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Traditional German Recipes

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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. What are typical ingredients in German cooking?
  2. What are traditional German dishes and recipes?


When most people think of German food, they probably think of beer, pretzels, sausages, and schnitzel. While these foods are in fact typical, particularly in the southern state of Bavaria, there is much more to German food. In fact, every region in Germany has its own cuisine with a variety of main dishes, side dishes, and desserts.

Typical Ingredients

It is no secret German cuisine is meat heavy. Pork, beef, chicken, duck, goose, and game meats like boar and venison are all popular. Many popular dishes involve braising tough cuts of meat. Others, like schnitzel, involve pan-frying. Fresh and dried sausages, liverwurst, and cold cuts are also very common.1

Germany definitely has more than its share of "meat and potatoes" guys (and gals). Popular side dishes often incorporate potatoes, including potato dumplings, fried potato pancakes, French fries, mashed potatoes, and plain boiled potatoes.2

In Northern Germany, fresh, smoked, and pickled fish are all popular. They will often be served on rolls with onions and pickles.3

Cabbage is the perhaps the most typical German vegetable. White cabbage is used to make sauerkraut, while red cabbage is often boiled or braised. Both green and white asparagus are also hugely popular when in season. Peas, carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts also find their way to the German table.1

German food is generally not very spicy, but onions, mustard, chives, caraway seeds, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, juniper berries, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and of course plenty of salt and black pepper are used to create flavorful dishes. 1

Traditional German Recipes

Main Dish: Currywurst (okay, a somewhat modern tradition, especially popular in Berlin)
Main Dish: Eisbein (also known as Schweinshaxe)
Main Dish: Beef Rouladen
Main Dish: Sauerbraten
Side Dish: Spaetzle (especially Southwest Germany)
Side Dish: Sauerkraut
Side Dish: Red cabbage
Side Dish: Knödel (German bread dumplings, especially Bavaria)
Side Dish: Kloesse (German potato dumplings, Eastern Germany)
Dessert: Black Forest Cake (especially Southwest Germany)
Dessert: Quarkkeulchen

Recommended Read

Grandma's German Cookbook

If you're looking for a cookbook with traditional German recipes, such as beef rouladen and sauerkraut, look no further. Guten Appetit!

check it out »


  1. German Food Guide
  3. Lowlands-L Travels


  1. Typical ingredients in German cooking: meat, sausages, potatoes, cabbage, asparagus, peas, onions, mustard, chives, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, and parsley.
  2. Traditional German dishes and recipes: currywurst, beef rouladen, sauerbraten, spaetzle, sauerkraut, red cabbage, bread and potato dumplings, and Black Forest Cake.
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