Traditional German foods are filling and incredibly tasty; these foods vary significantly throughout the year.
Mushrooms, games, and vegetables all have a particular season. Many Germans prepare their meals using local and fresh ingredients, which is their secret.
Germany is famous for its bread and sausages, which frequently substitute meat in regular meals.
Weisswurst is a traditional Bavarian food that’s sold at butchers shops all across Germany these days.
Outside of Bavaria, it’s uncommon to find a restaurant that offers Weisswurst. Currywurst originates in Berlin, but it is now a popular snack in Germany.
In Baden-Württemberg, the most popular dishes are spätzle, maultaschen, and black forest cake. Seafood abounds in the northern states.
However, there are also well-known beef dishes such as königsberger klopse and grünkohl, mitpinkel, corned beef, beets, potatoes, and herring make up labskaus.
Soups are a big part of German cuisine. Germans adore soup, whether it’s light soups as an appetizer or substantial soups and stew as a main course.
Here is a list of some delicious and mouth-watering traditional German foods you should try out.
Table of Contents
Traditional German foods
- 1. Rumkuchen
- 2. German Pretzels
- 3. Currywurst
- 4. Döner Kebab
- 5. Weichnachtsgans
- 6. Grünkohl
- 7. Hackepeter
- 8. Dampfnudeln
- 9. Grießbrei
- 10. Pellkartoffeln
- 11. Nudelsuppe
- 12. Fischbrötchen
- 13. Sauerkraut
- 14. Spaghettieis
- 15. Maultaschen
- 16. Rouladen
- 17. Labskaus
- 18. Sauerbraten
- 19. Käsespätzle
- 20. Königsberger klopse
- 21. Gänsebraten
- 22. Wiener Würstchen
- 23. Bierschinken Wurst
- 24. Mettwurst
- 25. Eierkuchen
Traditional German foods
Rumkuchen is a great post-meal treat that will give you maximum satisfaction. It is a cold-weather rum cake that comes out as soon as the weather gets cold.
Rumkuchen is a solid cake that gets served with cherries. German pastries with cherries included are divine!
2. German Pretzels
German Pretzels are Germany’s most popular export. They are salty knots tossed by German bakers most lovingly.
“Bretzels,” as the Germans love to call them, are loved generally and pair well with beer.
What’s more? These pretzels are found anywhere in the country, and it’s worth trying out as they hit differently.
They usually get served with butter, spicy mustard, and white sausage in Bavaria.
If you haven’t tried out the currywurst, especially those sold at the street corners, then you’re missing out on a lot.
They are usually cooked in ketchup and curry powder and served hot.
Currywurst is a spicy and filling dish with fries. It is a students’ favorite in Hamburg, Berlin, and other German university towns.
4. Döner Kebab
Döner Kebab is a traditional German food inspired by Turkish culture. It is very popular in Germany to the extent that there are more kebab stands in Berlin than there are in Istanbul.
The Döner Kebab comprises of meat sliced vertically, wrapped up in a pita, and covered in onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and a garlic yogurt sauce.
This Kebab is a go-to late-night food choice even though there’s no wrong time to have a kebab.
Weichnachtsgan is a traditional German food usually made during Christmas. It is simply a roasted goose filled with onions, apples, prunes, chestnuts, and/or dates.
The goose is generally packed with a dough or meat filling and also seasoned with salt, thyme, pepper, and in most cases, marjoram.
Weichnachtsgan often gets served with simple staples like red cabbage, dumplings, spätzle, and gravy.
There is a general belief that this food originates from an ancient Catholic custom. On St.Martins Day (November 11th), a goose gets prepared.
At the end of the fasting period, on the eve of Christmas, another goose called Weichnachtsgan is prepared to celebrate.
Grünkohl, meaning kale, is another traditional German food that refers to different German dishes with kale as their main ingredient.
This vegetable is commonly used both during traditional fall and winter specialties in the country.
Plus, before it gets cooked alongside other ingredients, it is usually blanched in hot water.
Whether you have fresh or frozen kale, it doesn’t matter as both can suffice, although there’s the belief that frozen kale releases a sweeter flavor than the fresh one.
You can serve Grünkohl with dumplings, potatoes, and beer.
Hackepeter, otherwise known as mett, is an unusual traditional German food made up of raw pork mince consumed in its fresh and raw form.
You’ll season the raw meat with some pepper and salt. You can improve it with marjoram, onions, nutmeg, crushed caraway, and garlic just for some extra flavor.
The addition of raw onions to the basic mett results in zwiebelmett. The addition of onions and marjoram results in what is called thüringer mett.
However, in Germany, seasoned raw pork mince can be enjoyed spread over slices of bread, or bread rolls (mettbrötchen) with raw onion rings sprinkled on top.
This is a traditional German food made by simply using water, milk, and butter for cooking yeast dough dumplings.
When the liquids have evaporated, the dumplings are then fried in butter until they create a crispy crust at the bottom.
At the same time, the top still stays soft from the cooking process.
Dampfnudeln can be prepared either sweet or savory depends on the taste buds of the individual having it. It is cooked in salt water for the savory version.
Usually, it doesn’t have a filling, plus you can serve it with a thick potato soup. The sweet one gets filled with fruit jam and served with vanilla custard or fruit dessert.
This is another traditional German food in pudding form. This food is made with semolina, milk, and sugar, and sometimes vanilla and cinnamon are added for extra flavor.
To make Grießbrei, heat the milk, add the semolina, and stir it until it gets thick and creamy.
Many people enjoy having semolina pudding for breakfast. They can take the dish to another level by adding apples, cherries, pears, and strawberries.
In conclusion, serving this dish in a shallow bowl is highly recommended as it allows enough room for the toppings.
Pellkartoffeln is simply boiled or steamed potatoes with their skin intact. This traditional German food can be on its own or served alongside other different dishes.
The potatoes are scrubbed thoroughly to rid them of any dirt and then steamed in water seasoned with salt and, at times, bay leaves or caraway seeds.
Allowing the potatoes to cook with the skin intact is one way to retain more of their natural flavor and nutrients; it also cooks better this way.
After steaming, the potatoes can either be peeled or consumed with their skin. The easiest way to enjoy pellkartoffeln is with salt and butter.
However, some people like it with kräuterquark (quark mixed with fresh herbs).
Nudelsuppe is another traditional German food (noodle soup) made up of noodles in clear soup.
This soup is traditionally made up of a rich beef or chicken broth with german vegetables or greens(Suppengrün) such as celery, carrots, turnips, leeks, onions, and parsnips.
The most used noodles for this soup are the thin egg noodles (faddennudeln), although other variants can be used instead.
In making this dish, the noodles and soup are cooked separately. The boiled noodles are then transferred into the hot soup before serving.
This is a sandwich popularly eaten in Northern Germany. It is made with fish and other ingredients such as horseradish, pickles, lettuce, remoulade, and onions.
These ingredients are placed in round and stretched bread buns. The fish used in the preparation of this sandwich can vary.
Some of the popular fishes include salmon, herring, mackerel, and sprat. Fischbrötchen is usually served at fast-food stands in Germany.
This is a typical traditional German food made from cutting cabbage into tiny strips and Lacto-fermented in brine, giving it a sort of acidic flavor (hence its name in German: Kraut: cabbage and Sauer: acid).
Sauerkraut is frequently served alongside sausages or schupfnudeln, a type of elongated gnocchi popular in southern Germany and Austria.
Spaghettieis is an ice cream dish made in the form of a plate of spaghetti. This traditional german food came into existence in 1969 by Dario Fontanella, the son of an ice cream-making Italian immigrant in Mannheim, Germany.
Vanilla ice cream is pressed using a modified noodle press, which gives it a spaghetti look.
It is then placed over whipped cream and topped with strawberry sauce which serves as the tomato sauce.
Besides using strawberry sauce, you can also decide to try out other variants such as dark chocolate ice cream and nuts.
This is a popular specialty in Southern Germany. Maultaschen is a traditional dish that comprises the combination of minced meat, onions, bread crumbs, and spinach, seasoned with pepper, salt, and parsley.
It is then steamed and served with broth in place of sauce for a tender, creamier treat.
Although, it is sometimes pan-fried and buttered for extra flavor. Maultaschen can be found anywhere in Germany but most common in the south.
It runs from being savory to sweet and meaty to vegetarian.
As of 2009, the European Union recognized this dish as a regional specialty and notable to the cultural heritage of the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Rouladen is a delicious combination of bacon, pickles, mustard, and onions wrapped in sliced beef or veal.
Although vegetarian and other meat options are available, rinderrouladen (beef rouladen) is the real deal.
This traditional dish is a staple of special occasions and family dinners. Rouladen is often served with pickled red cabbage, potato dumplings, and mashed potatoes.
To round off this dish, you’ll need a red wine gravy.
Labskaus is a delicious dish, although not the most physically appealing dish, it represents the seafaring traditions of Northern Germany.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, ships were provided with the preserved fare, and the pink slop of labskaus was a delicious way of making them.
This traditional dish has been the favorite of Baltic and the North Sea sailors.
The porridge is made from mashed potatoes, salted beef, pickled beetroot, and onions and served with pickled gherkins and rollmops.
Nowadays, this food is very popular all over northern Germany, especially in Hamburg, Bremen, and Kiel. It is also considered a cure for a hangover.
Sauerbraten (sour roast) is considered one of the traditional German foods. It is traditionally made with horse meat, but beef and venison can serve as a substitute.
Although this dish takes time to make, it is truly worth the work, and it’s usually served as a Sunday family dinner.
Before the cooking proper, the meat is first marinated in a mixture of red wine, vinegar, herbs, and spices for a couple of days.
It can also be placed in a dark gravy made with beetroot sugar sauce and rye bread to balance out the sour taste of the vinegar.
Sauerbraten can be served with boiled potatoes, red cabbage, and potato dumplings.
Spätzle is a German dish that originated in Baden-Württemberg.
The noodles, which are essentially a type of pasta, are made from a basic mixture of eggs, flour, salt, and sometimes a splash of fizzy water to fluff up the dough.
It can be spiced up by adding cheese and served as a side dish to meat meals or thrown into soups.
The käsespätzle variety is a very popular dish in southern Germany, notably in Swabia and Bavaria.
Hot spätzle is alternatively piled with shredded granular cheese before being topped with fried onions.
The käsespätzle will be placed in the oven after each layer is added to prevent cooling and ensure cheese melting.
Käsespätzle is a common menu item in summer beer gardens and winter Munich bars.
20. Königsberger klopse
This delectable meal of meatballs in a creamy white sauce with capers, named after the old East Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia), is cherished by grandmothers and chefs alike.
Minced veal, onion, eggs, anchovies, pepper, and other spices are used to make the meatballs.
The capers and lemon juice in the sauce give this satisfying comfort food an unexpectedly exquisite finish.
The meal was renamed kochklopse (boiled meatballs) in the German Democratic Republic to prevent any allusion to its namesake, which the Soviet Union had taken.
Today, königsberger klopse may be found in most German restaurants with their traditional name.
However, they are especially popular in Berlin and Brandenburg.
Gänsebraten is a traditional German food made from a whole goose that has been brined, filled, and roasted to perfection.
The goose is usually seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices like thyme, nutmeg, marjoram, lovage, cloves, or bay leaves.
The stuffing can include chestnuts, apples, almonds, onions, or bread.
Roast goose slices are best served with sides like rotkohl (braised red cabbage), gravy, apple puree, potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße) or bread dumplings (Semmelknödel), potato salad (Kartoffelsalat), roasted chestnuts, sauerkraut, and spätzle.
22. Wiener Würstchen
This traditional German food is considered a variant of the original frankfurter würstchen (frankfurter sausage).
Wiener würstchen is the name of a German sausage that is normally produced with a blend of pork and beef.
The combination is coarsely chopped and seasoned with coriander, mace, paprika, white pepper, salt, and ginger before it is inserted inside a thin sheep intestine, smoked, and parboiled.
Johann Georg Lahner, a butcher from Gasseldorf who had studied in Frankfurt, produced a new sausage by adding beef to the original frankfurter, which was made entirely of pork, in 1805 in Vienna.
His creation was originally known as Lahners würstel. However, it quickly became known as frankfurter würstel, a term that has stuck in Austria to this day.
23. Bierschinken Wurst
Bierschinken Wurst, also called beer ham sausage, is a parboiled German sausage containing pickled pork flesh or cooked ham pieces.
Finely ground pork, ice or water, bacon, salt, and spices like coriander, ginger, white pepper, mace, and cardamom are commonly used.
The sausage mixture is placed into natural or artificial casings once mixed with the meat pieces. It is occasionally smoked before cooking.
Although pork is commonly used, the sausage can also be made with chicken or beef or a mix of the three.
Mettwurst is a long thin German sausage prepared from pig and beef and flavored with anything from pepper, garlic, caraway, marjoram, mace to alcoholic drinks like cognac and rum.
The sausage is either air-dried or cold smoked.
Mettwurst can be fried, made with kale or cabbage, or just spread on bread and eaten plain.
This sausage also comes in firmer varieties which are commonly used in soups and stews.
Eierkuchen is a traditional german pancake made with flour, eggs, butter, milk, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
The batter is usually sweetened with vanilla extract or cinnamon.
However, a savory version of these pancakes can be made by removing the sugar and other sweet flavorings.
Using a ladle, pour a layer of batter into melted butter or oil, making sure the batter covers the bottom of the pan and forms a thin and circular pancake.
The pancakes are fried on both sides until well browned, then serve warm with jam, applesauce, chocolate hazelnut spreads, or fruit preserves.