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German Sauerbraten Recipe: How to Make This Traditional Dish

German Sauerbraten Recipe: How to Make This Traditional Dish

Because they put so little effort into their food, the Germans say that “here is the boiled meat; now let’s improve it.” The recipe for Sauerbraten simply requires ten basic ingredients. It does not take too long to prepare. This dish is ideal for backyard barbecues and potluck as well.

What is German Sauerbraten?

Sauerbraten is a German dish that is made of beef roast, pork roast, or rump roast that has been braised in red wine vinegar, beef broth, water, and spices.

The word “Sauer” means sour in German, so this dish gets its name from the vinegar that is used to braise the meat. The end result is a tender and flavorful piece of meat that is perfect for serving with potatoes or noodles.

The History of German Sauerbraten

While the specific origin of Sauerbraten is unknown, it is believed to have been invented in either the early 1800s or the late 1700s. This dish became popular in Germany and quickly spread to other parts of Europe. It is enjoyed around the world today.

What are the main ingredients of the Authentic German Sauerbraten recipe?

In traditional German sauerbraten, the ingredients are beef roast, red wine vinegar, beef broth, water and, spices (pepper, allspice, cloves). But there are a lot of substitutes for Sauerbraten. On the other hand, this recipe is basically a German pot roast.

Using pork roast and rump roast

You can substitute pork roast or rump roast for the beef roast in this recipe without changing the outcome too much. Some people also use lamb roast or chuck roast. Just make sure that your meat is cooked through before serving.

Alternative to red wine vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar in this recipe without changing the outcome too much.

Are there variations to the German Sauerbraten recipe?

Yes, there are many variations to the German Sauerbraten recipe. Some people add onions or carrots to the braising liquid, while others add potatoes or mushrooms.

You can use other spices, such as thyme and marjoram. Also, some people add ingredients to the sauce before serving it such as lemon juice or tomato paste.

How to cook German Sauerbraten:

A plate of German Sauerbraten

Servings: 14 slices


2 teaspoons plain or kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 (4 pounds of beef top round roast

2 1/2 cups water

2 cups cider vinegar or a cup red wine vinegar

2 medium onions, sliced

1/3 cup of brown sugar

2 tablespoons mixed pickling spice

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

8 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

14 gingersnaps, crushed


Combine salt and ginger; rub over roast. Place in a deep glass bowl. In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, onions, sugar, pickling spices, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Pour over roast; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days, turning twice a day.

Remove roast, reserving marinade; pat roast dry. In a large kettle, slow cooker, or Dutch oven, brown roast on all sides in oil over medium-high heat. Strain marinade, reserving half of the onions and seasonings.

Pour 1 cup of marinade and reserved onions and seasonings over browned roast (cover and refrigerate remaining marinade).

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3 hours or until the meat are tender.

Strain cooking juices, discarding the onions and seasonings. Measure liquid; if necessary, add enough reserved marinade to equal 3 cups. Pour into a saucepan; bring to a rolling boil. Add gingersnaps; simmer until gravy is thickened. Slice meat and serve with gravy.


What is the best way to serve Sauerbraten?

You can serve Sauerbraten with mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, or, any other side dish. We recommend serving it with potato dumplings or boiled potatoes and a salad dressed with oil and vinegar for a traditional German pot roast.


The sauerbraten recipe is easy to follow and doesn’t take much time to prepare. It is also a great way to experience traditional German food. It goes well with a lot of side dishes and can be served as a main dish on different occasions.


Why are the bay leaves are needed?

The bay leaves add flavor to the gravy and are a traditional ingredient in sauerbraten recipes.

Can I use another type of vinegar?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in place of red wine vinegar without changing the outcome too much.

Can I add other ingredients to the sauce before serving it?

Yes, you can add ingredients such as lemon juice or tomato paste to the sauce before serving it.

Can I use a different type of meat?

Yes, you can substitute pork roast or rump roast for the beef roast without changing the outcome too much. just make sure that your meat is cooked through before serving.

Is there a way to prepare this ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the sauerbraten recipe up to 2 days before serving it. Just make sure that you separate the meat and sauce before freezing and thaw them out in the refrigerator before reheating.

What is a “top round roast”?

A top round roast is cut from the hind leg of the cow and is a leaner cut of meat. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, including roasting or braising.

Why do some recipes add gingersnaps?

Gingersnaps are added to the gravy to thicken it and give it a slight ginger flavor. You can leave them out if you prefer, but they do add a nice touch.

Do I have to refrigerate the roast for 2 days?

No, you don’t have to refrigerate the roast for 2 days. However, doing so will allow the flavors to meld together and create a more intense flavor. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step.

Why is sauerbraten so popular in Germany?

Sauerbraten is a popular dish in Germany because it is hearty, flavorful, and easy to make. It also has a long history and is considered a traditional German dish.

What does the word sauerbraten mean?

The word sauerbraten comes from the German word Sauer meaning sour and Braten which means roast.

What cut of beef is suitable for sauerbraten?

Sauerbraten is typically prepared with a beef roast and an eye round. If you want to try something new, you could use lamb roast or even pork roast instead.

Useful Tips:

– Rub the salt and ginger thoroughly into the roast
– If you have time, marinate the roast for 3 days in the fridge, turning it twice a day will make it more flavorful.
– Add the gingersnaps to the gravy to thicken and give it a slight ginger flavor. You can leave them out if you prefer.
– Turning the meat while in marinate will even out flavor.
– You can use other kinds of vinegar but measure the sourness.

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