You may not be able to get to the Christmas markets in Germany this year, but you can certainly enjoy many of the beloved German Christmas market foods in your very own home (or extravagantly decorated back porch). And if that doesn’t bring a little jolly to your holly, I don’t know what will!
German holiday foods
There’s nothing like Christmas in Germany. And there’s nothing like stuffing your face with the accompanying German Christmas market foods to make your belly shake like a bowl full of jelly. Everything from traditional German fare like bratwursts and flammkuchen to some of the most satisfying sugary holiday treats like schaumküses and Nutella-covered waffles.
I’ve long said it: Germany is a culinary virtuoso! And no holiday magic is lost when creating these dishes at home.
13 German Christmas market foods to enjoy at home
In this post I’ve included vetted links to recipes for all 13 items mentioned. (I’ve been getting my yuletide on a lot lately.)
You can prepare them for an at-home German Christmas market-themed party or just a casual dinner at home surrounded by no less than 1,000 LED bulbs and some mock half-timbered façades. The degree of extra you bring into the world is always up to you. (And, for the record, mine is so large it got stuck in the chimney.)
Yes, technically I’m starting off my list of German Christmas market foods with a drink, but it’s 2020. We can absolutely count glühwein as a meal.
Glühwein, also referred to as mulled wine, is a hot, spiced wine consumed during the holidays and the most popular kid on the Christkindlesmarkt block.
It’s typically made with red wine (+ brandy or rum), oranges and orange juice, and spices like cinnamon, anise, vanilla, ginger, cloves, and a variety of others. It’s absurdly delicious and cozy, and brewing it will have your house smelling so good Krampus wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot tongue.
Making it is incredibly easy and I prefer to keep mine warm in a crock pot while celebrating at home. Garnish with an orange slice and a cinnamon stick and you’ve got yourself Christmas in a glass.
There are tons of recipes out there for glühwein but my favorite is the one from The Edgy Veg: glühwein recipe here. It uses some pretty common ingredients (easy-to-find ones at least) and is such a cinch to make. Plus, her instructional video is everything.
When making her glühwein recipe, I substitute the coconut sugar with regular ol’ white sugar (because that’s what I already have in my kitchen), the vanilla bean with vanilla extract because I’m not a Rockefeller, and I use rum instead of brandy because that’s something I already keep at my house. (Also, it takes me about twice as long to get my first simmer thick and syrup-y.)
Get yourself some adorable Christmas mugs and get to sippin’! 2020 isn’t going to forget itself!
2. Candied roasted almonds
A few of the German Christmas market foods in this post are ones you’ll also find among the most delicious Oktoberfest foods. Candied roasted almonds, known as gebrante Mandeln in Germany, is one of them.
These almonds are roasted in a blend of cinnamon and sugar and, again, will fill your house with the smell of yuletide glee. They’re super easy to make and will be a great snack/appetizer for your at-home Weihnachtsmarkt. My mandeln bring all the joy to the yard!
Cate of the International Desserts Blog has a great candied almonds recipe and another easy-to-follow instructional video if you’re culinarily challenged like me. Pick up some paper cones from which to enjoy them for a more authentic German Christmas market feel.
3. Potato pancakes
Another on both the list of Oktoberfest and German Christmas market foods is potato pancakes, AKA Kartoffelpuffer in German. As you can see, potato pancakes are a staple at Germany’s many celebrations and make a great appetizer or side dish at home.
Potato pancakes consist of potatoes that have been peeled, grated, wrung out, mixed with a handful of other ingredients, then fried. And who doesn’t love a fried potato? I definitely saw Kartoffelpuffer on the Nice list when I was snooping through Santa’s bag.
You can top these with either sour cream and chives or, my preference, a heap of applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon. Get my easy potato pancakes recipe here.
4. Mushrooms with garlic sauce
One of my favorite German Christmas market foods and probably the easiest to make are the sautéed mushrooms with garlic sauce. So simple! So delicious! And so fantastic at keeping those pesky holiday vampires away!
For this, you simply sauté mushrooms with some herbs and spices, then cover them with a phenomenal garlic sauce made from sour cream, fresh garlic, lemon, and yogurt. All good things! I actually ate these with my lunch all this week. On real plates.
I use these mushroom and garlic sauce recipes from the blog Ich koche heute (I cook today). He also has a quick video showing the process (but make sure the captions are turned on as the audio is only in German).
For this, I halved the recipe since I’m the only one in my house who loves mushrooms. For the sauce I substituted sour cream for crème fraîche because they’re basically the same and, let’s face it, it’s football season so I’m up to my antlers in sour cream as it is.
Serve on the side of something grander or just eat them by themselves in the snow in your backyard that you’re pretending is Munich’s Marienplatz.
Along with fried potatoes, I don’t think you can go wrong with bread stuffed with meat and cheese and topped with sour cream. That you eat with your hands. For the love of Baby Jesus, maybe Santa did get my letter this year!
So yes, handbrot (“hand bread”) is another popular entry on the list of German Christmas market foods. And yes, it’s basically just meat (bacon or ham) and cheese baked into bread. Less is more, my little elves.
Take a look at this Handbrot recipe from Bake to the Roots and tell me you won’t be baking this for all the twelve days of Christmas.
One of my favorite German foods in general just so happens to be one of the major players in the world of German Christmas market foods: Flammkuchen.
This simple “flatbread,” if you will, is topped with a cream sauce, onions, bacon, and little bit o’ peace on Earth. Though not technically what we know as a flatbread—the crust is softer—it’s the closest comparison.
These are so easy to make and so tasty. Especially if you’ve already got some leftover baker’s yeast from all those Oktoberfest pretzels you made back in September.
Don’t confuse flammkuchen with pizza—there’s no tomato sauce or cheese here. You can change up the toppings as you wish but if it’s Christkindlmarkt goodness you’re looking for, stick with the recipe. Don’t forget, he’s always watching…
I personally use this flammkuchen recipe from Craftbeering and it comes out perfect. *chef’s kiss* Though again, I used sour cream instead of crème fraîche and standard cooking oil instead of butter. And for your at-home Christmas market, make the smaller versions instead of the large ones. (So cut your dough into 8 pieces instead of 4.)
7. Currywurst and fries
Another of the most popular of the German Christmas market foods is currywurst—bratwurst cut into bite-sized chunks, topped with curry ketchup and curry powder, and served with french fries. If you’re looking to spice up your holidays, follow this roadmap.
Now, you can make your own bratwurst if you’re up to the task (which I most certainly am not). Or you can simply buy what you can find at the store. (ding ding ding!) Either way, the ketchup is key!
I use this curry ketchup recipe from the Daring Gourmet and, lemme just say, Santa’s workshop itself couldn’t build anything better. And, for what it’s worth, this curry ketchup goes great with just about any kind of meat in your fridge. Trust me, I’ve road tested it for you.
It’s easy to make—if I can do it, anyone can—and doesn’t take long but makes all the Dasher. I mean Dancer. I mean difference! Simply mix together a combination of ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen already and bada-bing, bada-brat! (The only thing I actually had to buy was curry powder—the star of the Christmas pageant.)
Serve alongside some French fries, handmade (showoff) or frozen (that’s more like it), and you’ve got yourself one of the most popular and internally warming German Christmas market foods. For the true Christkindlesmarkt experience, serve your currywurst in some paper food boats with proper currywurst forks.
In preparation for my German Christmas market party at home, I made these lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread heart cookies) for the fourth time this year. I’m basically a cooking-making machine at this point. Call me elf, one more time
These cookies are so good but they are a bit of work. Don’t let that discourage you though as these will turn your regular Christmas décor into, well, German-style Christmas décor. Plus you can eat them. Everyone wins here.
For these cookies I use this lebkuchen recipe from Bella Online (and I researched a ton of recipes). The only ingredient I substitute is ¾ cup dark brown sugar in place of ¾ cup molasses. What am I? A hefty kitchen maid aboard a Mississippi River steamboat?
Also, depending on whether I have a lemon or an orange at home, I use all of one instead of both. Apparently it’s too much to ask to have both at once.
Also again, I’ve made these cookies with the called-for ginger/cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves and I’ve also made it with the same amount of “gingerbread spice.” Both are the same and no difference does it make. Gingerbread spice is just impossible to find (except on Amazon).
For the icing I use this royal icing recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking. But I halve the recipe because oh holy night that is a lot of icing. Also, her recipe is more for flooding than it is for piping stiffer designs that last so just add more powdered sugar as needed—that’s all it takes. (Oh, and I don’t heat treat my eggs first.)
Despite my questionable cookie talent, I have so much fun decorating these hearts. Be sure to pick up some piping tips and icing bags so you can make these! Then, cover with cling wrap and string with ribbon.
One of my all-time favorite German desserts also just so happens to be one of the German Christmas market foods—dampfnudel. What may sound like wet pasta is actually a moist sweet bread coated in a lightly-sweet vanilla sauce. Go ahead, call it perfection.
This sweet, warm dessert is perfect for an at-home Weihnachtsmarkt and isn’t too rich or heavy.
Check out my very own (adapted) dampfnudel recipe here.
I haven’t tried making these at home yet, but they’re no doubt a must-have at your German Christmas celebration.
Schaumküsse stands for “foam kiss” and it’s little more than a fluffy, meringue-y chocolate-covered treat that looks like an oversized Hershey’s Kiss. Oh look, another great opportunity for you to use your piping bags and tips!
Since I haven’t made these myself, I don’t have any advice to share. However, this schaumküsse recipe from the Dirndl Kitchen is the one I found to be the simplest. Try them out for yourself and report back!
I am so excited to add Schneeballen to this list as this dessert comes from one of my favorite cities in the world—Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a real-life Christmas village.
Schneeballen—which translates to snowballs—are super, super simple. So simple, in fact, that most people find them bland and boring. But not I. Oh come all ye faithful fans of Rothenburg and join me in some schneeball baking!
Schneeballen are little more than fried dough topped with powdered sugar… or chocolate or Nutella or any number of other sugary toppings. You make the dough, roll it out, slice it up, form a ball, fry it in oil, top with sugar.
To make mine, I use this Schneeballen recipe from My German Recipes. And, like most of the recipes on this page, I used sour cream instead of crème fraîche and rum instead of schnapps.
12. Waffles with Nutella
If there’s anything on this list of German Christmas market foods that is just about effortless, it’s waffles with Nutella. Maybe they won’t be the same glorious waffles you can find in Europe, but waffles are fabulous regardless.
The important part though: you’ll need a waffle maker. Beyond that, it’s little more than adding a few things to boxed waffle mix, pouring it in, then not forgetting about it. Not burning your waffles to a crisp while you scroll through Instagram is key! (The Ghost of Christmas Future did not warn me of this.)
Then, top with your favorite waffle topping be it whipped cream, berries, chocolate, or my personal fave, Nutella. When they’re all hot and the Nutella is melty, these are great eaten outside with your buddy Jack Frost.
Personally, I just use the recipe on the back of the Krusteaz Belgian Waffle mix box (2nd image), but here’s a Belgian waffle recipe from the Salty Marshmallow if you want to try making them from scratch.
Last on the list of classic German Christmas market foods you can enjoy at home this year is Stollen—traditional German Christmas bread.
You can compare stollen to something like fruitcake. It’s a bread baked with nuts, fruits, and spices, all covered in powdered sugar. And it’s as Christmas in Germany as Krampus snatching up kids in baskets.
The great thing about this stollen recipe from the Daring Gourmet is that you can eat it straight out of the oven or keep it wrapped up for 2-3 weeks before eating. (This is great if, like me, you have a real problem multitasking in the kitchen.)
Making stollen is a bit of a process but, guys, this recipe has “mace” as an ingredient. This bread is so good you’ll be blinded with deliciousness!
What’s your favorite of the German Christmas market foods?
Let me know below!
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