When it comes to Oktoberfest, the first thing people seem to focus on is the BEER. But you want a base for all that alcohol… so don’t forget to EAT! Besides, the festival food is delicious. There are many traditional German Oktoberfest Foods that you will find served in the various Beer Tents and on the Wiesn. Feel confused by some of the names? Don’t be. It’s all GOOD. You can go full meal with slices of Pork Roast, Gravy and Dumplings… or order a Brotzeit plate filled with cheese and sausage (think German Charcuterie board) for you and a friend to snack on. And you can’t go wrong with Brathendl (Roast Chicken). Be aware that lunch is generally cheaper than dinner! And there are vegetarian options in many tents.
And it’s not all Festival foods! You might be surprised to learn that the Käfer Wiesn-Schänke serves duck and venison (although you WILL have to pay much more than you would for a simple Schweinhaxn in another tent)
Here’s a list and pictures of foods to try at Okoberfest that will help you when it’s time to order.
Brathendl (Roast Chicken)
There is a saying ” without Hendl, it’s not Oktoberfest”. Around 510,000 Brathendl are sold at Oktoberfest München every year! What is a Brathendl? It’s a roasted chicken! What makes it special? The crispy flavorful skin. You can get that flavor at home with Hänchen Würzsalz (German Poultry Seasoning)… or plenty of salt and paprika.
A Brotzeit platter consists of Aufschnitt (cold cuts), Käse (cheese), Obaztda, Schmalz (flavored rendered fat served as a spread), tomatoes, pickles, radishes… and the list goes on. Served up with German Rye bread and/or Pretzels, it often sits in the middle of the table for others to share. Get more ideas here-Brotzeit
A Radi is a LONG white Radish cut into spirals (or thin slices) and sprinkled with salt to soften it. Some also serve it with vinegar. The Radi often shows up with a Brotzeit patter, and is a refreshing addition to meats and cheeses.
Leberkäse translates literally to “Liver Cheese” which sounds a bit odd, and isn’t correct at all. Instead, the loaf is more a finely ground meatloaf that’s packed with flavor. Sometimes the Leberkäse arrives on your plate simply sliced off of the warm loaf, other times the slices are fried up to give it “crispy” edges (yum!). You’ll even see it served topped with a fried egg. I’ve heard some people compare it to fried Bologna… but honestly that’s like comparing Filet Mignon to a fast food burger.
When this arrives on your plate, you KNOW you are in Germany. Basically, it’s a slow roasted pork knuckle. The fat is crisped and brown… the meat is tender and delicious. And it’s good for soaking up all that beer.
This “salad” made from German Sausage (like a ring bologna), cheese, pickles, radishes, onions and herbs tossed in a vinaigrette type sauce is delicious on bread as a meal… or maybe as an in-between snack. Find a similar recipe here–> Schinken, Käse, Ei Salat
Pork products are all over German Menus… and while Schweine Braten (Pork Roast) may be similar to Schweinehaxen, it’s a different cut of meat. Made from Pork Shoulder, it arrives in slices on your plate, often with Knödel (dumplings) and LOTS and LOTS of delicious gravy.
Stecklerfisch get their name in a typical German descriptive way… It’s a Fish… on a Stick. Then it’s put over hot coals head down and marinated. The fish arrives whole on your plate (yup…head, tail and all!). Peel back the skin and dig in.
Wurstl are Sausages….You will find Weisswurst (White Veal Sausage often served in Broth), Bockwurst, Cervelatwurst (smoked sausage), Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), Bratwurst (Sausages made from Pork or Veal, often grilled), Knackwurst (fat “hot dogs”) und Wiener (skinny “hot dogs”) …. Some are served in Brötchen, others on a plate with sides like sauerkraut. Here is your chance to try them all.
Bretzn’ are big chewy Bavarian Pretzels. They are treated like bread in Bavaria, and will be found in the Bread Basket or on a hanger (you can even break them open and smear butter on them). At Oktoberfest they come as they are, or you can order a side of Obzata. Or use this recipe to bake your own Pretzels
The simple dumpling is elevated to an art form in Germany… and at Oktoberfest, you can find Knoedel in all its possible forms. Kartoffelknödel (potato Dumpling), Semmel Knödel (Bread dumplings), Spinatknödel (spinach dumplings) and even Leberknödel (Liver dumplings) in soup. My daughter claims that Semmel Knödel basically tastes like the best Thanksgiving stuffing. When served with a rich gravy loaded with mushrooms is a meal in itself.
Kassler are pork chops that are brined and smoked. These super flavorful smoked slabs of yummy are generally served with Sauerkraut. (And unlike most pork chops in Germany, they aren’t fried in a bread crumb coating).
People call this German Macaroni and Cheese... and sure, it’s Spätzle noodles and cheese, but it tastes NOTHING like the stuff that comes out of the box with orange powder, and it’s only a distant relative to the gooey (and admittedly delicious) stuff you find in the South. But in KäseSpaetzle noodles are topped with Emmentaler cheese and roasted onions. (It’s also a great vegetarian option!)
Obaztda has a strong following in Bavaria. This creamy spread is made with Camembert cheese, butter and Paprika… (and causes more excitement than Ranch dressing dip at Teen party). Generally it’s served alongside the Brezn. Although I’m sure there are people who eat it with a spoon. Find a great recipe here–> Obaztda
Quite simply… Kartofelpuffer/ Raiberdaschi are potato pancakes. (They also happen to be one of my favorite foods EVER). Often they are served with Applesauce, but you will also find them served with Lox. Either way… crispy, fried, delicious! Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for Potato Pancakes.
When at Oktoberfest, you eat Weißwurst Bavarian style. These white veal sausages will arrive in a pot of “broth”. Pull one out with your fork, peel off the skin, and eat it with sweet Bavarian mustard. Don’t forget the Bretzen!
First of all… Sauerkraut in Germany is not like the Sauerkraut you find in an American Hot Dog Stand. It’s warm and less salty, plus MANY cooks prepare it with wine… (some even put it in the Sauerkraut!). I’ve come to realize that Sauerkraut is like Potato Salad… different regions make it differently. In Munich, you may find bacon in it. Give it a try.
Literally “burned Almonds”, but actually, these are highly addicting Candied Almonds. You will smell the booth before you see it… and the flavor of those still warm, just made almonds will keep you coming back for more and more. You can also find a recipe here–> Gebrannte Mandeln
Don’t dare leave Oktoberfest without a beautifully decorated Lebkuchen (Gingerbread) heart. They come with cute sayings…and are perfect for gifting. AND you can wear them from a string around your neck. Food and Jewelry…
Vegetarian Foods at Oktoberfest
Despite the German reputation for MEAT, SAUSAGE, MORE MEAT…. there are more and more vegetarian offerings at Oktoberfest. You will find Sausages and “hamburgers” made from Soy. But beyond that, feel free to enjoy Spätzle with Cheese, Kartoffelpuffer, Knoedel, Brezn, and Obzata. Also, many places will have a special vegetarian section on the menu.
Oktoberfest is much more than a beer festival. It’s a carnival, a celebration… and there is plenty of food to keep you fueled up for the two weeks.
Looking for Oktoberfest Food Recipes?
My Easy German Cookbook is packed with 80 Classic German Recipes made simple for the American Kitchen, including MANY perfect for Oktoberfest parties. And the Oktoberfest Cookbook is straight up Oktoberfest foods.