11 Foods You Need for an Oktoberfest Feast

Bavarian Beer Hall Pork Shanks © Madeleine Hill
By Justine Sterling Posted September 21, 2014

If you were in Bavaria, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. It’s Oktoberfest, so you would be out celebrating with lots and lots of beer and just as much food. 

If you were in Bavaria, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. It’s Oktoberfest, so you would be out celebrating with lots and lots of beer and just as much food. While you can’t have the full Oktoberfest experience (unless you are, in fact, in Bavaria—in which case, stop reading this now), you can eat like you’re there. Here, 11 traditional Oktoberfest foods.

Roast Chicken
During Oktoberfest, chickens are spit-roasted until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Most people don’t have a rotisserie set up at home, so instead make this classic lemon-thyme roast chicken in the oven. Rubbing a lemon-and-thyme butter over the chicken before roasting ensures superbly crispy skin.

Schweinebraten (roast pork)
A classic Bavarian dish, schweinebraten can be made with a variety of pork cuts, like shoulder or even loin. It’s traditionally roasted with dark beer and onions. For a quick and easy take on the dish, try this pounded pork tenderloin smothered in onion and mustard.

Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock)
A beloved beer hall classic, roasted ham hock or shank (pig knuckles) are crispy on the outside with tender meat. They’re surprisingly easy to make at home. Try it with Andrew Zimmern’s delicious recipe.

Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick)
Simple and fairly self-explanatory, steckerlfisch is marinated, skewered and grilled fish typically made with local Bavarian fish, like bream, though it can also be made with trout or mackerel. At home, try quick-grilling sardines.

Würstl (sausages)
Würstl refers to a variety of classic Bavarian sausages. Try them at home sautéed in a skillet with bacon and apple sauerkraut. Serve with plenty of mustard.

Brezen (pretzels)
You can’t have Oktoberfest without pretzels. Large and soft, they’re the perfect accompaniment to beer. Try making your own with this über-authentic recipe for German-style pretzels.

Knödel (potato or flour dumplings)
These are large, dense, ultra-comforting dumplings, common in Central Europe. While these potato dumplings are technically Hungarian, the idea is the same. They are like rustic gnocchi.

Käsespätzle (cheese noodles)
This is a savory, cheesy version of spätzle, a traditional egg noodle. This recipe, made with small-curd cottage cheese, is topped with tangy quark, for a doubly cheesy dish.

Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes)
These potato pancakes are served both savory with a salad or sweet with apple sauce. Reiberdatschi are a lot like latkes, so follow Andrew Zimmern’s killer latke recipe for hot and crisp results.

Sauerkraut
If you’re attending Oktoberfest, you’re eating this pickled cabbage with almost anything. This homemade version mixes cabbage with sweet apples and aromatic caraway.

Obatzda (spiced cheese-butter spread)
This might be your new favorite spread. It’s aged soft cheese, like Camembert, mixed with butter, a small amount of beer, and spices including paprika, salt, pepper and garlic. Try this upscale version, made with crème fraîche and Dijon mustard along with farmer’s cheese and, of course, butter.

Related: 33 Roast Chicken Recipes
22 Sausage Recipes
25 Great Grilled Pork Recipes

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