-na-del') in south-east Germany, or sometimes filled with fruits or meats.

Another common German side dish made of potatoes is bratkartoffeln, sometimes referred to as Germany's answer to fries. It's a basic but tasty recipe that involves boiling potatoes and then frying them with bacon and onion.

Make your own:


Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Kartoffelpuffer

Brezel

Brezel are soft, white pretzels made from flour water and yeast and sprinkled with salt (and sometimes different seeds). It's great to eat as a side dish or snack, especially with a strong German beer. They’re in every bakery and on street stands, sold plain, sliced and buttered (butterbrezel) or with slices of cold meats or cheese.

Make your own:

 
Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Brezel

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

You’ll find lots of cakes and tarts to tempt you in Germany, commonly made with fresh fruits. Few can resist a huge slice of the most famous of German cakes: the delicious Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest cherry cake. The cake is named after Schwarzwalder Kirschwasser, which is a liqueur distilled from tart cherries. Alternating layers of rich chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream are topped off with more cream, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings.

Make your own:


Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

Schnitzel and apple strudel

What do these dishes have in common? They are both the national dishes of Austria, although they have also been adopted into German cuisine and in restaurants worldwide.

A schnitzel is a thin, boneless cutlet of meat, which is coated in breadcrumbs and often served with a slice of lemon. You can choose a Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel), which is made of veal, or a Schnitzel Wiener Art made of pork (Schwein). If you order a Hamburg-style schnitzel, it will arrive with a fried egg on top, while a Holsten-style schnitzel will come with an egg, anchovies and capers.

Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) is a popular dessert of buttery pastry filled with apples flavoured with sugar, cinnamon, raisins and breadcrumbs. It became popular in the 18th century under the Habsburg empire. The delicate flakey pastry is made from an elastic dough, which is kneaded and stretched until it’s almost paper thin. The thin pastry layers are buttered together, before being wrapped around the apple filling and baked. It’s served warm in slices sprinkled with powdered or icing sugar.

Make your own:


Top 10 German foods – with recipes: Schnitzel

Wurst

There are more than 1500 different types of Wurst (sausage) made in Germany and you’ll find street stalls selling them everywhere. The most popular include Bratwurst (fried sausage) made of ground pork and spices, Wiener (Viennese), which is smoked and then boiled, and Blutwurst and Schwarzwurst, which are both blood sausages. Look out for regional specialities like Berlin’s Currywurst (sausage with curried ketchup on the top), Bavaria’s Weisswurst, a white sausage that you peel before eating with a sweet mustard, and Nuremberg's grilled Rostbratwurst, served with fermented shredded cabbage (sauerkraut). In Thuringian the local Thüringer Rostbratwurst has received protected geographical status and the recipe dates hundreds of years. It is characterised from other sausages by distinctive spices (such as marjoram and caraway).

Make your own:

 

The benefits of German sauerkraut

The fermenting process that naturally preserves sauerkraut is ripe with probiotic power. Sauerkraut contains properties that also reportedly fight cancer and aid upset stomachs and ulcers. It is also a good source of iron, protein and fiber, plus contains vitamins A, C and K. Apart from cabbage, water and salt, which starts the process, you don't need any other ingredients – except time, for the fermentation to occur.

To make it at home, you can try this Bavarian-style sauerkraut or see a video and image guide. Make sure you don't make mistakes during fermentation, and read tips on how to know if your fermentation has gone bad.

For a quicker cabbage side-dish you can also try Rotkohl, which is a braised red cabbage dish (see a recipe with photos) that is typically served warm.

Read more on local and traditional foods in Europe:


Expatica

Updated 2016.

Photo credit: Alex Morley (Apple strudel), Robspinella (Rouladen), Takeaway (Kasespatzle), Butaris (Eintopf), Brücke-Osteuropa (Sauerbraten), superscheell (Brezel), Mikelo (Schwarzwalder kirschtorte), Benreis (Schnitzel), sanfamedia.com (thumbnail).

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26 Comments To This Article

  • Asad posted:

    on 30th May 2016, 11:13:23 - Reply

    Amazing German recipes! Nice collection..

  • Steven posted:

    on 5th May 2016, 16:32:14 - Reply

    I LOVE THE SAUSAGES! I ATE THEM ALLL!!! <3
  • John posted:

    on 28th April 2016, 17:03:45 - Reply

    There are a lot of German people in Austria so.... a German could have made it.
  • Recipes posted:

    on 15th April 2016, 08:58:23 - Reply

    these are really nice recipes

  • aimee posted:

    on 5th April 2016, 23:26:32 - Reply

    yum
  • awesomeness posted:

    on 11th March 2016, 16:19:53 - Reply

    everything was so gooood
  • SissieA posted:

    on 9th January 2016, 05:19:51 - Reply

    Both filo and phyllo are correct!
  • AdolfSkroatler posted:

    on 24th December 2015, 15:25:54 - Reply

    Sarah, I do appreciate your clarification on the origin of these 2 foods. In this case, people associate them with German cuisine, and that is why they are here. Much like the Burrito is American and not Mexican, and the Fortune Cookie is American, and not Chinese, they are associated as such, so included with their respective countries. Auf Wiedersehen
  • Marion posted:

    on 28th September 2015, 23:10:10 - Reply

    Rouladen certainly are NOT cooked in water. They are browned on all sides in a fry pan in hot fat, vegetable oil, I have done in butter/vegetable oil mix. When nicely browned on all sides they are transferred to a casserole dish. Then a gravy is made from the pan drippings and, if needed, beef broth, then poured over the rouladen, covered and simmered about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  • Worschti posted:

    on 7th July 2015, 11:54:05 - Reply

    The usage of the word "Wurst" is just fine. It's right that "Wuerstchen" is the diminutive and as in 16. is said, USUALLY used for cold-cuts, but not exclusively. That's just common speech, the correct word for cold-cuts would be "Aufschnitt". In my opionion "Wuerstchen" means small or thin sausages, while "Wuerste" means thicker/bigger ones. "Wurst" is jused correct, because it's the generic term.
  • David posted:

    on 8th June 2015, 18:47:18 - Reply

    Actually, your usage of the word "wurst" is incorrect in this context. Wurst usually refers to cold-cuts. Sausages are referred to as "Würstchen", the diminutive of "Wurst", unless it is used in Words like Bratwurst, Rostbratwurst etc. If you wanted to group them under Title then you should have certainly used "Würstchen". You also spelled a lot of dishes wrong. The correct names would be "Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte", "Rote Grütze" and "Käsespätzle". You left out of all of the "Umlaute".

  • mallory posted:

    on 28th May 2015, 04:14:01 - Reply

    thanks alot i need this so much i [me] have to march around sara j anderson for a culture parade
  • dgfgfsg posted:

    on 5th May 2015, 20:22:52 - Reply

    i love german foods!!!!
  • ReggieJenkins3434 posted:

    on 8th April 2015, 01:20:12 - Reply

    German foods don't really matter to me... I'm just using this for my imaginary journey project at school. Although, I would like to go there and learn how to speak some german.

  • Joshua posted:

    on 12th March 2015, 17:21:52 - Reply

    What the heck pork hock is not listed here, the musket in Etobicoke serves excellent pork hock
  • Joanna posted:

    on 28th February 2015, 15:23:45 - Reply

    Rouladen are NOT cooked in WATER..................they are fried

  • Kisadance posted:

    on 25th February 2015, 07:34:49 - Reply

    Thanks for putting this together I think there is just so a big regional variety....but as some mentioned before Rouladen und Kloesse is a "Must" on that list and what about Thureringer Bratwurst in the section about sausages....
  • LeckerBiss posted:

    on 24th October 2014, 17:33:41 - Reply

    Hm... German cuisine has soo much more to offer. The Rote Grotze is a good tip, but otherwise the list is so unhealthy... What for example about all the krauts and salad recipes, for example:
    http://leckerbiss.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/fresh-kraut-salad-german-style/
    or
    http://leckerbiss.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/white-cabbage-salad-basic-german-recipe/

  • sarah posted:

    on 9th October 2014, 11:19:04 - Reply

    wiener schnitzel and Apfelstrudel are austrian ad NOT german...just saying
  • Adolf's Suicide Note posted:

    on 30th April 2014, 17:39:12 - Reply

    I absolutely love this recipe. So delicious!
  • Connie posted:

    on 29th April 2014, 18:47:08 - Reply

    I am German. The Germans themselves voted Roladen as their favorite dish. It is missing here. They are sooooooooooo good!!!
  • Cheyenne posted:

    on 2nd April 2014, 19:37:53 - Reply

    my Gramma is from Germany, so german food for dinner is nothing big, but my FAVOURITE dish is Ruladen. it is a thin steak, smeared with mustard, and lined with one quarter of a dill pickle, bacon, and a small amount of onion, then rolled. it is then boiled in water, making a gravy, then served with potatoes and usually she makes Bloukraut with it.
  • Sofia posted:

    on 20th December 2013, 11:16:14 - Reply

    Good variety, looks great! I just saw a post on how to get creative with Kartoffelpuffer

  • Marc posted:

    on 7th December 2013, 17:35:11 - Reply

    First: nice collection! I justed wanted to provide some comments and tips for a great schnitzel. A schnitzel made of pork mear is called "Schnitzel Wiener Art". It's definitely the cheaper version but can be as good as made of veal with these tips: Add some whipped cream to the eggs. That will make the coating extremely fluffy. Use a big scoop of clarified butter (if you can't find it at the grocery store, use a mix of vegetable oil and butter, but no olive oil). The schnitzel has to swim in fat. These are the main points to make your schnitzel original. Trust a German native !;)

  • Misslolzxx posted:

    on 19th September 2013, 19:42:55 - Reply

    Good but it wasn't very detailed and it is Filo no Phyllo
  • susesusi posted:

    on 12th April 2013, 12:57:50 - Reply

    Just two little things about this good article: It's Wiener Schnitzel and Wiener Würstchen (not Weiner), and there are loads of regional dishes altering the top 10 dependent on where one's eating.