Food

20 Best Oktoberfest Recipes to Celebrate the German Beer Festival


In just a few weeks, Oktoberfest, the spirited German folk festival, will be in full swing. The celebration of epicurean proportions runs from the middle of September to the beginning of October. Each year, an estimated six million people pack into the city of Munich for nonstop noshing and drinking.

Though beer is Oktoberfest’s obvious appeal, there’s no need to forget about the corresponding snacks. Think hearty German pub fare that keeps you cozy as the fall season commences. What better accompaniment to a cold, heady beer than a juicy bratwurst, a salty pretzel, or a flaky apple pastry? We’ve compiled our most Oktoberfest-approved recipes for those who want to carouse from home. Prost!

1. Braised Red Cabbage With Kielbasa, Apple & Mustard Cream

You don’t need to book a one-way ticket to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest; it can be as low-maintenance as this one-pan dinner that comes together in just 30 minutes. A platter of kielbasa, silky cabbage, and roasted apples make the perfect dinner for four.

2. Jägerschnitzel (Pork Schnitzel With Red Wine-Mushroom Sauce)

Good schnitzel—whether it’s veal, pork, or chicken—really comes down to the breading: the flavor of the breadcrumbs, how crispy they get, and how well it adheres to the meat. For the crispiest breading, recipe developer Lexie Barker recommends letting the breaded pork rest for at least 5 minutes before frying to let the crumbs dry out.

3. Jacques Pépin’s Criques (Crispy Potato Pancakes)

Potato pancakes with applesauce are a must for Oktoberfest, plain and simple.

4. Judy Rodgers’ Roasted Applesauce (& Savory Apple Charlottes)

There’s smooth sauce, chunky sauce, and then this chunky mash made from roasted apple wedges. Serve as is, or tuck it into bread crumbs for the easiest mini apple pies.

5. Spätzle with Sage Butter, Parmesan, and Toasted Hazelnuts

Is it really fall if you’re not serving spätzle with sage?

7. Grandma Netta’s Red Cabbage

No matter how many times I refused my grandmother’s red cabbage, a giant jar of it always found its way into our refrigerator. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs side that’s a must in German households, and this recipe is as easy as they get.

8. Cheater’s Chicken Schnitzel

We’ll eat razor-thin cuts of crispy breaded chicken any day, but it’s especially apt for serving during Oktoberfest. There’s one problem (and only one!) with thinly pounded chicken—it tends to try out pretty easily. And by that I mean, when was the last time you ate an actually moist piece of chicken schnitzel? To combat that—without fail—always-prevalent problem, recipe developer Emma Laperruque created a mayo-based marinade for the meat.

9. The Ultimate Bratwurst

There’s one meaty way to show your German pride, and that’s by making homemade Bratwurst. “Poaching fresh sausages like bratwurst in beer (a crisp lager, pilsner, or aromatic Belgian-style ale) before grilling infuses them with added flavor, helps keeps them moist and juicy, and shortens their finish over the fire,” writes recipe developer Paula Disbrowe.

10. Caramelized Sauerkraut With Prunes, Herbs & Honey

Hate sauerkraut? For years, so did recipe developer Queensashy, so they set out to create a version of sauerkraut that was a little sweeter, a little richer, and all-around more palatable. This prune- and honey-based recipe is the result.

11. Käsespätzle (Cheesy Spaetzle With Caramelized Onions & Crispy Shallots)

Buttered spaetzle noodles are often pushed to the side of the dinner plate in favor of more sauerkraut, more bratwurst, more potato pancakes, more applesauce. This Austrian preparation will force itself to the center of your plate with its savory, assertive flavors.

12. Honey Mustard

If you’re up for a project, make honey mustard from scratch. This easy recipe from Molly Yeh promises a DIY version of the must-have condiment in mere minutes.

13. Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese

These aren’t your typical ballpark pretzels—they’re maltier and the side of beer cheese is an absolute must.

14. German Roasted Potato Salad

What makes this potato salad different from the usual mayo-heavy ones you’d find at a picnic? Bacon, a fair amount of vinegar, and whole-grain German mustard. The sharp, tangy edge will cut through the richness of just about everything else on your plate.

15 Garlic, Parmesan, & Herb Beer Bread

If you don’t intend to serve bread at your party—Oktoberfest or not—then I don’t intend to attend your party. But this savory quick bread is so delicious, you won’t have a choice (and apparently, neither will I. See you at 8).

16. German Chocolate Cake Donuts

In 2nd grade, I had a crush on a boy named Jason, who had moved to America from Germany. For his birthday, I baked him a German chocolate cake to share with the class—the cake was a hit, but our love story was not. Inspired by my heartbreak comes this recipe for fudgy, nutty chocolate donuts topped with pecans and shredded coconut—perfect for your Oktoberfest celebration or Jason’s birthday.

17. Apple Strudel With Candied Pecans & Apricots

Oktoberfest and peak apple season coincide, which means this strudel is just the dessert to serve for the German festival. The filling has a combination of both fresh apples and dried apricots, plus candied pecans, for a bite that’s more texturally interesting than the usual (let’s be honest) slightly mushy apples that you might be used to.

18. Extra Chocolatey German Chocolate Cake

No Oktoberfest celebration is complete without a slice of German chocolate cake (I’m an eighth German, so I would know). This five-layer cake features the signature ooey-gooey filling of toasted coconut and pecans, plus plenty of chocolate frosting in every bite.

19. Chocolate Stout Pudding

Sure, making homemade chocolate pudding is harder than ripping the foil lid off of a Jell-O container, but it’s so worth it. To get just the right silky texture, use a combination of heavy cream, egg yolks, melted chocolate, and a little bit of butter. Guinness stout is added to the cream and cocoa mixture and magically brings out the rich chocolatey notes for the best-ever pudding.

20. German Apple Streusel Cake with Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream

Not only did our readers vote this as their favorite apple recipe, but it’s also fit for an Oktoberfest party. This cozy cake is made with warm spices and a crumbly streusel topping that you’ll want to eat with your fingers (go ahead—I won’t judge!).

21. Fudgy Chocolate Stout Cake

You’d never believe that this chocolate cake is totally dairy- and egg-free. The deep chocolate flavor is enhanced by a combination of stout beer and freshly brewed espresso because after all, it’s not an Oktoberfest without beer.


How are you celebrating Oktoberfest?

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