This is what German food is and what Germans eat. Pizza or schnitzel? We’ll show you what Germans like to eat most and how the pandemic is changing their cooking habits.
German recipes are often described as hearty home cooking. But if you take a closer look at the dishes, you will find a great regional diversity, ranging from down-to-earth to sophisticated. Below is a look at German foods, German food culture and trends.
This is how Germany eats: 8 facts from the nutrition report
1. German women eat healthier
It’s actually true. 85 percent of women eat fruit or vegetables every day – among men it is only 66 percent. Also, men drink more soft drinks – 16 percent of them do it every day. It was only 6 percent of the women surveyed. Men also eat frozen pizza more often than women (37 percent versus 27 percent).
2. German women and men eat the same amount of sweets
In fact, a little more men (22 percent) than women (21 percent) eat sweets every day.
3. German men love meat
In fact, more than twice as many men (47 percent) as women (22 percent) eat meat every day. In addition, only one percent of all men eat a vegetarian diet – among women it is six percent.
4. Germans like to cook, but rarely
77 percent of the respondents say that they like to cook. But only 41 percent actually cook every day. 81 percent of Germans between the ages of 14 and 18 state that they really enjoy cooking. But they rarely do it – 30 percent of them don’t usually cook themselves.
5. In Germany pasta beats potatoes
The Germans have a reputation abroad as “potato eaters” – often in connection with sauerkraut and sausages. Pasta is much more popular in Germany than potato dishes. When asked about their favorite dish, 35 percent of those questioned answered that they particularly like pasta dishes. Only 18 percent said that their favorite dish is made from potatoes.
6. Allergies are more common in cities than in the country
Country air is healthy, or city dwellers take care of their neuroses. This actually applies to Germany. While in places with less than 20,000 inhabitants only 9 percent suffer from allergies and intolerances, in cities with 500,000 or more inhabitants it is almost twice as many (16 percent).
7. Germans are more likely to buy in supermarkets than in discount stores
Even if Germany is the country of discounters and Aldi, Lidl and Co. are expanding from here into many other countries – Germans still buy most often in the supermarket.
8. More food is thrown away in large households
The fewer people live in a household, the less is thrown away. In single households, for example, a quarter of those questioned ends up in the trash once a week – in households with four or more people this is the case with 58 percent of those questioned.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: German food is more than Bavarian food! Is Munich even part of Germany? Most Germans don’t think so 🙂
Do you really know German food trends? Take the test and find out!
#1. German women are more calorie conscious than German men.
Is correct! 41 percent of women make sure that their food is low in calories. For men it is 32 percent.
#2. Most Germans like to have their groceries delivered.
That’s not true! Germans like to go shopping. 69 percent of those surveyed go to the supermarket at least several times a week. Only nine percent have have groceries delivered to your home in the past twelve months, in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants the figure is 15 percent.
#3. Germans eat meat every day.
That’s not true! Only 28 percent of those surveyed eat meat every day. Fruits and vegetables are the front runners with 71 percent and dairy products with 64 percent.
#4. Germans are looking forward to food made from insects.
Almost true! 31 percent can imagine buying food made from insects. At 40 percent, men are more open-minded than women (22 percent)
#5. There are a lot of vegetarians in Germany.
That’s not true! Only six percent describe themselves as vegetarians. But interest in vegetarian foods is growing.
#6. Germans thinks a lot of sugar in food is good.
Almost true! 84 percent are in favor of adding less sugar to finished products and also accept that they will then taste less sweet.
Facts and figures about food in Germany
How much meat do Germans eat?
– Ø 1000 animals are eaten by every person in their lifetime
– Ø 15 kg / year beef is consumed by every German
– 2/3 of all German cattle spend their entire life in the barn
– Ø 1300 kg of grain and 7200 kg of hay is consumed by a cattle for the rest of their life
– Scottish Galloway cattle are among the oldest cattle breeds in the world
– the price per kilo for meat from Galloway cattle can be up to € 80
How many tomatoes do Germans eat?
– Every German eats 30 kg / year of tomatoes
– Tomatoes consist of 90% water and contain less than 20 kcal / 100 g
How many potatoes do Germans eat?
– Belong to the most important foods in the world
– The useful plant has its origin in the South American Andes
– There have been potatoes in Germany since the 16th century
– 2.3% of the potatoes grown in Germany come from Schleswig-Holstein
– Ø 10.6 million t / year of potatoes are produced by German potato farmers
– every German eats 57 kg / year of potatoes
– Germans buy 300,000 t / year of frozen French fries
How much salt do Germans consume
– Ø 200 g of salt are in the human body
– Every person needs Ø 2 kg of salt / year
– Ø 800 t / day of table salt are sold in Germany
– About 94% of the world production of refined salt is used by the industry for the production, e.g. of paints or Textiles, only 0.6% is processed into table
Salt content comparison:
Baltic Sea: 12g / l
Mediterranean: 38 g / l
Dead Sea: 380 g / l
Typical German foods: A culinary journey through Germany
Most people tend to associate just Bavarian food with Germany. There are other fantastic German foods that you will only taste when you come to German. So let’s take you on a tour of German kitchens in different regions and introduce you to some well-known, but also surprisingly unknown typical German foods.
1. Typical German foods from Schleswig-Holstein
We start in the northernmost state of Germany , in Schleswig-Holstein . Where the land is flat, the breeze is stiff and both seas are close, there are a number of typical North German dishes. Are you expecting fish and other sea creatures? Well, let’s get to the sweet temptations first …
Little known beyond Schleswig-Holstein’s borders – the Pharisee, a typical North German national drink. It has its origins on the island of Nordstrand. The residents of Nordstrandwere known to like to party happily and not be averse to alcohol consumption. To hide the smell of alcohol, a large portion of cream is added to the coffee.
The pride and joy of Lübeck residents is of course the Lübeck marzipan. The recipe was brought from the Orient by the Crusaders, Hansekoggen brought the spices to the north.
2. Typical German foods from Hamburg
Hamburg is best known for its fish dishes. This is of course not only due to the numerous types of fish that cavort off the coasts, but also to the various types of preparation that produce specialties such as rollmops, matjes or labskaus. So are we finally getting to the typical German fish dishes? Well, not quite yet …
Birnen, Bohnen und Speck
An old Hamburg recipe that is unjustifiably little known outside of Northern Germany is “pears, beans and bacon” – in Low German also “Beer’n, Bohn un Speck” or “Grööner Hein”. This stew is a typical early autumn dish made with whole pears and traditionally served with potatoes. It is also a typical north German dish thanks to the combination of sweet and hearty ingredients. The dish from Hamburg is not as easy as it sounds – but real Hamburgers still know which pear variety is the right one …
3. Typical German foods from Lower Saxony
Nordseekrabben ( North Sea Crabs)
Now let’s go to the typical German foods from the sea: Fresh crabs straight from the North Sea are simply the best after a mudflat hike! Smaller than their relatives, the prawns, crabs are also something for those who are reluctant to crack bulky shellfish. North Sea crabs are fished with nets from the tides in the mudflats.
You can eat them raw, but also fried, boiled, grilled, in soup, on a skewer, in a salad … No wonder that they used to be a staple on the coast in Lower Saxony. Even today, sculptures in some coastal cities are reminiscent of the North Sea women who went crab fishing in the mudflats in all weathers.
Buchweizentorte has its origins in Central Asia, but it has been around in Germany for centuries and the buckwheat cake is a typical German dish that originally comes from the Lüneburg Heath.
It is something for the real sweet tooth – on a sponge cake made of buckwheat; cranberry jam and cream are layered alternately, topped off with cranberries or chocolate sprinkles. Fortunately, buckwheat has become more popular today, after having been neglected for a long time in favor of our numerous types of grain!
4. Typical German foods from Bremen
Now it’s off to our smallest federal state, Bremen. Here too, of course, fish plays a major role, but as a Hanseatic city, Bremen was supplied with exotic spices and dishes from an early age and influenced by northern German cuisine as a whole. As a result, exciting typical dishes have developed outside of the seafood cuisine
Grünkohl und Pinkel
This Bremen recipe is one of the most famous specialties from the region. The smoked pissed sausage made from pork, bacon and oat groats is cooked with the kale, with smoked pork and small potatoes, which are often caramelized – sweet and hearty in northern Germany! The kale harvest begins after the first frost, so kale and pee are typical winter foods.
The cabbage ride, which often precedes a kale meal in good company , is of course popular . The walk through nature is loosened up by outdoor games such as Boßeln, a traditional throwing game, and drinks brought in a cart.
The Bremer Knipp proves that it is not the appearance that matters, but the taste. The dish, typical of Bremen and the surrounding areas, is also aptly called “Hackgrütze” – a poor man’s meal for a long time, now a real Bremen specialty. Knipp is made from porridge, pork and beef as well as allspice and other spices.
It is not a typical warm dish, because apart from potatoes it can also be eaten with applesauce or whole meal bread, always accompanied by the obligatory sour cucumber. If you like it crispy, you can also enjoy Knipp in the form of a crispy meatball.
5. Typical German foods from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
The typical cuisine of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has its origins in the simple dishes of day laborers and serfs, which have existed for a very long time in the history of the country. They fed on what was to be found in the extensive forests, numerous inland lakes and on the long coast. In addition, the after-effects of many years of Swedish affiliation can be seen.
Sanddorn (sea buckthorn) is a typical dune plant in the North Sea and especially in the Baltic Sea , which is not only particularly healthy, but can also be processed into countless different products. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in particular, harvesting takes place in autumn, and there is also the oldest sea buckthorn plantation here.
In addition to the sea buckthorn juice, a typical specialty from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, there is jam, honey, oil, vinegar, tea, liqueur, wine and sweets, among other things. Typical German dishes are sea buckthorn jelly, drinks such as sea buckthorn buttermilk and the sea buckthorn cake, which is baked with sea buckthorn juice and almonds and coated with liquid orange jelly.
6. Typical German foods from Brandenburg
Let’s leave the north and continue our search for typical German dishes in East Germany. Slavic, Pomeranian and Lusatian influences mix here. The rich nature with its many inland lakes and forests provides a lot of fish and mushrooms, Friedrich the Great contributed the potato.
They are among the most famous typical German regional dishes – the Königsberger Klopse. Originally they do not come from today’s Germany, but from Königsberg in what was then East Prussia, which is now called Kaliningrad and belongs to Russia. There they are said to have been invented by a merchant’s cook. But Königsberger Klopse has become a typical dish today, especially in Brandenburg.
Made from minced veal, breadcrumbs, eggs and lemon peel, the Brandenburg specialty is served in a cream and caper sauce. There are, for example, boiled potatoes and beetroot or simply rice.
This dish does not have its origin in Germany either – it comes from Eastern European cuisine and has been changed again and again. Today there are three types of stew: meat, fish or mushrooms can be the main ingredient. There are also tomatoes, peppers, pickles, leftover sausage, pickle broth, tomato paste, fresh herbs and – depending on the recipe – potatoes, white cabbage, carrots, capers and olives.
The finish is made with lemon and sour cream. In the GDR, Solyanka was one of the most popular dishes that was both cooked at home and served in restaurants, often as a starter here. It is still very widespread in East Germany today.
7. Typical German foods from Berlin
We continue our search for typical German foods in the capital! The Berlin cuisine is down-to-earth and offers “good home-style cooking”: whether pork knuckle, meatballs, fried herring or Spreewald gherkins. But there is also the influence of recipes that have always been brought to Berlin by immigrants.
And various sweet baked goods that are often fried in fat are of course also known from Berlin. But we come to two dishes of more recent origin, which are seldom in the home kitchen, but often found on Berlin streets.
The currywurst, today one of the most typical snack dishes in Berlin, has not been around for that long. Its origin cannot be proven with certainty, but the patent is owned by Herta Heuwer from Berlin, who, according to her own statements, served the first currywurst in her snack bar in Berlin-Charlottenburg in September 1949. Her currywurst was a fried boiled sausage with a sauce for which she used curry powder, tomato paste and Worcester sauce, among other things. Another theory is represented by Uwe Timm from Hamburg, who has dedicated an entire novella to his version of the “Discovery of Currywurst”.
The Berliner Weisse with its beautiful, rich color is refreshing after a strenuous day of sightseeing in Berlin when it is served in many restaurants and beer gardens, whether at Potsdamer Platz, directly on the Spree or in the alternative Kreuzberg. The bulbous glass should also be responsible for the taste. The Berliner Weisse consists of wheat beer mixed with woodruff or raspberry syrup. There are now numerous other varieties from grapefruit to peach. The Berliner Weisse even gave a punk band its name.
8. Typical German foods in Saxony
We are slowly working our way towards southern Germany – and this location between south and east is particularly noticeable in Saxon cuisine. Traditions from Upper Lusatia , Vogtland , Thuringia and Franconia are combined here. Before we get to the hearty regional dishes of southern Germany, let’s take a quick look at the sweet temptations of Saxon cuisine …
The Christstollen has a history! The oldest testimony comes from Naumburg an der Saale, but at that time the stollen was still a fasting bread for the Advent season. It was not until about 300 years ago that the church relaxed the Advent fasting ban for butter and milk with the “Butterbrief” , so that these ingredients could also be used for the stollen against a fine – the money went to the construction of Freiberg Cathedral.
In addition to the basic ingredients, grated almonds, raisins, spices, lemon peel and orange peel belong in a Christmas stollen. The Christmas stollen from Dresden is particularly famous today, which has a particularly long tradition and a fixed recipe, but there are also pastries similar to stollen in other regions. But only on the Dresden Striezelmarkt is the Stollen Festival with the world’s largest Stollen celebrated on every second Saturday in Advent.
The typical Saxon Quarkkeulchen (also Quarkkäulchen, from the Middle German word for ball ), which can be enjoyed as a sweet main course or coffee meal, are sweet and filling . They consist of a quark dough with potatoes, cinnamon, lemon and raisins and are fried in the pan to make small buffers. There is also applesauce or just cinnamon and sugar. If you haven’t eaten everything, you can also eat the quark pods cold the next day.
9. Typical German foods from Thuringia
Thüringer Klöße (Thüringer Dumplings) were actually created around 200 years ago in times of poor harvests in the Thuringian Forest, but they quickly became a national dish and are now the typical Sunday dish. These dumplings made from potatoes and mashed potatoes are laborious to prepare because part of the potatoes is grated and squeezed raw, while another part is boiled and sifted.
Traditionally, many households in Thuringia have a potato press for this. Thuringian dumplings sometimes have a greenish tinge and are therefore also called green dumplings – a typical specialty of the regional dish from Thuringia are the roasted bread cubes in the middle of the dumplings.
In the meantime, the Thuringian dumplings are so popular that a Thuringian dumpling manufacturer is campaigning for them to be recognized as a world cultural heritage. And believe it or not: There is even a dumpling princess in Meiningen!
10. Typical German foods from Bavaria
Bavaria is probably the state with the dishes that are most closely associated with German cuisine. We have to go into a few world-famous classics!
Nobody can ignore Weißwurst (white sausage) in Bavaria. It is not only a matter of course at Oktoberfest in Munich, along with wheat beer, but in everyday Bavarian life you can also start the morning with white sausage, sweet mustard and a pretzel. Veal sausages are mostly made from veal, but many butchers have their own secret recipe.
The white sausage was allegedly invented in Munich in 1857 when a landlord ran out of sheep intestines and had to replace them with pig intestines, which could not be fried, but only lightly cooked. Even today the white sausage has to be peeled from the intestine before being eaten and has retained its typical soft consistency.
The Bavarian regional dish is so important that every year at the “Weißwurstprüfung” the best white sausages in Munich are chosen. One of the most typical German dishes!
Schupfnudeln (finger-shaped potato noodles) are not only a typical German dish, they also appear in the Austrian menu. They are similar to the Italian gnocchi, but are usually eaten with sauerkraut. There are also various recipes for sweet potato noodles, for example with poppy seeds and plum or apricot compote.
The potato noodles were developed by soldiers during the Thirty Years War and have since developed into different regional variants. Since 1977 the Schupfnoodle machine was invented, the typical German recipe has become particularly popular as a main course and dessert!
Another Bavarian sausage comes from Franconia: Nürnberger Bratwürste are made from pork and marjoram according to a recipe that was first established by the Nuremberg city council in 1313. Grilled over an open beech wood fire, the roast sausages are traditionally served in a roll or with sauerkraut and horseradish – always three, six or twelve at a time. They are only allowed to bear the protected name “Original Nürnberger Rostbratwurst” if they are produced in the city of Nuremberg. When visiting Nuremberg, you shouldn’t just enjoy the culinary delight, but also the bratwurst walk!
Lebkuchen in Nuremberg? Yes! When in Nuremberg, you have to try their world famous gingerbreads! They have a very long history. From Nuremberg the love for gingerbread spread all over the world.
11. Typical German foods from Baden-Württemberg
Spätzle, as Swabian egg noodles, also a typical German dish, can be made without unusual ingredients, but there are numerous different recipes for the dough, for example with semolina, mineral water or oil. The special thing about the production, however, is that the dough is scraped from a board into the boiling water with a spaetzle scraper. There is also a spaetzle press for this, called Spätzleschwob in Baden-Württemberg – the cook has to put up with the fact that his creation is then called “Faule-Weiber-Spätzle” ! Traditionally, people eat spaetzle with cheese with bacon, but today there are also international recipes that recommend steak, apples, lentils or grilled sausages, for example.
Another typical dish from Swabia is the Maultaschen, square noodle pockets with meat filling. Often it consists of minced meat, veal sausage, spinach and parsley, but there is by no means consensus on this recipe. They are said to have been invented in Maulbronn by Cistercian monks who, despite their fear of God, did not want to do without meat during Lent and who invented dishes that seemed meatless. The Maultaschen from Baden-Württemberg therefore also have the nickname “Herrgottsbscheißerle” . By the way, the Brothers Grimm mentioned the Swabian Maultasche in 1885. Today there are Maultaschen with fillings of all kinds – such as asparagus, carrots or potatoes. And there has also been one in the Black Forest since 2000 “Maultaschen queen”!
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte a typical German dish from Baden-Württemberg consists of three sponge layers, which are separated by thick layers of sweet cream. There is still a layer of cherries on the bottom sponge cake base; The Black Forest cake is decorated with artistic patterns of cream, cherries and chocolate sprinkles. It is not entirely clear whether the recipe was invented in the Rhineland or in Tübingen – at least it wasn’t in the Black Forest! The inventor was probably a young Swabian in 1915 who was working as an apprentice confectioner in the Rhineland. The Black Forest cake is now considered a typical German specialty all over the world.
12. Typical German foods from Saarland
Let’s make a detour to one of our smallest federal states. The typical dishes from the Saarland are hearty and often refined. After the many filling dishes that we have now addressed, let’s take a delicious side dish that makes one of these refinements of Saarland meat dishes.
Löwenzahnsalat (Dandelion salad)
Since dandelions thrive in this country without any problems and are especially popular with children, there are many typical German dishes, especially in Saarland, where it heralds the vegetable harvest. It is certainly one of the plants with the most popular names – buttercup, cowflower, milk thistle, piss flower and sun vortex are just a few of them. It is particularly healthy and has been used as a medicinal plant centuries ago. Dandelion tastes best in a salad, for example with diced bacon, garlic, hard-boiled eggs and walnuts. But you can also use it for teas, soups and meat dishes.
13. Typical German foods from Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate consists of several different regions and has a correspondingly diverse cuisine. All in all, the Rhenish cuisine is quite simple, typical dishes include beans with bacon, potato pancakes, fried potatoes, mussels, rice pudding with cinnamon and sugar, and apple cabbage.
Sauerbraten (from Rhineland-Palatinate!!!)
In contrast to the everyday dishes, the sauerbraten is a typical Sunday dish. It is available in several German regions, but there are some typical variants in Rhineland-Palatinate. Sauerbraten consists of beef, which in the Rhineland is marinated for several days in a marinade made from wine, vinegar and spices such as mustard and bay leaf. Finally, it is fried and baked one by one. The specialty is served with a sweet and sour sauce with raisins. There are usually hearty side dishes such as red cabbage or dumplings, but also applesauce, for example. A typical German recipe, especially from the Rhineland, is the pork sauerbraten.
14. Typical German foods from Hessen
Now we are slowly approaching western Germany on our tour. Hesse is culinary influenced by its neighbors Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia and has a long tradition of potato, bread and apple dishes. And not just as applesauce.
A peculiar name, for which there are also peculiar variants – Ebbelwoi, Äbbelwoi, Ebbelwei, Viez, Stöffsche, Schobbe … in any case, it is always cider, which is currently being produced in the apple region in Hesse. The typical recipe originally came to the region with the Romans. The best way to enjoy the Äppelwoi is on the Hessian apple wine and orchard route, which runs through the whole of Hesse and is a great bike route. Along the way there are wine presses, restaurants, museums, farmers’ markets and harvest festivals, where you can of course try the regional fruit products such as the Äppelwoi. It is made from acidic apples and served in a ceramic jug called the Bembel.
15. Typical German foods from North Rhine-Westphalia
We are almost at the end of our culinary journey. It has been shown that our typical German dishes from different regions are not only incredibly diverse, but that they include some completely unknown treasures. Finally, we come to a classic that is known in West and Southwest Germany, but is specially modified by the Westphalians’ love for sausage specialties in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Himmel un Ääd
Regardless of whether in Westphalia or in the Rhineland, the origin of the name is of course the same: the sky refers to the apples that are particularly close to it on the tree, and the earth refers to the potatoes, i.e. the potatoes. In all regions, Himmel un Ääd consists of apples and potatoes, but while in the Rhineland they are often mixed and mashed and then served with rye rolls, in Westphalia mashed potatoes and applesauce are preferred. There is also fried black pudding, bacon or liver sausage and crispy fried onions.