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 included links to the recipes for some of the finest German food so you can make it at home for your own Oktoberfest party.
The Oktoberfest Showcases Some of the Most Popular German Food Dishes
Oktoberfest is not only about the beer, the singing, the dancing and the fair attractions. Many of the best known and most loved German food specialties are enjoyed during the festival.
The dishes served in beer tents and stalls around Theresienwiese occupy 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
Flammkuchen – a “white German pizza’ popular on beer garden menus. It originates from Baden-Württemberg region of Germany and is also well-loved in France. Thin crust, topped with creme fraiche, thinly sliced onions, smoked bacon lardons and caraway seeds. Recipe here.
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. This is a classic Oktoberfest appetizer. Recipe here.
Bite-sized Frikadellen – As far as German recipes go these fried meat patties are enjoyed in some shape or form all over the country. Typically made with a pork and beef combination ground meat, they are often served along with radishes and Schnittltauchbrot (open faced chives sandwiches). Recipe here.
German Beer Bread – typically made with rye flour but absolutely legit with all-purpose flour. Shape as a skinny loaf you can slice and use for butterbrot or rolls to accompany various stews and soups. 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.
Schinkennudeln – a classic German dish often enjoyed during Oktoberfest (it is a must on beer garden menus in general). Al dente pasta is pan fried with ham, butter, eggs and cheese…Comfort food that pairs with lagers in a way few can ignore. 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.
Schweinshaxe – fall-off-the-bone tender Bavarian roasted pork hocks with deliciously crispy skin and a beer gravy. Frequently cooked with the entire fat cap and served with braised red cabbage, dumplings or spaetzle noodles. Enough said. Recipe here.
Käsespätzle – spätzle tossed in butter or smothered in rich gravy is a very traditional German comfort food. It is served as a 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 fried onions and chives. Recipe here.
Beer Braised Bratwurst and Sauerkraut – naturally fermented sauerkraut and browned brats simmer in a delicious broth with spices and German beer. Serve plated or on a bun with Bavarian sweet mustard. To the recipe!
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.In regions such as the Black Forest also honor their many wild mushrooms by preparing the stew. The dumplings themselves are a perfect side dish 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. Red wine is another option here.
Currywurst – The iconic German street food originated in Berlin, Northern Germany and is perfect for Oktoberfest feasting. This recipe will provide you with tips on the correct type of bratwurst to use and how to make the curry ketchup.
Beef Goulash with Bavarian Lager – a staple on many of a beer garden menu in the South of Germany. Also known as Rindergulasch, this 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.
Pork Cordon Bleu – this celebrated German dish is essentially a schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese, Cordon Bleu style. This one from Seasons and Suppers is drizzled with a delicious lemon butter sauce. 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.
Creamy Cod Stew – even though this is a Northern German dish, this hearty fish soup has its place on the Wiesn. It is served accompanied by rye sourdough and is a lighter fare alternative to the many red meat dishes. Recipe here.
Braised Venison with Blackberries – the deer hunting season in Bavaria coincides with the Oktoberfest and many delicious venison options are offered on the Wiesn. With this recipe you can braise various cuts of deer meet for a hearty game dish with subtle fruit notes.
Other key entrees include numerous wurst varieties, plated or tucked inside fresh bread rolls (but you already knew that:), Beef Rouladen, Sauerbraten (German pot roast), Roasted Duck with Plums and Onions, Venison Stew, Stuffed Veal Breast, pork chop options and so many more.
Check back because 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, Black Forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte), Almond and Pistachio Nougat, Quark Donuts, cookies, 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.
More German food dishes