Whether you come from a long line of German cooks or you just want to dabble in a new-to-you cuisine, we've got a starter kit worth of recipes for you. And we've also got good news about German cuisine: many of the best recipes are also the easiest. From tasty butter dumplings to delicious butter cakes and even a few hearty German meat dishes, this list has everything you need for an Oktoberfest-worthy feast.
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Quark (Classic German Cheese)
Favored in much of Europe, but somewhat hard to find in the U.S., quark can be made at home with little money and effort. You can make it even more easily than yogurt, as a fun afternoon project that can teach the kids where cheese comes from. Eat it with fruit or however you may enjoy cottage cheese.
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German Potato Noodles
If you have leftover spuds, use them up by making badische schupfnudeln, or potato noodles. Browning them in butter gives them a delightfully toasty crust that tastes wonderful alongside schnitzel or any roast protein.
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Butternocken (Tasty Butter Dumplings)
Just five ingredients stand between you and these delightful little butter dumplings. Butternocken are incredibly easy to make, even for beginners. You can also make ahead and freeze them, for later adding to any stew or soup that need a little extra something.
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German Beef Rouladen
German rouladen tastes like a special occasion, but doesn't require any fancy cuts or techniques. Just thin slices of beef browned, then braised in a simple red wine sauce would sub in for your typical roast on a Sunday evening. Serve it with potatoes or noodles, preferably homemade spaetzle, on the side.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Simple Baked Fish With Apple
Catholics commonly eat fish on Ash Wednesday and throughout the Lent season, but this basic fish with apples tastes great all year round. In true German fashion, this simple baked fish with apple recipe does not shy away from bold flavors, with sinus-clearing horseradish as one of the main ingredients. Apple adds a hint of balancing sweetness.
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Zurich Ragout (Zurcher Geschnetzelter)
While the may sound like a mouthful, the traditional veal stew Zurich ragout sure tastes wonderful. Consisting of veal, pork loin, or chicken, and mushrooms smothered in a creamy white sauce with parsley and lemon zest, it makes a lovely supper alongside a German white wine.
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German-Style Mustard Pork Chops
These German-style mustard pork chops highlight one of Germany's favorite condiments. Dredged in seasoned flour then fried before covered in a wine and mustard sauce, this hearty one-pan meal packs a punch without taking a lot of time or complicated work.
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Milchreis (German Rice Pudding)
Many countries in the world have their own take on rice pudding and Germany is no exception. For a satisfying and hearty dessert, combine short-grain rice, vanilla, milk, and sugar into a creamy, satisfying sweet. Milchreis takes just minutes to cook up on the stove and comes out wonderfully.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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Alsatian Apple Cake
The Alsatian apple cake has a shortbread-like crust filled with apple slices and vanilla cream for a rich and creamy fall treat. It also doesn't require any fancy ingredients, so you may even have the goods in your kitchen already.
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German Christmas Cardamom Cookies
With its spicy, slightly medicinal taste, cardamom first appeared in folk remedies in the Middle Ages. Today, bakers use it to flavor desserts like these distinctly floral rolled German cookies that you may enjoy as part of a Christmas platter or anytime you want a unique pick-me-up.
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Jaegerschnitzel with Mushroom Sauce
Jaegerschnitzel or jägerschnitzel—also known as "hunter's cutlets" in English—refers to a thinly-pounded pan-fried meat cutlet with a creamy mushroom sauce. Lots of variations exist, so feel free to mix it up once you master the basics. Pork tastes great, but chicken or veal cutlets work, too.
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German Sausage and Sauerkraut
Kielbasa, Knockwurst, or your favorite smoked German sausage pairs with sauerkraut and veggies in this German casserole that will stick to your ribs on a chilly or dreary evening. Caraway seeds give it a slightly herbal note that just begs for some rye bread on the side.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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German Fried Meat Patties
Use up old rolls with this fried meat pattie, or frikadellen, recipe that really hits the spot with a cold lager, a side salad, and roast potatoes. Ground beef or chopped bacon or pork works well, as does day-old white bread. If you don't have any, cooked oatmeal would give it a little extra nutrition as a substitute.
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Fluffy German Pancake
Also known as Dutch babies, this fluffy giant German pancake will turn breakfast or brunch into an occasion. The pancake puffs up like a souffle while baking, but will deflate pretty quickly once it cools. Serve it with fruit or omit the sugar and add savory ingredients like ham or bacon.
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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
For the German answer to comfort food, turn to kohlrouladen, or German stuffed cabbage rolls. This recipe calls for ground beef, but you can use any chopped meat in the filling that you like. Tomato sauce would add a little extra flavor to the stuffing, if you prefer.