What type of meat is sauerbraten made from?

Sauerbraten is a traditional German dish made from beef. The word “sauerbraten” literally translates to “sour roast,” and it is known for its rich, flavorful gravy and tender meat.

While beef is the most common type of meat used for sauerbraten, other options include:

  • Pork: This is a popular alternative, especially in some regions of Germany.
  • Lamb: Although less common, lamb can also be used for sauerbraten.
  • Venison: This is a more traditional choice, but it is less readily available than beef or pork.

The specific cut of meat used for sauerbraten can vary. However, some of the most common cuts include:

  • Rump roast: This is a tough cut of meat that benefits from the long marinating time.
  • Eye of round: This is another tough cut of meat that becomes tender when marinated.
  • Bottom round: This is a lean cut of meat that is also suitable for sauerbraten.
  • Chuck roast: This is a more flavorful cut of meat that can be used for sauerbraten, but it may not be as tender as other options.

No matter what type of meat you choose, the key to making a delicious sauerbraten is to marinate it for several days. This allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender.

Traditional Sauerbraten Recipe

Here is a traditional recipe for sauerbraten:


  • 3-4 pounds beef chuck roast or rump roast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10 gingersnap cookies, crushed


  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, optional


  1. In a large dutch oven, or another large pot that is oven-proof, combine all of the marinade ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for 10 minutes, then cool completely.
  2. Nestle the meat down into the cooled marinade, then cover and refrigerate for at least 48 hours and up to 2 weeks. Turn the roast each day to make sure all of the meat gets a chance to marinade thoroughly.
  3. Remove roast from the marinade and pat completely dry using paper towels. DO NOT DISCARD THE MARINADE. Transfer the marinade to a bowl.
  4. Wipe out the dutch oven and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in it over high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 2 minutes per side), then pour marinade into the dutch oven with the meat.
  5. Bring the liquids to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender. Alternatively, you can transfer the dutch oven to a 350 degree F oven with the lid on for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is done if you prefer.
  7. Remove meat from the cooking liquids and set it aside on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, strain the marinade, discarding the solids and reserving the liquid. Return the liquid to the dutch oven.
  9. Add the crushed gingersnap cookies to the reserved liquid. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until thickened into a nice gravy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  10. Slice the sauerbraten into thin slices and serve with the hot gravy poured over the top.

Tips for Making Sauerbraten

  • Marinate the meat for at least 48 hours. The longer you marinate the meat, the more tender it will be.
  • Use a tough cut of meat. Tougher cuts of meat, such as rump roast or chuck roast, will benefit the most from the marinating process.
  • Don’t overcook the meat. Sauerbraten is best served medium-rare to medium.
  • Serve with traditional sides. Sauerbraten is traditionally served with red cabbage, potato dumplings, or spaetzle.

Variations on Sauerbraten

There are many different variations on sauerbraten. Some recipes call for different spices, such as cloves or allspice. Others call for different types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar. You can also add different vegetables to the marinade, such as celery or parsnips.

No matter how you make it, sauerbraten is a delicious and satisfying dish that is sure to please your family and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does sauerbraten mean?

Sauerbraten means “sour roast” in German. The name comes from the fact that the meat is marinated in a sour mixture of vinegar and wine.

What is the best cut of meat for sauerbraten?

The best cut of meat for sauerbraten is a tough cut of meat, such as rump roast or chuck roast. These cuts of meat will benefit the most from the marinating process.

How long should I marinate sauerbraten?

You should marinate sauerbraten for at least 48 hours. The longer you marinate the meat, the more tender it will be.

What should I serve with sauerbraten?

Sauerbraten is traditionally served with red cabbage, potato dumplings, or spaetzle.

Can I make sauerbraten in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten in a slow cooker. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Can I freeze sauerbraten?

Yes, you can freeze sauerbraten. Simply cool the sauerbraten completely and then freeze it in an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can I make sauerbraten without wine?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten without wine. Simply substitute the wine with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar or grape juice.

Can I make sauerbraten without vinegar?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten without vinegar. However, the vinegar is what gives sauerbraten its characteristic sour flavor. If you omit the vinegar, the sauerbraten will not be as flavorful.

Can I make sauerbraten with pork?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten with pork. Simply substitute the beef with an equal amount of pork shoulder or pork loin.

Can I make sauerbraten with lamb?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten with lamb. Simply substitute the beef with an equal amount of lamb shoulder or leg of lamb.

Can I make sauerbraten with venison?

Yes, you can make sauerbraten with venison. Simply substitute the beef with an equal amount of venison shoulder or leg of venison.


Sauerbraten is a delicious and satisfying dish that is sure to please your family and friends. With a little planning and effort, you can make this traditional German dish at home.

What to Serve with Sauerbraten

There are several traditional sides you can choose from. In addition to potatoes, Semmelknödel and Kartoffelklöße are two of the most well-known and traditional choices (don’t forget to try our homemade Knödel recipe). Another delicious option is Spätzle. Some parts of Germany even serve Sauerbraten with Kartoffelpuffer.

Furthermore, it is customary and imperative that you serve Sauerbraten with German Rotkohl!

Where Did Sauerbraten Originate?

Julius Caesar is credited with creating sauerbraten, as he is reported to have transported wine-marinated beef from Rome to the newly established Roman settlement of Cologne. Later, it was claimed that the recipe’s 13th-century popularization was due to Saint Albert the Great of Cologne. Though some restaurants still serve it, the dish is now mostly made with beef instead of horse, as it was in the past. Sometimes it’s also made with venison or lamb.

Numerous German eateries, both domestically and abroad, serve this traditional dish on their menus. It is now recognized as Germany’s official national dish since it has long been one of the country’s most beloved foods.

Growing up in the Swabia region of Southern Germany, my family’s favorite vacation destination was the picturesque Berchtesgaden in Bavaria.

Given that the roast must marinate for approximately a week before cooking, sauerbraten is a dish that best prepares in advance. Don’t cut corners by shortening the marinating time. When the meat has finished marinating, you will be glad you were patient!

Place all of the veggies and herbs in a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven along with the garlic, juniper berries, whole cloves, bay leaves, salt, sugar and peppercorns. Add the red wine, red wine vinegar and water.

After bringing it to a boil, lower the heat, cover it, and simmer it for ten minutes. After removing the heat source, allow the mixture to cool fully. After tucking the roast into the vegetable marinade, cover the pot.

Allow it to marinate for four or seven days in the refrigerator. Turn the roast over once a day, unless it is completely submerged in the liquid (the marinating process can take up to two weeks on average).

Remove the roast and strain the liquid from the vegetables. Reserve the vegetables.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels.

After cleaning the pot, preheat it with one or two tablespoons of oil over high heat. Generously brown the roast on all sides.

Remove the roast and set aside. If using bacon, fry the bacon until done.

Leave about 2 tablespoons of the oil/fat in the pot. After straining the vegetables, add the bacon, if using, to the pot and cook for five to seven minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one or two minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Stirring constantly to avoid lumps, add the liquid you strained out of the vegetable marinade and bring it to a boil.

Add the raisins, honey and crushed ginger snaps. Return the roast to the pot.

Once the meat reaches a very tender consistency, lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for two to four hours. Depending on the type of roast and the length of time it marinated, cooking times will change.

Note: Because the meat will be more tender from the beginning, the longer you marinate the roast, the faster it will cook. So check on your roast periodically for doneness.

After the roast is done, take it out, place it on a plate, and wait five minutes before slicing. In the meantime, strain the gravy.

Strain the gravy and return it to the pot.

Taste and more sugar, salt and pepper as desired. To achieve a thicker gravy, you can thicken it with a cornstarch slurry.

Note: You can customize the flavor to suit your taste by adjusting the ratio of sour to sweet. You can also dilute the flavor with a small amount of water or broth if you find it to be too strong.

After taking the roast out of the pot, let it rest for five minutes. Then slice the roast.

Serve the Sauerbraten slices right away after spooning the hot gravy over them.

Sauerbraten Rhenish – Authentic German Sauerbraten Recipe


What cut of beef is sauerbraten made from?

What cut of beef for sauerbraten? A rump roast, the beef eye of round, or bottom round are more traditional cuts of beef for sauerbraten. But you could also use a beef chuck roast or even pork roast if you prefer.

What was sauerbraten originally made of?

Unique to the Rheinischer Sauerbraten is that it is served with a a slightly sweet sauce made with raisins. Other regional varieties include Swabian, Franconian, Thuringia, Saxon, and Westphalian. Historically, horse meat was used to make Sauerbraten. However, today beef or venison is most often used.

Why is my sauerbraten tough?

If it has turned out a little too tough (possibly the temperature was too high or it cooked too long), slice the meat perpendicular to its natural separations. It won’t look as pretty on the plate, but will immensely help the tenderness.

What does sauerbraten mean in German?

The name “Sauerbraten” is of German origin, and is derived from Sauer meaning “sour” or “pickled” and Braten meaning “roast meat”, thus “sour roast”.

What is German sauerbraten?

This authentic German Sauerbraten recipe makes the most tender and juicy roast beef and a wonderful sweet and sour gravy. Beef is richly marinated for a few days in a mixture of red wine, vinegar, and a mix of flavorful herbs and warm spices. Then, the meat is braised until succulent and tender—it’s so irresistible! WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?

What kind of meat is used in Sauerbraten?

Sauerbraten can be made with many different kinds of roasting meat. Tougher, less expensive cuts of meat are used—typically a rump roast or bottom round of beef. Venison or other game is often prepared as sauerbraten as the spices and vinegar take away the gamey taste of the meat.

How many German sauerbraten recipes are there?

You might have thought like many other people that there is only one German recipe that is truly authentic. Fact is that depending on the region there are a variety of German Sauerbraten recipes.

What is Sauerbraten & how do you make it?

It is usually marinated in a mixture of vinegar, wine, spices and herbs over the course of several days which tenderizes the meat and infuses it with its characteristic tangy flavor (hence the name sauerbraten, the German word for “sour roast”). Sauerbraten recipes vary by region, each adding their own touches.

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