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Christmas markets in Germany are almost surreal. They feel magical with the soft glow of the stalls as white powdery snow drifts down and quietly melts in your piping hot Gluhwein. And, if you’ve been around this blog at all, you know there is one thing that I may love as much as travel…and that’s FOOD! The Germany Christmas Market Food scene is just about as important as the markets themselves! Sometimes, I’ll go down to our local market just for dinner!
So, just as it is important for you to plan out what Christmas Markets to go to, it’s equally as important for you to have a game plan for what german christmas market foods you NEED to try!
Since everyone loves a great Weinachtmarkt, I asked a few friends to help me round out my list of the best German Christmas Market Food. Here are our top picks:
(Note: Some food may be more regional than others and therefore not found at every market)
Looking for Other Christmas in Germany Inspiration? Read My:
- Best Christmas Markets in Germany
- Christmas Traditions In Germany To Experience
- Where To Get Authentic Glass Blown German Ornaments
Christmas in Germany Food at a Weinachtmarkt
Fans of savory food served together with a twist of sweetness should absolutely not miss Kartoffelpuffer (a kind of fried potato pancake). This dish is also sometimes referred to as Reibekuchen. Deep fried, this Christmas market treat is typically vegetarian (though some regional variations may add bacon and cheese so check before purchasing) and is created by grating raw potatoes rather finely. Usually, finely grated onions will also be added to the mixture, though this is not always the case.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between Kartoffelpuffer and Rösti (another popular potato dish, more commonly found in Switzerland). The potato in Kartoffelpuffer is much more finely grated than Rösti, meaning that it doesn’t need to be cooked for quite as long. Kartoffelpuffer is found all over Germany and, as well as being sold at Christmas market stalls, it is also on sale during Karneval.
Though Kartoffelpuffer are incredibly delicious when eaten as a standalone dish, they are most commonly served together with apple sauce. And while this pairing may sound unusual, it’s incredibly tasty and makes for the perfect snack when you’re out and about exploring the rest of the Christmas market. Another savory way to eat the potato pancakes is with a delicious sour cream sauce on the side. You can find these delicious Katoffelpuffer at many Christmas markets all over Germany, including those at Cologne, Monschau, Aachen., Rothenburg and Guteneck
Contributed by Sophie Nadeau from Solo Sophie
Brats, Wursts, and Sausages
While there is not a particular or specific “German Christmas sausage,” no visit to a Christmas market is complete without having a Bratwurst. This is a German sausage made from veal, beef, or pork. There are over 40 different kinds of wurst and they are usually grilled or barbecued on a giant barbecue pan so you could oogle over them before making a decision on which one to pick. No matter your choice, they are all incredibly juicy and tasty. At a market, wursts are usually served on bread but occasionally at a market, you’ll also see them served with potatoes or placed on a pile of sauerkraut. A Bratwurst usually costs about 5 Euros in the markets. There’s really no strict way of how to eat them; just slop on your favorite condiment and enjoy!
You’ll find wursts at every.single.market. (If you are spending your Christmas holiday in Berlin, you are in for a treat because Berlin is filled with Christmas markets all over town from Weihnachtszauber am Gendarmenmarkt, Berliner Weihnachtszeit am Roten Rathaus, Weihnachrsmarkt auf dem Alexanderplatz, Altstadt Spandau, Wintertraum am Alexa to Charlottenburg Palace. One kind of food that you will always see is the German sausage, Germany is famous for its sausages, and they smell so good that you simply have to try them.)
Contributed By Kenny from Knycxjourneying
7 Wursts You HAVE to Try At a Christmas Market:
- Halb Meter Wurst: Even if you don’t speak German, yes, you probably understood that correct….I AM talking about a sausage that is, indeed, half a meter long!!! A MUST try as a classic German Christmas market food!
- Feuer Wursts: Germans don’t do “spicy” all that well, but these “Fire Sausages” do have a little kick to them! YUM!
- Thüringer Brat: Very common at the markets, and heavily seasoned with caraway (and garlic, salt, and pepper) and often served on a bread roll. Fun fact; In order to be called a Thüringer, over 51% of the ingredients must come from the state of Thüringa
- Nürnbergers: These tiny little finger sausages resemble almost a breakfast sausage. Grilled up and placed “Drei im Weggla (Wechla)” or three on a roll with kraut is the way to go!
- Currywurst – Have you even been in Germany if you haven’t had currywurst!? A DELICIOUS wurst slathered in specially seasoned curry ketchup typically served with a bed of fries.
- Knacker: These wursts are most similar to what Americans may consider a “Polish Sausage.” Fantastic with some mustard!
- Frankfurters: Basically like hotdogs
Kartoffellanzen or potato lances are not only tasty but are easily one of the most fun German Christmas market foods to eat. I mean, who doesn’t love a deep-fried potato on a stick!?
These thick-cut potatoes are considered the ultimate comfort food at Germany’s markets and is just one of the many vegetarian options you can find. Whole potatoes are cut using a spiral technique before being fried until crispy and then dusted with a simple yet flavorful seasoning. They are served on a wooden skewer, making them a great companion as you explore the cheery Christmas market stalls. Each bite is a reminder that Germans know how to cook potatoes to perfection.
Kartoffellanzen is a Christmas market staple, and you can easily find it at most markets around Germany. However, the cost, name, and look might vary regionally. For example, in Munich, they are sometimes called Spiralkartoffeln (spiral potatoes) and will set you back 5 Euro. One of the best places to get them in Munich is the Märchenbazar, where they serve local organic Sprialkartoffeln. They are often a bit cheaper at other markets around Germany, costing only a couple of Euros. No matter how they come, this hearty food pairs perfectly with warm glühwein, keeping you warm and satisfied during Germany’s long and cold winter nights. Ein Guten!
Contributed By: Susanna from Curiosity Saves Travel
The first time I ever had a Frikadella was at the Nurnberg Christkindle Markt and when we asked what it was, the server called it a “Fleischküchle” or, quite literally, “Meat Cake”
Sure, it just looks like an unassuming meatball, but it is so much more! It is perfectly seasoned and then grilled and is best served on a roll with caramelized onions and a healthy dollop of mustard. Move over burgers, there’s a new meat patty in town!!!
Germany has become an eclectic food scene over the years, often taking inspiration from other countries. One such food that you’ll find at just about any fest and Christmas market in Germany is the Hungarian Langos.
This heart attack waiting to happen is insanely delicious. The most common way to serve it up is to take a deep fried piece of dough, and then generously top it up with a garlic (Knoblauch) sauce, cheese, ham, and if you are feeling up to it, a fantastic red, spicy sauce.
While these finger dumplings can be eaten at any time of year, they are a very popular German food at Christmas time and most commonly found in Southern Germany and Bavaria.
The traditional Bavarian way to eat these dumplings is to first fry them in some lard or butter until crispy on the outside and soft inside. Then, top it off with sauerkraut that has been mingling with juicy bacon (speck) pieces. OMG YUM!
The German Christmas market stalls like to get creative as well with this classic dish. You may see a curry version, some may come in a cream sauce, and even others might be offered as a sweet dish with jams or even Nutella.
Anyone who has been visiting Germany knows that Käsespätzle is not reserved just for Christmas market foods. But, that doesn’t mean that this favorite German food dish isn’t eaten widely at just about any market! It’s the perfect, warm meal that will fill you up on those cold evenings.
If you are unfamiliar with the beloved Käsespätzle, think “gourmet mac and cheese!” This ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness is made slightly different from stall to stall and region to region, but they all include spätzle (German egg noodles) slathered in a creamy concoction of cheeses and often topped with crunchy or caramelized onions. It is German comfort food at its finest!
When I go to a Christmas Market, the last thing I want to do is eat vegetables….that is until I came across the mushrooms at the markets. But in true German Christmas Market fashion, these button mushrooms are served up in a delectable manner, usually fried up to perfection in a buttery concoction or slathered in a creamy garlic sauce.
They make for the perfect on-the-go- snack and are a nice change of pace from all the wursts and meats!
Literally, “fish on a stick,” Germans LOVE their grilled fish at fests and markets. The most commonly used fish to skewer up and place over a blazing fire is mackerel but you may also find other white fish or trout. In the North of Germany, you may even come across fish like salmon and even….wait for it….eels!
While Flammkuchen may have originated in France, it is pretty much synonymous with Christmas markets in Germany now and can be found all over the country at Christmas time. This thin, flatbread pizza is made with a crème fraîche sauce, bacon, and onions. It is then cooked perfectly in a wood fired oven until crispy and absolutely delicious!!!
German Christmas Market Drinks
I’m not sure if there is anything that screams “Germany Christmas Markets!!!” more than its most famous hot drink: Glühwein. When it is cold outside, the magical powers in Gluhwein warm up your body and soul. This mulled wine can be found in just about any European country at Christmas, but in Germany, it is the ultimate holiday drink. In fact, it is so beloved, you would be remiss if you didn’t try out the plethora of varieties:
- Mit Schuss (with a shot): Oh, that’s right. Take that boozy drink and add more…..well, booze! A shot of rum or amaretto are two of the most popular choices. Now THAT will really warm you up from head to toe!
- White Gluewein: While a sweet, red, wine is the most commonly found Gluhwein, the white, hot German wine is equally as delicious!
- Fruit Varieties: Baked apple is like drinking in the holidays straight in hot, liquid form! It’s not found very often, but if you spot it, it’s essential you give it a try! Blueberry, raspberry, cherry, and other fruit wines are used as well and who is going to say no to more Gluhwein tastings!?
- Feuerzangenbowle: Want to take your German Christmas drink up a few levels? Put it in a fancy cup with a “tongue” on the side, splash in a good helping of rum, place a sugar cube on the lip of the cup, and…..LIGHT IT ON FIRE!
To me, Eggnog goes hand in hand with “Christmas” But this Egg Liquor is NO “Eggnog.” So, let this be a warning to all you eggnog lovers out there. I repeat. This is NOT EGGNOG!
This German hot drink is a thick, egg-based drink may sound similar in description, but trust me, it’s just….well, different. I would consider Eierpunsch to be thicker and less spiced than what I consider “Eggnog.” It’s an odd experience in your mouth as you drink the thick, creamy substance warm.
This one is a “no” for me personally, but, like everything, I think it’s worth trying at least once on your Christmas Market tour!
If you are all boozed out or are choosing not to drink but still want to partake in the classic German Christmas drinks, then don’t skip on the Kinderpunsch! No, it’s not just for the Kinder (kids)!
This mulled juice is the non alcoholic counter part to the German mulled wine and is sold right next to all the other Gluhweins you’ll spot on every corner of the Christmas Markets.
They take a blend of fruit juices and slowly simmer them with a similar blend of spices to create the perfect non alcoholic, hot drink perfect for any age!
German Christmas Sweets
Lebkuchen is one of the most popular German foods eaten during the Christmas market season. You could describe it as a German gingerbread. This german-style cookie is sweetened with honey and spices. Depending on the region you are visiting, you may see it called ‘Honigkuchen’ or ‘Pfefferkuchen’ as well.
Lebkuchen has a long history dating back to the 13th century. Medieval monks in the Franconia region in Bavaria are credited with inventing this moist, cakey German delicacy that’s now served as German Christmas market food around the country.
Although it’s found around the country, a fantastic place to try it is the city of Nuremberg, which is in the heart of Franconia. Nuremberg’s Christmas market is famous around the world as one of the best of its kind. A serving of Lebkuchen will cost you no more than a couple of Euros. You could eat it as a dessert after sampling the city’s equally famous bratwurst, washed down with gluhwein.
Lebkuchen can be served the authentic way, as cookie-shaped morsels, or shaped in a heart and iced with cute messages. This is a fun and touristic way to see it served and it makes a great souvenir. But, of course, it tastes better the authentic way!
Contributed By Rose from Where Goes Rose
Gebrannte Mandeln (Candied Almonds)
German Christmas markets are perfect for indulging a sweet tooth. One of the tastiest Christmas market foods is candied almonds. These are almonds that are made by cooking a blend of sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, and then adding the almonds. The nuts are cooked in the sweet sugary mix until the sugar melts and coats the almonds. What you end up with are crunchy, sweet, delicious treats!
Just about any Christmas market you go to will have these, and it’s worth trying them at least once. They aren’t expensive, usually about 3 to 4 euros for 100 grams, which is a good portion of candied almonds. They usually come in a paper cone, so it’s easy to wrap them up and save them for later if you don’t want to eat them all at once, but fresh and hot are the best way to devour them!
Almonds are definitely the most common nuts to be made this way, but there are a few Christmas markets in Berlin, and some other cities, that will also do candied cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, or any number of other nuts. Not only do they have other kinds of nuts, but sometimes you’ll also see different types of flavorings. Instead of the standard sugar and cinnamon mix, you might see a chili mix, chocolate, fruit, candy bar flavors, and even alcohol flavors like rum or Baileys!
Contributed by Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
Another Eastern European food, now adopted happily in Germany is the Baumstriezel, which is a delicious pastry that is coated onto a “roller” that is then placed into a blazing fire. It comes out perfectly warm for those cold days and is the absolutely perfect snack to walk around with.
You can choose from a plethora of toppings like nuts, but the most popular is, by far, the cinnamon and sugar coating. And a newer craze that should not be skipped is the Baumstriezel Cone. Yup, take that flaky, delicious pastry and put a few scoops of ice cream (Eis) inside and you’ve got yourself a treat!!!
These little marshmallows are as adorable as they are tasty! At these stalls, you’ll have your pick of different kinds of Schaumkuss. They are all dipped and coated in different flavorings, so just take your pick! Chocolate covered, vanilla flavored, coffee, fruit…you name it!
One of the most commonly found cakes in Germany at Christmas is the “Stollen.” Ironically, as popular as it is all over Germany, it’s more often found at a grocery store (and at Oma’s house) than at the Christmas markets. However, if you see it, you should give it a try. Personally, it’s not at the top of my German food list, but I kind of feel the moral obligation to include it because it is just SO GERMAN!
This “Fruit cake” is a thick cake that is baked with nuts and dried fruit and a lot of savory spices and then given a generous topping of powdered sugar.
Depending on the region, your Dampfnudel may be prepared slightly differently, but in general, it is a (slightly) sweet bread that is steamed. Then, you can choose to top it with a hot, creamy, vanilla custard sauce, or a fruit jam of sorts.
Forget dreams of sugar plum fairies, most people that have a warm Dampfnudel will long for this Christmas in Germany food long after the holidays are over.
If you have seen any German food stalls, then you’ve probably seen crepes, so they are not particularly special to a Christmas Market. However, you really just can’t ever go wrong (any time of year) with a delicious pancake! These very thin pancakes can be served in about as many ways as there are Christmas markets!
Some people like their crepes savory, with some ham and cheese. But personally, I love my crepes sweet (and a bit boozey). Oh yes, you heard that correctly. A hot off-the-stone crepe drizzled with Nutella and splashed with a shot of Amaretto is to die for!!! Other popular options are Nutella and banana, strawberry filled, or just simply with cinnamon and sugar.
Whether you are at the German Christmas Markets because you are actually shopping or if you are there to eat, one thing is for sure, you can’t avoid all the delectable, delicious, mouthwatering Germany Christmas Market Foods.
What’s your favorite Germany Christmas Market Foods?