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45 Old-World German Recipes Worth Trying Today

It doesn't have to be Oktoberfest to celebrate German cooking. Here are our best German recipes passed down by generations of home cooks.

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Country Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes, or latkes, are really versatile. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they can be a side dish for just about any meal or the main course for a light meal. We have them often at our house. —Lydia Robotewskyj, Franklin, Wisconsin

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Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)Taste of Home

Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio

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German Potato DumplingsTaste of Home

German Potato Dumplings

Potato dumplings (called Kartoffel Kloesse in Germany) are a delightful addition to any German feast. The browned butter sauce is delectable.—Arline Hofland, Deer Lodge, Montana

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Authentic German Potato SaladTaste of Home

Authentic German Potato Salad

This authentic German potato salad recipe came from Speck’s Restaurant, which was a famous eating establishment in St. Louis from the 1920s through the ‘50s. I ate lunch there almost every day and always ordered the potato salad. When the owner learned I was getting married, he gave me the recipe as a wedding gift! —Violette Klevorn, Washington, Missouri

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Bavarian Pot RoastTaste of Home

Bavarian Pot Roast

Since all my grandparents were German, it's no wonder that so many Bavarian recipes have been handed down to me. Because the Midwest has such a large German population, I feel this recipe represents the area well. —Susan Robertson, Hamilton, Ohio

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Oktoberfest Red CabbageTaste of Home

Oktoberfest Red Cabbage

Four generations of our family have made this dish of red cabbage and apples, known as rotkohl ("red cabbage"). We love the tart and sweet flavors. —Diana Likes, Chandler, Arizona

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Almond-Filled StollenTaste of Home

Almond-Filled Stollen

I’ve been making this during the holiday season for nearly 50 years. When we flew to Alaska one year to spend Christmas with our daughter’s family, I carried my stollen on the plane!—Rachel Seel, Abbotsford, British Columbia

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Spicy Bavarian Beer MustardTaste of Home

Spicy Bavarian Beer Mustard

Here's a gift that has bite! This spicy beer mustard is great with pretzels or as a condiment for bratwurst. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Apple & Spice Pork TenderloinTaste of Home

Apple & Spice Pork Tenderloin

My family loves pork tenderloin, so I created this hearty meal. This slightly sweet preparation is one of our favorites. It's also an impressive dish for company.—Joyce Moynihan, Lakeville, Minnesota.

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Slow-Cooked Sauerkraut SoupTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Sauerkraut Soup

We live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which has a rich heritage of German culture and dishes that include sauerkraut, potatoes and sausage. We enjoy this recipe on cold winter evenings, along with muffins and fruit. The "mmm's" start with the first whiff as the door opens after school or work. —Linda Lohr, Lititz, Pennsylvania

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Raspberry Custard KuchenTaste of Home

Raspberry Custard Kuchen

Back where I grew up in Wisconsin, people have been baking this German treat for generations. We love it for breakfast or as a special dessert. It's no fuss to fix and impressive to serve. —Virginia Arndt, Sequim, Washington

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Tangy Bacon Green BeansTaste of Home

Tangy Bacon Green Beans

My grandmother’s Pennsylvania Dutch-style recipe turns plain old green beans into a tangy cross between three-bean and German potato salads. —Sharon Tipton, Casselberry, Florida

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Cranberry ConserveTaste of Home

Cranberry Conserve

I'm 95, and I still remember my grandmother from Germany making this lovely, delicious conserve for the holidays. She'd give it to family members and friends. It tastes great served as a relish alongside meat or even spread on biscuits. -Mildred Marsh Banker, Austin, Texas

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Potato Kielbasa SkilletTaste of Home

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

No need to hunt through kielbasa and potato recipes, this smoky take steals the show as a hearty home-style, all-in-one meal. It's especially perfect on those cold late fall and early winter nights. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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German PancakeTaste of Home

German Pancake

Piping hot and puffy from the oven, this golden pancake made a pretty presentation for a skier's theme breakfast I hosted. Served with homemade buttermilk syrup, it's an eye-opening treat. Make several German pancakes if you're feeding a crowd, and keep in mind that my easy syrup tastes great on waffles and French toast, too. —Renae Moncur, Burley, Idaho

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Mulled WineTaste of Home

Mulled Wine

This mulled wine is soothing and satisfying with a delightful blend of spices warmed to perfection. Refrigerating the wine mixture overnight allows the flavors to blend, so don't omit this essential step. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Slow-Cooker German Potato SaladTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker German Potato Salad

Here's the dish everyone looks for at our parties, so we always double the recipe. It was handed down from my mother-in-law and has been a family favorite for years. —Stacy Novak, Stafford, Virginia

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Contest-Winning Bavarian Meatball HoagiesTaste of Home

Contest-Winning Bavarian Meatball Hoagies

When my husband's not manning the grill, I count on my slow cooker. These mouthwatering meatballs are just one reason why. They’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser when I serve them as party appetizers, or spooned over crusty rolls and topped with cheese for irresistible sandwiches. —Peggy Rios, Mechanicsville, Virginia

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Pork Schnitzel with Dill SauceTaste of Home

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce

Schnitzel is one of my husband’s favorites because it reminds him of his German roots. An appealing dish for guests, it’s ready in a jiffy. Pop it on buns for a fun handheld option. —Joyce Folker, Paraowan, Utah

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Pronto Potato PancakesTaste of Home

Pronto Potato Pancakes

Pancake lovers know these fluffy delights are not just for breakfast. Try serving these savory ones as a side dish with any main, or enjoy them solo topped with some homemade applesauce. They will not disappoint. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

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Oktoberfest StrudelsTaste of Home

Oktoberfest Strudels

My husband, being born and raised in Wisconsin, loves bratwurst sausages. So I tweaked this strudel recipe to include some of his favorite filling ingredients and it was an instant hit. Serve with extra mustard for dipping. —Cleo Gonske, Redding, California

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LebkuchenTaste of Home

Lebkuchen

It's tradition for my family to make these German treats together. The recipe came from my great-grandmother's cookbook, and judging from the amount of requests I get, it has certainly stood the test of time. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri

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German Beer Cheese SpreadTaste of Home

German Beer Cheese Spread

We love recipes inspired by our German heritage. This tangy spread is fantastic served alongside everything, including pretzels and pumpernickel or crackers and sausage. Choose your favorite beer—the flavor really comes through. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

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German Plum TartTaste of Home

German Plum Tart

The buttery crust of this fruit-filled treat melts in your mouth. You can substitute sliced apples or peaches for the plums with great results. I've used this crust with blueberries, too. —Helga Schlape, Florham Park, New Jersey

 

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Potluck German Potato SaladTaste of Home

Potluck German Potato Salad

This is a big hit at church potlucks. One man says he comes only so he can eat my potato salad! —Kathleen Rabe, Kiel, Wisconsin

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Pfeffernuesse CookiesTaste of Home

Pfeffernuesse Cookies

A German holiday tradition, these fragrant cookies pack a warm rush of spices in every bite. Also called peppernuts, they go wonderfully with coffee or tea.—Joanne Nelson, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

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Herb & Romano Cheese WreathTaste of Home

Herb & Romano Cheese Wreath

After the wreath is baked and cooled it can be wrapped in foil, placed in an airtight plastic bag and frozen until you are ready to give it away. Add some whipped butter on the side and it’s the perfect gift.—Linda Padia, Wauna, Washington

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Slow-Cooked Reuben BratsTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Reuben Brats

Sauerkraut gives these beer-simmered brats a big flavor boost, but it’s the special chili sauce and melted cheese that put them over the top. Top your favorite burger with some of the chili sauce; you won't be sorry. —Alana Simmons, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

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Pickled BeetsTaste of Home

Pickled Beets

The beets my mother made came from our garden and were canned for the winter months. Even as a child I loved beets because they brought so much color to our table. —Sara Lindler, Irmo, South Carolina

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Easy Potato RollsTaste of Home

Easy Potato Rolls

After I discovered this recipe, it became a mainstay for me. I make the dough ahead of time when company is coming, and I try to keep some in the refrigerator to bake for our ranch hands. Leftover mashed potatoes are almost sure to go into these rolls. —Jeanette McKinney, Belleview, Missouri

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Bratwurst SupperTaste of Home

Bratwurst Supper

After trying a few bratwurst recipes, I've found this meal-in-one is ideal for camping since it grills to perfection in a heavy-duty foil bag. Loaded with chunks of bratwurst, red potatoes, mushrooms and carrots, it's easy to season with onion soup mix and a little soy sauce. —Janice Meyer, Medford, Wisconsin

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German Apple StrudelTaste of Home

German Apple Strudel

This gorgeous strudel has just what you crave this time of year: thin layers of flaky crust and lots of juicy apples. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

 

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Dijon Grilled Pork ChopsTaste of Home

Dijon Grilled Pork Chops

My mom gave me the recipe for these savory chops with a sweet and tangy marinade. The apple juice and Dijon mustard complement the pork nicely. With a vegetable and some rice or pasta, you have a meal. —Babette Watterson, Atglen, Pennsylvania

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Caraway Seed Rye BreadTaste of Home

Caraway Seed Rye Bread

My parents were immigrants from Czechoslovakia and my mother would pull out this rye bread recipe when guests came over for dinner. Every time I bake it, I get nostalgic for those days. —Millie Feather, Baroda, Michigan

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Ham & Potato Salad SandwichesTaste of Home

Ham & Potato Salad Sandwiches

These little sandwiches with zingy toppings are super simple to pull together. This classic version originated in a deli in Prague, where they're a really popular winter party food. —Cara McDonald, Winter Park, Colorado

 

 

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Garlic-Dill Deviled EggsTaste of Home

Garlic-Dill Deviled Eggs

In my family, Easter isn't complete without deviled eggs. Fresh dill and garlic perk up the flavor of these irresistible appetizers you'll want to eat on every occasion. —Kami Horch, Calais, Maine

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Pressure Cooker Cheddar Bacon Ale DipTaste of Home

Pressure Cooker Cheddar Bacon Ale Dip

My tangy, smoky dip won the top prize at our office party recipe contest. Use whatever beer you like, but steer clear of dark varieties. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin

 

 

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Almond Spritz CookiesTaste of Home

Almond Spritz Cookies

This almond spritz cookies recipe can be left plain or decorated with colored sugar and frosting. In our house, it just wouldn't be Christmas without some cookie press recipes.—Tanya Hart, Muncie, Indiana

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Slow-Cooker SauerbratenTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten

My family is of German Lutheran descent, and although we enjoy this traditional beef roast, I never liked the amount of time and fuss it takes to make it. This recipe is so good and oh-so-easy. It's great served with dumplings, spaetzle, veggies or a salad. —Norma English, Baden, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

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Chocolate LebkuchenTaste of Home

Chocolate Lebkuchen

Having lived in Germany, I try to keep my German cooking as authentic as possible. This lovely lebkuchen recipe is a culinary Christmas custom. —Cathy Lemmon, Quinlan, Texas

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Apple Roasted Pork with Cherry Balsamic GlazeTaste of Home

Apple Roasted Pork with Cherry Balsamic Glaze

I added roasted apples, cherries and onions to turn ordinary pork into an impressive dish. There is a short time span between caramelized onions and burnt ones, so pay close attention once they start cooking. —Josh Downey, McHenry, Illinois

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Sausage Lentil SoupTaste of Home

Sausage Lentil Soup

I first tasted this wonderful soup at a friend's house. Now it's my favorite, especially on a cool, crisp night. —Catherine Rowe, Berthoud, Colorado

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Rustic Caramel Apple TartTaste of Home

Rustic Caramel Apple Tart

Like an apple pie without the pan, this scrumptious tart has a crispy crust that cuts nicely and a yummy caramel topping. —Betty Fulks, Onia, Arkansas

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Standing Rib RoastTaste of Home

Standing Rib Roast

Want to learn how to cook rib roast? This standing rib roast recipe is practically foolproof. Treat your family to tender slices of standing rib roast or use the seasoning blend on a different beef roast for a hearty, delicious main dish. I love to prepare this recipe for special occasions. —Lucy Meyring, Walden, Colorado

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Rich Fruit KuchensTaste of Home

Rich Fruit Kuchens

This German classic is such a part of our reunions, we designate a special place to serve it. Five generations flock to the "Kuchen Room" for this coffee cake. —Stephanie Schentzel, Northville, South Dakota

 

Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.