Oktoberfest originated as a big wedding reception in October of 1810 for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The party centered around a horse race with plenty of food and drink for the populace. The event was so enjoyed that it was put on again the following year, with the addition of an agricultural show.
Since then, the annual event has become the largest festival in the world, and although it has been moved forward to September to take advantage of the weather, the food and drink remain the same. With these traditional recipes, you can celebrate the festive Bavarian event in your home with friends, and plenty of German beer, of course.
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An Oktoberfest celebration wouldn't be complete without Laugenbrezeln (or simply Brezen), also known as soft pretzels. Soft on the inside with a lightly crispy exterior, the salty snack is traditionally served with butter and pairs perfectly with beer. Food-grade lye is called for, so be sure to have gloves and goggles, and keep the kids away.
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Potato pancakes, or Kartoffelpuffer, are a classic German side dish and a real treat during Oktoberfest. After the potatoes are grated, they need to be squeezed in a clean dish towel to remove all of the liquid, an important step to guarantee that signature crispy texture. Feel free to add different flavorings to the batter, and serve with applesauce and sour cream.
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Schweinebraten, or roasted pork, is traditionally cooked with beer and onions. This version is made with a richly flavored dry spice rub, making it equally delicious. The roast goes perfectly with sauerkraut, potato salad, and all of the other traditional Oktoberfest fixings.
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Cook up some German sausages like bratwursts with onions and beer for an easy but delicious main dish worthy of an Oktoberfest celebration. Consider adding apples for extra seasonal flavor and serve your sausages with plenty of sauerkraut and whole-grain mustard.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Spit-roasted chicken is another traditional Bavarian food that's popular during gatherings like Oktoberfest. (If you don't have a rotisserie, a roast chicken is just as delicious.) This recipe calls for rubbing the chicken with fresh lemon and garlic and then sprinkling with a flavorful spice mixture. Once on the spit, the chicken cooks for about an hour and a half until it's a deep golden color.
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Plan ahead for your Oktoberfest celebration and make your own sauerkraut (which can take up to three weeks to properly sour). Cabbage, juniper berries, caraway seeds, and mustard seeds mix with salt and water and are stored in a jar until it reaches your preferred level of tartness. Serve alongside any German main dish like pork, sausages, or roast chicken.
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This German version of mac and cheese, called (Käsespätzle), features a homemade traditional egg noddle called spätzle, which takes a little effort but is worth it; the taste and texture are superior to store-bought varieties. The noodles are layered with caramelized onion and Gruyère cheese and baked until hot and bubbling.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Obatzda, a German cheese spread made of stinky soft white cheeses, butter, and spices, is delicious smeared on bread, sausage, pickles, and fresh radishes. But it does have a distinct taste, so keep in mind that only fans of strong-flavored cheese will enjoy.
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Similar to Italian gnocchi, these German potato noodles (Badische Schupfnudeln) are a mixture of cooked riced potatoes with flour and egg yolks. Instead of forming into pillows and boiling, however, these noodles are formed into pointy-ended logs and cooked in butter. They're a lovely use for leftover mashed potatoes but also worth boiling a few spuds.
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Your Oktoberfest celebration will be extra special if you make your very own German pickles (Senfgurken). This sweet and tangy snack can be made as late as the day before, but the flavors will be better if you prep them a week or two ahead of time. The cucumbers are peeled, allowing for the herbs and spices to infuse the pickles, resulting in a more intense taste.
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End your Oktoberfest feast with classic apple strudel, a typical Viennese dessert called Altwiener apfelstrudel. This recipe calls for a homemade dough that is first coated with breadcrumbs and then filled with apples, cinnamon, raisins, and lemon. It does take some time and effort, but the results are worth it.