Last updated on May 29th, 2023 at 05:23 am
Get your lips around some delicious German cuisine! German recipes are prevalent in over 66 countries, but Germany remains the best place to try traditional German food.
Cuisine in the European country is known for its heartiness and goes down well with German beer. There is so much German food to try! From sausages to desserts and street food. You could eat a different meal each time you go out!
Let’s take a foodie journey through popular German food and find out which dishes you’d like to try!
German Street Food And Snacks
Who doesn’t love a giant pretzel! Germans love this treat as a mid-morning snack. German pretzels are typically huge, as big as or bigger than your face, and are best served warm and covered in large bits of sea salt.
Germans have a love affair with potatoes, so you’ll notice a lot of the authentic German food has potatoes in it. Reibekuchen (Kartoffelpuffer) is very similar to latkes, a traditional food served over Hanukkah. Some people also confuse potato pancakes with hash browns. Reibekuchen is made with eggs, flour, and grated potatoes, then pan-fried into a crispy flat ‘pancake.’
Served as a snack or as a side dish, Kartoffelpuffer is a must-try!
This German food originates from a french dish and is like a very thin pizza. However, there’s no tomato sauce, and it’s not served in a circular shape. Rather, it’s a rectangular shape of flatbread topped traditionally with crème fraîche (similar to sour cream), thinly sliced onions, and lardons (fatty bacon). Flammkuchen is baked in a wood oven, giving it a crispy and irresistible taste.
Much better than the McDonald’s version, Fischbrötchen will have your taste buds dancing in your mouth. You’ll be craving these fish sandwiches everywhere you go, always made from the freshest fish (Bismarck herring, salmon, or Rollmöpse (see below), and fresh bread as a bun. But, Fischbrötchen is traditionally served only in Northern Germany as it’s located closest to the sea and fresh fish.
Rollmöpse is marinated Herring, cut into a fillet, and rolled with pickles and onions. You can think of it as German sushi. Rollmöpse is served with a stick through the middle to hold the fish together, making it an easy-to-eat snack. It’s served premade and ready to eat.
4 Types of Sausages – German’s Street Food
Of course, when you think of Germany, sausages come to mind! They are a German street food classic and cooked fresh. Traditional German sausages taste so darn good! They are served alone or in a bun like a hot dog. Let’s look at the different types of grilled sausage in Germany.
The bratwurst is a cornerstone of German cuisine. There are over 40 different German bratwurst sausages, and Germany has even dedicated a museum to this sausage! You can visit the German Bratwurst Museum, lovingly referred to by tourists as Bratwurstland, in Thuringia, where the main ingredient for all bratwurst sausage comes from.
Weißwurst is made from a mixture of minced veal and pork back bacon and is served as s steamed pork sausage. There is an old saying that these sausages should not be allowed to hear the noon chime of the church bells.
So traditionally, Weißwurst sausages are eaten before lunch, even today! Germans also eat these sausages in a unique way. They suck the meat out of the sausage casing instead of cutting it into pieces or peeling it out of the casing! You can watch this method closely at the Bavarian Beer Festival ‘Oktoberfest‘.
Currywurst is a sausage made with a mixture of pork and served with a tomato sauce including curry powder. It’s a traditional fast food dish served without a bun, either whole or cut into pieces with a side of French fries. It is a german food that is often eaten when you are in a rush, as the snack is often served in street food trucks or food stalls.
Knackwurst is a thick but short sausage. Its ingredients include ground pork, veal, beef, and garlic. This sausage is yummy because it’s aged for a few days and then smoked over oak wood – getting a kind of crust that make a ‘Knack’ sound when eating.
13 Traditional German Dishes
Traditional German Food is often hearty and comforting. In earlier times the Germans were usually farmers and preferred a heavy meal at the end of a hard work day. As the winters were harsh and cold – they would have to rely on ingredients and vegetables that were still good enough after a few months in the stockpile. That’s why you can find a lot of potatoes, premade side dishes such as fermented cabbage in the German food.
Labskaus is a beef dish created by German sailors to eat on their ships. It then became popular on land. Labskaus combines salted beef, onions, and potatoes, which are mashed together with gherkins and pickled beets. While it doesn’t look appetizing (it looks like pink mush), it’s delicious!
Königsberger is named after a former Russian capital called Königsberg. The dish is really tasty! It’s made of meatballs served in a creamy white sauce with capers. The meatballs are made into veal with spices, anchovies, eggs, and an onion mixture.
Bratkartoffeln means fried potatoes, and they are very yummy. This traditional dish is often served with fried eggs or a salad.
Potato dumplings are made with boiled potatoes and any mixture of herbs and spices that you desire! Each time you try kartoffelknödel, it may taste different in German restaurants. Each restaurant or family has its unique recipe.
Mmmm… sauerkraut. This best sauerkraut is only found in Germany, and the fermented cabbage dish is a food staple across Germany. It serves as a side dish with street food and other traditional German foods.
Maultaschen is filled with any minced meat you want! They are a lovely addition to any meal.
Rouladen is a traditional German cuisine with thin and wide pieces of meat covered in mustard rolled up and stuffed with bacon and other fillings. The best part of this meal is the gravy poured on top.
Schnitzel is often considered a traditional Austrian dish, which is true when talking about ‘Wiener Schnitzel,’ which must always be made with veal. The German variation of schnitzel is made with tenderized pork or turkey. You can find this traditional German dish in any German restaurant worldwide!
Sauerbraten is a dish that is prepared days in advance. The beef is marinated for at least 3 days, and then gingersnap is added to make this dish pop! Sauerbraten is served with red cabbage, potato dumplings (spätzle), and beef gravy. Yum!
If you’re looking for what sounds like amazing German food to try, then Himmel und Erde is it. This dish dates back to the 18th century, known as Heaven and Earth. You expect a mix of mashed potatoes, black sausage, and apple sauce which almost sounds like a dessert!
Saumagen could be compared to the traditional Scottish meal, haggis, which uses a sheep’s stomach. Like the Scots, Germans don’t like to waste animal parts. The pig’s stomach is stuffed with potatoes, pork, onions, marjoram, nutmeg, and white pepper. As the saying goes, when in Rome! You’ve got to try this dish!
German mac and cheese are better than the American counterpart! It’s served as a side sigh and is made with egg noodles and cheese.
Butter cheese? Is that even a thing?! Well, it is, and doesn’t it sound amazing? It turns out it’s not technically made of butter but rather a semi-soft cow’s milk with a buttery appearance. Butterkäse is very smooth and has a similar texture to butter – hence its name.
Spaghettieis is not a traditional German food and rather a modern invention. It’s vanilla ice cream that is formed to look like spaghetti! This unique-looking dessert is made by pressing vanilla ice cream through a potato ricer to create ice cream noodles. Then the ice cream is covered with red strawberry sauce to look like tomato sauce.
Christstollen is considered a traditional Christmas food in Germany that dates as far back as the 16th century. It’s not a cake, but rather a flatbread with dried and candied fruits. Some people add chopped buts on top and powdered sugar.
Strudel often comes to mind when you think of traditional German desserts. Apfelstrudel is strudel with an apple filling. It is often served with whipped cream or hot vanilla ice cream but can be eaten independently.
Are You Hungry Yet?
I know I certainly want some traditional German food after writing this! With all this German food to try and Germany being the best place to have it, it may be time to plan a trip to the country in Middle Europe.
Wouldn’t it be great to know how to order German food in German? You can learn how to do that and more with Ling, a modern language app with over 60 languages, including German, of course, for you to learn.
Ling uses gamification to help you learn and keep you wanting to improve your skills. With Ling, you can also learn how to order traditional dishes German food in German when you’re out at German restaurants or ordering street food.