15 Best German Street Food You Need to Try

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Street Food Vendor in Germany Grilling

No trip to Germany is complete without tasting authentic and diverse German cuisine. The Germans have a way of effortlessly combining taste, quality, and texture when it comes to the culinary arts.

Not only is their fare absolutely delicious, but it will satisfy every palette. Whether you’re a carnivore, have a picky appetite, or are a health conscious vegan, Germany has a street food for you. After all, in what other country can you buy hot pretzels with cheese at almost any time of day?

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Germany during the holiday season, you’ll love the variety of festive treats at the iconic Christmas markets. Imagine chestnuts roasting on an open fire in real life. The experience truly can not be put into words.

As you venture throughout this beautiful country, you’ll see there’s no shortage of German street foods. Find them at stalls and stands on the street or naturally at street food markets and fairs. Indulge in savory, sweet, hot, or cold foods.

When you picture German food, you likely imagine a juicy piece of meat. Considering the incredible selection, it’s no surprise that the most common type of street food is sausages. Try some bratwurst, weisswurst, bockwurst, knackwurst, or just eat them all.

Possibly the most popular dish is Currywurst. This delectable pork sausage is grilled to perfection.

It’s commonly served with curry ketchup, fries, and a white bread roll. Other fan favorites are Döner kebab (a Turkish-style sandwich with fried meat and garlic sauce) and Frankfurters with ketchup and mustard.

German Street Food | Must try German Street Food

Best German Street Food to Try

For an authentic foodie adventure, eat your way through this list of the best German foods.

1. Brezel (Pretzels)

Baked Pretzels with Side of Mustard

The historical roots of the pretzel have a fascinating beginning in south Germany. It’s believed that pretzels were invented by European monks. Throughout the years, they served as a symbol of good luck and were even used in wedding ceremonies in Germany.

German pretzels are a prime example of perfection. They’re hot, fluffy, soft, and chewy. Top them with salt, cheese, and butter.

Don’t forget to dip them in some sweet mustard. If you’re a Plain Jane, they’re just as delicious as is.

Grab one at any time of day and indulge in this German street food masterpiece. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can make your own at home.

2. Currywurst

German Currywurst

Currywurst is one of the most popular German street foods. There’s even a Currywurst Museum dedicated to this fine invention.

In Berlin, you can find it pretty much on every street corner. Currywurst is a spicy sausage (usually bratwurst) made with ketchup, curry powder, and Worcestershire sauce. The spices give the German sausage a nice flavor while allowing you to taste its authentic German roots.

German Currywurst is chunks of boiled then fried bratwurst, smothered in a curry-spiced tomato sauce, and lightly dusted with curry powder. It’s commonly served with French fries or a bread roll and sold on a disposable cardboard plate. There are tons of curry sauces on the market, so you can experiment with different flavor profiles.

Herta Heuwer, a woman from Berlin, is credited with creating the recipe. After trading with British soldiers for ketchup and curry powder, she got to work in her kitchen at a Schnellimbiss (snack stand).

After concocting a delicious sauce, she poured it over sausages and began selling it. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making it yourself.

See Related: Germany Currency: Everything You Need to Know

3. Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts Roasting at Germany Market

Feeling nutty? If you plan to visit Germany during the colder months, you have to get your hands on some roasted chestnuts. They are a popular German street food during the holiday season.

This German delicacy is an absolute hit at the iconic Christmas markets. They’re normally sold in a brown paper bag and are toasty warm.

Get into the holiday spirit by roasting them over an open fire or in an oven at home. Chestnuts are incredibly easy to prepare. After cooking, cut into each nut.

Peel away the exterior and inner layers. Roasted German chestnuts are a great snack to indulge in, especially during the winter months. Get the full experience at home with this incredible recipe for oven-roasted chestnuts.

4. German Cookies

Speculaas Cookies in Germany

Another must try from fast-food stands is German cookies. When you compare them to your average American cookie, the results are night and day. You can find them at Christmas markets, food trucks, and bakeries around the country.

German cookies are packed with spices, nuts, and a flavor punch. My personal favorite is Spekulatius, made with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Lebkuchen is also a must-try.

At Christmas time, they are filled with apricot or plum jam. Try your hand at creating Spekulatius or Lebkuchen in the comfort of your home.

German cookies often have different kinds of nuts, giving them an amazing flavor that any other type of cookie can’t replicate. German cookies are delicious, and you’ll definitely want to try some the next time you visit Germany!

5. Weisswurst 

Weisswurt on a Plate with Mustard

Weisswurst is another food served by street vendors that you should try in Germany. These German sausages have a very unique flavor profile and are a Bavarian specialty. German Weisswurst consists of pork casings that are filled with minced veal, bacon, and spices.

Common seasonings are parsley, onion, nutmeg, mace, and cardamom. Weisswurst is a fan favorite during Oktoberfest and pairs well with a pretzel and a tall glass of cold Bavarian beer.

Why is German Weisswurst a great German snack? German Weisswurst offers a unique taste that most other German foods don’t have. It’s typically very light and fluffy, making it the perfect breakfast or lunch choice.

If you like German sausages, you’ll love German Weisswurst because it has the same German flavors with a unique twist that sets it apart from all the other German foods on this list. It’s time to bust out the apron and give this one a go at home.

See Related: Bayerische Semmelklose Recipe

6. Döner Kebab 

Fresh Döner Kebab
Tobias Arhelger / Adobe Stock

German food is diverse and delicious, making it one of the many reasons to visit Germany. German Döner kebabs are no exception to this rule.

They offer a versatile German flavor that you’re sure to fall in love with. Although it has origins in Turkey, Döner kebab is a very popular street food that you have to try.

German Döner kebab meat is typically lamb, but chicken and beef are also available. Döner kebab starts off in an incredible marinade of yogurt, tomato paste, lemons, garlic, and spices.

After marinating, it receives the ultimate treatment with a slow-roasted vertical rotisserie. Served with flatbread or on top of pita bread, German Döner kebabs are something you don’t want to miss out on.

Each region has its own variation of the dish. In North America, they’re referred to as gyros and are served with tzatziki.

Germany’s version comes with additional tomato-based condiments such as vegetables and sauces. The Turkish variant comes with many different options.

Choose from fries, rice, salad, onions, and assorted sauces. Try it yourself at home and create your own variation.

See Related: Top-Rated Restaurants in Germany

7. Schnitzel mit Pommes Frites 

Schnitzle Mit Pommes Frites

You may know schnitzel as more traditional German food, but it’s also a phenomenal to-go street food. There are tons of food trucks around the country that sell this delectable dish.

German schnitzel is a thin meat cutlet that is breaded and fried to perfection. Typically, the meat is either veal or pork. Although, you can also find chicken and turkey schnitzel.

Usually, the street food comes with pommes frites, known as French fries or fried potatoes. German potato salad (typically consisting of boiled potatoes in a tangy dressing) and vegetables are other common sides. Make your own traditional potato salad at home or try your hand at authentic German schnitzel.

8. Hähnchenschenkel mit Kartoffelsalat

Hähnchenschenkel with Salad

Another German street food that you should try is German Hähnchenschenkel mit Kartoffelsalat. German-style chicken thighs have tons of variations and cooking methods. Pop them in the oven or try them in the slow cooker.

Try it at home with this recipe. The chicken soaks up the flavors of sauerkraut, cream of potato soup, and spices.

Serve it with spaetzle, fried potatoes, or potato salad for an authentic German lunch or dinner. German Hähnchenschenkel mit Kartoffelsalat offers a great flavor that no other German food can replicate.

9. Leberwurst or Leberkäse

Leberwurst Spread on Brot

Leberwurst is a type of German sausage and is another popular street food in Germany. If you’re feeling adventurous, you have to try it.

German leberwurst is a spicy sausage made of ground pork liver, onions, and seasonings. Typical spices include salt, pepper, onion powder, and sometimes ginger or mustard.

Most leberwursts have a coarse ground texture and are commonly used on sandwiches. Germans love it because it’s spreadable.

Leberwurst is phenomenal when paired with pickles, mustard, or onions. Leberwurst offers a unique, porky flavor that most German foods don’t have and is typically very rich and fatty, which makes it the perfect choice for lunch or dinner.

10. Glühwein

Glühwein with Gingerbread Cookies

Glühwein is Germany’s beloved Christmas beverage that’s been around for hundreds of years. This versatile drink is crafted from red, white wine, or fruit juice for a non-alcoholic version. Glühwein is served hot in a ceramic mug or stemless wine glass.

German Glühwein is a German staple drink you should try when visiting Germany. It’s essential to try while touring around one of Germany’s legendary Christmas markets. Bring the taste of Christmas home with you with this incredible recipe.

11. Kartoffelpuffer

Kartoffelpuffer (German Potato Pancakes) with Apfelmus

The potato pancake, also known as the Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen, is another fine delicacy from Germany. Although the exact origin is unknown, German potato pancakes have been made and loved for hundreds of years.

While they are typically eaten with apple sauce or sour cream, the possibilities are endless. They make a great side dish or main meal.

You can use either mashed or grated potatoes. Serve it with meat, fruit compote, or eggs benedict.

Try it yourself at home with this super easy recipe. You’ll see why Kartoffelpuffer is the perfect blend of German flavors.

See Related: Famous Mountains in Germany

12. Schaschlikspieß (Meat skewers)

Schaschlikspies Mit Pommes Frites

Schaschlikspieß is the ultimate hidden gem of German foods. It’s a delicious blend of meat, vegetables, and aromatic spices.

Schaschlikspieß is awesome for portion control because it provides a well-rounded meal containing all the necessary nutrients. The combination of filling protein and fibre rich vegetables makes this street food a popular and healthy choice.

Some Schaschlikspieß recipes contain olive oil and lemon juice, which add flavor to this German street food favorite. Serve it with rice or potatoes for a complete lunch or dinner.

Bring the taste of Germany home and try your hand at Schaschlikspieß.

See Related: Kartoffelklose Recipe

13. Frikadellen

Frikadellen with Mustard

Frikadellen is a German street food that can be found virtually anywhere in Germany. Frikadelle is a German specialty dish that consists of German minced meat, optionally with onion or garlic, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs.

Frikadellen is usually served in German restaurants with German curry sauce or a spiced tomato sauce. They make great quick snacks because of their versatility.

German Frikadellen can be served hot or cold. Serve them with cheese, vegetables, or both to make a more filling meal perfect for lunch or dinner. Pair this with a bread roll and melted butter, and you’ll be blissful.

14. Schneeball

Schneeballen in Christmas Market

The Schneeball is a trendy, deep-fried shortbread pastry from Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Southern Germany. They’re only available during the winter, so get your fix while you can. While the conventional version is dusted with sugar, nowadays, you can find them in many different flavors.

The outer shell is crispy and flaky. When you bite into it, you’ll experience layers of tender chewiness.

They’re amazing as is, but you can also add chocolate sauce or fruit compote for an extra flavor fusion. Schneeball is a wonderful snack to take during tours and especially during holidays.

See Related: Types of Traditional German Christmas Food

15. Flammkuchen (Alsatian pizza)

Flammkuchen on a Serving Plate

Flammkuchen is a thin-crust pizza dish from Germany. Traditionally, pizzas are round, whereas Flammkuchen is oval or square. It packs a punch because it fills you, but you’re comfortably full.

The dish hails from the Alsace region in France, so Alsatian Pizza could be considered French and German. Since the largest city in Alsace, Strasbourg, is under German and French rule, street signs are in German and French.

Flammkuchen works excellently with German beer, so pair it with your local brew. This Alsace specialty may contain almost all kinds of toppings. Watch the video below for a walkthrough and taste of some of these street foods in Germany.

German street food is at the core of German culture. You’ll find it all over the country and in many other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland.

German street food has been around for centuries but was particularly popular during World War because of its low cost and high nutritional value – something people were always hungry for after rationing took effect throughout Europe.

Fast food in Germany comes in many forms. You can get fresh pretzels, wurst (sausages), potato pancakes, or bratwurst with sauerkraut.

Try various dumplings like schupfnudeln (potato flour noodles) or goulash soup. Freshly squeezed German apple juice might be your next favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most popular street food in Germany?

While popularity depends on preference, Currywurst, Frikadellen, and Brezel are popular street foods in Germany.

What is German street food made of?

German street food varies but is typically sausages and other meat, sauerkraut, fried potatoes, potato pancakes, and apple juice.

Can I make German street foods at home?

Yes, German street foods are easy to make at home if you have the ingredients. Items can be purchased online or through international retailers. Many recipes are available to recreate delicious German specialties.

What are traditional foods in Germany?

Traditional foods in Germany include fried potatoes, schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, and apple juice.

Other German Recipes

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Lisa Merten
WRITTEN BY

Lisa Merten

Since both of her parents are German immigrants, Lisa grew up with a lot of German culture. In fact, she’s more familiar with German traditions as opposed to the North American way of life. Growing up, she was fortunate enough to spend many summers in Germany with her family and she is fluent in German. Lisa is also quite the expert on Caribbean cruises, and has been to almost every island. She was also fortunate enough to work at a travel agency for almost 2 years to learn some of the ropes of the industry, and she's happy to share her experiences, tips, and travel hacks with her readers.

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