10 Ideas for German Bread

Butterbrot - German Sandwiches
Butterbrot - German Sandwiches. Erich Ferdinand CC by 2.0

In Germany, "Butterbrot", or open-faced sandwiches takes the place of a cooked breakfast or dinner. At breakfast, they are eaten with hands but at dinner most often a knife and fork are used to cut the bread. If you cut the buttered bread into pieces and eat it with the hand (often used for children), the pieces are called "Häppchen" or "Stückchen."

When two slices of bread are used together it is often called "Pausenbrot" and eaten when traveling, at the office or in school.

These sandwiches have very thin fillings, such as one or two slices of salami or a slice of cheese.

Butter is used instead of mayonnaise for most of these bread slices and chewy, German bread. Soft, American bread will not stand up to smearing butter nor taste as good.

Simple Butterbrot

Fresh bread, usually "Grau"- or "Mischbrot" spread with butter and sprinkled with salt or an herb-salt mixture (such as Knorr Aromat ). Other simple toppings include:

  • Tomato slices
  • Fresh, snipped chives
  • Onions and caraway
  • Cream cheese


Spread "Mischbrot," "Roggenbrot," or "Weißbrot" with butter, then with marmalade or jam.


"Mischbrot" or "Vollkornbrot" spread with butter and then liverwurst, bologna or another sausage. Spread with mustard and/or lay a few sweet pickle slices on top.


Bread of your choice spread with butter, then layered with two or three very thin pieces of Black Forest ham or other air-cured ham.

Note that cheese is almost never combined with sausage or ham, but is eaten as a separate sandwich.


After spreading butter, layer a sliced, hard-boiled egg on top. Sprinkle with salt or aromatic seasonings (such as Knorr Aromat ) and fresh, minced herbs if you wish.


You might get away without butter on this one, but then again you may not...Nutella is a sweet, chocolaty spread made with hazelnuts which are very popular in Europe and sold in most Walmarts and CostCo stores in the US.

Very popular with children.


Butter, then thin slices of cheese. For children, "Butterkäse" is most often used (very mild, young cheeses are called "Butter-" or "Kinderkäse." Adults also like older, hard cheeses and Brie.

And a few recipes translated from our friends at butterbrot.de:

  • "OK, here is my recipe for my regular, evening Butterbrot: take dark "Vollkornbrot" with (as an exception) very little butter, on top place Camembert or Brie cheese (or your favorite cheese), thin pickle slices or roasted bell pepper slices and, most importantly, a spring onion or shallot cut in slices. Whoever likes it really spicy and is also an acrobat can add radish slices. It is a bit difficult to eat because it falls apart, but it can't be beat.
    A further tip: If you want to make yourself really popular on public transportation (lol), then turn this ["Butterbrot"] into a double-decker sandwich, wrap it in "Butterbrot" paper and pack it in Tupperware and then eat it on the train. Your fellow travelers will be so jealous!-:-)))" -Nicholas Shore
  • "Spread "Graubrot" thickly with crème fraiche and then turn it over into a pile of roasted sunflower seeds. Eat whatever sticks. Goes great with wine." - Jürgen Kalthoff
  • "A really delicious "Stulle" (aka "Butterbrot") is one that is spread with cream cheese (Philadelphia or Exquisa) with tomato slices on top and finished with salt and pepper." -Tobias Hildebrandt