13 Old-School Recipes Your German Grandma Used to Make

If you grew up with a German oma, you probably remember grilled sausages with sauerkraut, big pots of hearty stew and buttery strudel fresh from the oven. It’s not exactly spa cuisine, but when it’s made with love, there’s nothing better. Here are 13 of our favorite old-school German recipes, just like Grandma used to make (or close enough, anyway).

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Germans put sauerkraut on just about everything—a little bit of acid and funk helps bring out the flavors of a dish. And, it turns out, it’s dead simple to make at home.


If you like chicken fingers (and honestly, who doesn’t?), you’ll probably love schnitzel. Grandma probably used pork cutlets, but feel free to sub in chicken, veal or even fish.

German Oven Pancake

Pancakes are delicious, but flipping them on the griddle can be a hassle. We love this giant one that bakes in the oven—there’s only five minutes of prep time, so it’s even doable as a weekday treat.

Authentic German Spaetzle

Spaetzle is Germany’s answer to mac and cheese, and we are here for it. If you don’t have a real spaetzle maker like your oma did, just use the big holes on a cheese grater or colander. 

Beer Bratwurst And Onions

Coterie member Heidi Larsen grew up learning authentic German recipes from her immigrant grandmother, and we’re happy to borrow them anytime. (Side note: These are basically made for tailgating.)

Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies

Your grandma probably made these gorgeous cookies around Christmastime, but we like them all year round. Feel free to sub in your favorite jam. 

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

Pretzels are a classic German snack, and we always loved when our Oma pulled a hot tray out of the oven. Coterie member Maria Lichty took it one step further by making them bite-size, with an addictive cheesy dipping sauce.

Classic German Potato Salad

Mayo haters, this is the potato salad for you. German grandmas (and Coterie member Gaby Dalkin) know to serve it warm, with a tangy vinaigrette, and plenty of herbs and bacon.

Lavender And Peach Strudel

Grandma always made her strudels with apples, like they do in the old country. But we bet she’d also appreciate this modern (and oh so sophisticated) take.

Easy Cabbage Rolls

If you look up comfort food in the dictionary, you’d probably find this belly-warming casserole. Plus, with a little help from store-bought items (canned tomato soup, for example), it couldn’t be easier. 

Instant Pot Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is a pot roast made with vinegar and vibrant spices. Traditionally, it’s cooked low and slow over the stove, but we use the Instant Pot to make it a quick and easy meal.


Braised Cabbage

This quick and easy side pairs fabulously with chicken, pork or even store-bought sausages. Prepping in the slow-cooker takes away all of the cabbage’s bitterness and makes it sweet and flavorful.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes with a cherry filling and whipped cream topping? Coterie member Stefani Pollack knows the way to our hearts.