Some of my Favorite German Cookbooks in English- Make German Food at Home!
Because of my recent move, I had to box up my Cookbook collection. (Some people might think I have a cookbook problem, but I look at it more as an “enthusiasm”.) There were a lot. (I stopped counting at 15 boxes… Tech Guy just shook his head) But in packing them up, I was able to do bit of real sorting, and I noticed that slowly but surely, I’ve managed to collect a lot of German Cookbooks, especially German Cookbooks in English. (I also have quite a few in German… but that’s another story.)
This list of German cookbooks are some of my favorites. The ones I reach to most often… the ones I know I can rely on. The ones I page through when I’m looking for cooking inspiration! (And they are also the ones with the most kitchen splatter on them….)
I know I’ve talked about many of them in past posts, but here they are in one place…
(note- these books are in no particular order… )
Don’t be afraid to buy used cookbooks… the way I see it, they get splattered on anyway.
Also!!- Keep in mind that some of the older Cookbooks have fallen out of print. Do NOT be alarmed if you see outrageous prices for the book. Ignore those. Honestly, unless you are buying some gold plated cookbook, there is no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for a collection of recipes. Dig a bit… usually there will be some reasonably priced ones in different editions. I’ve linked Amazon… but there is a search box for Alibris at the bottom of the page. You should find these books at fair prices.
German Cookbooks in English
If you are looking for a German cookbook that has all the typical German dishes in it (and no fancy variations) then “The Wurst: The Very Best of German Food” is for you. These are the recipes everyone immediately thinks of when they think “German Cooking”. You will find Rouladen, Rotkohl, Sauerkraut, Spätzle AND Käsespätzle, Königsbergerklopße, Bienenstich, and your Oma’s Gurkensalat (cucumber salad) recipe. Every recipe has a photo, so even if you aren’t sure, you can see what its supposed to look like. What’s interesting, is that Otto Wolff also puts in recipes for Weißwurst (not just how to cook it, but also how to MAKE the sausage itself) and a few other common sausages. There are snacks, main dishes, sweets, salads and sides. If you just want to cook BASIC German Food without worrying too much about regional specialties, get The WURST!
Culinaria Germany is as much an encyclopedia of German food as a cookbook. The soft cover, over-sized book is filled with Traditional German Recipes that are clearly laid out to make at home. Also, regional specialties are highlighted and explained in depth. Best of all, this book is LOADED with photographs! Not just of the completed recipes, but also of the foods that go into those recipes. This is one of those cookbooks that you can read for pleasure … or for increased knowledge. There are even sections on how people ate in Germany hundreds of years ago!
Because it’s out of print, you can generally find it at a very good price.
For a more in-depth review, click here–>Culinaria Germany
Best Recipes German Cooking and Baking Dr Oetker
If you are looking for a solid German Recipe Book that has all your favorites from your favorite German Restaurant including a lot of regional specialties, Dr Oetker Best Recipes, is your go-to cookbook. Recipes for everything from Asparagus Soup to Kassler to Sauerbraten, and even Roast Goose. There are sauces, salads and veggies…. and best of all, the last third of the book is baking and desserts. There are enough recipes in this book to keep your stomach happy for a long time.
Most of the recipes have photos (so at least, if you don’t know what it’s called, you can see what it looks like) Since it’s a Dr Oetker book, you know that the recipes have been tested and simplified for the home cook. Before you know it, you will be producing Cabbage Rolls and Schlumpfnudeln just like your Oma.
In Germany Biergartens aren’t just about drinking, many people take along a picnic of dips, salads, and even warm foods that make an afternoon more gemütlich. Our family loves to visit local Breweries here in the US, but many don’t serve food. Since they allow us to bring food in, I always do (drinking without a base to soak up the alcohol doesn’t make sense to me). This little Biergarten cookbook is loaded with traditional Bavarian recipes with a leaning toward “take along” foods. You will find recipes for soups, sausages, noodle and potato dishes… even sweet baked desserts. And to make it easy to transport, the book gives tips on packing your foods so that they arrive safely.
Plus… when we show up with a packed hamper, we end up meeting a lot more people than we expected. Sharing food is fun! Read a longer review of the Biergarten Cookbook Here–>Biergarten Cookbook
Spoonfuls of Germany
I am sorry to see that Spoonfuls of Germany seems to currently be out of print, because this is a fantastic German Cookbook for the American Kitchen. Luckily, both the original hardcover and the more recent paperback edition are still available used. (Do NOT fall for the inflated prices… there is no reason to pay over $100… you can find it for much less… check hardcover and paperback ) Nadia Hassani shares her recipes for the German Cooking I grew up with. Not just heavy meat and potatoes, but also salads and vegetables. Nourishing and healthy meals that people eat every day. The recipes are arranged by region. And all of the measurements will be familiar to an American cook. Unfortunately, there aren’t many photos, but she does have a blog called Spoonfuls of Germany, where she shows off many of her dishes.
Spoonfuls of Germany is a great cookbook for both new and experienced German Cooks. The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow… and the ingredients can all be sourced here in the United States. I highly recommend this book! Click here for a longer review–> Spoonfuls of Germany
New German Cooking
You can teach a traditional chef new tricks. New German Cooking by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen takes the recipes our Oma’s cooked, but adds a terrific modern twist.The flavor profile is more “fresh” and fitting with our modern lifestyles. And while home cooks may cook with a lot of vegetables, this pair adds even more… including some that you wouldn’t have found on the table 25 or 30 years ago. For example, in Germany, Radish Salad is not unusual, but the addition of Daikon radish gives the salad a bite that I can certainly appreciate. And, to me, roasting those Rosenkohl (Brussels sprouts) is much tastier than boiled ones (sorry mom…).
You’ll find easy to follow recipes fro Griebenschmaltz, Spiesbraten, Pretzels, Potato Sauerkraut Gratin and more. This is a wonderful cookbook for anyone who wants to have their German food the way it is today.
If you are in Philadelphia, you can visit the Nolen’s restaurant, Brauhaus Schmitz.
I’ve included Das Cookbook :German Cooking California Style because it emphasizes the lighter side of German cooking. Hans Röckenwagner’s Cafe and Bakery in Los Angeles take German food, and fuse it with California produce (and the Californian desire to eat minimal calories). What you get in the cookbook is classic German dishes and a lot more veggies. So yes, there is a great recipe for Spätzle, but he adds pea shoots and morel mushrooms (that’s dinner here tonight, btw). There are a lot more sandwich and salad recipes than your average cookbook… and I defy you to find another German Cookbook with Avocado fries. Still… the classics are in here like Wiener/Jäger Schnitzel, Roast Goose, Goulasch, and baked goods like Pretzels (that he also uses for Knoedel!), Vanilla Kipferl and Lebkuchen. And while he uses less Streusel than most Americans expect on their “coffee cake”, his recipe for Rhubarb Streusel Kuchen is spot on for me.
If you are looking to include German flavors into your everyday California Kitchen (or any kitchen that loves lots of fresh fruit and veggies) then Das Cook Book is perfect for you.
Classic German Cookbook by Lesley Chamberlain
70 Traditional Recipes from Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic
Classic German Cookbook: 70 traditional recipes from Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, shown step-by-step in 300 photographs (Classic (Southwater))
The Classic German Cookbook is not big… but then, it’s not overloaded with a load of recipes that you might never even consider trying. I do love that there are photos of each dish… and even step-by-step photos for many of the dishes, so you know what it’s supposed to look like as you are cooking (and when it gets to the table). Since the book is published in England, there are 3 measurements for each ingredient (for example…1.2 liters/ 2 pints/ 5 cups water) so you can use whatever you are used to. There are a variety of foods in this book. From the classic Red Cabbage, Sauerbraten and Potato Pancakes to the less common fish dishes made from Pike.
Many of the recipes seem to come from Germans from the Eastern countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic. There are several versions of Goulasch, and a number of regional recipes that you probably won’t find on the table in Bavaria or Hamburg. While this is a very good cookbook with some interesting dishes, I don’t know if it’s a great “first German Cookbook” for someone who is learning about German cuisine. But, if you want to go beyond the standards… or your Oma came from the East, and you want to recreate those flavors. This is a cookbook for you.
The Flour is Different by Trudy Gilgenast
I’m including this cookbook, because I love books of gathered recipes. The Flour is Different is a spiral bound collection of recipes put together by Trudy Gilgenast, from German cooks in the Delaware Valley. Most were handed down generation to generation. Some are clearly “Americanized” versions of German foods. Think of it as cooking in Denglish.
Still, I love that you get the stories from the cooks… where the recipes came from. And between the recipes you will find German traditions.
This little book is out of print (and can be expensive), but if you find it at a decent price, it’s a fun read.
German Baking Recipe Books
Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss
Since Classic German Baking is my newest German cookbook, I haven’t had much chance to use it yet, but the recipes I have tried are spot on. Luisa Weiss works in Berlin, and really knows her flavors. Although it’s a large book, there are only 100 recipes. Each one is described and explained, the ingredients are listed by weight and American measurements , and (best of all) each step of the baking process is explained in GREAT DETAIL. You can’t mess these up, even if you are a total amateur. It’s almost like she’s in the kitchen with you! And all of your favorite baked goods are in here… Torten, cookies, breads and Broetchen, Kasekuchen (Cheesecake) and Strudel. There are even 20 specialty Christmas recipes!
Best of all, there are recipes for the building blocks of German Baking. You won’t have to buy Quark, Vanille Zucker, Marzipan or Lebkuchengewürz again… the recipes are all here.
Christmas Baking Christian Teubner
Christmas Baking is actually a translation of the baking recipe book, “Weihnachts Bäckerei“. It’s LOADED with all of your favorite German Christmas cookies and cakes. Everything from Lebkuchen and Vanille Kipferl to Stollen and Lebkuchen. The recipes are straightforward, and come with both volume and weight measurements, so you can use what feels most comfortable. The ingredients are fairly easy to source here in the US… either in a supermarket or online. Best of all, there are lots of wonderful photos of treats to tempt you into the kitchen.
If you love to bake at Christmas, and want to fill that Bunte Teller with German Treats, Christmas Baking is the perfect cookbook for you. Since this is an older book, it appears to be out of print. Luckily, there are loads of used copies online for purchase.
Read my longer review here–> Christmas Baking
What are your Favorite German Cookbooks in English?
Either in German or English?
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