34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

34 Tantalizing German food – what to eat in Germany

All tourists spend a share of their travel budget on food. If you want to take a deep dive into the culture of a city, and really experience the heart of a new place you must try the local food. I would also suggest finding a local market to check out what the locals buy and eat.

Traditional German food tends toward rustic and very hearty meats like pork and goose feature quite a bit along with fish, peas, beans, potatoes and of course Germany’s most popular food the German sausage. The most famous German foods are of course Black Forest Gateau, Currywurst Sausage and pretzels but there is much more to German cuisine than these three.

German food culture was greatly influenced by Frederick the Great. In the 18th century, King Frederick ordered his subjects to eat mainly cucumbers and potatoes. He encouraged using these items because they were cheap and fit the frugal Germanic lifestyle. They are still favourites in Berlin.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

34 German foods you must try

German Foods – Sausages

My favourite German foods and the most well-known are of course sausages. German food includes a wide variety of sausages some 1,200 types of sausages can be found all over the country. Some are enjoyed as street food like Currywurst or Bratwurst, while others are spreadable like Teewurst. When someone talks about “German wurst,” they are talking about boiled sausages with either fruit, vegetables, or blood as a filling. Germany eats the most amount of sausages in the world over 27% of all sausages made. The second-largest consumer is Poland. 


Is made of boiled and then fried pork sausages. After cutting them, the pieces are seasoned with curry powder and ketchup. Currywurst is served with fried potatoes and German beer, which is very popular. During the Oktoberfest in 2019, over 2 million gallons of beer were consumed.

What to eat when in Berlin is a food tourism guide


Zungenwurst is a blood sausage that typically consists of a mixture of pork blood, fat, and pieces of pickled tongues, seasoned with ground pepper and occasionally other strong spices. Usually, the blood sausage is entirely made of animal parts, containing no fillers or cereals. Since the sausage is typically cured and dried, it requires no cooking before eating.


Bregenwurst is a traditional German sausage that is made from pork, pork belly, and flavoured with and white pepper, cumin, mace, and onions.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


A German smoked sausage that is a coarse-textured sausage originated in Germany. It’s smoked and has a highly seasoned flavour with onion, garlic, marjoram and mustard seeds.


Originally from Bavaria, Beerwurst is dark red and not made with beer but it is served with beer as a snack. It has a rich heavy garlic flavour and is seasoned with black pepper, paprika and mustard seeds.


A ground veal sausage that gets its flavour from chives and parsley. Most places sell it raw, and it requires special care during preparation to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Head Cheese

Just the name of it gives me shivers and knowing that it isn’t cheese is gross lol. It’s a sausage made from the meat in the heads of pigs, calves and sometimes sheep or cows. The meat is seasoned and then mixed with a broth and poured into a mould.

The mixture is typically flavoured with ingredients such as garlic, onions, pepper, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. When cooled it is then sliced and served.

sliced beef tongue aspic served with french fries, green leaves and red cabbage salad on a black plate on a wooden table with mustard in a bowl, view from above, close-up


Made from beef, pork or both, and sometimes veal it is flavoured with garlic. The name comes from its snap when you bite into it. Knackwurst is commonly grilled and served with sauerkraut.


A sausage of either pork or a combination of pork and beef. You can buy it fresh or smoked, and it is often seasoned with marjoram and caraway.  

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


A rather funky-looking sausage as it is white but that comes from the ground veal or pork that is used. Flavourings include parsley, Ginger Onions and lemon. Serve it with beer, sweet mustard and rye bread.  


Gelbwurst or yellow sausage is traditionally stuffed into natural casings dyed with saffron. The sausage itself may consist of pork, veal or beef, bacon, or chicken, and it is typically flavoured with various spices such as nutmeg, mace, pepper, ginger, cardamom, and lemon, depending on the region.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Traditional German Food

Classic German dishes are not all about sausages the food is hearty, rich and very diverse. It really is all about comfort food using locally sourced ingredients that are shaped by the agricultural traditions of the country. Then there is the influence of immigrants that brought with them their speciality dishes. German food is much more than sausages and beer.

Eisbein mit Sauerkraut 

One of the many favourite dishes of Germany is Eisbein a pork knuckle that has been cured and then braised for many hours so that the thick layer of fat on top turns to crackling. In Berlin, it is sold cured and served with sauerkraut. This is typical of the cuisine of Berlin

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Schweinshaxe – roasted pork hocks

Traditional german dishes such as Schweinshaxe are not to be confused with Eisein, schweinshaxe is also pork Knuckle but it is marinated and then roasted at a low temperature to ensure a crisply crackly skin.


Senfeir is a very traditional German breakfast of boiled eggs served in a mustard sauce. Senfeier, also known as eier in senfs, is usually served after Easter to use up all the leftover Easter Eggs. It is also a popular dish among students as it’s easy and fast to prepare.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


Kartoffelpuffer has been served in Germany and other European countries since at least the 18th century. These cakes are a sort of hash brown or latke. They are made of grated potatoes, flour, eggs and onions, and in Switzerland, they are called rosti. They can be served with savoury accompaniments or sweet. In Poland for example they are served with meat stews and are delicious. Ireland has their own version made with mashed potatoes called Boxty.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

German Potato salad

Unlike North American potato salad the German version is not mayonnaise based it is leftover cold potatoes mixed with a vinegar-based dressing complete with bacon and bacon drippings, onions herbs and a mustard dressing.


Rouladen is a German dish that consists of bacon, onions and pickles wrapped with very thin slices of beef which are coated in mustard and cooked until the beef is tender and served with red cabbage, gravy, and potato dumplings or mashed potatoes.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Hassenpfeffer – Rabbit Stew

Does anybody remember Laverne and Shirley and this “schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”? It was the beginning of the show chanted by Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, which marked the start of the star’s long-running ABC sitcom. This line is actually a Yiddish-American hopscotch chant. In Germany, Hasenpfeffer is actually rabbit stew.

The German rabbit dish called “hasenpfeffer” is made by marinating the rabbit in a highly spiced (not spicy) and vinegary concoction for 2 or 3 days, and then slow-cooking the rabbit in the same liquid after.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


If you’re a vegetarian, this food is for you. Spätzle is a pasta dumpling made with fresh eggs, typically serving as a side for meat dishes with gravy.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


Eintopf is a classic German food a one-pot stew that can include a wide variety of ingredients that the cook can find in the fridge. It is a meal-in-one that will typically contain broth, vegetables, potatoes, and meat. Sometimes it may include pulses such as lentils, and it’s usually served mit Brot (with bread).

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


Sauerbraten is one of Germany’s National Dishes it is a German pot roast – it literally translates as ‘sour roast’. The sour part refers to the pickling of the meat in a sweet and sour gravy-like sauce, which is then slowly roasted in a dish. The dish is usually served with Kartoffelknodel or potato dumplings.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany
©Benreis, CC BY-SA 4.0via Wikimedia Commons

Kartoffelklöße or Kartoffelknödel

Kartoffelklöße or kartoffelknödel are German potato dumplings. They are made with raw potatoes or cooked potatoes (depending on the region) mixed with seasonings and flour.  


It is a very popular meat dish in Berlin. It is made of a thin piece of veal that is covered by eggs with breadcrumbs. This coating makes the meat crispy after frying. Commonly it is served with potatoes and vegetables. 

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Königsberger Klopse

A German meatball dish served with a traditional cream and caper sauce. The meatballs are traditionally made from veal although this can be substituted. The meatballs are simmered in salted water and when cooked the water is thickened with a roux, cream and egg yolks with capers added. The resulting dish is usually served with beetroot, boiled or mashed potatoes.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Butterkase – Butter cheese

Butterkäse is a semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese very popular in Germany and Austria for its creamy texture, and buttery taste.

Doner Kebab

One of the most popular German dishes and German street food is a kebab. Many people would love to believe that given Berlin’s Turkish population, the Doner was invented in Berlin. The most popular kebab maker Kadir Nurman – recognised in 2011 by the Association of Turkish Döner Manufacturers is the man most often credited with inventing the Döner Kebab in Berlin.

Delicious kebab sandwiches on wooden board

However truth is that many versions of the kebab are found worldwide. From Greek Gyros to Middle Eastern Shawarma, and tacos al pastor in Mexico, these all fall into the category of ‘kebab’ which is simply put meats cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served in a sandwich form.

Brot & Brötchen

Brot or bread in Germany is usually served with most meals but particularly breakfast and dinner. German bread includes the famous German rye or pumpernickel. German bread tends to be heavier and much heartier than Western white or whole grain bread.


A traditional pretzel is made from a dough that is poached in water with sodium bicarbonate very briefly it is removed from the water bath, sprinkled with coarse salt and then baked. Pretzels are addictive and can be made sweet or savoury and are found at dozens of street food stalls across Berlin.

The legends say that a court baker was going to prison after serving the King badly baked bread. His wife begged the king to give him a second chance. The king challenged the baker to produce bread through which the sun would shine 3 times.

The baker was attempting to figure out a recipe when he saw his wife kneeling in prayer with her arms crossed and seeing this he replicated the posture with his dough. It was said that his cat came along and knocked onto the baking sheet some baking soda and the pretzel was born when baked.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

German Foods – Sweets and desserts

The Berliner

The Berliner is a gorgeous fluffy doughnut filled with plum jam or other fruit jam and coated with powdered sugar. In Berlin, it is called marmalade Pfannkuchen.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Stollen – Fruit Cake

A fruit cake containing dried fruit and often marzipan and covered with sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Gebrannte Mandeln (Cinnamon Sugar Almonds) 

Found in every German Christmas market these are cinnamon sugar-coated almonds served in paper cones.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Pflaumenkuchen – Plum cake

German Plum Cake is a coffee cake made with a simple batter crust, fresh plums, and a sweet, crumbly streusel topping

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Lebkuchen Cookies

Lebkuchen is called a German gingerbread (even though it’s different from American gingerbread), is enjoyed on a few special occasions during the year and comes in different flavours, sizes, shapes, and textures.

Lebkuchen cookies, for example, are a staple treat in nearly every German home during the Christmas season and can be found decorated with fancy piped icing in every Christmas market.

34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany


It is a very popular dessert in Berlin eateries. The incredibly thin pastry is filled with chopped apples and sugar. On top, it can be seasoned with cinnamon, breadcrumbs, and sugar powder.

German Foods a plate with an apple strudel in the centre with apples and raisins spilling out of the strudel which is decorated with cherries and powered sugar

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – Black Forest Cake

If you were alive in the 70s and 80’s you must have had Black Forest Cake or as they call it in the UK Black Forest Gateau. This is a layered chocolate sponge filled with cherries, jam, cream and Kirsh a cherry liqueur.

German Foods a black forest chocolate cake decorated with shaved chocolate, whipped cream and fresh cherries on top

And there you have it my guide to all those fabulous traditional German foods you have to try when visiting this amazing country.

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34 Tantalizing German foods: what to eat in Germany

Faith Coates
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