Germany is famous for its food, and it’s no wonder why—it’s absolutely delicious. German food with name varies from region to region, so every area has something new and exciting to offer.
When you visit Germany, you’ll have a long list of foods that you can try out. To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the most famous German dishes you can find. Read on to learn more about these tasty treats!
Germany Food With Name
It’s definitely more than a mere mix of beer, sauerkraut and sausage.Today Germans appreciate well-prepared, well-served meals as much as they do a quick bite on the go. This is a country of food markets, beer gardens, wine festivals, food museums and high-end restaurants.
So: Haben sie hunger? Are you hungry now? Check out the list of 20 traditional German dishes that you need to try when you travel there.
1. Königsberger klopse
Named after the former East Prussian capital of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia), this tasty dish of meatballs in a creamy white sauce with capers is beloved by grandmothers and chefs alike.
The meatballs are traditionally made with minced veal, onion, eggs, anchovies, pepper and other spices. The sauce’s capers and lemon juice give this filling comfort food a surprisingly elegant finish.
In the German Democratic Republic, officials renamed the dish kochklopse (boiled meatballs) to avoid any reference to its namesake, which had been annexed by the Soviet Union. Today it’s possible to find königsberger klopse under their traditional name in most German restaurants, but they are especially popular in Berlin and Brandenburg.
Maultaschen is especially popular in southern Germany. Maultaschen from Swabia are a lot like ravioli but bigger. They are typically palm-sized, square pockets of dough with fillings that run the gamut from savory to sweet and meaty to vegetarian.
A traditional combination is minced meat, bread crumbs, onions and spinach — all seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley. They’re often simmered and served with broth instead of sauce for a tender, creamier treat, but are sometimes pan-fried and buttered for extra richness.
Today you can find maultaschen all over Germany (even frozen in supermarkets) but they’re most common in the south.
Here the delicious dumplings have become so important that in 2009, the European Union recognized Maultaschen as a regional specialty and marked the dish as significant to the cultural heritage of the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Labskaus is not the most visually appealing dish, but a delectable mess that represents the seafaring traditions of northern Germany like no other. In the 18th and 19th centuries, ship provisions were mostly preserved fare, and the pink slop of labskaus was a delicious way of preparing them.
Salted beef, onions, potatoes and pickled beetroot are all mashed up like porridge and served with pickled gherkins and rollmops (see below). It has long been a favorite of Baltic and North Sea sailors.
Today the dish is served all over northern Germany, but especially in Bremen, Kiel and Hamburg. And while on modern ships fridges have been installed, it remains popular as a hangover cure.
There are countless cured, smoked and other varieties available across wurst-loving Germany, so, for this list we will focus on some of the best German street food: bratwurst, or fried sausages.
There are more than 40 varieties of German bratwurst. Fried on a barbecue or in the pan, and then served in a white bread roll with mustard on the go, or with potato salad or sauerkraut as the perfect accompaniment for German beer.
Some of the most common bratwurst are:– Fränkische bratwurst from Fraconia with marjoram as a characteristic ingredient.– Nürnberger rostbratwurst that is small in size and mostly comes from the grill.– Thüringer rostbratwurst from Thuringia, which is quite spicy. Thuringia is also the home of the first German bratwurst museum, which opened in 2006.The most popular incarnation of bratwurst, however, is the next item on our list.
Practically synonymous with German cuisine since 1945, currywurst is commonly attributed to Herta Heuwer, a Berlin woman who in 1949 managed to obtain ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers, mixed them up and served the result over grilled sausage, instantly creating a German street food classic.
Today boiled and fried sausages are used, and currywurst remains one of the most popular sausage-based street foods in Germany, especially in Berlin, Cologne and the Rhine-Ruhr, where it’s usually served with chips and ketchup or mayonnaise or a bread roll.
Not the most sophisticated of dishes, but a filling street snack born out of necessity about which all of Germany is still mad: some 800 million are consumed a year.
6. Döner kebab
Döner kebab was introduced to Germany by Turkish immigrant workers coming here in the 1960s and ’70s. One of the earliest street sellers was Kadir Nurman, who started offering döner kebab sandwiches at West Berlin’s Zoo Station in 1972, from the where the dish first took both West and East Berlin by storm and then the rest of Germany.
From its humble Berlin beginnings when a döner kebab only contained meat, onions and a bit of salad, it developed into a dish with abundant salad, vegetables (sometimes grilled), and a selection of sauces from which to choose.
Veal and chicken spits are widely used as is the ever-popular lamb, while vegetarian and vegan versions are becoming increasingly common.
This controversy hasn’t stopped the breaded and fried meat cutlets to become popular everywhere in Germany, however. While the Austrian or Vienna schnitzel is by law only made with veal, the German version is made with tenderized pork or turkey and has become a staple of most traditional restaurants.
Whereas Vienna schnitzel is served plain, Germans love to ladle a variety of sauces over their schnitzel. Jägerschnitzel comes with mushroom sauce, zigeunerschnitzel with bell pepper sauce and rahmschnitzel is served with a creamy sauce.All go well with fried potatoes and cold lager or a Franconian apple wine.
Spätzle originally come from Baden-Württemberg. Essentially a sort of pasta, the noodles are a simple combination of eggs, flour, salt and often a splash of fizzy water to fluff up the dough. Traditionally served as a side to meat dishes or dropped into soups, it can be spiced up by adding cheese: the käsespätzle variant is an extremely popular dish in southern Germany, especially Swabia, Bavaria and the Allgäu region.
Hot spätzle and grated granular cheese are layered alternately and are finally decorated with fried onions. After adding each layer, the käsespätzle will be put into the oven to avoid cooling off and to ensure melting of cheese. Käsespätzle is a popular menu item in beer gardens in summer and cozy Munich pubs in winter.
Rouladen is a delicious blend of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped together in sliced beef or veal. Vegetarian and other meat options are also now widely available but the real deal is rinderrouladen (beef rouladen), a popular dish in western Germany and the Rhine region.
This is a staple of family dinners and special occasions. They are usually served with potato dumplings, mashed potatoes and pickled red cabbage. A red wine gravy is an absolute requirement to round off the dish.
Sauerbraten is regarded as one Germany’s national dishes and there are several regional variations in Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia and Swabia.
This pot roast takes quite a while to prepare, but the results, often served as Sunday family dinner, are truly worth the work. Sauerbraten (literally “sour roast”) is traditionally prepared with horse meat, but these days beef and venison are increasingly used.
Before cooking, the meat is marinated for several days in a mixture of red wine vinegar, herbs and spices. Drowned in a dark gravy made with beetroot sugar sauce and rye bread to balance the sour taste of the vinegar, sauerbraten is then traditionally served with red cabbage, potato dumplings or boiled potatoes.
11. Himmel un ääd
This is another messy and not necessarily optically appealing dish, but nevertheless definitely worth trying. Himmel und erde, or himmel un ääd in Cologne (both mean “Heaven and Earth”) is popular in the Rhineland, Westphalia and Lower Saxony. The dish consists of black pudding, fried onions and mashed potatoes with apple sauce.It has been around since the 18th century, and these days is a beloved staple of the many Kölsch breweries and beer halls in Cologne, where it goes perfectly well with a glass or three of the popular beer.
1/30Monschau Altstadt: Rows of timber houses (some 300 years old), elegant restaurants and charming boutiques give the historic center of this western resort town its storybook whimsy.Stijn Van Hulle
12. Zwiebelkuchen and federweisser
October is the month to taste the first wines of the year in Germany, and a well-known culinary treat in the south is federweisser und zwiebelkuchen (partially fermented young white wine and onion tart).
Federweisser literally means “feather white” and is made by adding yeast to grapes, allowing fermentation to proceed rapidly. Once the alcohol level reaches 4%, federweisser is sold. It is mostly enjoyed near where it is produced. Because of the fast fermentation, it needs to be consumed within a couple days of being bottled. In addition, the high levels of carbonation means that it cannot be bottled and transported in airtight containers.
In most towns and cities along the Mosel River, people flock to marketplaces and wine gardens in early October to sip a glass of federweisser and feast crispy, freshly made onion tarts called zwiebelkuchen. Because of its light and sweet taste, it pairs well with the savory, warm onion cake.
World politics in a pig’s stomach. Saumagen was made famous by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who (like the dish) hailed from the Palatinate. Kohl loved saumagen and served it to visiting dignitaries including Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.The literal translation of this dish is “sow’s stomach,” but saumagen is a lot less curious than its name implies.Somewhat resembling Scottish haggis, it is prepared by using the stomach of a pig (or an artificial one) as a casing for the stuffing made from pork, potatoes, carrots, onions, marjoram, nutmeg and white pepper.
It is then sliced and pan-fried or roasted in the oven, and, as Kohl knew, goes down perfectly well with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and a dry white wine from the Palatinate.
Believe it or not, there is far more to German food than sausages and sauerkraut. Just take a look at these top dishes, with recipes to try at home.
Delve into the world of German cuisine and you will soon discover an array of rich, hearty, and delicious dishes that are great comfort food. While each region of Germany has its own specialty dishes and traditional cuisine, there are certain culinary delights that people cherish throughout the country. And because many of these are easy to make, you won’t find it too difficult to incorporate them into your weekly meal plan, either. So why not explore German culture with your tastebuds and create your own dishes using these handy recipes. Guten Appetit!
Let’s start with an obvious one – Wurst. There are an estimated 1,500 varieties of sausage in Germany. These are prepared in many different ways and include a range of ingredients and unique spice blends. You will find these on street stalls almost everywhere across the country. One of the most popular varieties is Bratwurst, a pan-fried or roasted sausage made from veal, beef, or pork. Others include Wiener (Viennese), which is smoked and then boiled, and the blood sausages, Blutwurst and Schwarzwurst.
You will also find regional specialties such as Berlin’s Currywurst (with curried ketchup on top) and Bavaria’s Weisswurst, a white sausage that you peel before eating with sweet mustard. Meanwhile, Nuremberg is famous for its grilled Rostbratwurst, which people eat with fermented shredded cabbage (sauerkraut). And in the state of Thuringian, the local Rostbratwurst is made using distinctive spices like marjoram and caraway.
This typical German dish consists of bacon, onions, mustard, and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef or veal which is then cooked. Rouladen is also considered to be part of traditional Polish cuisine in the Upper Silesia region. Here it is known as rolada Śląska (Silesian roulade). It is also famous in Czechia where it is called Španělský ptáček (Spanish bird). While the mixture varies from region to region, beef has become popular over the last century. The cut is usually topside beef or silverside since this is the cheaper cut. You will find this hearty German food at festivals and family dinner tables across the country. It usually comes with dumplings, mashed potatoes, Blaukraut (cooked red cabbage), and red wine gravy.
Germany’s answer to pasta, Spätzle is especially popular in the south of the country. These soft egg noodles are made from wheat flour and egg and are often topped with cheese (Käsespätzle) and roasted onions. Although the origin of the dish is disputed and variations are found in neighboring countries, Spätzle remains a Swabian specialty. There, the general cooking rule is to use one more egg than the number of guests. It is often served with meat dishes that use a lot of sauce or gravy, such as Rouladen, or in stews, such as Gaisburger Marsch (a Swabian stew). In some regions, the dough contains other ingredients like cherries (Kirschspätzle), apples (Apfelspätzle), liver (Leberspätzle), sauerkraut (Krautspätzle), or even beer.
A steaming bowl of Eintopf will warm anyone up on a cold day. The name of this traditional German stew literally means ‘one pot’ and refers to the way of cooking rather than its contents. That said, most recipes contain the same basic ingredients: broth, vegetables, potatoes or pulses, and pork, beef, chicken, or fish. Eintopf is similar to Irish stew and you will find many different regional specialties throughout Germany. These include Lumpen und Flöh (which means ‘rags and fleas’) in the Kassel area and Linseneintopf (lentils) in Thüringen. Full of flavor and heart-warming goodness, it’s no wonder this tasty dish is one of the most popular German foods.
Germans love their meat dishes, and Sauerbraten (meaning ‘sour’ or ‘pickled’ roast) is one of the country’s national dishes. You can make a pot roast by using many different types of meat, which you marinate in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs, and then season for up to ten days. This recipe is also ideal for tenderizing cheap cuts of meat. Schweinebraten (which translates as ‘roast pork’) is a delicious Bavarian recipe that you will commonly find in beer halls. It usually comes with braised cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings (Knoedel) and goes down nicely with an ice-cold pilsner.
What a fantastic word! Perfect to enjoy as either a side dish or a light snack, Kartoffelpuffer are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or ground potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion, and seasoning. You can top them with a variety of sweet or savory condiments, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, apple sauce, or cinnamon. You will often find this tasty German food at outdoor markets in the winter and some variations use sweet potatoes which are also popular.
Great to eat as a side dish or snack, the Brezel (pretzel) is a type of baked pastry that is made from dough commonly shaped into a knot. A Brezel is usually sprinkled with salt, however, other seasonings include cheese, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, and different seeds. This is a popular German food to eat with German beer and you will find it in bakeries and on street stalls throughout the country. They usually come plain, sliced, and buttered (Butterbrezel) or with slices of cold meats or cheese. Lecker!
Our list of top German foods wouldn’t be complete with mentioning Schnitzel. Coated in breadcrumbs and often served with a slice of lemon, this thin, boneless cutlet of meat is an iconic part of German cuisine. You can choose a Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese style) made from veal, or a Schnitzel Wiener Art, with pork (Schwein). If you order a Hamburg-style schnitzel, it will arrive with a fried egg on top, while a Holsten-style schnitzel comes with an egg, anchovies, and capers.
9. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
You’ll find lots of cakes and tarts to tempt you in Germany, but few people can resist a huge slice of Germany’s most famous cake: the delicious Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (which literally means ‘Black Forest cherry torte’). This dessert gets its name from Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser, a liqueur distilled from tart cherries. Interestingly, German law actually mandates that Kirschwasser must be present in the cake for it to be labeled a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Alternating layers of rich chocolate cake, cherries, and whipped cream are topped off with more cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings for a luxurious finish.
Although Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) is one of Austria’s national desserts, Germany has also adopted it into its local cuisine. The popular dish consists of buttery pastry filled with apples that are flavored with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. The dish became popular in the 18th century under the Habsburg empire. You can make the delicate flakey pastry from an elastic dough, which you knead and stretch until it is almost paper-thin. You then butter the thin pastry layers together, before wrapping them around the apple filling and baking it. It is common to eat the dessert in slices with a sprinkling of powdered or icing sugar. Simply heavenly!
Most Popular 15 German Foods (With Pictures!)
German cuisine doesn’t have the international recognition of some of its European counterparts, but German foods are so much more than sauerkraut, sausages and potatoes.
Each German region offers typical dishes with loads of tradition. In the north of Germany, dishes are mainly based on fish and sea food, while in the south of the country, they are mainly of red meat and game. Especially popular are German bakery products, e.g. whole weat bread, Bavarian pretzel, and various kinds of rolls.
Moreover, Germany has many excellent cakes such as bee-sting cake, cheesecake, and poppy-seed cake, which are the absolute classic cakes highly praised by visitors.
Vegetarian dishes are a growing trend in Germany and more and more vegan dishes are finding their way onto many menus. Germany consistently ranks among the most vegan countries worldwide.
Casseroles, soups, potatoes, and pasta are the basics of many delicious meals. And couscous is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient.
We present to you here some of the most popular and renowned German dishes. Many of the traditional dishes from all parts of Germany come in different varieties, with or without meat, soups and stews, baked goods and pastries, as well as vegetarian or vegan dishes.
Particularly prominent are the approximately 200 different kinds of sausages and the large variety of rolls and breads that can rarely be found in any other country.
Best German Dishes
Each part of Germany has its own typical dish, some of which are shaped by tradition. Due to the various regions, federal provinces, and local cultures, Germany offers many regional culinary delicacies.
1. Braunkohl and Bregenwurst
This dish from Northern Germany is a country-style sausage dish, often served with boiled potatoes and kale on the side. Bregenwurst can be either smoked or unsmoked.
The kale is seasoned with salt, pepper, and onions. As the sausage is only sold from November to February, Braunkohl and Bregenwurst is a typical winter dish.
2. Hamburger Labskaus
This dish, Hambuger Labskaus, is a classic of the harbor city Hamburg. Boiled, salted, and riced potatoes, minced onion, and corned beef are stewed and then gherkins and finely sliced beetroot are added, and then it is seasoned with salt, pepper, and allspice.
It is served with a fried egg and, depending in preference, matie, Bismarck herring, or pickled herring.
3. Potato Fritters or Potato Pancakes
Another potato dish which is famous in all areas of Germany is potato fritters, aka potato pancakes. To prepare the dish, low-starch potatoes are peeled and grated. Then they are mixed with egg and onion.
Once prepared, the fritters are fried until brown. They are mainly served with apple sauce or apple compote, as they keep their freshness.
4. Hamburger Pannfisch
For Hamburger Pannfisch, the main ingredient is fish, either coalfish or redfish. In addition, it includes sliced, low-starch potatoes, spring onions, and vegetable stock. This fish dish also has cream and mustard, to give it its special seasoning. Finally, a rasher of bacon is fried in hot oil to give a more intensive taste.
5. Turnip Stew: The Winter Stew
This stew has a long tradition in Germany and is a typical dish in Granma’s kitchen. This hearty stew is mainly consumed in late autumn and winter. In the past, the turnip was considered a poor man’s food, but today it and the stew has regained popularity. Being high in vitamin C, turnips help the immune system.
6. Pork Knuckle with Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is seen as the German vegetable dish, which is why the British often refer to Germans as “Krauts”. The pork knuckle has a large amount of pork flesh, which must be cleaned, spiced, and crisply fried.
To prepare the sauerkraut, white cabbage is cut into thin slices and pickled until tender with spices, pepper, and salt. For a special kick, fruits can be added. Generally, potatoes are served on the side.
7. Swabian Raviolis with Fried Onions
Swabian ravioli is mainly offered in the south-west of Germany and is very popular in this region. They resemble the Italian pasta dish of ravioli, and there are many different fillings, meat or vegetarian.
Swabian ravioli is often served with fried onions, which make the taste more intense.
8. Veal Sausage: The Bavarian National Dish
Bavarians love their veal sausage, which has become the national dish of Bavaria. In fact, it is rarely eaten in northern Germany as supermarkets do not sell this type of sausage. The main ingredient is veal, to which is added pretzel and sweet mustard to improve the flavor. They can be steamed, to cook them quicker.
9. Baden Brägele with Bibliskäs
This traditional Gericht from the south-west of Germany is one of the most popular dishes in the entire country. The dish comprises fried potatoes combined with a very special fresh herb cheese. The cheese is often home-made with a variety of herbs.
Those who like a hearty meal should eat it with a glass of Schorle, a fruit juice combined with fizzy water, or a Schorle of wine, diluted with water.
10. Stuffed Cabbage Filled with Millet
Vegetarians who want to enjoy a lovely roulade should try this vegetarian dish. It comprises two high-grade ingredients: cabbage, with loads of vitamin C, and millet. A little crème frâiche and cheese can be added to the sauce for extra taste. Generally, the dish is eaten with boiled or mashed potatoes, adding to the taste.
11. Döner with Curried Sausage
In Berlin, döner with curried sausage has become a real national dish. Despite its Turkish name, döner was developed in Berlin. What makes this dish unique is that two classic snacks are served together: döner and curried sausage.
The curried sausage is also popular without the döner in the west of the country. It is often served with ketchup or tomato sauce spiced with curry powder.
12. Saxon Mustard Meat
Saxon mustard meat is a real classic from eastern Germany, and was mainly served on special occasions, as in the GDR period, meat was expensive. Either pork or beef was used and a tasty vegetable broth.
To soak up the juices, potatoes, onions, cucumber, and wholemeal bread, Pumpernickel, is added and it is spiced with hot mustard, cloves, salt, pepper, and caraway.
13. Königsberger Meatballs
These meatballs originate in the German town of Königsberg in the east of Germany, which is where they got their name. The traditional dish contains meatballs from minced meat, stale bread, and Welsh onions.
It consists of a white sauce made from broth, cream, eggs, and capers. Though it is not the most attractive looking dish, it is delicious and can be eaten cold as it does not lose its taste.
14. Tarte Flambée with a French Influence
Tarte flambée is similar to the French onion tart and is prepared in just the same way. The base is a thinly rolled bread dough coated with sour cream.
On top go onions and cubes of bacon, seasoned with salt and pepper. As well as the classic savory tarte flambée, there are alternative sweet versions.
15. Curry Sausage in Western Germany: A Real Classic
As well as Berlin, curry sausage is a favorite in other towns in western Germany such as Bochum, Cologne, and Düsseldorf, where it is considered a real delicacy. But there are differences in how in is cooked, as the sauce is thinner and hotter and contains a lot of tomato.
The sausage is served with a curry dredged with extra curry powder, depending on preference. Curry sausage in western Germany is served with a roll, not with döner.