Each German region has its own specialty dishes plus regional variations of top German cuisine recipes. Here are 10 top German foods you have to try.   718959.jpg

German food is rich, hearty and delicious and many top German dishes make great comfort food. Each region has its own speciality dishes and traditional cuisine, and your list of top 10 German foods can easily change from one city to the next.

Many German foods are easier to make than you think, and you’ll find it’s not too difficult to incorporate one of these dishes into your weekly meals. Besides this, the German fermented cabbage salad known as sauerkrauthas been found to be probiotic-rich and full of vitamins. What better way to explore German culture than creating your own German food specialties?

Here is a list of the top 10 German foods and some of the best German recipes to make your own – both authentic and with a twist.

Guten Appetit!



This typical German food involves wrapping thinly sliced meat – usually beef but also veal or pork – around a filling of bacon or pork belly, chopped onions, pickles and usually mustard, and then browned and simmered in broth (braised). The mixture changes between regions, with some variations including minced meat. It is common to serve this dish with gravy, dumplings, mashed potato or blaukraut (cooked red cabbage). This was once considered a common dish using cheap meats but is now eaten at festivals, weekends and family meals.

Make your own:



These soft egg noodles are Germany’s answer to pasta. Spätzle is especially popular in the south of Germany and considered a Swabian speciality and associated with the Baden-Württember state, although the origin of this dish is disputed and variations are found in neighbouring countries. These noodles made from wheat flour and egg are often served topped with cheese (käsespätzle) – rather like macaroni cheese – and sometimes with roasted onions too. They are also used to accompany German meat dishes that use lots of sauce or gravy, such as Rouladen, or in stews, such as Gaisburger Marsch (a Swabian stew).

They are sometimes served boiling hot, straight from the pan, so be careful. When cooking, a Swabian guide is to use one more egg than the number of guests. In some regions the dough is mixed with other ingredients, such as cherries or apples (Kirschspätzle or Apfelspätzle respectively, common in Allgäu), liver (Leberspätzle), saukraut (Krautspätzleor even using beer instead of water.

Make your own:


Rote grutze

Rote grütze is a red fruit pudding that is a popular dessert in north Germany. It’s made from black and red currants, raspberries and sometimes strawberries or cherries, which are cooked in their juice and thickened with a little cornstarch or cornflour. It’s served with cream (sahne), milk or vanilla sauce or ice-cream.

Make your own:



A steaming bowl of eintopf will warm anyone on a cold day. The name of this traditional German stew literally means ‘one pot’ and refers to the way of cooking rather than a specific recipe. However, most recipes contain the same basic ingredients: a broth, vegetables, potatoes or pulses and then some meat (commonly pork, beef or chicken) or sometimes fish. There are many eintopf regional specialities, such as lumpen und fleeh (which means ‘rags and fleas’) in the Kassel area, similar to Irish stew, or with lentils  (linseneintopf) typical in Thüringen.

Make your own:



Germans love their meat dishes, and sauerbraten (meaning ‘sour’ or ‘pickled’ roast) is a pot roast that’s regarded as one of the country’s national dishes. It can be made from many different meats, which are marinated in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs and seasoning for up to 10 days. This recipe is ideal for tenderising cheap meat cuts. Schweinenbraten is a delicious roast pork dish usually served with braised cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings (knoedel), and washed down with a pilsner beer.

Make your own:


Kartoffelpuffer, Klosse and Bratkartoffeln

Surveying the top German foods, one might come to the conclusion that Germans love potato. Certainly it is a common ingredient in many German foods and side dishes.

Kartoffelpuffer are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or ground potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. You can enjoy them either salty as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon. Look out for them in outdoor markets in the winter.

German potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel or Kartoffel Klösse) are also a common staple in dishes, served either as a side or main dish, in soups or sweet. You may see dumplings on menus called Klösse (or Klöße, said ‘kla-sa’) in west and north Germany and Knödel (said ‘ka-na-del’) in south-east Germany, or sometimes filled with fruits or meats.

Another common German side dish made of potatoes is bratkartoffeln, sometimes referred to as Germany’s answer to fries. It’s a basic but tasty recipe that involves boiling potatoes and then frying them with bacon and onion.

Make your own:



Brezel are soft, white pretzels made from flour water and yeast and sprinkled with salt (and sometimes different seeds). It’s great to eat as a side dish or snack, especially with a strong German beer. They’re in every bakery and on street stands, sold plain, sliced and buttered (butterbrezel) or with slices of cold meats or cheese.

Make your own:


Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

You’ll find lots of cakes and tarts to tempt you in Germany, commonly made with fresh fruits. Few can resist a huge slice of the most famous of German cakes: the delicious Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest cherry cake. The cake is named after Schwarzwalder Kirschwasser, which is a liqueur distilled from tart cherries. Alternating layers of rich chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream are topped off with more cream, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings.

Make your own:


Schnitzel and apple strudel

What do these dishes have in common? They are both the national dishes of Austriaalthough they have also been adopted into German cuisine and in restaurants worldwide.

A schnitzel is a thin, boneless cutlet of meat, which is coated in breadcrumbs and often served with a slice of lemon. You can choose a Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel), which is made of veal, or a Schnitzel WienerArt made of pork (Schwein). If you order a Hamburg-style schnitzel, it will arrive with a fried egg on top, while a Holsten-style schnitzel will come with an egg, anchovies and capers.

Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) is a popular dessert of buttery pastry filled with apples flavoured with sugar, cinnamon, raisins and breadcrumbs. It became popular in the 18th century under the Habsburg empire. The delicate flakey pastry is made from an elastic dough, which is kneaded and stretched until it’s almost paper thin. The thin pastry layers are buttered together, before being wrapped around the apple filling and baked. It’s served warm in slices sprinkled with powdered or icing sugar.

Make your own:



There are more than 1500 different types of Wurst (sausage) made in Germany and you’ll find street stalls selling them everywhere. The most popular include Bratwurst (fried sausage) made of ground pork and spices, Wiener (Viennese), which is smoked and then boiled, and Blutwurst and Schwarzwurst, which are both blood sausages. Look out for regional specialities like Berlin’s Currywurst (sausage with curried ketchup on the top), Bavaria’s Weisswurst, a white sausage that you peel before eating with a sweet mustard, and Nuremberg’s grilled Rostbratwurst, served with fermented shredded cabbage (sauerkraut). In Thuringian the local Thüringer Rostbratwurst has received protected geographical status and the recipe dates hundreds of years. It is characterised from other sausages by distinctive spices (such as marjoram and caraway).

Make your own:



The benefits of German sauerkraut

The fermenting process that naturally preserves sauerkraut is ripe with probiotic power. Sauerkraut contains properties that also reportedly fight cancer and aid upset stomachs and ulcers. It is also a good source of iron, protein and fiber, plus contains vitamins A, C and K. Apart from cabbage, water and salt, which starts the process, you don’t need any other ingredients – except time, for the fermentation to occur.

To make it at home, you can try this Bavarian-style sauerkraut or see a video and image guide. Make sure you don’t make mistakes during fermentation, and read tips on how to know if your fermentation has gone bad.


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