Updated: May 1
The cuisine of Germany consists of many different national and local cuisines, as well as regional recipes that are unique to German culture.
The most famous German food is Currywurst, sausage, pretzels, and Black Forest Gateau, but as you can see, there is far more to German food than that. It shares many culinary traditions with neighboring countries, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, since Germany is located in the center of a large cultural region.
Here is the most famous food in Germany you have to try while visiting Germany.
Appetizer & Starter
A pretzel is a pastry made of wheat dough that is made by combining flour, salt, malt, yeast, and water, the dough is then shaped into a well-known knotted shape of a pretzel before it is baked, A Brezel is usually sprinkled with salt, however, other seasonings include cheese, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, and different seeds. The wonderful brown color and unique taste of the pretzel come from dipping them in a sodium hydroxide solution. This also helps keep them fresh.
It can serve with salt or cheese if you want it salty, or try it with other dippings such as sugar, cheese, and cinnamon. Pretzel is associated with religion as it was created by the monks, it also represents good luck, so it often appears on the necks of German children on New Year’s Day.
On April 26, Germans eat a lot of pretzels because it is National Pretzel Day. Additionally, October is National Pretzel Month.
Kartoffelklöße or kartoffelknödel are traditional German potato dumplings that are consumed all over the country but are especially popular in Bavaria, Thuringia, and the Rhineland area. Depending on the variation, the dumplings may consist of cooked potatoes, raw potatoes, or a combination of both.
The potato mixture can be improved by adding ingredients such as beaten eggs, potato starch, cornstarch, or flour, and herbs such as chives or parsley, while some versions also call for filling the dumplings with croutons, sauerkraut, or ham.
Bratkartoffeln – Fried Potatoes
Bratkartoffeln is also known as German fries which means “fried potatoes, It is a famous German dish with the main ingredient being potatoes, combine chopped potatoes with bacon, onion, vegetables, and a variety of fresh herbs and spices and fry everything together in butter until crispy. Some people like to eat their potatoes with fried eggs or a light salad.
It is usually served as an accompaniment to roasted or grilled meat, sausages, fish, or fried eggs.
Eintopf is one of the most popular German foods, it is a stew/soup, the name of this traditional German stew means ‘one pot’ and refers to the way of cooking rather than its contents. This dish is a combination of vegetables with meat and broth, the basic recipes contain broth, vegetables, potatoes, or pulses, and pork, beef, chicken, or fish. Eintopf is similar to Irish stew.
This recipe is often served with bread. Different regions of the country will have different variations with more ingredients added.
Matzah Ball Soup
Matzah Ball Soup is a bowl of chicken broth with large matzah balls. In Jewish tradition, the large balls are often referred to as kneydl, knaidel, kneidel, or knodel and are made with matzo meal consisting of ground matzo bread and cooked chicken fat. Nowadays, matzah ball soup is not only associated with Passover* and has become a year-round comfort food that is enjoyed in most Jewish communities.
* is a major Jewish holiday The dish is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, and it is believed that it originated among the Ashkenazi Jews who invented it as an adaptation of Central European bread dumplings (knödels).
Semmelknödel is a popular German bread dumpling they are one of the most traditional side dishes in German cuisine even though there are numerous semmelknödel varieties, which come in various sizes. Sliced or diced bread pieces, which can be fried in oil, are usually soaked in plain milk to soften, then mixed with eggs to form a flexible, soft base.
Kartoffelsuppe is a famous German soup made with potatoes as its key ingredient. The soup is usually cooked with onions, celery, butter, and milk. It is characterized by a very thick consistency. This soup is traditionally served at harvest time when it is often accompanied by plum cake.
In other German regions, Kartoffelsuppe is often consumed with steamed dumplings. In some varieties of soup, such as the Berlin Kartoffelsuppe, it is recommended to garnish the dish with croutons and parsley.
Himmel und Erde
Himmel und Erde dates back to the 18th century and is a traditional German dish. Translated, Heaven and Earth, derived from the old word for potatoes – Erdapfel. The dish is made with mashed potatoes, fried onions, black pudding, and apple sauce. It is most commonly served with meat dishes, while purists insist on having a blood sausage on the side. In that case, the dish is sometimes referred to as Himmel, Erde, and Höllen (Heaven, Earth, and Hell). It pairs perfectly well with one or several full glasses of beer.
Mashed Potatoes and Beets
Labskaus is a dish from northern Germany consisting of salted corned beef, onions, potatoes, and pickled beetroot are all mashed up like porridge and then seasoned with salt, pepper, and allspice, after that, it is served with pickled gherkins and rollmops (pickled rolled herring) and, fried eggs.
It has long been a favorite of Baltic and North Sea sailors.
It is said that the dish was most probably invented in the 16th century when it was typically eaten by poor people, sailors, and seamen because pickled and canned foods were inexpensive and could last during long travels.
Another story about the dish German sailors invented and developed this wonderful dish in the 16th century when they used the leftovers on board to create a dish to fill their stomachs. Its Scandinavian variant has no herring, and the Danish version will have gravy added.
Kartoffelpuffer is a potato pan-fried pancake that is prepared with a thick batter made from grated or ground potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion, and seasoning and is usually shaped into flat, round shapes that are shortly pan-fried until golden and crispy. They are served as either a side dish or a light snack or as a main course and are best accompanied by stews, grilled meat, and sausages.
Kartoffelpuffers are served with a variety of sweet or savory condiments, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, apple sauce, or cinnamon.
Serviettenknödel is German bread dumplings or Semmelknödel that derive their name - napkin dumplings - from the way they are traditionally cooked as it is wrapped tightly and steamed inside a cloth napkin called serviette in German. They are typically made with pieces of stale bread rolls, baguettes, pretzels, milk, eggs, fat, and softened onions. The bread mixture is usually seasoned with salt and pepper and is often enhanced with freshly chopped parsley and nutmeg for extra flavor.
Quarkbällchen is a traditional German snack that is typically made by combining flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, and baking powder. Milk, melted butter, cinnamon, lemon zest, and corn or potato starch are also sometimes added to the combination, then it is shaped into small balls which are deep fried until golden brown on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Then it is coated in powdered sugar or a cinnamon-sugar mixture. This snack is generally enjoyed as an afternoon snack alongside a cup of tea or coffee.
The most famous food in Germany is Wurst, there are an estimated 1,500 varieties of sausage in Germany. Wurst is prepared in many different ways and includes a range of ingredients and unique spice blends.
Weisswurst or white sausage This is a traditional bacon sausage most common in the Bavaria region. It’s made of pork back bacon and veal. The sausage is seasoned with parsley, mace, lemon, ginger, onions, and cardamon to get a rich flavor. It’s cooked in relatively hot water as boiling water can easily break its casing.
Weisswurst is served as a breakfast and mid-morning snack. This snack is usually eaten with pretzels, mustard, and a glass of beer.
Blutwurst is one of those sausages with a long history in German cuisine. The Germans use pork, fat, animal blood, and various spices to make this blood sausage.
It comes in many different sizes and types. many regional versions include barley, oats, or bread, while some varieties may even consist of diced bacon or innards.
Diced bacon and innards are two common types of Blutwurst.
It is commonly enjoyed as an appetizer alongside other cold cuts.
Thüringer Rostbratwurst is one of the oldest known recipes, only finely minced pork, beef, or sometimes veal is used to make this sausage, and the spice mixtures that are added vary depending on the recipes and regional characteristics. They differ from other German sausages by having low fat and a distinctive combination of spices and seasonings - salt, pepper, caraway, marjoram, and garlic. Despite its unique flavor, Thüringer Rostbratwurst is still very popular in Germany and beyond, and it can be found at nearly every sausage stand in Thuringia.
Braunschweiger is a German dish made with liverwurst sausage. Using a pan, sausage is first sliced, then combined with smoked meat (such as bacon). They are fried together until they are nicely browned. It is often served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, or pasta as a main dish.
This is one of the most famous street foods in Germany. Typically made with veal and pork, bratwurst is a fresh sausage seasoned with nutmeg, ginger, coriander, and caraway. The sausage is usually grilled over sizzling barbecue stands in German streets, especially in summer. It is served with mustard and ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut, or in a bread roll.
Approximately 800 million Currywurst are consumed by Germans each year, making it one of the most popular sausages in the country. German street food classics were instantly created by Berlin woman Herta Heuwer, who in 1949 mixed up ketchup and curry powder and served it over grilled sausages.
The dish consists of boiled and fried sausages, sliced or whole, and a smooth and rich curry-spiced tomato sauce, the gravy sauce is made with puréed tomatoes and infused with aromatic curry powder. Currywurst is often served with fries and bread rolls.
This dish appears a lot at stalls and vendors in cities and towns.
Knockwurst or knackwurst is a preboiled German sausage made from ground pork, beef, or a combination of both. The sausage is heavily seasoned with garlic and has a high-fat content. Unlike bratwurst and other similar sausages, knockwurst's casing becomes extra crispy when heated, giving it a different texture and a specific sound when bitten into it.
It is recommended to serve the sausage with sauerkraut, potato salad, pickles, mustard, and a glass of cold beer on the side.
Mettwurst is a long and thin German sausage made with a combination of pork and beef, flavored with garlic, pepper, marjoram, and caraway, The sausage is cured and cold-smoked or air-dried and served along with alcoholic beverages such as rum and cognac. Mettwurst can be cooked and served with kale or cabbage, fried, or simply spread on bread and eaten as it is.
Bockwurst is one of the most common sausage varieties enjoyed in Germany. The sausages were originally prepared with finely ground veal, but today they can employ various types of meat and numerous combinations of spices and fresh herbs. They come in different shapes and are usually pale in color.
Schweinshaxe is a pork knuckle that is roasted for hours until it is thoroughly cooked The meat becomes juicy and tender and the skin becomes golden brown and crispy. Before roasting the meat is marinated for several days. Schweinshaxe is served with potatoes and different types of cabbages.
Schweinshaxe is a superior dish at the popular folk festival Oktoberfest.
Zwiebelkuchen is a savory onion pie. The base of the dish is a thin, buttery crust that is usually made with yeasted dough. The center of the pie is filled with a combination of caramelized onions, smoky bacon, and a creamy mixture of eggs and sour cream. The pie is usually spiced with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds, which give the dish a deep flavor.
Rouladen is a German meat roll stuffed with a variety of ingredients. It consists of thin strips of bacon and sliced pickles, carrots, onion, and mustard, wrapped together and rolled into small logs and secured with toothpicks. The rolls themselves are usually made with long and thin beef steaks, seasoned, and usually covered with a layer of sharp German mustard, which flavors them and keeps the meat juicy and tender.
It is usually served with dumplings, mashed potatoes, Blaukraut (cooked red cabbage), and red wine gravy. Vegetarian and other meat options are also now widely available but the beef version is the most popular one.
This is a staple of family dinners and special occasions.
Flat slices of meat covered with a layer of bread will become crispy when fried in hot oil. You can eat deep-fried or pan-fried schnitzel. In Germany, they use mainly pork as the meat of choice.
Many Germans like to eat schnitzel with fried potatoes and cream sauces.
If you order a Hamburg-style schnitzel, it will arrive with a fried egg on top, while a Holsten-style schnitzel comes with an egg, anchovies, and capers.
September 9 every year is chosen as National Wiener Schnitzel Day.
Germans love their meat dishes, and Sauerbraten (meaning ‘sour’ or ‘pickled’ roast) is one of the country’s national dishes. You can make a pot roast by using many different types of meat, which you marinate in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs, and then season for days. This recipe is also ideal for tenderizing cheap cuts of meat.
It usually comes with braised cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings (Knoedel) and goes down nicely with an ice-cold pilsner.
Buletten meat dish
Berliner buletten are traditional German meat patties they're usually made with a mix of ground pork and beef, soaked bread rolls, eggs, sautéed onions, garlic, butter, parsley, caraway, salt, pepper, and oil. All ingredients are mixed together and shaped into patties and fried in oil over high heat on both sides until browned.
It is best served with potatoes, salads, or creamy sauces.
Hendl is a roasted chicken that is seasoned only with salt and sometimes parsley before being grilled and sold whole or half. Butter is often brushed over the chicken while it is roasting. When served, hendl is usually accompanied by potato salad or large pretzels called brezn.
It is especially popular during Oktoberfest.
Weihnachtsgans is a roasted goose that's typically filled with onions, prunes, chestnuts, and apples/or dates. The goose is also often stuffed with dough or meat filling. It's seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, and marjoram in most cases. The goose is served with dumplings, spätzle, red cabbage, and gravy.
This dish is a traditional German dish that's prepared for Christmas.
It's believed that the practice of this dish stems from an old Catholic custom – on St.Martins Day (November 11th), a Martins-goose is prepared, and when the fasting period ends, on Christmas Eve, another goose was prepared to celebrate, called Weihnachtsgans.
Stollen is one of the German Christmas classics desserts, this rich fruit bread is prepared with a buttery and sweet yeast dough that is usually spiced, lemon-flavored, and enriched with various dried fruits and marzipan. It is usually oval and covered with generous amounts of melted butter and powdered sugar. It dates back to the 16th century, and it is most popular in Dresden.
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte Black Forest Gateau
It is one of the most popular desserts in Germany it consists of chocolate sponge cake layers and whipped cream, It is usually served with cherry sauce or kirschwasser that is poured over the top. Some varieties use the Kirschwasser brandy to soak the chocolate layers or to lightly flavor the whipped cream. Black Forest gateau comes from the Black Forest area in southwestern Germany. Yet its name does not refer to the forest, but to the popular liquors there.
German Wave Cake
Donauwelle is a German and Austrian sheet cake. It consists of two layers flavored with Vanilla & chocolate, the one on the bottom is flavored with vanilla, and the one on the top is flavored with chocolate. Cherries, buttercream, and chocolate ganache are then added to the top.
It's also known as Schneewittchenkuchen and Schneewittchentorte, which means Snow White cake, referring to the colors black, white, and red.
Zimtsterne is a crispy star-shaped German cookie. They are made of a mixture of whipped egg whites that are mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and ground nuts the classic recipe use almonds and other recipes use hazelnuts with vanilla sugar.
The dough is rolled and cut into star-shaped cookies. After baking, each cookie is coated with a layer of white frosting that is made from a combination of egg whites and sugar. The name of these cookies translates as cinnamon stars, due to the heavy use of the aromatic spice.
Apfelstrudel an apple pastry
Apfelstrudel is a traditional pastry that is popular in Germany, although it is one of Austria’s national desserts, Germany has also adopted it into its local cuisine. Apfelstrudel* is a swirled pastry with an apple filling it is made with thin layers of dough that are filled with apples that are flavored with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.
It is then baked and served with sweet icing, sugar glaze, and/or powdered sugar. The dish became popular in the 18th century under the Habsburg Empire. It is served with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
*The word, “strudel,” means “swirl” or “whirlpool.”
German apple cake is a delightful combination of dense, buttery dough and sliced, halved, or diced apples. Depending on the region, the cake is often dusted with cinnamon sugar, covered in crumbly streusel, or doused in vanilla-flavored custard. Traditionally baked in round tins, sliced apple cake is usually enjoyed as a filling afternoon dessert that is often paired with coffee or tea.
German-style cheesecake is a traditional dessert consisting of a thin layer of shortcrust pastry that is topped with a creamy combination of quark cheese, eggs, and various fruits lemon and vanilla can be added for some extra freshness. Usually served dusted with powdered sugar.
It is served as an everyday treat alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Bavarian Cream is a dessert-like custard consisting of milk thickened with eggs and gelatin combined with whipped cream. It is traditionally served cold and is usually garnished with pieces of fresh fruit or drizzled over with sweet sauces.
Grießbrei is a traditional pudding based on semolina. The dish is made with milk, semolina, and sugar. It's often flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It is usually eaten for breakfast.
The dish is sometimes enhanced with the addition of fruits such as cherries, strawberries, peaches, pears, or apples. It's recommended to serve it in a shallow bowl.
Rote grütze is a traditional dessert made mainly with redcurrants, which can be combined with other red summer berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, or blackberries. The fruit is mixed and cooked along with sugar and potato starch, hence its gelatinous consistency.
Traditionally, the dish was made with cereals and was popular among the lower classes in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, semolina or sago are sometimes used in the preparation of this dessert. Rote grütze is served hot or cold, with milk, vanilla sauce, ice cream, whipped cream, or custard.
Bratapfel is a traditional German food that is made with caramelized apples. It is a popular dessert dish that is served during the fall and winter months.
The apples are cooked in a sugar syrup until they are soft and caramelized, and then they are served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Bratapfel is a delicious and decadent treat everyone should try at least once.
This delicious German sweet pastry is traditionally served with a cup of coffee on the side. Initially made only in the Hamburg area, it is now also available in other German cities. The original recipe for these little pastries includes flour, butter, milk, yeast, and sugar, with a filling consisting of sugar and cinnamon.
However, raisins, chocolate, or pumpkin seeds may also be added. The dough is folded multiple times and glazed with butter, developing a sticky coating and rich flavor in the process. The name of this dish is possibly related to the French, who had occupied Hamburg during Napoleon's rule.
It is the German version of spit cake, known as Baumkuchen, is just one of many similar cakes found throughout Europe.
The batter–typically made from flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter–is thinly coated on a spit that’s rotating over a heat source. Before each new layer is applied, the previous one must be fully dry. Once sliced, the cake has a lovely texture and appearance which resembles growth rings, hence its name–Baumkuchen or tree cake.
Spaghettieis is a traditional German ice cream that’s made to look like a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese. It is made by pressing vanilla ice cream with a potato ricer or noodle press to create ice cream noodles to resemble Italian spaghetti. It is then placed over whipped cream and topped with strawberry sauce representing the tomato sauce and white chocolate shavings for the parmesan. If you do not pay close attention, you could be mistaken for a plate of spaghetti. Dario Fontanella invented this ice cream in the late 1960s.
Eiskaffee is German-style ice coffee that is a combination of chilled brewed coffee and ice cream. It is usually made with espresso and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and topped with unsweetened whipped cream though it is not sweetened, also it can contain a rum. Eiskaffee is usually served in a tall glass, together with a spoon and a straw.
It is a traditional German cider that is mainly made from cooking or dessert apples, it comes in several styles. German cider is usually light with an alcohol content that generally falls between 5 to 7% ABV.