20 German Recipes From Oma's Kitchen

slice of rhubarb cake on a white plate
Photo: ReneePaj

Among the many blessings of having a German grandma are her recipes. From creamy cucumber-dill salad in the summer, to soup in the winter, to special desserts year round, her recipes reflect years of tradition and a grandmother's love. These German recipes come from our community's own Omas and include classics like red cabbage, potato salad, Rouladen, Sauerbraten, dumplings, cookies, and cakes.

01 of 21

Hot German Potato Salad Casserole

German potato salad topped with melted cheese and parsley

Handed down from home cook LizgraEva's German-Dutch grandmother, this hot potato salad strikes the perfect balance of tangy and creamy. Melted Cheddar tops it off.

02 of 21

Traditional Sauerbraten

beef with gravy on a plate with noodles

This recipe for sauerbraten marinates beef rump roast for two to three days, ensuring tender, flavorful meat. "I found two slightly different hand written versions of this, my grandmother's recipe," recipe contributor Chris Simpler says. "Born in Nekkar am Rhein in 1904, she naturally learned to cook traditional German meals as a young woman and didn't rely on a cookbook."

03 of 21

Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies

Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies
Oma Kiener's Hazelnut Christmas Cookies. Green Goddess

"An ice box cookie, these were one of the two Christmas cookie recipes my German grandmother made every year until her death at age 92. While they may not be fancy like other Christmas cookies recipes, they are easy to make and taste very nutty. They make me think of Christmas and my grandmother every time I enjoy one," recipe contributor KitchenGeisha says.

04 of 21

Omi's Cucumber Salad

creamy cucumber salad in a bowl

Recipe contributor Tammy says this recipe has been handed down through the generations and pairs well with Rouladen (a meat and gravy dish) and Spaetzle (small dumplings or noodles).

05 of 21

Oma's Cottage Cheesecake

thick slice of cheesecake with syrupy raspberry topping
Rebecca from LA

The signature ingredient in German cheesecake is quark cheese, which can be hard to find outside of Europe. So, this recipe from Oma uses the next-best thing: cottage cheese.

06 of 21

Oma's Fabulous Matzo Ball Soup

bowl of soup with clear broth and meat balls
Deanna Peshl

"This is a matzo ball soup that my grandmother used to make. It is our family's favorite part of the meal. It serves a lot of people depending on the size of the bowl you use. Make sure to not add too much matzo meal in order to make the matzo ball float to the top of the boiling water," home cook May Gerstle says.

07 of 21

Oma's German Marble Cake

marble bundt cake sliced on a cake stand with three slices on a white plate
Eri Hoshina

This light, fluffy cake calls for eight basic ingredients that even the most casual bakers will have on hand. Home cooks tell us it's easy to make.

08 of 21

Old German Honey Cookies

Old German Honey Cookies
Teddy Lombardi

These traditional cookies taste just as the recipe name suggests: like honey! "I got this recipe from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother. She had to translate it and then figure out measurements," home cook Darlene says.

09 of 21

Zwetschekuchen (German Plum Tart)

plum tart on a sheet pan

"This is the plum cake or tart that my Grossmutter made," home cook Shanda says. "It is delicious, and any fruit can be substituted for the plums. Therefore it is a seasonally great! It's a Southern German dessert from the Zweibrucken area. My daughter requested this for her 'birthday cake' when she turned seven; it was a hit at her party!"

10 of 21

Grandma Jeanette's Amazing German Red Cabbage

red cabbage in white and blue bowl

This sweet, sour side is a German staple as it pairs well with the cuisine's many meat dishes.

11 of 21

Onion Sauce

onion sauce in a white bowl
Cliff G

"When we were little my Oma would serve this sauce over either pork or beef," home cook Linda McLean says. In addition to white onions, the recipe calls for white vinegar, sugar, butter, chicken broth, and dark rye bread.

12 of 21

Semmelknoedel (Bread Dumplings)

five bread dumpling balls on a glass plate

"My Bavarian Oma made these large dumplings to accompany roast pork or game dishes, any meat with gravy, or with mushrooms in a creamy sauce. Serve one dumpling alongside your dish, and cover with a little gravy," recipe contributor Peachy says.

13 of 21

Ingrid's Rouladen

beef steaks with gravy, potatoes, and purple cabbage on a white plate

Rouladen consists of browned, thinly-sliced beef rolled around slices of bacon and onions, with the option to add a pickle. "My paternal Oma (grandma) made this with pickles and my maternal Oma without the pickles," recipe contributor Ingrid says.

14 of 21

Monika's Oma's Lebkuchen Men

two gingerbread men and four gingerbread ornament cookies

A German version of gingerbread popular around Christmas, Lebkuchen gets its sweetness from honey. This recipe relies not on ginger but cinnamon and cloves for spice, while ground almonds add a nice nuttiness.

15 of 21

Butter Soup

creamy potato soup in a pot

Home cook Sharon's grandmother brought this recipe from Germany to Canada. With ingredients like potatoes, yellow onion, flour, eggs, and half-and-half cream, it's inexpensive comfort food.

16 of 21

Oma's Ginger Cookies

gingersnap cookies in a white dish
Kristina Florez

"These little cookies are my grandmother's specialty," home cook Abby Cobb says. With the warm flavors of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, these cookies will take you from fall through winter.

17 of 21

German Shrimp Pasta Salad

shrimp pasta salad in a bowl
Liquid Kitchen

"This is a favorite recipe handed down from my Oma, who used to make this for the deli," home cook Liquid Kitchen says. Unless your Oma's roots go back to the German North Sea coast, you probably don't think of shrimp as German fare. Yet, with its vinegar tang, this comforting pasta salad will remind you of German potato salad.

18 of 21

Oma's Griessnockerlsuppe (Beef and Semolina Dumpling Soup)

bowl of soup with two semolina dumplings

"Semolina dumplings are suitable for freezing, as is the stock. The boiled beef can be used for other dishes, such as marinated beef salad," recipe contributor Nadia says. "There is nothing better."

19 of 21

Oma's Rhubarb Cake

slice of rhubarb cake on a white plate

"Oma always makes this for her grandkids after she picks through her garden. Probably not good for the thighs but Oma's cooking is always good for the taste buds," recipe contributor Alea says.

20 of 21

Cabbage Borscht Mennonite Soup

bowl of cabbage, carrot, tomato soup

"This is my Omas recipe that she got from her mom, which she took with her when she fled Russia during the fall of the Czar. It's a real Mennonite soup," writes community member Alea.

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