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Sauerbraten Recipe


This Sauerbraten Recipe is my German mother's original. We have this every year at Christmas. The key to this Sauerbraten recipe is to allow the roast to marinate for the full 3 days.

Submitted by: Alexander from Adel, IA
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


Featured in this Recipe


Preparation Instructions:

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients, except the roast itself, in 2 to 3 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  2. Place the beef in a deep, non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl or pot just large enough to hold it. Pour marinade over beef. The marinade should be at least halfway up the sides of the roast. If necessary add more wine. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning the meat in the marinade at least twice each day.

  3. Remove meat from marinade and pat completely dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid. Discard spices and onions.

  4. In heavy, 5-quart dutch oven, heat the butter until bubbling stops. Add the meat and brown on all sides, turning frequently, so that it browns evenly without burning. Transfer to platter and set aside.

  5. For roasting, add the onions, carrots, and celery to the same pan you cooked the meat in. Cook over moderate heat until soft and light brown (5 to 8 minutes). Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the flour begins to color. Pour in 2 cups of the reserved marinade and ½ cup of water and bring to boil over high heat. Return the meat to the pot, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Alternatively, bake in 350 degree oven for 2 hours.

  6. Transfer the roast to a heated platter and cover with foil to keep warm while sauce is made.

  7. Pour the liquid left in the pot into a large measuring cup and skim fat from surface. You will need at least 2 and ½ cups for the sauce. If additional liquid is needed, add some of the reserved marinade.

  8. Combine the liquid and the gingersnap crumbs in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently for approx. 10 minutes, allowing the cookie crumbs to dissolve completely and thicken the sauce to the desired consistency. Depending upon the amount of liquid, you may need to add additional cookie crumbs.

  9. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down hard with wooden spoon to force as much of the vegetables and crumbs through as possible. Return the sauce to the pan, adjust seasoning and allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

  10. Slice the roast, pour some sauce over slices on platter and pass remaining sauce separately.

More About This Recipe

Traditionally, sauerbraten is served with dumplings, boiled potatoes, spaetzle, and red cabbage. This classic, but easy, recipe requires advance planning and time (3 days!), but it has a flavor and aroma that is incredible. Don't hesitate to adjust the amount of gingersnap cookies to give the sauce your preferred consistency. The flavorful gingersnap cookies are used as the thickener, not flour, so you don't run the risk of having a pasty sauce.


Based on 26 reviews

Customer Reviews

Claus Wich

I am making Sauerbraten every few months. I looked this recipe up to see whether I can learn something to add to my way of making Sauerbraten. So far I did not. In reading all the comments there are way too much comments about the “real German” Sauerbraten recipe. Folks, I grew up in Germany and have cooked it in Germany and in the US. Sauerbraten recipes are regionally different in Germany, there is Sauerbraten, typically made in the south and southeastern corner of Germany and then there is the Rheinische Sauerbraten. The difference is in the Ginger snaps and raisins which go in the Rheinische Sauerbraten but not in the southern version. In general cooking the Marinade before the meat goes in is very uncommon. I don’t do it. Wein is also typically not added to the marinade. The time of marinating, several days is not overkill as somebody mentioned, it creates the typical acidity in the meat and tenderizes the meat which is important because for Sauerbraten very often tougher cuts of the meat are being used, i.e. raw brisket. These types of cuts need the tenderizing but are also more flavorful than other cuts. The meat will come out fairly but also very tender if done right.
In summary there are many variations of Sauerbraten around in Germany but a couple of things most have in common, the marinade is not cooked, there is no wine in the marinade and there is no spice mixture in it, everything is cooked from scratch. Instead of a spice mixture, parsley, celeriac (not celery!), cloves, allspice (Piment) are being used in addition to the ingredients listed in the recipe. The roast is also cooked at slightly lower temperatures but longer. I cook mine for at least 3 hours at 325 degrees (about 170 degrees C) for a 2 1//4 lb (1kg) roast. In the end what counts is what you like.


Made this with bottom round and cooked for two hours. Meat was very dry. I’ll try temping it next time or using a different cut of meat/different cooking temp. All of the other flavors were spot on though.


Delicious Amazing would not change a thing

Thomas B Wright

Gotta try.


I disagree with even Alton Brown about the three day marinade. Totally overkill. 24 hrs max is all you need . Some traditions need to die and that is one of them. No precooking, and post marinade browning doesn’t change the flavor or texture very much, so you can skip those carcinogens too. Ginger Snaps? Really?

Marie-Luise S

I am 60 years old and have eaten Sauerbraten since a child, when we immigrated to Australia in 1954. My Oma and mum have made it since as has I. The secret is the Knorr spices and I use half red wine and half tarragon vinegar. Naturally potatoe dumplings, red gab age and a fresh salad is a must. My Australian friends are always amazed at the tastiness of the dish and and are astounded that I marinate the meat for 5 days. I use fitter of girillo as the mean and it turns out like the texture of ‘cotton wool’

Tom W

I’d like to respond to Elly B down the list way, who will not make this again. She cannot read a recipe first as she says there is no wine in the recipe when it obviously calls for a cup in it. Second Pumpernickel is never used in Sauerbraten as it is a bread introduced from the plains of Russia, long after Sauerbraten was first made in Germany. I am from a long line of Germans and while ginger snaps were not probably in the original recipe they do make a nice addition, and could have been after the spice trade started in the 1600’s. This is a very good recipe that reminds me of my great grandmother’s.

Claire Y

I just made the recipe for Christmas/my husband’s birthday. It was exactly what he remembered and what he was expecting although I forgot to boil the marinade. Next year he asked me to do it again. I’ll try it boiling the marinade as I found many recipes asking for it. The kids (3, 6 and 8) liked all of it too (including red cabbage and spaetzle). I would like to make fresh tagliatelle and wild mushroom as side dishes instead. Remains to convince my husband to look out the German dish box. ;-)

Deb W

I have made this recipe for guests several times using The Spice House Sauerbraten spice mix. It is an easy recipe,
wonderfully flavorful, and a delightful surprise for our guests. It’s always a big hit and gets great compliments. A great hearty “fall and winter” meal, and a welcome change from turkey. I like to open dinner with a little hot fresh beet soup, followed by the sauerbraten with brussel sprouts, homemade spaetzels, and pickled beets. Delicious!

Lynn Z

This is the EXACT recipe that I got from my Grandmother also!! I am being featured this week cooking article in a newspaper using the recipe from my Grandmother! I would LOVE to find out the origin of this being that we both got it from our Grandmothers. It truely is an amazing recipe!

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