If you ask me, German food is vastly underrated and underappreciated. Some cuisines require skilled precision and mastery of difficult techniques. But there are plenty of easy German recipes that you can perfect at home. I have pulled together some hearty, satisfying entrees, tasty starters, plus desserts that are worth indulging in.
The term “German food” is a bit too broad. Every region of the country has something different and special to offer. This round-up includes recipes from across the country: Bavarian food to Berliner. My hope is you’ll find pleasure in some classic comfort food and discover some new delicious dishes.
Whether you are hanging out in a Biergarten or just enjoying your backyard on a nice day, you are going to need some snacks. The Bavarian food Obatzda is a soft cheese spread that you can slather on pretzels or bread and enjoy with radishes and onions.
This is truly one of the easy German recipes that you can whip up on the spot. It is a combination of Camembert cheese, butter, and cream cheese that is seasoned with onions, caraway seeds, and (surprise, surprise) beer.
Currywurst is one of the most famous German foods today. And, as far as easy German recipes go, this is up at the top. For the uninitiated, Currywurst is a sausage in a curry ketchup sauce that is usually served with French fries. It’s a popular street food but you can enjoy it at home, too.
If you’re looking to really cut corners, you can buy premade curry ketchup. But, as with most things, it always tastes better when you make it yourself.
Kale with Bacon and Smoked Sausage (Grünkohl mit Pinkel)
Much like every region of Germany seems to have its own variety of beer, they also tend to have their own sausage specialty. Pinkel is a variety of sausage from Northwestern Germany that contains bacon, oats, and beef suet, among other things.
The sausage is commonly served in a dish called Grünkohl mit Pinkel , a delicious and filling combination of kale with bacon and Pinkel. On an especially cold day, the dish is a quick way to warm up. It does take some time to stew the kale and other ingredients, but once it is started, it will simmer for hours on its own.
Peppered Beef Stew (Pfefferpotthast)
If that last stewed dish whet your appetite, then perhaps this traditional one from North Rhine-Westphalia will, as well. Pfefferpotthast calls for braising beef and pork goulash that is then stewed for a couple of hours. Slow and steady wins the race — and offers a hearty meal, too!
A personal favorite of mine, Jägerschnitzel (or “Hunter’s Schnitzel”) takes a pork loin and covers it in a rich sauce of mushrooms. Depending on your preferences, and the region you are in, the pork is sometimes breaded.
The dish is served in a variety of ways, such as with French fries or potato dumplings. But if you enjoy the mushroom sauce and Spätzle make a lovely combination.
Pork Knuckle (Schweinshaxe)
Transport yourself to Bavaria with a hearty meal of Schweinshaxe. The dish might seem intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you! Most of the work goes into preparing the pork for its long roasting time of several hours.
If possible, you will surely want to use a good Bavarian beer for the roasting — and as a beverage to enjoy with the finished dish!
If you are looking for something different than the many entrees in this post about stewed beef or roast pork, then maybe a Maultasche will be more your speed. Originating from the southwest of Germany in the Swabia region, Maultaschen are a sort of Swabian ravioli. Large rectangular pasta envelopes are filled with a mixture of pork, beef, spices, and bread.
German Potato Salad
Authentic German potato salad is a delicious addition to many meals, German or otherwise. For those unfamiliar, what makes the German variety of this side dish different is that it uses a vinegar dressing as opposed to a mayonnaise-based one.
This is one of the easy German recipes can be made up ahead of time and enjoyed for a few days — assuming you do not eat it all at once! Bookmark this one for your summer cookouts and picnics.
How does the saying go? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” German meatballs go by many different names, usually depending on the region of the country that you’re in. But they are just as tasty, no matter their name. Frikadelle, Fleischküchle, Fleischpflanzerl, Bulette, Klopse.
For the recipe, a variety of spices are combined with a ground meat mixture, and then the balls are fried.
German Christmas Cookies
Now that you’ve been able to cook a full meal with these easy German recipes, you have to end with dessert! It goes without saying there are plenty of delicious German cakes and pies. But let’s keep things relatively simple.
First up is a sweet variety of Christmas cookies from Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany: Spitzbuben, Springerle, Hutzelbrot, Dambedei, and, of course, Lebkuchen. And considering how famous the German Christmas traditions are, it’s a great place to start!
Now, each of the recipes includes a rather lengthy list of ingredients. But don’t let that discourage you. Each of those ingredients is just extra flavor! My favorite is the Spitzbuben, delicate sandwich cookies with a sweet layer of raspberry jam in the middle, that you can really enjoy any time of the year.
Jelly Doughnut (Berliner Pfannkuchen)
How could I do a list of German foods and not include the infamous jelly doughnut? Whether you like a doughnut with coffee for breakfast or one with tea in the afternoon, it’s a delicious indulgence.
These doughnuts are yeast-raised, which means you will have to show a bit of patience with the dough from this authentic German recipe. Frying them is relatively easy and then it’s just up to you to decide what kind of jelly filling you want. Raspberry and apricot are the traditional fillings for these sweet treats.
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