My Top 5 Favorite Traditional Dishes You Need To Try – German Style!

Pretzel and German

I recently became interested in German cuisine. I went on vacation in Florida and was immediately surprised by the many German restaurants there. My trip turned into an exploration of these places. To cut it short, it was an amazing experience.

And it kept me occupied when I got home. I started looking if there are similar restaurants in my town, but also learning more about the recipes of popular dishes from this European country.

Before that, I was used to typical American food, in combination with Chinese and Italian. We all know these. I would enjoy a famous English breakfast from time to time, but it was never on mind that I should look up what Germans are eating.

Probably because I always related this country to cars, technology, and famous discipline and work ethics (I think most of us do.). But not the food.

How wrong was I!

After some time, hundreds of blogs were read, and hours were spent watching videos about the food, I collected enough knowledge to start preparing some recipes on my own.

I will share my experience and current favorites in the following sections.

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut - My Favorite German Traditional Dishes

The first one is not even a dish, it is a type of salad, a topping used in many German meals.

A simple explanation of what it is would be fermented raw cabbage.

What surprised me is that it is quite common not only in Germany but also in most countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

If you are from any Western country, there is a high chance you never tried this one, and now wondering what could be so special about fermented cabbage, right?

Well, just try it!

I saw some people who were making a salad with it. A simple combination with smoked paprika or pickles.

But, the special part begins when you combine it with meat.

Already delicious German Bratwurst will become a whole new experience once you mix it with sauerkraut. The same foes for their well-known stake(schnitzel).

There is even a festival dedicated to this amazing food called the Sauerkraut Festival. And the biggest one is not even in Germany, but in Ohio, US.

When it comes to preparation, requires skills and experience. It’s not so complicated, but you must understand the process.

Emma Christensen gave us a simple recipe in her article on The Kitchn: “To prepare sauerkraut, mix shredded cabbage with salt and massage until it becomes watery and limp, then pack it tightly in a mason jar, ensuring it stays submerged in its brine. Allow it to ferment at a cool room temperature for 3 to 10 days until it reaches your desired sourness.”

And when it comes to food pairing, I already mentioned it goes perfectly with meat. That is not only my opinion. A lot of people with much more experience in the kitchen claim that it is a perfect addition to a steak, burger, or sausage.

Alexandria Drzazgowski, a popular culinary expert, shared her story on The Foreign Fork and said that “Sauerkraut goes well with hot dogs, pork chops, Reuben sandwiches, and grilled cheese. It’s a great addition to burgers and can also be enjoyed with your favorite sausage.”

2. Bratwurst

Bratwurst - My Favorite German Traditional Dishes

I mentioned in my previous article about German restaurants in Florida that once you try Bratwurst, a typical hot dog will never be an option again.

The part that was not a surprise for me is how good this sausage goes with beer (preferably a German draft, like Krombacher).

I suppose you won’t try to make this type of sausage. But in case you want to go that far, there is a great recipe I found at

And for a complete dish, you can play around. There is a wide range of interesting recipes that include Bratwurst.

I mean, you can always choose a simple approach. Just cut the bread roll, and add some mustard, and there you have it – a perfect hot dog(German style).

But my recommendation is to focus more on classic German recipes. Trust me, you will enjoy it even more.

The first ingredient I added as a side was previously mentioned sauerkraut. As I already said, nothing beats it as a combination with meat.

So you can still create a type of hot dog, or mix these in the plate. I prefer the second option.

I got my favorite recipe from Heidi on FoodieCrush.

It is called Bratwurst In Beer with Onions. And no, it doesn’t stand for drinking beer while eating.

The preparation is quite simple. All you need to do is to put the onions and sausages in a pan and start cooking. (I put some sauerkraut inside – I just had to try!)

The first part lasts for 5 minutes. You will recognize it is over when both the sausages and onions get the brownish color.

Now you will remove the sausages and place them on the grill. It will take a few more minutes for them to be done. During the same time, you will put some beer over the onions(and sauerkraut). One bottle is enough.

And then the last part. Put the Bratwurst back in the pan, add salt to your wish, set the stove on a lower heat, and in 30 to 40 minutes, the delicious meal is ready.

3. Spaetzle

Spaetzle - My Favorite German Traditional Dishes

You know how Italians get angry when we play around with pasta? Don’t you dare add one more spice if that is not part of the strict recipe!

Well, Germans don’t care, they have their version. And it is a lot like something Italians would hate!

Why I love it? Because it is unique, and you don’t need to follow the strict rules all the time.

I’ve found the most popular versions thanks to nutritionist and food blogger Sarah Garone, and her article on Greatist. She describes it as a blank canvas for a variety of flavors, with the most popular being Cheese, herbs, green peas, smoked salmon, and sweet potato.

These are the versions I tested, each one phenomenal in its way.

There are some other popular versions I haven’t tried yet, such as Spaetzle with wild mushrooms and German lentils with Spaetzle.

4. Pretzel

Pretzel - My Favorite German Traditional Dishes

Once you try it, bread is not an option anymore.

You might be surprised how a piece of pastry can be praised so much. Just try it and you will see it yourself.

The most impressive detail is how soft the outer parts are. I’ve tried many other versions, but none of them had the same soft texture as this one.

And it goes perfectly with everything. It can be your breakfast, you can replace it with snacks, enjoy your beer and have it on the side, and more. I especially love the combination with mustard.

I became obsessed with it when I was researching German restaurants in Florida.

Honestly, it became the first thing I tried to make at home after my vacation.

even though I was never so good in the kitchen, I tested a few recipes, and the one shared by Kathleen Pope on The Fresh Cooky helped me the most.

A fast-forwarded version of this recipe is: “Mix barley malt syrup, yeast, and warm water. The next step is to add flour and butter to form a dough. Roll the dough into ropes, shape it into pretzels, and let them rise. Then bake after brushing with a baking soda wash for a brown crust.”

5. Schnitzel

Schnitzel - My Favorite German Traditional Dishes

In simple words, this is a type of steak popular in Germany and other countries in central and eastern Europe.

But it is quite different from a typical American stake.

First of all, it is mostly made out of pork. Also, the texture cannot be compared since this one is made by frying.

And I love it because I quickly learned how to make one.

Before I get into the recipe, I have to add that there are all sorts of schnitzel, such as pork, Rahmschnitzel, wiener, etc.

The whole point is to beat the meat until it gets thin.

The recipe I found on All Taste German made it easy to make the perfect Authentic German schnitzel because of step-by-step instructions.

In simple terms, all you need to do is to pound pork chops thin and dip them in flour, egg, and bread crumbs. You know it’s done when the color is golden brown.

The Bottom Line

And there you have it. My top 5 selections of favorite German food.

You should give them a try, especially if you got used to typical Western cuisine. This will open new horizons for you.

That fermented cabbage I mentioned as the first dish is now part of almost every salad and dish I make.

And I must say it one more time, the Bavarian pretzel is the best pastry in the world!

Also, this is just the start of my journey, I am already preparing more reviews of German recipes and restaurants.

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