If you’re reading this, you’re probably about to come to Germany for a visit. Congrats on that, this country is beautiful, and you’ll have so much to explore. Here’s for all the foodies about to dive into Bavarian cuisine. The food in Bavaria is excellent, trust me. (I don’t only say that because I grew up and still live in Bavaria!)
Brace yourself for a lot of meat, cabbage, sausages, and delicious bread! You might already know some of the dishes if you’ve already been to Austria since there are many similarities.
You might experience a snack attack occurring during reading – better prepare yourself and grab something to eat, hehe.
Now let me guide you through our local dishes – enjoy!
Must-eat savory food in Bavaria
1 | Schnitzel
The Schnitzel is a classic southern German and Austrian dish. While it is widespread all around Germany, we take much pride in our Schnitzel. If you’re going for the classic version, you’d order a “Wiener Schnitzel” or “Schnitzel Wiener Art.” It’s usually served with a lemon to squeeze on top of the Schnitzel (so delicious!). As a side, it’s common to have either french fries or potato salad.
2 | Weißwürste
Aka. the Bavarian breakfast. Don’t get me wrong here; we don’t eat Weißwürste for breakfast on a day-to-day basis. It’s usually more of a lunch or brunch thing, especially during occasions like the Oktoberfest. So you’d go for a “Weißwurst-brunch” and enjoy a hearty breakfast where you also swap your coffee for a beer. They’re also great for a quick lunch and are served with mustard and bread (what else, lol).
You need to peel your Weißwurst sausage because you shouldn’t eat the skin. I find it easiest to cut the Weißwurst halfway once and invert it. Then, it’s easy to get the sausage halves off the skin. I know it’s hard to understand if you’re new to the game, but there will be tons of tutorials on youtube. Some make it a literal science, but there are many ways to get it off.
3 | Schäufele
The “Schäufele” is a Franconian classic. This pork shoulder piece is served with the bone. (By the way: The name “Schäufele” comes from the German word “Schaufel” (en: shovel) because it looks like a shovel.) If done right, the tender meat will fall off the bone but have a crunchy crust on top. It’s usually served with Knödel and a salad on the side.
4 | Schweinshaxe
The Schweinshaxe looks like the Schäufele, but it’s the ham hock this time. The roasted ham hock is also served with Knödel and usually a side of salad. Of course, you’ll also have a crunchy crust with this dish. Yum!
5 | Knödel
Ok, before we go on with the roast dishes, I have to explain the german “Knödel.” Knödel or Klöße are best translated as boiled dumplings. When I think of “dumplings,” I think of the steamed and filled dumplings and gyozas in Asia; however, our dumplings are different. The classic (yellow) dumplings are made of potatoes. The “Semmelknödel” is made out of bread. We usually eat them as a side, as mentioned with the Schäufele and Schweinshaxe. There are sweet dumpling variations as well, but we’ll come to this later.
6 | Schweinebraten & Sauerbraten
The Schweinebraten is considered “THE bavarian dish” (I couldn’t cut it down to one dish, but let’s accept it, lol). The pork meat (usually from the neck or shoulder) is slowly roasted and braised until its tender, and the crust is crunchy. The traditional way to serve would be with Knödel (who would have thought that) and sauce made out of dark beer and broth. Besides that, you’ll often get a side of Krautsalat (en: coleslaw) with it.
The concept of Sauerbraten is similar to the Schweinebraten. In my region, we use beef that sits in a special sour marinade for a few hours before braising. The sauce will be a mixture of stew and gingerbread, which gives the dish a unique taste. We serve it with Knödel and red cabbage.
The Sauerbraten is common all over Germany. However, the recipe changes from region to region. You could eat 5 Sauerbraten dishes and will have five different experiences. I personally love Sauerbraten, and my family’s take on it is my favorite meal.
7 | Sauerkraut & Blaukraut
I’ve already mentioned it as a side with the Schweine- and Sauerbraten… we love cabbage. The most common versions you’ll find will be Sauerkraut and red cabbage (“Blaukraut”). Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and tastes sour (“sauer” en: “sour”). There are many takes on Sauerkraut, depending on the region, as with all the other dishes. You’ll find it plain, with apple, caraway seeds, or white wine added to it. For example, we eat it with all the meat dishes I already mentioned or add it as a side with roasted sausages.
We also love to eat boiled red cabbage as a side. This type of cabbage is commonly served with dishes like Sauerbraten or roasted duck.
8 | Käsespätzle
Whether you’re in Austria or Bavaria, you HAVE to eat Käsespätzle. There’s probably nobody that doesn’t like Käsespätzle – plus, it’s finally a vegetarian dish. The dish is pretty straightforward. Throw your Spätzle (a particular type of small noodle) into a pan, add grated cheese and wait for the cheese to melt. Top it with roasted onions – aaand it’s done. You’ll mostly get a salad on the side with your Käsespätzle. This is one of the foods in Bavaria you have to try!
9 | Bratwurst & other sausages
So, where do I even start? I think the Bavarian love for meat dishes already came across, so of course, there are sausages we have to add to the list. While all the different kinds of sausages would be too much to explain and mention, I can’t leave the Bratwurst unmentioned.
The Bratwurst is another staple on every menu once you’re in a traditional restaurant. Those grilled sausages are usually served with Bread, Sauerkraut, and mustard. However, Bratwürste are not limited to in-house dining. Many cities (especially Nürnberg) will have tiny grill houses spread around the city where they sell Bratwürste in a bread roll. It’s the perfect on-the-go snack and an absolute must-eat food in Bavaria.
Depending on your region, you will either order a “Bratwurstsemmel” (e.g., Munich, Regensburg,..) or “3 im Weggla” (meaning three sausages in a bread roll), which would be the common phrase here in Nürnberg and all over Franconia.
10 | Breze
While “pretzels” are known worldwide, we don’t accept anything other than our version of the Breze. Or love for bread goes deep; we all know that. The Breze is a must-eat in Bavaria and comes in many different variations. Now, what’s so special about it? The dough is formed into the classic knot and then covered in lye solution. This gives the Breze the iconic color and taste. The traditional Breze is topped with salt, yet nowadays, many more toppings are available in every bakery. (e.g., Pepper, Sunflower Seeds,…)
11 | Obazda
You can’t mention food in Bavaria without the famous “Obazda .”It’s a mixture of butter, aged soft cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper. Usually, there’s a small amount of beer added for the taste. (The jars you buy in the supermarket typically don’t have any beer added). It’s served with chives and sliced onions on top.
Spread it on a slice of bread or dip your Breze into it and enjoy!
12 | Leberkäse
You’ve only been to Bavaria if you’ve tried Leberkäse (en. meatloaf)! Like the Bratwurst, it is eaten either on a plate with mustard, pretzels (or bread), and sometimes a side of eggs, spinach, or potatoes – or in a bread roll. A “Leberkäsesemmel” (bread with meatloaf) is another pick for on-the-go food since it is easy to serve and eat.
13 | Spargel
Spargel aka. asparagus is typical for the whole country. As soon as the season hits, you’ll find our beloved white asparagus on every single menu in the restaurant. In Bavaria, the entire region around Schrobenhausen is famous for its Spargel. The annual hype (the beloved “asparagus-time”) takes place in April/May, and germans go crazy about it.
It’s usually served plain with a bit of butter and a side of potatoes, with ham or sauce hollandaise.
Local Tip: The Brotzeitbrett
If you’re in the mood for a cold dish, maybe even something to share with the table, order a “Brotzeitbrett”. The concept of Brotzeit means having a cold snack with bread instead of a hearty, warm dish.
Many restaurants offer the so-called “Brotzeit Bretter.” A Brotzeit Brett is usually a plate with Obazda, hard-boiled eggs, cheeses, ham, sausages, pickles, and radish. In addition, you’ll get a basket of (sometimes even different) bread slices with the plate. It’s great to share in a bigger group and try the various condiments.
You could say this is Bavaria’s version of a charcuterie board.
Must-eat sweet food in Bavaria
14 | Zwetschgendatschi
The “Zwetschgendatschi” is a plum cake. Plum cakes are typical all over Germany, yet you’ll often find them on bavarian menus named “Zwetschgendatschi.” Like other dishes, the name differs depending on the region.
We love our plum cakes in the summer season and prepare them as sheet cakes. It’s usually a thin layer of dough topped with sliced plums. The sweet/savory taste of the plums makes it such a refreshing summer dessert.
15 | Bayerisch Creme
The exact translation for this would be “Bavarian cream.” This dessert is a mixture of whipped cream, eggs, milk, sugar, and gelatine. It’s served cold and mostly topped with some kind of fruit parfait. Besides being called Bay(e)risch Creme, you can also find it as “Crème bavaroise” on some menus. It is very similar to “Panna Cotta”.
16 | Dampfnudel
Aaaand the Knödel love goes on with sweet dishes: The Dampfnudel is a sweet kind of “dumpling” that’s usually eaten as a dessert. However, some eat it as a main course since it is pretty large and filling. The dough is cooked in butter and milk and then served with vanilla sauce if you’re going for the traditional way to eat it in Bavaria. It’s also delicious with jam or fruit, yet that’s not common in the area here. Some regions in Germany also make it a savory dish by adding, e.g., cabbage, potatoes, and béchamel sauce. If you’re only staying in Bavaria, you’ll have a hard time finding the savory version of the Dampfnudel. We like ours sweet and drowned in vanilla sauce!
17 | Germknödel
The Germknödel looks (and tastes) similar to the Dampfnudel once served. The difference, though, is the filling. While the Dampfnudel isn’t filled with anything, the Germknödel is filled with plum jam. In addition, you’ll usually have crushed poppy seeds sprinkled on top, and the most common way to eat it is – again – with vanilla sauce. The Germknödel can also come with a butter sauce, yet the vanilla sauce version is a lot more common.
18 | Küchle
…The dessert with 100 different names. So, the Küchle is a fried dough pastry that’s very common in Bavaria and Austria. However, it is hard to find if not by knowing its look. Why? There are different names for it depending on the region. The most common names I know are “Kücherl”, “Auszogne”, “Kiachl”, “Küchle” and “Bauernkrapfen”.
The sweetness of this pastry mostly comes from the powdered sugar on top. You can usually get Küchle in the local bakery. You’d usually eat it plain, but I prefer dipping mine in apple sauce. Trust me; it’s delicious!
19 | Kaiserschmarrn
The Kaiserschmarrn is a fluffy pancake that’s pulled and shredded apart. It’s insanely delicious and usually served with powdered sugar and a side of apple sauce. The traditional Kaiserschmarrn also has raisins, yet some restaurants do it without. (We all know at least one person that hates raisins, right?).
The Kaiserschmarrn is one of the most famous foods in Bavaria and is often also eaten as a main course, not just as a dessert. Especially in the alpine regions, you won’t find a mountain hut that doesn’t offer Kaiserschmarrn.
20 | Apfelstrudel
Last but not least, the Apfelstrudel. This strudel dish is made of apples and originates in Austria. It is an absolute must-have in Bavarian cuisine and served as dessert or a “light” main course. The thin dough jackets the cooked apple slices before everything goes into the oven to bake. Traditionally, it is served with vanilla sauce and whipped cream.
The Apfelstrudel is by far one of my favorite dishes!
If you’ve made it to the end without getting hungry: congratulations! I didn’t. I will keep this ending short since I need to go to the bakery ASAP! And if you’ve tried one or more of these dishes, please let me know! What’s your favorite one? And was there something you didn’t like? I’m curious!
As always, stay happy and healthy!
See you soon,
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