The Best Traditional German Foods Revealed By 25 German Bloggers

Updated on April 3, 2024  

traditional german food

Craving a taste of authentic traditional German food but not sure where to start? You're in luck! We've teamed up with 25 German bloggers who are experts in all things food to bring you the ultimate guide to traditional German fare.

Germany is known for its hearty, comforting dishes that are packed with flavor and history. But with so many options to choose from, narrowing down the must-try foods can be a challenge. 

That's why we hired Minuca Elena to reach out to 25 German food bloggers and ask them the following question:

What are the top three traditional German foods that every tourist must try?

We also wanted to know about those hidden gems, the less famous favorites that these bloggers can't get enough of.

Whether you are planning a trip to Germany in the near future or you just want to try new recipes, we hope that this article will shed some light into what are the best traditional German foods anyone should try. 

Keep reading to explore the delicious world of traditional German foods together!

Nadine Horn & Jörg Mayer - Eat This

Nadine Horn & Jörg Mayer

Very few of the well-known traditional German dishes are vegan. However, there are a few and fortunately, many of the others can be easily adapted to be plant-based.

1. For example, classic Swabian "Linsen und Spätzle" which are small dumplings with lentils in a slightly sour sauce. The original often includes a sausage, which can also be easily replaced with your favorite vegan alternative.

2. By now you can get the unofficial German national dish, the "Döner Kebab" in many larger cities as a vegan version with seitan or tofu. 

3. And don't miss out on "Kartoffelpuffer" - crispy, juicy pancakes made from grated potatoes that are traditionally served with apple sauce. Although they are not mentioned often when it comes to German cuisine, for many they’re pure nostalgia.

Karen Lodder - German Girl in America

Karen Lodder

1. Spaghetti Eis

Do Germans eat Ice Cream made from Pasta? No! Every Eis Diele (Ice Cream Shop) serves bowls of Spaghetti Eis, made from vanilla ice cream pushed through a pasta press, then topped with a strawberry sauce (that looks like marinara) and sprinkled with shaved white chocolate (parmesan cheese!). While basically, it’s just Vanilla ice cream topped with strawberries, the flavor and experience are tastier than the basic parts. 

2. White Asparagus

Every April, a collective madness known as Spargelzeit takes over Germany, and suddenly White Asparagus pops up everywhere. Restaurants put out special menus with a dozen preparations for this King of Vegetables. The best way to enjoy it is the simplest. White Asparagus spears served with boiled potatoes, thin slices of salty ham, and melted butter (yes, you can order Hollandaise, but butter…mmmm). Warning! Asparagus season ends with a bang on June 24th. 

3. Leberkäse

Liver Cheese? It sounds like something people would run away from. But you won’t find liver or cheese in this finely ground meatloaf. It looks a bit like bologna, but the taste is less…um… bologna-like. The Leberkäse is served in a few different ways. At home we eat it sliced thick and fried, and Bavarians top that fried slice with a fried egg. But the best I ever ate was at the Biergarten in Munich’s Viktuelienmarkt. A thick slab of freshly baked Leberkäse tucked into a crisp Semmel (roll) with some mustard. Enjoy it with a Bier or Radler and watch the world go by.

4. Königsberger Klopse

If you are traveling in the Northeast of Germany, and you are lucky enough to find Königsberger Klopse on the menu, order it. The dish gets its name from the old Prussian city of Königsberg. And the Klopse? Just another name for meatballs. The meatballs, a combination of several different ground meats, seasoned with anchovy paste and capers, and served in a cream sauce over boiled potatoes, pack a huge punch of flavor. Trust me, you’ll be licking the plate.

Vera Wohlleben - Nicest Things

Vera Wohlleben

When you talk about traditional German foods, there is a lot of meat involved - think of  Bratwurst, Sauerbraten, or Schnitzel. But as I am a vegetarian, I will present you three veggie-friendly dishes. They are still so typical for Germany and absolutely delicious! 

1. First of all, you should try a good plate of Käsespätzle. This hearty dish originates in the south of Germany (like me), but you can find it on the menu cards from north to south. Handmade Spätzle noodles, a lot of creamy, melted cheese, and crispy onion rings…  Heaven! 

2. Then, don’t miss Bratkartoffeln - the best thing a potato can become.  Regional potatoes are thinly sliced and baked to crispy perfection. Every cook has its own secret recipe which is of course, the best. Have fun testing them all! 

3. Last but not least, here is my personal sweet favourite: Schupfnudeln with poppy seeds and plum jam. It is lesser known than the previous dishes, but oh so yummy. Sweet potato noodles in a warm buttery poppy seed sauce, topped with caster sugar and lots of plum jam. 

Maybe you are lucky and find it on some menu… Or you make friends who will prepare it for you 🙂

Jonas Zeschke - FitTasteTic

Jonas Zeschke

As someone deeply rooted in Hamburg's food scene, there's nothing I like more than sharing the tasty dishes my city has to offer. Even though I typically focus more on healthy dishes, I still really enjoy most of the classic German cuisine. But I'm definitely more fan of the Northern, lesser-known cuisine of Germany.

1. First up, Currywurst. This isn't just any fast food; it's a cultural icon. Imagine a succulent pork sausage, sliced and drenched in a curry-infused ketchup that packs just the right amount of heat. In Hamburg, we like our sauce with a bit more kick, reflecting our love for bold and zesty flavors. It's simple, it's delicious, and it's something you can enjoy on the go, making it my top pick for anyone exploring German street food.

2. Then, we have the Finkenwerder Scholle, a dish that pays homage to Hamburg's fishing legacy. Picture this: a freshly caught plaice, pan-fried with onions, bacon, and a hint of shrimp, bringing the North Sea's bounty right to your plate. It's a taste of Hamburg's maritime soul, served with a side of tradition and a sprinkle of local pride.

3. And for a grand finale, Rote Grütze. This dessert is a symphony of berries—raspberries, strawberries, red and black currants—gently thickened and served cold, with a lavish dollop of vanilla sauce. It's the perfect palate cleanser after a savory meal, offering a refreshing and tangy twist that encapsulates the essence of Northern Germany's dessert tradition.

Annette Sandner

Annette-Sandner

As a tourist, you shouldn’t miss German classics on your plate, obviously. 

1. In the southern part of Germany, you have to try pork roast with potato and bread dumplings, it’s famous for the crispy crust and the hearty sauce. 

2. Also, you will find all kinds of sausages in Germany: roasted ones and very famous in the main city of Berlin: Currywurst with fries

3. If you pass by Munich in Bavaria you have to try the "white sausage", traditionally with sweet mustard, a "Breze" and wheat beer. 

4. What I personally love is "Leberkas" - also a southern specialty, like a very fine meatloaf. You eat it as a snack in a white bun "to go" or with potato salad on a plate. 

Marita Sinden - My Dinner

Marita Sinden

German food is varied as it is strongly influenced by the regional cuisine. If you visit Germany for the first time, I would urge you to try three things: German pastries, German sausages, and German beer. This may be a bit cliched, but gives a taste of both German and regional cuisine. Because every town and region in Germany will have its unique type of sausage and its local beer and pastry. 

1. So if you are in Berlin, try a Berliner Pfannkuchen, a Currywurst and a Berliner Pilsner

2. In Frankfurt, taste a slice of the Frankfurt Kranz cake, a Frankfurter Rindswurst, and drink a Henninger Kaiser Pilsner

3. In Bremen, get a piece of Bremer Klaben, a plate of Pinkelwurst and Kale, and a bottle of Haake Beck Beer. Just like that, every region has its culinary treasures to uncover. Read more about German food here.

Gabriele Utz - My Best German Recipes

Gabriele Utz

1. Sauerbraten

If you are in Germany you must try the Sauerbraten. It's a classic and traditional German pot roast that consists of beef that was marinated for some days. In restaurants it is served with potato dumplings, Spätzle or mashed potatoes, and, of course, red cabbage. In my childhood, it used to be a typical "Sunday" lunch or served at festive events. 

2. Strammer Max

If you don't have much time for a big meal you might want to try this dish that is called Strammer Max. It's a very popular snack in Germany that consists of a slice of bread, topped with ham, cheese, and a fried egg; some add pickles, radishes, cucumber, or tomatoes too. The dish will be served in many restaurants, pubs, and inns from North to South. I like it as it is a wholesome snack. 

3. Cheesespätzle - Käsespätzle

If you visit the South, the region around Stuttgart, try this dish that combines egg pasta called Spätzle, topped with fried onions and cheese, served with a mixed salad. German Cheese Spaetzle can be found on almost every menu of the local Inns that are called "Gasthaus". You might find this dish even in the North because it has become so popular. Makes a nice alternative for vegetarians.

Holly Becker - Decor8

Holly Becker

Visit a bakery - always order cakes and breads - try as many as you can! German bakeries are largely underrated but I think they are far better than American ones. 

My favorite thing from the bakery is Franzbrötchen

Also, you will always be told to try German Bratwurst. It's fine - of course - but if you can order Münchener Weißwürste mit süßem Senf und Laugenbrezn, then you've really struck gold standard wurst in Germany. 

I also love to order Schweineschnitzel mit Champignonrahmsoße, gebratenen Champignons und Bratkartoffeln.

Betina Wech-Niemetz - Mundgefühl

Betty Wech-Niemetz

Typical German cuisine can be described as rather hearty and meat-heavy. 

Visitors to Berlin, for example, cannot avoid the legendary currywurst. This is illustrated by the long queues in front of some currywurst stalls, which can almost be called institutions. The quick meal to go can easily be eaten between two appointments. 

You should at least try the ever-popular meatballs while sitting down. In this country, they are often enjoyed with mashed potatoes, potato salad or vegetables such as carrots and peas. 

A lesser-known classic is "Himmel und Ääd", which stands for "heaven and earth". The earth is symbolized by "Erdäpfeln", i.e. potatoes, while the apples stand for heaven. Translated into a dish, this means mashed potatoes with apple sauce or pieces of apple and crispy fried black pudding. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but absolutely worth trying.

Susanne Heiser - Lindenthalerin

Susanne Heiser

1. Starting in the north of the country my favorite dish is “Labskaus”. Labskaus is a traditional northern delicacy made of potatoes, corned beef, beetroot, onions, pickled gherkin, and herring. 

There are countless varieties of this dish. It´s served cold, sometimes paired with fried eggs. Especially in the area around Hamburg, Kiel, and Bremen, Labskaus is a common dish. If you ever have the possibility then go for it!

2. In Northrine-Westfalia where I live my favourite dish is “Rheinischer Sauerbraten mit Knödeln”. It's so delicious! The meat will be marinated in vinegar with spices, wine, and vegetables for several days. It’s a slow food preparation until the meat is so tender that you hardly need a knife. Served with delicious sauce, and homemade dumplings, it’s a wonderful German dish you absolutely must try. 

3. Finally, if youre around Frankfurt, plan a trip to the beautiful Odenwald region and try “Odenwälder Kochkäse”. This cheesy delicacy is made from cooked sour milk cheese called handkäse or curd. The runny cheese is eaten with fresh bread, pickles, or above a schnitzel (so-called “Kochkäse-Schnitzel”). Have a taste!

Monika and Petar Fuchs - Travel World Online

Monika and Petar Fuchs

Germany is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, offering an array of traditional dishes that reflect its diverse regions and historical influences. Among the myriad of flavors and recipes, there are three traditional German foods that tourists must absolutely try. 

1. First on the list is Rouladen, a classic dish that epitomizes German comfort food. This savory delight consists of thinly sliced beef rolled around a filling of bacon, onions, mustard, and pickles, then braised until tender. The result is a succulent, flavorful roll that's often served with gravy, potato dumplings, or red cabbage, offering a taste of Germany's culinary finesse.

Rouladen

2. Next is Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish that's not only a staple in German cuisine but also a testament to the country's love for tangy, hearty sides. 

3. Lastly, no culinary exploration of Germany would be complete without tasting Bratwurst, the famous German sausage. Made from a variety of meats, but primarily pork, Bratwurst is grilled or pan-fried and often served with sauerkraut or mustard, embodying the simplicity and richness of German flavors. 

Together, these dishes offer a culinary journey through the heart of German tradition and gastronomy.

Rafaella Vilafranca & Raphael Almeida - Viagem Alemanha

Rafaella Vilafranca e Raphael Almeida

On the dishes, we've expected many to go straight for the iconic Schweinshaxe, but we're here to talk about some German foods that are truly famous here but could fly under-the-radar picks outside Germany:

1. Spätzle

Not your average noodle, Spätzle is a Southern German staple. Often swimming in cheese (Käsespätzle!), it's the ultimate comfort food that gets you hooked with its simplicity and heartiness. Normally, it goes with meat dishes, but it can also be considered a main course. 

2. Bratkartoffeln

Imagine thinly sliced potatoes crisped to perfection with onions and bacon bits. Perfectly pairing with classics like Schnitzel.

3. Spaghettieis

This one's a showstopper dessert! Vanilla ice cream is pushed through a ricer to look like spaghetti, topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings for that "tomato sauce and Parmesan" look. It's a famous German invention with an interesting story.

4. Black Forest Chocolate Torte

Layers of lush chocolate cake, rich cream, and tangy cherries make this more than a dessert. We love to taste it in the heart of the Black Forest in an old sawmill transformed into a restaurant.

Karl-Heinz Limberg - KHL Lifestyle

Karl-Heinz Limberg