Tourist’s guide to German cuisine and the best dishes to try

Traditional German cuisine is far from dietary. The culinary traditions of the country began to take shape during the period of Ancient Rome, however, the active development of German cuisine fell on the post-war years, when the traditions in cooking were influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries.

German kitchen

On the ability of one person to influence culinary traditions

As history clearly demonstrates, monarchs are able to influence not only the politics and culture of the country, but also the culinary preferences and traditions of their people. Such a historical example is Germany. King Kaiser Wilhelm II was distinguished by severe temper and severity. During the years of his reign, he imposed a strict ban on talking during meals, as well as discussing dishes and products in society. Conversations on this subject were considered shameful. In addition, the king had a negative attitude to culinary delights, so people – simple and aristocrats – had to eat very simply and freshly. The only “paint” that was allowed to be served was flour sauce.

Interesting fact! It is extremely rare and cautiously spoiled themselves with delicacies by residents of regions adjacent to Russia and Denmark.

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German cuisine

At the end of the First World War, the king abdicated and the inhabitants of Germany, not involved in the development of national cuisine, began to starve. Only in 1948 did culinary shows appear on local television, and recipe collections in bookstores. In addition, the Germans began to actively travel and bring various recipes. Thus, German cuisine went a difficult, thorny path before becoming the way it is known today in the world – high-calorie, satisfying, apparently, in this way the Germans try to forget about the fresh and hungry years in the country’s history.

National German cuisine – traditions and preferences

German kitchen

Despite the fact that culinary traditions in Germany began to take shape relatively recently, a certain food culture has already developed in the country, and many national dishes of German cuisine are known and beloved in many countries.

Good to know! In Germany, national recipes are constantly being improved, and interest in winemaking is growing every year, as locals like to enjoy a glass of local wine.

Perhaps, the favorite and most common dishes in Germany are pork, meat and sausages, sausages, and pastes are prepared. There are about one and a half thousand sausages in the national menu, and this is not surprising, because each region of the country comes up with an author’s recipe.

An important addition to meat delicacies is bread and pastries. In Germany, there are at least three hundred varieties of bread, and how many baked desserts are almost impossible to count.

Museum of bread
Museum of bread

Interesting fact! In the city of Ulm, the Bread Museum was built, where all sorts of bread in Germany are described in detail.

The most common and well-known side dish for meat is sour cabbage, the Germans also love and know how to cook potatoes, they fry, boil, stew, bake, fry pancakes.

What do they eat in Germany for breakfast? First of all, this meal is dense and satisfying, as a rule, they eat bread with several varieties of ham, bread with jam, honey, yogurt and rolls. At lunch, the Germans always eat soup, the second – meat with a side dish, finish the meal with dessert, for dinner – salad and cold dishes. It is customary to eat in Germany at least five times a day.

Interesting facts about traditional German cuisine

    German sausages
  1. Tourists will certainly be struck by the fact that in every German city a huge number of points where sausages and sausages are sold, they are inexpensive and attract attention with aroma. Serve meat delicacies with potato salad or as a hot dog.
  2. In everyday life, residents of Germany rarely prepare German national dishes, which differ in calorie content and fat content. But tourists are happy to order such treats, so there are a lot of establishments where the menu offers traditional German cuisine.
  3. On weekends, after lunch, the Germans indulge in a delicious addition, for example, they serve coffee with cakes, and the dessert is changed depending on the season of the year.
  4. In Germany, it is not customary to invite “for lunch”, they invite “for coffee”.
  5. The main meal is breakfast. It’s not customary for the Germans to leave the house without first eating tightly.
  6. All German cafes offer a wide selection of breakfast dishes and serve them from the morning until 15-00.
  7. Features of German cuisine vary by region. For example, in the northern regions they prefer potatoes, they eat a lot, and in the south I drink tea instead of coffee, in the Alps they traditionally drink milk and eat a lot of cheese.

What to try in Germany from food

German cuisine

It is no coincidence that Germany is associated with sausages and beer among many tourists, indeed, these two products here are able to cook and combine expertly. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to evaluate national German dishes only by meat delicacies and a foamy drink, because each region has its own personal treats and uses unique culinary technologies. In the southwest adhere to French traditions. Bavarian business card – sausages, stewed cabbage, sweet mustard. In the Rhine region, they prefer potato pancakes with pickled beef, and in Hamburg they are very good at seafood. Once in Cologne, be sure to try macaroons.

The Germans prefer to eat hearty and tasty, the proof of this is a diverse national menu with a large selection of both simple and complex culinary masterpieces.

Main dishes

White Weisswurst Sausages
White sausages

The name of sausages means – boiled veal sausage. According to the recipe, pork and ground beef, spices, onions, protein are mixed in equal proportions, lemon zest gives spicy freshness.

It is interesting that a dish of traditional cuisine appeared in 1857, the recipe for sausages remains unchanged. Local residents eat Weisswurst only until 12-00, in the afternoon do not order sausages.

The meat delicacy is served in a pot where sausages are stewed, with a side dish of salted pretzel and mustard.

Beef rolls
Beef rolls

A traditional German dish is served on Sundays by many families. Especially in cold weather, rolls are becoming especially popular. The meat is stuffed with chopped pickles, bacon, fried onions and mustard.

Beef rolls are served with sauce cooked from meat broth, red wine, vegetables. The best side dish is dumplings with stewed cabbage or potatoes.


The name of the traditional German dish means – dumplings, the recipe is the following – knead the dough, prepare the filling of minced meat, bacon, pork and spices. Then the filling is wrapped in small envelopes, which are boiled in meat broth.

Interesting fact! The dish was invented by the monks from the Maulbonne monastery, when it is impossible to eat meat, they prepare envelopes with lean stuffing from greens.

Berlin knuckle
Berlin knuckle

This treat of traditional cuisine is common in eastern Germany. For cooking, you need pork drumstick, which is boiled in beer, then baked. For a special aroma and rich taste, juniper berries, garlic, a bouquet of spices are added. In local restaurants, shank is served with mashed peas, sauerkraut.

Interesting fact! The knuckle has a glossy, shiny crust, so the name of the German dish “Eisbein” translates as an ice leg.

Dish Laubuskaus

Soup from herring, meat, potatoes, beets, pickles, onions. Local fishermen call the national first dish – fish hodgepodge. Outwardly, the soup does not look very attractive, but it tastes quite original. For the first time, Baltic sailors began to cook soup, combining all the products at hand.

Konigsberg bedbugs
Konigsberg bedbugs

Boiled meatballs have been served in Germany since the 19th century. According to the recipe, bedbugs are made from minced veal, eggs, bread, anchovies, lemon juice, mustard and white wine.

Good to know! In shops, treats are sold in the form of semi-finished products, but a real dish prepared according to a traditional recipe can be tasted in a restaurant or cafe.

Fake hare
Fake hare

Despite the mysterious and original name, the traditional dish is a meat casserole with onions and potatoes. Whole boiled eggs are added inside.

The dish appeared on the national menu at the end of World War II. After the hostilities, there was a shortage of food in the country, there were almost no animals left in the forests, so women came up with a treat that outwardly resembled a hare back.

Schnitzel dish

The name of the national dish is undoubtedly well known to everyone, but do you know the technology of cooking schnitzel? In every region of Germany, refreshments are fried according to the author’s recipe. In Hamburg, this is a cutlet with fried eggs, and there is also Holsten schnitzel – meat with fried eggs, capers and anchovies. The simplest Viennese dish is a simple pork cutlet.

Good to know! All schnitzels are united by one thing – before frying, the meat is crushed in breadcrumbs, and after cooking, before serving, watered with lemon juice.

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Side dishes

Sauerkraut Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut Sauerkraut

The famous sauerkraut, which is considered a primordially German dish. In Germany it is called Krauts. Shredded cabbage is fermented with vinegar and salt. In general, the traditional recipe is similar to ours, the native one, but with one difference – carrots and apples are not added to the composition. Ready sour cabbage is stewed or fried and served as a side dish for meat.

By tradition, German housewives ferment cabbage for six weeks, a jar of snacks can be purchased at any store in Germany.

Interesting fact! The Germans are happy to eat sauerkraut as an appetizer for beer.

Knedley's Dish

It is noteworthy, but potatoes in Germany were initially perceived without enthusiasm, moreover, local residents refused to grow and eat them. Why it happened, historical documents are silent, perhaps people did not believe that potatoes could be saturated. The situation changed two centuries later and the reason for this was a crop failure of vegetables and fruits, which forced the local population to pay attention to tubers. Since then, the Germans have perfectly mastered not only the cultivation of potatoes, but also a huge number of recipes from it.

Interesting fact! German linguists even associate the name “potato” with two German words – Kraft – power and trophle – the devil.

The most common potato dishes:

  • dumplings – boiled balls of potatoes, served with meat and sauce;
  • potato salad – it is impossible to name a single recipe for this traditional dish, because in each region it is cooked in its own way;
  • potato pizza popular in Swabian cuisine;
  • in Mecklenburg they love potato soup with baked plum and ham;
  • Potato fritters
    Potato fritters
  • potato sausage is prepared from potatoes, minced meat and pork intestine with the addition of a whole bunch of spices;
  • there are a lot of recipes for this treat throughout Germany; they are prepared with flour and without flour, with raisins, milk, yeast or without them;
  • mashed potatoes with the addition of applesauce, by the way, in Mecklenburg, pear puree is used instead of applesauce.


Black Forest Cake
Black Forest Cake or Black Forest

The recipe for this famous national dessert appeared in 1915. The Bavarian pastry chef used chocolate cakes and decorated them with butter cream and cherries. Since then, the treat has become popular throughout Germany, and after a decade and a half, the recipe has spread throughout the world. Today, the cake recipe is as follows – sponge cakes are soaked in liquor (cherry syrup), greased with whipped cream, spread cherries (cherry jelly), and garnished with grated bitter chocolate.

It is interesting that the traditional dessert got its name because of its color – a combination of black, brown and white – these are the colors of the national clothes of the inhabitants of the mountain Black Forest.

Cupcake Stollen
Cupcake Stollen

The cake contains a large number of spices and spices. Raisins, nuts, candied fruits. Top treats are generously sprinkled with icing sugar so that the cupcake resembles the newborn Jesus Christ wrapped in a white diaper.

The dish was first prepared in 1329, the recipe caused a lot of complaints, because the uncomplicated taste of dough made from oats, water and flour did not impress demanding Germans. Then it was decided to add butter to the dough.

Interesting fact! According to one legend, the author of the dessert is the court baker Heinrich Drazdo from the city of Torgau.

Today in Germany, cupcakes with various fillings are prepared, but the most popular and traditional is the Dresden Stollen – this name is patented for the Christmas cupcake. Stollen used to be called a shtatrel, for this reason the Christmas market in Dresden is called Shtritzelmarkt – a market where they sell shtatels. The main feature of the treats is that the cake acquires the optimal taste two weeks after baking.

Pretzel or Bretzel
Pretzel or Bretzel

A traditional German pretzel common in the southern regions of Germany. Treats have been prepared since the 13th century and are always suitable for baking with special attention and accuracy. In this case, the recipe and form of the pretzel are strictly regulated. The pretzel’s shape resembles hands folded on the chest during prayer. It is customary to sprinkle pretzel with large crystals of salt. There are many baking recipes – with sausage, sesame seeds and pumpkin, grated cheese.

Interesting fact! Immediately before baking, the pretzel is dipped in a solution of sodium alkali, which in German sounds like Laugen, which is why the pretzel is also called Laugenbrezel.

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What to try in Germany from street food

The Germans do not disdain quick, light snacks, street food is presented in small vans that are in every German city.

What to eat in Germany from street food:

Sausages Bratwurst
Sausages Bratwurst
  • bratwurst – sausage in a bun, a secret ingredient is used for cooking;
  • carrivust – sliced ​​sausages seasoned with curry sauce, served with french fries;
  • Leberkeze – spicy meat in a wheat bun;
  • herring in a bun – wheat bread with pickled herring, pickles, onions and lettuce.

The drinks

Of course, Germany is primarily associated with excellent quality beer. For many centuries, local brewers adhere to the recipe, which was legalized in 1871. In accordance with the law, a traditional beer can only include hops, malt, water and yeast.

Interesting fact! There are more than 1,200 beer brewing factories in Germany, not counting private breweries.

German beer

Beer is usually served with thick foam – this is a sign of quality. In addition to the foamy drink, winemaking is actively developing in Germany, and delicious schnapps, mulled wine and cider are also being prepared. Among the variety of alcoholic drinks, the Germans prefer tea and coffee.

Good to know! Be sure to try bionad – a carbonated drink that is prepared using brewing technology, and is a lemonade with different tastes.

So, in Germany they like to eat hearty and tasty food, so the portions in restaurants and cafes are large. At first glance, German national cuisine may seem a little crazy, but just try them and you will understand that the culinary preferences of the Germans are largely similar to ours.

Video: street food in Germany.

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