Oktoberfest food is just as important to the world famous festival as is Oktoberfest beer. In this Bavarian feast of traditional Oktoberfest fare we have also included links to the recipes so you can make them at home for your own Oktoberfest party.
Oktoberfest Food in General and Most Popular Dishes
Oktoberfest is not only about the beer, the singing, the dancing and the fair attractions. Many of the best known and most loved Bavarian specialties are enjoyed during festival.
The food served in beer tents and stalls around Theresienwiese occupies a well deserved status of great respect. Natives often say that to drink beer like a German one must eat like a German. Certainly a ring of truth to that!
Below are some of the most popular items on an Oktoberfest menu organized by course.
Learn more about Oktoberfest beer.
Oktoberfest Appetizers and Sides
Obatzda – the famous Bavarian beer cheese dip is made with Camembert and Weissbier or a dark lager such as Dunkel. Served with rye bread, radishes and other veggies or soft pretzels. Classic Oktoberfest appetizer. Recipe here.
Bite-sized Frikadellen – these fried meat patties, typically made with a pork and beef combination ground meat, are often served along with radishes and Schnittltauchbrot (open faced chives sandwiches). Recipe here.
Potato Dumplings ( Kartoffelknödel, Kartoffelklösse) – No Bavarian feast is complete without this dish. Comfort food at its finest, these pillowy potato dumplings are often stuffed with a crouton filling. A must side for German roasts and gravy or braises, stews and soups. Recipe here.
Oktoberfest Main Courses
The main courses are typically filling, simple fare with tons of flavor and incredible affinity for amber lagers. Below are some of the most iconic options, but no Munich Oktoberfest is complete without a lot of game options such as venison and duck. Stuffed roast suckling pig is also a popular delicacy.
Half Roast Chicken – known as Oktoberfest Brathendl or Wiesnhendl. Typically whole chickens (about 482,000 per fest) are spit roasted, then split in half and served. All sides are purchased separately. Recipe here.
Käsespätzle – spätzle tossed in butter or smothered in rich gravy is a very traditional side to many of an Oktoberfest dish. Käsespätzle (cheese spätzle) however is an entree dish in its own right. Fresh spätzle is smothered with regional cheeses and butter, baked and topped with caramelized onions and chives. Recipe here.
German Pork Roast aka Schweinebraten – this dish is typically prepared with pork shoulder and Oktoberfest beer. The flavors are unbelievable, yet it is amazingly easy to make. If you buy pork shoulder with skin on you can enjoy some amazing crackling. Recipe here.
Bread Dumplings with Creamy Mushroom Stew – A comfort food dish in its own right. Known in Bavaria as Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahm this is an excellent vegetarian entree to celebrate Oktoberfest with. The dumplings themselves are a perfect side to meat roasts or braises with a gravy. Recipe here.
Braised Lamb Shanks – Also a long-time classic entree served on the Wiesn. These tender, juicy lamb shanks are frequently ordered as a lighter option to the richer pork knuckles. Our recipe is easy to follow and leverages the lovely flavors of Märzen lager in the braising liquid which is then turned into a luscious gravy-like sauce along with some mustard.
Beef Goulash with Bavarian Lager – a staple on many of a beer garden menu in the South of Germany Rindergulasch is a thick beef stew flavored with Bavarian lager. Usually served with rye bread. Recipe here.
Pan Fried Trout – this dish is very popular in beer gardens across Bavaria, especially in the areas nearest the mountains. Sometimes whole char is used, brought down from the cold waters of the North Sea. This is a very easy recipe from Burrata and Bubbles.
Schnitzel – German pork schnitzel is as recognizable as sauerkraut. You can also make it with chicken – both are delish! Because it is not that hard to make you can easily prepare a whole platter to feed a small crowd. Recipe here.
Steckerlfisch – grilled fish on a stick (frequently mackerel) is one of these dishes that create powerful memories. A must try on the Wiesn and easy to recreate on the grill in your backyard. Recipe here.
Other key entrees include numerous wurst varieties, plated or tucked inside fresh bread rolls (but you already knew that:), Beef Roulades, Sauerbraten, Roasted Duck with Apples and Onions, Beer Beef Goulash, Venison Stew, Stuffed Veal Breast, and so many more.
Check back because we are making a few of the above soon. We are constantly adding to our Beer Garden Menu recipes here on Craft Beering and more traditional Oktoberfest food is on the way.
Bavarian Cream – The high-cuisine dessert of German cuisine with French origins. Surprisingly easy to make. Can be served as a stand alone custard or piped into various pastries, cakes or pies. Recipe here.
Zwetschgenkuchen – a Bavarian original recipe in celebration of summer plum season part of which coincides with Oktoberfest. This plum cake has become popular in Northern Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Recipe here.
Candied Apples – An irresistible favorite of Oktoberfest attendees, young and old. A few of these make a great centerpiece for any Oktoberfest party table before they seamlessly take care of dessert.
Candied Roasted Almonds – An irresistible favorite of Oktoberfest attendees, young and old. A few of these make a great centerpiece for any Oktoberfest party table before they seamlessly take car of serving the dessert. Recipe here.
Other Oktoberfest dessert options include Buchteln, Almond and Pistachio Nougat, Quark Donuts, German cheesecake…
There are just so many, we included the most popular ones. You might also like this round up of traditional German dessert recipes from all over the country.
For more Oktoberfest menu ideas be sure to visit our curated board on Pinterest – Oktoberfest Recipes and Party Ideas.
Also check out our Oktoberfest Party Tablescape for styling ideas.
- Bavarian Beer Cheese Soup
- German Beer Bread with Yeast
- Links to recipes for:
- Obatzda, Frikadellen, Wurstsalat, German Potato Salad, German Potato Dumplings, Bavarian Braised Red Cabbage, Schweinshaxe, Schnitzel, Pork Cordon Bleu, Oktoberfest Roasted Chicken, Steckerlfisch, Käsespätzle, Candied Almonds, Strauben, Apple Strudel, Bavarian Cream and more.