Top Ten German Dishes

Categories: Dining, General Travel Info

Sauerbraten with potato dumplings
Sauerbraten with potato dumplings

[ source: Wikipedia]

Traditional German dishes are distinctive. Pork is the best-loved meat with beef second. Commonly eaten vegetables are root vegetables, the cabbage family, beans and peas. Here are ten traditional dishes to list as top ten German dishes eaten today:

Main Dishes

1. Sauerbraten

Beef roast marinated with red wine vinegar, cloves and bay leaves, sauerbraten is sliced and served with gravy. This contemporarily popular dish was made in the land of Germany since before the Middle Ages.

2. Bratwurst

A sausage of ground pork and/or beef, bratwurst was made in Nuremberg since the early 1300s. Today, the city makes bratwurst to export around the world. Definitely one of the top ten German dishes, authentic bratwurst is served at pubs with sauerkraut and dark rye bread.


3. Gruenkohl

Served with boiled potatoes, Gruenkohl is kale. The kale is well-cooked with bacon, ham and sausage. Chopped onions, nutmeg and mustard add more seasoning. Variations of this dish are made in the southern United States.

4. Potato Salad

This authentic salad is made from peeled, diced and boiled potatoes. These potatoes are mixed with vinegar, diced onions, sugar, salt and parsley. Served warm, this dish is often a hit at social gatherings like church dinners.

Other Sides

5. Spaetzle

Thick and seasoned noodles made with egg and served warm with butter or bacon with parsley garnishing. Traditionally made at home, these noodles are also pre-made in Baden-Wurttemberg and marketed globally.

6. Kartoffel Kloesse

Traditional German potato dumplings are like those made in other European countries and Scandinavia. Butter, chopped onions and bread crumbs top this comfort food.


7. Bauernbrot

German sourdough bread is loved for its flavor and dark crust. A similar recipe was often used in the frontier days of North America's settlement by Europeans.

8. Rye Bread

Eaten often with sauerkraut and other authentic dishes, German rye bread is delicious with corned beef. This bread has more rye flour than wheat flour.


9. Zwetschgenkuchen

This plum tart is made with fresh plums. The plums are arranged in a circular fashion with skin sides down on a sweet crust. Today, these tarts are made with plums or other fresh fruit and topped with whipped cream.

10. Sour Cream Twists

Soft from the sour cream, these yeast cookies are festive and delicious. The recipe is basic and easy to make. The cookies are popular and great for holiday buffets.

In addition to those here are additional german dishes that our readers submitted to be added. If there is one missing please email us or comment below and we will add it to the list.

Apfelkuchen mit Schlagsahne

Germans love to mix seasonal fruits into their pastries, and apples are a perennial favorite. This yeast-based coffee cake laced with apples appears on tables across the country every autumn. And of course, everything is made even better with a dollop of whipped cream!


This extremely popular potato dish can be found all over Germany. After all, what is not to like in steaming serving of pan-fried potatoes mixed with butter, bacon, and onions? Bratkartoffeln are traditionally served with fried eggs, pickles, and a green salad.


This German roulade is commonly made of bacon, onions, mustard, and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef and then cooked once assembled. After being placed on the plate, the Rouladen is then topped with a scrumptious gravy. Usually this main dish is eaten with Spaetzle, potato dumplings or boiled potatoes, and red cabbage.

Wiener Schnitzel

Did you know that this beloved dish hails from Vienna and is considered the national dish of Austria? A true Wiener Schnitzel involves a very thin veal cutlet that is breaded and deep fried, and then often garnished with a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley. Traditionally Wiener Schnitzel is served with a Kopfsalat (lettuce tossed with a sweetened vinaigrette), potato salad, cucumber salad, or parsley potatoes.

Jaeger Schnitzel

The Jaeger Schnitzel (or Hunter's Cutlet) was originally prepared with venison or wild boar backstrap that was pounded thin. Today, although the name has been retained, Jaeger Schnitzel is commonly made with pork. It is topped with a mushroom gravy and served with potatoes on the side.


The Black Forest Cake, as it is known as in English, consists of several layers of chocolate cake that have whipped cream and cherries spread between each layer. In Germany, Kirschwasser (a cherry liquor) is added to the cake. Interestingly, the cake is not named for the region of the Black Forest, but for the specialty liquor of the region, Schwarzwaelder Kirschwasser, which gives the cake its distinct taste.

Spargel Creme Suppe

Germans love asparagus, and this beloved soup appears during the height of asparagus season from mid-May to late June. The soup is made of pureed asparagus combined with broth and cream.


Schweinshaxe is especially popular in Bavaria. The dish entails roasting a ham hock in the oven until the crust is crispy. Often Schweinshaxe is combined with side dishes of potatoes or potato dumplings along with red cabbage or sauerkraut.


Although quite beloved in Bavaria, Weisswurst is actually rarely eaten outside of this area. This particular type of sausage is made of minced veal and fresh pork back bacon, and spiced with parsley, lemon, mace, ginger, cardamom, and onions. Since it is not smoked, Weisswurst is frequently eaten on the day it is prepared. It is commonly served with sweet mustard and soft pretzels.


The so-called Bee Sting Cake is made of sweet yeast dough that has been topped with caramelized almonds. As if this did not sound wonderful enough, this coffee cake is then filled with a layer of vanilla custard or cream. It is perfect for a weekend afternoon coffee break!

Forelle Muellerin

This main dish involves trout served with a Meuniere sauce made from lemon juice and butter. To prepare, the fish is dredged in flour and then browned in butter. Lemon and parsley are added to flavor the trout. Most often, Forelle Muellerin is served with boiled potatoes.


This classic German specialty is produced by fermenting finely cut white cabbage. It is usually flavored with juniper berries and served along with pork or sausage. Potatoes or potato dumplings are a classic side dish combined with sauerkraut.


Similar to ravioli, Maultaschen hail from Swabia (a region in Baden-Wuerttemberg). They are created by stuffing an outer pasta layer with a filling made of smoked meat, minced meat, bread crumbs, spinach, onions, parsley, and nutmeg. There are three traditional ways that Maultaschen are cooked: pan fried with onions and scrambled eggs; dressed with onions and butter; or simmered in a broth.


Lye rolls or bread are native to southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Like pretzels, these rolls are glazed in a lye solution prior to baking and then topped with large grains of salt.


Kassler is a smoked cut of pork that has been ripened in a salt brine. It resembles ham but is more smokey, less salty, and somewhat drier. Kassler is commonly served with cabbage dishes.


The state of Silesia may no longer exist, but this crumb cake, which hails from this area, continues to be quite popular. Made with a soft yeast dough, the Streuselkuchen is covered with a sweet crumb topping made of butter, bread crumbs, and sugar.


Potato pancakes are common in many European and Middle Eastern cultures, and Germany is no different. Similar to latkes, these are pan-fried pancakes made of potatoes, eggs, flour, and usually onions. They are frequently served with sour cream and apple sauce.


Similar to split pea soup, this soup is made from dried green or yellow peas. It is often flavored with herbs, such as marjoram and thyme, and enriched with bacon or smoked pork. Potatoes and onions are commonly added as well.

Koenigsberger Klopse

This East Prussian dish is made of meatballs served in a white sauce with capers. It comes from the famed city of Koenigsberg, and is made of ground veal combined with eggs, onions, anchovies, and spices. On an interesting historical note, during the East German period, the dish was renamed to avoid a reference to the city which the Russians had annexed and renamed after World War II.


This delectable spiced shortbread cookie is traditionally made in Germany around Christmas. It is usually stamped with images frequently taken from the legends surrounding St. Nicholas. The cookies are spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and pepper.


Apples and autumn go hand in hand, and this is true just as much in Germany as in the U.S. Apfelkrapfen are a kind of apple fritter considered a specialty of Bavaria. The recipe involves sliced apples that are covered in batter and then deep fried. The original batter recipes call for egg whites, making the batter very light, but yeast dough and puff pastry varieties also exist.


Native to Saarland, Rheinland-Pfalz, and the Mosel Valley, Schwenkbraten is a marinated pork neck steak grilled on a grill suspended on a tripod over a fire. The marinade is either a green herb or a red paprika sauce. According to folklore, this type of grilling was brought back by Germans who spent time working in South America, where they encountered such suspension grills.


This soft drink is composed of orange soda and cola. It was first registered in 1956 by Brauhaus Riegele in Augsburg.


A staple drink at German Christmas markets, Gluehwein, a hot mulled wine, takes its name from the glowing hot irons that once were used in the mulling process. It is usually made from red wine spiced with cloves, cinnamon sticks, citrus, star aniseed, and sugar. Sometimes Gluehwein is drunk with a shot of rum or other liquor.

We have plenty more German dishes and recipes - check out our Eat Like a German recipe collection - enjoy!

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Bettina Kraft

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