6 Oktoberfest-Themed Recipes That are Bites of German Greatness
Oktoberfest is known as the world’s biggest beer festival, with Munich hosting over 6 million visitors on average over the course of its two-week celebration, according to Food Republic. But Oktoberfest deserves recognition for more than just its libations — this party offers celebrants the opportunity to indulge in Germany’s most inspiring and enticing edibles.
Even if you’re not visiting Deutschland for the frenzied festivities this year, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the tastes of the season at home. These 6 Oktoberfest-inspired recipes make for an appetizing way to enjoy Germany’s cultural traditions in the comfort of your own kitchen.
1. Beer Bratwurst and Onions
Bratwurst, the popular German pork sausage, is about as German as it gets — especially in this recipe from Foodie Crush, which incorporates a bottle of beer. These wursts are cooked on a buttery skillet along with onions and are an Oktoberfest essential. Serve with grainy mustard for the authentic German experience. Recipe takes 50 minutes to complete and yields 6 servings.
- 6 bratwurst sausages
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ onions, thickly sliced
- 1 12-ounce bottle amber ale or nut brown ale
- 6 hoagie buns
Directions: In a cast iron or regular skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Nestle bratwurst among onions, add bottle of ale, and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally until beer cooks down and is evaporated. Remove onions and set aside. Raise the heat to medium-high and brown sausages evenly on all sides. Serve on hoagie buns with onions and coarse, grainy mustard. Add sauerkraut if desired.
2. Spaetzle With Gruyère and Caramelized Onions
“Spaetzle” is a type of German noodle, the name of which translates in English to “little sparrows,” a reference to its shape, according to Honest Cooking. Spaetzle can be prepared in any number of rich, savory ways, and this variation is exceptionally delicious; Food & Wine‘s recipe combines fresh spaetzle with creamy Gruyère cheese and slightly sweet caramelized onions for an irresistible entrée.
This recipe takes an hour and 25 minutes to complete and serves 6 people. The cooked spaetzle noodles can be rerigerated for up to one day before baking the dish.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese (5 ounces)
- 1 ¾ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
Directions: In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the egg yolks, and egg. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir the egg mixture into the flour, leaving a few lumps. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Carefully hold a colander with large holes over the boiling water. Add about ½ cup of the batter to the colander and press it into the simmering water with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Repeat until all of the batter has been used. Cook the spaetzle for 2 minutes longer, then drain. Immediately transfer the spaetzle to the ice water, swirling the dumplings until all of the ice melts. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spread the spaetzle in the dish and dot with the butter. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the spaetzle is hot and the cheese is just melted.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Scatter the onion over the spaetzle and serve.
3. Perfect Potato Soup
Enjoying a bowl of luscious potato soup seems the most fitting way of all to welcome in the fall season. A medley of autumnal vegetables comes together here with potato, savory broth, cream, spices, and bacon to produce a phenomenally flavorful — and filling — dish. This recipe from the Pioneer Woman takes 30 minutes to make and yields 12 hearty servings.
- 6 slices thin bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 whole medium onion, diced
- 3 whole carrots, scrubbed clean and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 6 whole small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon cajun spice mix
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 cup grated cheese of your choice
Directions: Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.
Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove half to ⅔ the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.
Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese, and crisp bacon pieces.
4. Sauerkraut and Pork Chops
It wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without sauerkraut — and pork, in all its seasoned, succulent forms. Mimic the tastes of Munich by seasoning your chops with brown sugar, thyme, mustard, paprika, and oregano, creating a zesty, tender entrée that everyone will love. Applesauce lends it a light tartness that beautifully complements the sweet, spiced flavors of the other seasonings. This recipe from Taste of Home takes an hour and 20 minutes and yields 6 servings.
- 3 cups sauerkraut, well-drained
- 2 cups applesauce
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 6 pork chops (1 inch thick and 7 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the sauerkraut, applesauce, broth, bacon, brown sugar, and seasonings; spoon into an ungreased 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil; drain. Place chops over the sauerkraut mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 1¼ hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Bavarian Soft Pretzels
The pretzel is said to have been invented about 1,600 years ago thanks to a teacher who wanted to reward well-behaved students and happened to have some leftover bread dough, reports How Stuff Works. Nowadays, soft, bready Bavarian pretzels are an excellent sidekick for a pint of German beer during Oktoberfest. This salty snack can be thoroughly enjoyed by its lonesome, but is kicked up a few notches when dipped in grainy, spicy mustard. This dish from All Recipes takes 35 minutes to complete and yields 6 large soft pretzels. Cheers — or, as they say in Germany: prost!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1⅓ cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
Directions: In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1 ⅓ cup water. Let this mixture stand until bubble begin to form, about 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and gradually stir in the remaining flour until dough can be picked up and kneaded on the counter. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces and let them rest for a few minutes. Roll out one piece at a time into a rope about 15 inches long. Loop and twist into that cool pretzel shape. Set on a baking sheet while you roll out the remaining portions.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the remaining 3 cups of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Remove from the heat. Dip pretzels into the water bath for about 45 seconds, flipping over about halfway through. Place the soaked pretzels on a greased baking sheet. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Black Forest Chocolate Cookies
Black Forest Cake is a famous German dessert consisting of rich, chocolatey cake, whipped cream, and cherries. These cookies are a fun, easy-to-serve spin on that tradition, incorporating the same ingredients into a warm, gooey batch of quick-bake snacks. These treats can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days after baking. This recipe from Serious Eats takes about 25 minutes to make, plus at least 6 hours of chilling time for the dough prior to baking. It yields 24 cookies.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 large eggs
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
- 1 cup (6 ounces) dried cherries
Directions: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the dark chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugars on high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined, about 10 seconds. Do not overmix.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried cherries. The dough will look very loose, but it will harden in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies are set and begin to show a few cracks. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before removing from the pans and serving.