Traditional German cuisine is known for being hearty and rather heavy on meat and potato-based dishes. Thus, Rinderrouladen with potato dumplings and Rotkraut are one of its most worthy representatives. The filled beef rolls can be found at traditional restaurants and family homes alike. Since Rinderrouladen aren’t necessarily a light meal, Germans usually serve this plain fare for Sunday lunch, dinner or special occasions.

The hearty beef roulades originally evolved in Upper Silesia, a former German – more accurately, Prussian – region that predominantly lies in Poland by now. Although, the dish exclusively contains beef today, sources suggest that Rouladen were usually made with pork. Only by the 20th century, the meat got substituted as preferences moved towards beef.


Rinderrouladen For Every Taste

Making Rinderrouladen (traditional German filled beef rolls) according to a traditional recipe

Classic recipes traditionally call for filling the beef rolls with onions, bacon and pickled cucumbers. The simple seasoning with mustard, salt and pepper together with a condimental gravy make for their typical flavor. While this classic is still the most common and popular version, there are also several alternatives for the filling. Instead of the standard version, regional recipes substitute the pickles, onions and bacon with ground pork or a mix of rice and vegetables. In Swabia, for instance, boiled eggs are a popular addition to the standard ingredients.

Regardless of the filling, Germans most commonly pair their beloved beef rolls with Rotkohl, another favorite of their hearty cuisine. But also the world-famous Sauerkraut is a worthy accompaniment. Potato dumplings, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes or Spätzle make for the obligatory side of carbs.

Rinderrouladen are still a popular dish of German cuisine, today. So if you plan a trip to Germany, make sure to try this meaty classic – in a restaurant, or even better from a real German grandma. If you can’t make that happen, you can try them anyway with our classic recipe below. And in case you are not the greatest fan of the standard filling or want to spice it up, you can simply get creative. There are hardly any limits to your imagination.



Servings: 8 roulades

Rinderrouladen mit Knödel und Rotkraut: beef roulades, traditional German dish with potato dumplings


  • 8 large pieces of thinly cut beef (ideally top round)
  • 5 onions
  • 4 pickled cucumbers
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 tbsp mustard (ideally with herbs)
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1/2 bottle dry red wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 litre beef stock
  • 1 tsp starch
  • cucumber water
  • 2 tbsp lard


  1. Cut onions and bacon into small cubes and pickled cucumbers into strips. Chop the parsley
  2. Spread the thinly cut beef on the kitchen counter, season with salt and pepper and apply a thin layer of mustard all over the slices
  3. Distribute the cubes of about 4 onions, bacon cubes, cucumber strips and chopped parsley evenly on all beef slices
  4. Roll in the meat with the toppings to form small roulades. Use kitchen string or ordinary tooth picks to fixate the rolls
  5. Melt the lard in a large pan and gently roast the roulades before placing them in a stew pot
  6. Cut the celery, remaining onion, leek and carrot into fine pieces and roast them in a pan. Add a bit of the wine and let everything simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Repeat this step until you have added half the bottle of red wine.
  7. Now, top off the roasted vegetables with the beef stock, a bit of cucumber water and season with salt and pepper. Pour the gravy base over the roulades into the stew pot
  8. Let the beef rolls braise in the oven at 160°C for about 1.5 hours. Keep adding some water over the course of time
  9. When the time is over, test if the roulades are actually done and tender. If not, let them braise for a bit longer. Then take them out and cover them to keep the meat warm
  10. Pour the gravy through a sieve and heat it up in a pot. Blend 1 table spoon of mustard with water and starch and slowly pour the mix into the gravy while stirring continuously until you get the desired consistency. Finally season the gravy once more according to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve the roulades together with the gravy, potato dumplings and delicate Rotkraut

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