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27 of the Most Popular German Foods for a Sumptuous Meal

By | Last Updated : 24th March 2022

German cuisine is all about flavorful and comforting culinary delights. Though certain delicacies belong to particular regions, they are accepted and enjoyed all over the country. The uniqueness in each region’s dishes leads to the country’s diversity of cuisine. While in Southern Germany red meat, particularly pork is popular, people in Northern Germany mostly enjoy dishes with seafood. Also, western counterparts like Baden-Württemberg and Saarland have French influences and hence, are more about pasta dishes like Maultaschen. Besides this, vegetables like potato, kale, and asparagus are also a favorite among Germans and often included in their main meals or side dishes.

German Food

Some of the Best Traditional Dishes of Germany

1. Bratwurst

Bratwurst

Daringgourmet.com

Bratwurst is a common fried sausage delicacy enjoyed all over the country. Originating in Nuremberg in the 1300s, these sausages are presently available in over 40 varieties. Though they are typically prepared with pork meat, veal and beef substitutes are quite popular. Among the many variations, one of the most common and tasty bratwursts include the tender and juicy pork meat stuffed inside a white bread roll and drizzled with mustard. Ideal for a quick snack, they are often enjoyed during soccer matches. To make it more filling, they are best accompanied by side dishes like saukeraut or a traditional potato salad, and some chilled German beer.

2. Currywurst

Currywurst

Daringgourmet.com

A favorite classic street food all over Germany, currywurst, a combination of sausage, and curry sauce is the creation of Herta Heuwer. She somehow sourced ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers in 1949, mixed them, and smothered the sauce over grilled sausages which led to the birth of the classic dish. Served in cardboard containers, currywurst sells like hot cakes with about 800 million being eaten every year. Most popular in Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne, this sausage platter is often teamed with bread rolls and French fries, eaten with the help of small toothpicks.

3. Maultaschen

Maultaschen

Daringgourmet.com

Maultaschen is a well-known Swabian dish of meat dumplings that somewhat resembles ravioli but is bigger in size. It consists of pasta dough pockets filled with a well-seasoned mixture of minced meat, egg, spinach, and onions. As per one’s preference, they can be gently simmered in a broth for a tender, juicy delight or pan-fried in butter to enjoy a slightly crispy, buttery treat. Either way, they are satisfying and taste heavenly. You could enjoy a sumptuous meal by teaming maultaschen with braised cabbage, green salad or potato salad.

 Maultaschen might be a common delicacy all over Germany but is a favorite among the people of the southern regions of the country. Having its roots in the state of Baden-Württemberg, this pasta dish has become an important part of its cultural heritage.

4. Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten

Daringgourmet.com

A national dish of Germany, sauerbraten, is a comforting beef stew usually enjoyed as a main meal. Though the pot roast takes a long time to prepare, the result is worth the time and effort. Its preparation involves marinating the beef meat for about ten days in a wine or vinegar mixture containing various herbs and spices. One can also use lamb, pork, horse, or venison instead of beef. The marinated and tenderized meat is dried, simmered for another four hours, and finally cooked in a sweet and savory gravy. An incredibly flavorsome dish, sauerbraten is best accompanied with spätzle and kartoffelpuffer or potato pancakes to counter the spices and provide the right balance in taste.

5. Rouladen

Rouladen

Daringgourmet.com

Rouladen is a traditional beef platter commonly enjoyed during Thanksgiving or other special occasions. Thin slices of seasoned beef or veal meat are rolled with a stuffing of bacon, onions, mustard, and pickles, browned, and simmered in rich meat or vegetable gravy. A hearty and savory delight, rouladen is best served for dinner with mashed potatoes, dumplings, and blaukraut or braised red cabbage.

6. Döner kebab

Döner kebab

Whereismyspoon.co

Although invented by the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, döner kebab was introduced to Germany by the Turks in 1969. It was initially served in Berlin, comprising sliced lamb meat, onions, and a little salad. However, over time, the dish gained popularity and included more salads, vegetables, and a variety of sauces to choose from. Also, beef, veal, or chicken meats have replaced the more expensive lamb meat.

Like a Turkish gyro or a taco, the kebabs are usually served in pita bread or flatbread pockets along with salads and a drizzle of sauce. With over 720 million döner kebabs consumed annually, they top the list of German’s favorite foods. You’ll also easily find its vegetarian substitute in most fast food joints which tastes equally amazing.

7. Schweinshaxe

Schweinshaxe

Recipetineats.com

Also known as pork knuckle, schweinshaxe, is a classic Bavarian dish enjoyed popularly during Oktoberfest. The appetizing tender and juicy pork meat on the bone attain a crispy skin from roasting. It is essentially served in a dark beer gravy having a slightly malty taste. A glass of cold German drink would be an ideal accompaniment with the rich, tasty dish. 

8. Hasenpfeffer

Hasenpfeffer

Honest-food.net

Hasenpfeffer is a rich and flavorful classic rabbit stew. Small pieces of rabbits or hare are braised with onions and marinated in a combination of wine, vinegar, and lots of seasonings. It is better to leave the marinade for about two days to allow the meat to soak in the flavors.

‘Hase’ means hare in German, and ‘pfeffer’ translates into pepper, indicating not just the sole ingredient but all the spices that go in its preparation like pepper, cloves, and allspice . Tender and juicy, hasenpfeffer is a delectable comfort food loaded with flavors in every bite, making it ideal for a holiday meal.

9. Wienerschnitzel

Wienerschnitzel

Allrecipes.com

Schnitzel, a breaded cutlet, might be of Italian origin and also a well-known dish in Austria. But, Germany, too, is not far behind in showing their love for this mouthwatering dish. One of its variants, wienerschnitzel is a favorite among the locals. It consists of veal cutlets coated with flour, dipped in a well-seasoned egg mixture, and rolled in breadcrumbs before cooking them in oil or butter. Garnished with fresh lemon wedges, wienerschnitzel is a tasty finger food with a crisp outer layer and a tender interior. Eating schnitzel with a dip of cream sauce and fried potatoes is one of the trends Germans follow.

10. Labskaus

Labskaus

Thespruceeats.com

Labskaus is a simple traditional dish invented by German sailors in the 18th century. It has a pinkish porridge-like texture attained by mashing potatoes, salted beef, onions, and pickled beets. Sweet yet salty, labskaus goes well with fried eggs, pickled gherkins, or pickled and rolled herring fillets, also known as rollmops. Despite its creation several years ago, it remains a well-loved dish till date, particularly in the northern states of Hamburg, Kiel, and Bremen. Many even consider it as one of the best remedies for a hangover. 

11. Käsespätzle

Käsespätzle

Craftbeering.com

Spätzle is a famous vegetarian noodle delicacy, hailing from the state of Baden-Württemberg. Among the many variants, käsespätzle is well-loved in which the spätzle or egg noodle is prepared with a combination of wheat flour and egg and loaded with cheese and caramelized onions on top. A German take on mac and cheese, Käsespätzle is a simple and delicious cheesy delight that teams up perfectly with almost every traditional meat dish.

12. Rollmops

Rollmops

Food.com

Rollmops are yummy pieces of pickled herrings stuffed and rolled in a way that it closely replicates small cylinders. The typical filling includes a savory combination of pickled gherkin and tomatoes or green olives with pimento. They are usually eaten as a breakfast or snack straight from the jar in which they are stored, sometimes served on bread, or eaten alongside labskaus.  Rollmops are sweet and sour, often considered an ideal cure for hangovers, just like labskaus.

13. Kartoffelpuffer

Kartoffelpuffer

Daringgourmet.com

Kartoffelpuffer, also known by the name of reibekuchen, are fried potato pancakes enjoyed all year round as a breakfast or snack dish. Its preparation includes mixing grated potatoes with flour, egg, onions, and parsley. Kartoffelpuffer are usually served with a drizzle of sweet apple sauce and cinnamon or savory condiments like sour cheese by street vendors mainly on special occasions like Christms, and Fasching, the colourful German festival celebrated 52 days before Easter. In winter, sweet potatoes often replace the usual potatoes and taste heavenly.

14. Kartoffelsalat

Kartoffelsalat
Kartoffelsalat

Daringgourmet.com

Kartoffelsalat is an authentic potato salad that serves as a summer and winter delight. Though its preparation is not the same in each region, the typical procedure includes marinating the cooked potatoes in a beef stock mixture containing onions, vinegar, and mustard. Besides attaining a rich, distinctive flavor, kartoffelsalat is a comfort food which tastes even better when served on the next day of preparation. A common dish in every German household, kartoffelsalat finds its way to the tables on every special occasion, from Christmas celebration to potluck parties.

15. Himmel un ääd

Himmel un ääd

Cooking-the-world.com

Himmel un ääd is a traditional vegetarian dish with its roots in Cologne. Also known as himmel un erde, the name literally means heaven and earth, derived from its two main ingredients, apples, and potatoes. While apples are found on the towering trees indicating the sky, potatoes come from the ground or earth. Hence, it is a combination of mashed potatoes and sweet apple sauce. Crispy fried onions are often sprinkled on top, which elevates its taste. Himmel un ääd can be enjoyed as it is or can be served with meat dishes. The sweet, savory flavors make it a tasty combination, popular since the 18th century.

16. Königsberger Klopse

Königsberger Klopse

Food.com

Königsberger klopse is a delicious meatball in white sauce platter. The meatballs are typically prepared by combining minced and seasoned veal with egg, onions, anchovies, and breadcrumbs. The sauce has capers as one of its main ingredients, giving this dish a tangy, salty, and savory taste. The meatballs soaked in the creamy, white sauce acquire a soft, juicy texture with flavors exploding in each bite.

Königsberger klopse gets its name from its place of origin, Königsberg in East Germany (presently Kaliningrad in Russia). Though the town is no longer a part of the country, the dish still remains popular all over the country.

17. Sauerkraut Soup

Sauerkraut Soup

Daringgourmet.com

Sauerkraut soup is a simple and delicious soup, one of the must-have dishes on New Year’s Eve. In addition to having sauerkraut or braised cabbage as its primary ingredient, other vegetables like carrots, potatoes, celery, and smoked bacon are added and cooked in a chicken broth. Hearty and filling, sauerkraut soup goes well with crusty bread slices or potato fries that perfectly balance its salty taste.

18. Zwiebelkuchen

Zwiebelkuchen

Allrecipes.com

Zwiebelkuchen is a sumptuous treat from Swabia. Though its name translates into onion cake, it is more of a savory pie consisting of a thick creamy base layered with caramelized onions and diced slices of bacon, sprinkled with caraway seeds on top. The crispy and smoky combination of onions and bacon makes it a delightful dish, this popular fall dish is often served with a glass of federweisser, a traditional fermented grape juice.

19. Saumagen

Saumagen

Sunnysidecircus.com

Saumagen is an authentic pig dish from the Palatinate region of Germany, created by the local farmers during the 18th century, with the idea of making a proper usage of their leftover food. In German, its name means sow’s stomach, referring to the pig’s stomach used as a casing to contain a seasoned stuffing of potatoes, carrots, onions, and pork. It is sliced before being roasted in the oven and served with mashed potatoes and a glass of chilled beer or dry white wine. Sometimes, the flavorful dish is also fried to enjoy its crispy texture.

20. Grünkohl mit Pinkel

Grünkohl mit Pinkel

Thespruceeats.com

Grünkohl mit pinkel is a favorite winter delicacy in northern Germany. It comprises a lip-smacking combination of cooked kale and pinkel sausage made with smoky bacon. A hearty and healthy meal, grünkohl mit pinkel is essentially served with accompaniments like boiled potatoes during Grünkohlfahrt, a traditional winter custom involving drinks, games, and food.

21. Kartoffelknödel 

Kartoffelknödel

Plattertalk.com

Kartoffelknödel is a German-styled potato dumpling. They can be made either with only cooked potatoes or a combination of cooked and raw, grated potatoes. They are mashed, mixed with flour, eggs, and seasonings, and shaped into sticky balls before being cooked in salt water. Kartoffelknödel is simple and tasty that can be eaten on its own as a vegetarian appetizer or served with meat and gravy or a plain meat broth.

22. Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen

Curiouscuisiniere.com

Flammkuchen is a lip-smacking German party food similar to a pizza, both in taste and appearance. It consists of an oval or rectangle-shaped flatbread with various toppings customized as per one’s preference. Traditionally, the toppings include sour cream, grated onions, sliced sausages, and grated cheese. It has a thin, crispy crust that perfectly contrasts the slightly tart sour cream while enjoying the smoky and caramelized sweetness of onions and bacon. Often served at Oktoberfest, an annual festival celebrated in Munich, flammkuchen makes an ideal party food to be enjoyed with friends and family.

23. Senfeier

Senfeier

Kitchenstories.com

Senfeier or senfsoße is a delicious comfort food consisting of boiled eggs covered in mustard sauce. It’s a healthy dish, often preferred for breakfast with sides like mashed potatoes, blanched kale, or a lot of veggies, including carrots, broccoli, peas, and cauliflower. If having it as a part of the main course, rice would be a perfect accompaniment.

24. Fischbrötchen

Fischbrötchen

Sandwichtribunal.com

Fischbrötchen is a lip-smacking fish sandwich widely enjoyed in northern Germany. The main ingredients going into its preparation include herring fish, onions, pickles, and remoulade, a traditional sauce having a mayonnaise base. Other fish varieties like salmon or mackerel can also be used. Fischbrötchen is commonly served in fast food stands by placing all the ingredients in bread buns with additional remoulade sauce on the side.

25. Steckerlfisch

Steckerlfisch

Craftbeering.com

Steckerlfish is a tasty skewered fish dish commonly enjoyed at the Oktoberfest. A whole fish is grilled on a stick after marinating it with a blend of spices, oil, and garlic. Though traditionally, freshwater whitefish and trout were used, modern variations also include saltwater fish like mackerel. They have a crispy and flavorful outer crust and a tender and milder interior. They are usually wrapped around a paper and served on a plate with side dishes like pretzels or savored by simply squeezing lemon on top.

26. Spargel (Platter)

Spargel (Platter)

Thespruceeats.com

Spargel or white asparagus is one of the most preferred vegetables in Germany to the extent that it is consumed over 70,000 tons per year. It is slightly bitter and has a more delicate and milder taste when compared to green asparagus. One of the perfect ways to enjoy them is to cook them in boiled water flavored with butter, salt, and sugar. They are served hot with butter, ham, boiled potatoes, and Hollandaise sauce and also make a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or pork meat.

27. Eintopf

Eintopf

Germanculture.com.ua

Eintopf means ‘one pot’ in Germany, defining the procedure of cooking the dish. It is basically a traditional stew comprising bratwurst sausage and vegetables like potatoes and carrots that are added to a spiced vegetable or beef broth. The smokiness and saltiness of the sausage mixed with the flavorsome stew make it a delightful and hearty meal. A comforting dish, eintopf tastes even better when served hot in winter with chives or spring onions sprinkled on top.

These are some of the mouth-wateringly delicious German delicacies that are a must-have. In addition to these, you can also try some of the winter comfort foods like Pfannkuchensuppe and Eintopf. After enjoying a sumptuous meal, be sure to finish off your evening with one of the traditional German desserts.

TOP PICKS

Best German Christmas Foods: Kartoffelsalat, Rouladen

Best German Breakfast Foods: Kartoffelpuffer, Senfei, Rollmops

Best German Street Foods: Currywurst, Kartoffelpuffer,

Best German Fast Foods: Döner kebab, Bratwurst, Fischbrötchen

Best German Vegetarian Side Dishes: Himmel un ääd, Spargel, Kartoffelsalat

Best German Finger Foods: Wienerschnitzel, Kartoffelknödel, Kartoffelpuffer

Best German Snack Foods: Rollmops, Bratwurst, Kartoffelpuffer

Best German Fish Dishes: Rollmops, Steckerlfish, Fischbrötchen

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