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German Cuisine by Season: What to Expect, What German Food to Try?

Contrary to popular belief, German cuisine isn’t all about meat and potatoes (although it tends to revolve around them). Their soups and veggie dishes are amazing too. 


Read on to find out what Germans eat in different seasons of the year and the top recipes you should try before embarking on that long-awaited trip to the heart of Europe. 

German Food to Try in Fall

We start with the present season and present the most popular soup, one delicious main course, and an easy treat you can make with leftover eggs. 

German-Style Pumpkin Soup

German pumpkin soup is super-creamy and velvety smooth. Pumpkins may not be the first association we have with typical German food, but they’ve become part and parcel of the fall season. Germans grow pumpkins in their gardens and they’re often sold them at the roadside. Ludwigsburg hosts a huge pumpkin festival. 

The soup is absolutely delectable. Click here to learn how to make it. 

Viennese Goulash 

Succulent beef served with homemade pasta and covered with thick, velvety gravy: if that’s not comfort food, we don’t know what is. Beef goulash (Rindsgulasch) is one of Germans and Austrians’ top dishes. It’s also much easier to make than most people think. 

Eggs in Mustard Sauce

Few German people wonder what to do with leftover eggs, be they from Easter or any other occasion. These eggs are easy and fast to make, particularly if already boiled. It’s a very delicious and affordable dish. Basically, these are hard boiled eggs in a rich mustard sauce. Germans will tell you dill is an indispensable part of the sauce, but if you don’t like it, you can use parsley or chives instead. Of course, a heap of potatoes on the side won’t hurt.

This dish is all about the sauce. You can use any kind you like; we like German Born Senf best. You can mix it with hot mustard for some extra zest. If you use dill, it should be frozen or fresh. Don’t use dry, you won’t be happy with the outcome.

Check out the recipe for some more tips and pointers.

Winter 

Winter is heavy on meat as you might expect. Thoughtfully, we’ve also added one popular and tasty veggie recipe.  

Beef rolls (Rindsrouladen)

The ingredients in beef rolls are not unlike the ones you’d find in any hamburger. Make no mistake though; this food is anything but fast! It’s the hearty fodder of a special evening occasion – evening because you can’t do anything but sleep after such a heavy meal. 

We roll and braise thin beef slices after spreading onions, bacon, pickles, and mustard on them. Then, we wait an hour for them to simmer. You don’t have to love meat to appreciate this delectable fare. 

The literal translation of the name of this dish is "little sparrows". It consists of soft egg noodles swimming in a creamy sea of cheese. Does it sound like mac and cheese? I


t is, and taken to the next level of culinary supremacy. Usually, Germans add fried onions and bacon to this hearty winter dish, but you can omit the bacon and enjoy the veggie version.

Potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

If there ever was a nation that took potatoes to the next level, it’s the Germans. As you might expect, this is no easy feat. First, you boil, peel, and grate the potatoes. Then, you mix the gratings with some eggs and flour. The texture should be soft, yet solid. Use more flour if it’s runny or more eggs if it’s clumpy. 

Now, divide the mixture into smaller pieces and fry them using lots of oil, preferably grape seed oil. Traditionally, potato pancakes are served with cream cheese, sour cream, or applesauce. It depends on the region. This is a great veggie dish, although most Germans have it with roast chicken on the side. For more tips on how to make it, click here.

“Sparrows” with Cheese (Käsespätzle)

The literal translation of the name of this dish is "little sparrows". It consists of soft egg noodles swimming in a creamy sea of cheese. Does it sound like mac and cheese? It is, homemade and taken to the next level of culinary supremacy. Usually, Germans add fried onions and bacon to this hearty winter dish, but you can omit the bacon and enjoy the veggie version.

Spring

This is the season when vegetarians and vegans finally get to indulge in their favorite foods. Germans must have hundreds of dishes with asparagus, which is delicious and healthy at the same time. You must admit the products you can claim that about are few. Fans of the veggie love to roast it until the tips get crunchy. 

Asparagus Soup

You’ll love this creamy soup, made with garlic and butter to soften the grassy taste. We simmer and blend it with cream until it’s homogenous and smooth. The soothing, lovely green soup is a great appetizer for many and a main course for some. Enjoy it hot - or cold on the off chance you end up with leftovers. 

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This light spring salad combines cucumbers, sweet onions, and horseradish dressing in a flurry of colors and flavors. The radish adds a spicy zest, and the fresh herbs remind us summer is finally coming. 

Fish Cakes with Green Sauce

Not everything is meat: with direct access to the North Sea, Germans enjoy fabulous fresh fish all year round. The cakes are made with white fish and/or salmon and doused with invigorating green herb sauce. It’s a fish lover’s dream come true.  

Obatzda 

Simply put, this is a cheese spread that South Germans have with bread or a pretzel. It’s made with basic ingredients: butter, Camembert cheese, cheese spread, paprika, and onions (blended). The name of the spread comes obatzten, which is the process of combining the ingredients.

Summer

We’re finally at my favorite season. Germans love barbecuing as much as anyone else. The most popular grilling options are sausages, steak, and vegetables. You’ll see people grilling in public parks and almost every German has a coal barbecue in their back yard. 

Potato salad (Kartoffelsalat) with a twist

There are as many potato recipes as there are German personality types. Most traditional ones use broth, oil, and vinegar for dressing in lieu of mayonnaise. Pellkartoffel mit Quark is one recipe with a twist.

You boil the potatoes in their skins, then remove them and serve with Quark, a type of rich, velvety cream cheese. Add salt, fresh herbs, and pepper and you’re all set. It’s a meal in itself, although many will eat it on the side. 

Apfel-Matjes-Salat

North Germans love pickled herring or "matjes", even though they can be an acquired taste. This is a refreshing summer salat with pickled herring, dill, diced onions, cream cheese, and apples. You can serve it with potatoes.

And for Dessert…

Plums are a popular ingredient in cake recipes. Zwetschge is a variety of the typical plum. The word for round plums is Pflaumen, while Zwetschgen are smaller with a distinct oval shape. 

Are you going to try any of these recipes? Let us know and share some of your own!

About the Author Daniela Kirova

Daniela Kirova is a German and English language teacher, translator, and copywriter. She finished school in the US and holds degrees in English / German linguistics and psychology.