German Christmas Dinner Recipes (2024)

These delicious holiday recipes represent typical German Christmas food. Treat guests to a traditional German Christmas dinner with classic dishes like roasted goose legs, braised red cabbage. and dumplings, and don't forget the mulled wine and platter of gorgeous, festive cookies.

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Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (1)

This sweet-and-sour, traditional Bavarian braised red cabbage is always served with goose, duck, or pork. To make it, the cabbage is gently braised with tart apple, smoky bacon, orange zest, and spices.

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Pretzel and Mustard Dumplings

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (2)

Dumplings made of day-old pretzels and bound with egg are common in Germany; they're a delicious way to use up stale bread and are great to serve alongside roasted goose to soak up extra gravy on the plate. The mustard is not traditional, but it pairs excellently with the pretzel rolls used here. If you can't source pretzel rolls, any plain bread rolls will do.

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Mulled Wine

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (3)

This drink from Walkers restaurant in Cape Neddick, Maine, is gently infused with nutmeg, vanilla, and star anise, then lightly sweetened with honey and maple syrup. The result is a spiced, not-too-sweet mulled wine you’ll want to sip all winter long.

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Roasted Goose Legs with Sour Cherry Glaze and Gravy

Food & Wine editor Melanie Hansche reimagines the traditions of her hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany, in this recipe for sour cherry–glazed roasted goose legs. In Bavaria, it's not Christmas without roast goose, but roasting individual legs makes it a more manageable endeavor.

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Brown Butter-Cardamom Spitzbuben

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (5)

German for "cheeky boys," these Bavarian cookies will be the star of your holiday cookie platter. Brown butter and cardamom make this simple cookie into a fragrant treat. Take the time to freshly grind the cardamom — its robust, citrusy flavor is worth it. You can use round or fluted cutters to cut out the cookies with any shape for the center.

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Rustic Apple Tart

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (6)

This is the flakiest, easiest, best pie crust we've ever tested. Master chef Jacques Pépin has created a virtually fail-safe recipe that's completely hassle-free: You don't even need to chill the dough before you roll it out.

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Fresh Cheese Spaetzle

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (7)

Former F&W senior test kitchen editor Grace Parisi had to perfect her spaetzle-making skills to prevent her German au pair from becoming homesick. Germans typically use quark when making spaetzle, but Parisi's au pair told her that the type available in the United States isn't curdy enough. So Parisi uses small-curd cottage cheese in the spaetzle and makes the chive sauce with tangy quark.

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Warm Potato Salad with Pancetta and Brown Butter Dressing

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (8)

Here, brown butter is whisked into a tangy, mustardy dressing for creamy fingerling potatoes. The potato salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

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Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (9)

For a special version of this hearty stew, use imported Vertes du Puy lentils, which have a rich, earthy flavor. A firm whole-grain bread would be ideal alongside.

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Sautéed German Sausages with Bacon and Apple Sauerkraut

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (10)

In Germany's Pfalz region, cooks braise sauerkraut with onions, apples, seasonings, a touch of sugar, and a little of the region's Riesling wine, creating an ideal accompaniment for juicy weisswurst or bratwurst.

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German Christmas Dinner Recipes (11)

This classic German recipe calls for dipping buttery almond-apricot sandwich cookies in bittersweet chocolate. The phenomenal results are well worth the effort.

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Haselnussmakronen (Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons)

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (12)

These German raspberry-hazelnut macaroons require just five ingredients and are extremely no-fuss. Says Berlin-based blogger Luisa Weiss, "You just throw the dough together, heat up some jam, and you're almost there."

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German Christmas Dinner Recipes (13)

Lebkuchen are traditional, delicately spiced German molasses-ginger cookies. This recipe from mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler was passed down from his great-grandmother to his grandmother to his uncle.

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Classic Cheese Fondue

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (14)

Chef Ryan Hardy makes his luxurious fondue with two kinds of Swiss cheese (Emmentaler and Gruyère) and two kinds of spirits (white wine and Kirsch), all traditional ingredients. Some of the dipping items are also classic, like cubes of crusty bread and pickles.

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Basler Leckerli

German Christmas Dinner Recipes (15)

These spiced cookie bars are an essential part of a German Christmas. They're an excellent make-ahead sweet; in fact, they get more tender and flavorful the longer they sit.

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German Christmas Dinner Recipes (2024)
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