Top 10 German Foods & Recipes
Germans are know for their traditional German cousine around the world.
What many people don’t know is the fact that German food is so much more than just sausage and meat.
Depending on where in Germany you stay you will find a big variety of traditional and comfort foods.
To give you an idea of how diverse the cuisine in Germany is just take a look at what people from Munich (South of Germany) eat compared to what people from Hamburg (Northern Germany) eat.
The Southern area of Germany, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, have what we call a “Deftige Küche”. This means it is very rich food with a lot of taste, meat and is usually quite heavy (= forget your diet).
In Hamburg however you will find a lot of dishes with fish. Hamburg and the Northern parts of Germany are around the coast of the Baltic Sea and Northern Sea, which makes it the perfect place for freshly caught fish.
Now that you know that German food is very versatile and differs a lot from region to region let’s deep dive into the best German dishes.
1. Spätzle – Traditional Swabian Egg Noodles
It might come as a surprise, but the most famous German food, Spätzle, is completely vegetarian.
Spätzle are a kind of pasta, but the dough only consists of eggs, flour, salt and a hint of sparkling water (in order to fluff up the dough).
Insider Tip: Instead of sparkling water you can also use beer.
Yes, you have read correcty, Germans use beer even to make our food tastier.
Spätzle are original to the area of South-Western Germany, Baden-Württemberg, but can usually be found on the menu in any German restaurant.
Be careful, Swabians are very proud of their Spätzle, so better not call them German pasta.
Traditionally Spätzle are served as a side for meaty dishes (like Schnitzel), but they can also be a main dish.
The most famous way of preparing Spätzle is to top it with a huge amount of cheese (mountain cheese – Bergkäse – for the taste and some Limburger for the consistency) which is called Käsespätzle.
- German recipe for Käsespätzle
- English recipe for Käsespätzle
Where to find the best Käsespätzle:
The best place to find Käsespätzle is in Stuttgart “Zum Spätzleschwob“.
It is not surprising that already in second place we have a dish made of pork.
Bratwürste are part of every German barbeque and also differ from area to area.
The most famous Bratwürste are for sure the short and thin ones coming from Nürnberg.
Grill your Bratwurst for 2 minutes on each side, put it in a bun, add some ketchup or moustard and ready is this iconic German dish called Bratwurstsemmel.
Outside of Nürnberg Bratwürste are bigger and contain more fat.
The bigger and more fatty Bratwürste come from the area around Frankfurt.
But no matter which size, Bratwürste are part of every German barbeque party.
- German recipe for Bratwürste
- English recipe for Bratwürste
Where to find the best Bratwürste:
The best place to find Bratwürste is in Nürnberg the world famous “Bratwurst Röslein“.
Another sausage in the top 3 of our Top 10 foods in Germany list.
The world famous Currywurst is a true Berlin original.
Invented in Berlin by Herta Heuwer in 1949 the Currywurst is usually made of a pork sausage either wrapped in ‘Darm’ (better not to Google what Darm means as otherwise this might put you off a bit) or without Darm.
Cut into thin slices the sausage is covered in a mix of Ketchup spiced up with some curry powder. And ready is your first German Currywurst.
Traditionally Currywurst will be served accompanied by french fries or a plain white bread.
And yes, a true German Currywurst is swimming in sauce, which is also perfect for dipping your bread/fries in.
Believe it or not but in Berlin there is even a museum that is completely dedicated to Currywurst.
Berliners really are very serious about their Currywurst.
There is even a competition between the former Eastern and Western parts of Berlin about which Currywurst is the best (see below).
- German recipe for Currywurst
- English recipe for Currywurst
Where to find the best Currywurst:
This is a tough one, as you need to understand that Currywurst is a very sensitive topic in Berlin and the city is still divided into East and West about this topic.
So the best Currywurst in East Berlin is “Konnopkes Imbiss” and the best Currywurst in West Berlin is “Curry 36“.
Germans sometimes are reffered to as ‘Kartoffeln’ as a joke, because it seems that everyday a German is having at least one dish which contains Kartoffeln.
While this stereotype is untrue, it is true that Bratkartoffeln are an excellent way of eating your portion of Kartoffeln in Germany.
Slice up some boiled potatoes, slice them thinly, put them in a frying pan with a lot of oil, bacon and onions and fry them until they turn dark and crispy.
Similar to Spätzle Bratkartoffeln make for a very tasty side for many meaty dishes such as Schnitzel or Sauerbraten.
Original Bratkartoffeln are prepared in a heavy cast iron pan, otherwise you will not get the original taste.
Not the healthiest option on our Top 10 things to eat in Germany but definitely not the worst as well.
- German recipe for Bratkartoffeln
- English recipe for Bratkartoffeln
Where to find the best Bratkartoffeln:
The best place to find the best Bratkartoffeln in Germany is “Flickenschildt” in Hamburg.
Sauerbraten is a dish that you will usually get served when visiting the grand parents or on a special occasion.
To prepare a Sauerbraten you will need some high quality piece of beef and a lot of time.
The meat is put in the oven and cooked slowly in its juices for hours and hours.
But the slow cooking in low heat will make the meat incredibly soft and tender.
Traditionally Spätzle are a great side dish for Sauerbraten as the perfectly soak up all the juices and the sauce to add for even more flavour.
- German recipe for Sauerbraten
- English recipe for Sauerbraten
Where to find the best Sauerbraten:
The best place to find the tastiest Sauerbraten is in Aachen “Sauerbratenpalast“.
Rumour has it that back in the days some monks, who were not allowed to eat any meat during feasting, covered some meat in a kind of a pasta dough so that God could not see that they are eating meat.
This way the German Maultaschen were invented by some monks trying to sneak in some meat without getting caught by their god.
No matter if that story is true or not, but believe us when we say that this Swabian dish is another fantastic thing to try while in Germany.
Maultaschen are either boiled or fried and come with all kinds of stuffing like pork, beef or even a veggie option.
Furthermore, to make them even more versatile, Maultaschen are often served as a soup, which is incredibly delicious as well.
- German recipe for Maultaschen
- English recipe for Maultaschen
Where to find the best Maultaschen:
The best place to taste some Maultaschen is “Gasthaus zur Linde” in Stuttgart.
Of course another dish made of pork meat is Leberkäse.
Leberkäse is usually rather served as a snack during the day rather than a real meal.
Leberkäse is a kind of a sausage that is put in the oven for a long time, then sliced and served with white bread and sweet moustard.
Yes, sweet moustard! Which is also something very traditional from Bavaria.
Very tasty but also very heavy and probably not the healthiest of all German foods.
You will find Leberkäse mostly at your local German butcher or at the Oktoberfest.
If you want to impress your German friend with your superiour knowledge of the German language you should go to a local butcher and order an “LKW”.
“LKW” in this case is short for Leberkasweckle.
In any other context an LKW is the German word for a truck.
- German recipe for Leberkäse
- We honestly could not find an English recipe for this
Where to find the best Leberkäse:
The best place to find some tasty Leberkäse is “Zum Spöckmeiser” in Munich.
The most famous version of Schnitzel is definitely the Wiener Schnitzel.
A Wiener Schnitzel is a thinly sliced piece of veal-meat, covered with flour, egg and bread crumbs and then deep fried in oil or a lot of butter until it turns golden on the outside.
Another tasty version of this dish is the Schnitzel Wiener Art, which is basically the same but with pork meat.
So be aware about the difference between a Wiener Schnitzel (veal) and a Schnitzel Wiener Art (pork).
But there are many more options on how to prepare a Schnitzel, which range from chicken breast to soja to blocks of cheese.
We are open to discussion here who really invented the Schnitzel, may it be the Austrians (after all the Wiener Schnitzel is called after their capitol) or even the Italians with their love of Escalopes.
But maybe, just maybe, it has been a German invention after all. Who knows?
- German recipe for Wiener Schnitzel
- English recipe for Wiener Schnitzel
Where to find the best Schnitzel:
The best place to try a Wiener Schnitzel is at “Zum Ferdinand” in München.
If you ever want to cook Rouladen yourself we strongly advice you to go to the butcher and ask him for some ready made Rouladen in order to save you a lot of work.
If you want to prepare them the traditional way you need some thinly sliced beef, put some moustard, onions, ham and a pickle inside, roll them up and put them in the oven to cook in a sauce for some hours.
But there are hundreds of different recipes going around for Rouladen.
One tasty variation for example is Rouladen greek style with Feta cheese inside.
Rouladen are extremely tasty but unfortunately they are very time consuming to prepare.
Where to find the best Rouladen:
The best place to find Rouladen is “Bönnsch” in Bonn.
One could argue that Gulasch is not really a German invention.
But nevertheless the Germans love their Gulasch and they may have taken the original recipes and turned them into some variations of their own.
Gulasch is made with thick pieces of beef meat that have been slow cooked in a rich sauce, sometimes made of red wine, which makes the meat very soft and tender.
Gulasch can be eaten as a soup or with some side dishes like Spätzle.
Where to find the best Gulasch:
The best place to taste some Gulasch is “Puszta Hütte” in Köln.
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