Sweet, savory, spicy, and rich. These are just a few words that can encompass the world of German snacks and sweet treats. It’s hard to say what is the best choice of German food, but many locals will tell you – you don’t need to pick!
What’s Special About German Snacks?
There are many unique aspects of German snacks and cultural cuisine. The varieties you can find from each region make it feel like a whole world within one country, but what lies at the heart of German cuisine is their love for potatoes, pork, coffee, and beer.
And when it comes to the best German snacks, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t pair well with a glass of wine, a mug of beer, or a warm cup of coffee. Let’s briefly explore the wonderful varieties of snacks from Germany, that combine in a beautiful array of modern and old.
Popular Sweet German Snacks
Butterkuchen (Butter Cake)
Despite the morbid connection of butterkuchen as a common German snack served during funerals, these sweet and crunchy desserts are a popular snack you can find in local bakeries and cafes throughout the country.
Locals most likely love this German snack because it is so simple to make and adds a delightful sweet element to afternoon coffee or tea time. The ingredients are quite basic and include flour, milk, butter, and sugar.
The mixture is spread out in the shape of a sheet with indents on the surface that are filled with a buttery mixture. After baking, toppings of nuts and other assortments are added, all depending on your preference and where you buy them.
When considering the best German snacks, butterkuchen lies in the hearts of many locals – and it’s not surprising when you have a taste of this wonderful treat!
Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Donuts)
Lebkuchen is a famous German snack that has been a part of German culture for many centuries. Said to have been made as far back as the 13th century, you can still find these spicy-sweet snacks in cafes, bakeries, and many homes throughout Germany.
The flavors of this wholesome German snack food are vast and varied, but at the core lies the delicious festive taste of ginger. While the shapes of lebkuchen are different depending on where you buy them or how you make them, traditionally the rounded ball shape is the most common.
If you ask a local what German snack is mostly associated with festivals and holiday times, they’ll say lebkuchen without missing a beat!
The ingredients are delightfully simple and include the usual dessert assortments, like flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. And of course, ginger. The toppings and coating may differ, as some prefer a sweet powder coating while others prefer it plain. It depends on your taste buds!
Quarkbällchen (German Powdered Cheese Donuts)
These German snacks take cheese to the next level, and once you’ve tried a quarkbällchen, you’ll never be the same again!
While they look like simple pastry donuts, they are a cheesy, crunchy treat that is deep-fried and coated in a sweet sugar powder, and often cinnamon is added into the mix. After all, it is a famous festive treat and one of the most loved snacks in Germany during the holiday season.
Made with basic ingredients like cheese, eggs, sugar, flour, and milk, it’s hard to imagine something so simple can be so delicious. The crunchy golden brown surface and the soft warm filling of German cheese are out-of-this-world. Christmas or Easter time in Germany is definitely a place to be!
Pickert (Sweet Potato Pancake)
Germans are very fond of potatoes. You’ll find countless foods, German snacks, and dishes featuring this simple and fantastic vegetable, in a wide variety of forms and shapes. The pickert is one of the best examples of their exquisite use of potatoes!
A picket can be considered both a pancake and a dumpling, depending on how they are made and where you find them within Germany. In the Westphalia region, you’ll find the traditional version of the pickert in many of the local shops and bakeries. This is the flat pancake form that is fried and served either plain or smeared with a sweetened jam or even simply with a sugar dusting or syrup.
Simple and divine, the pickert represents the essence of snacks from Germany. It’s said the picket was first made in the German district of Lippe as a cheap and easy type of German snack food.
It was very popular among the locals who could not afford “fancy” ingredients and had to use basic stuff to make something delicious. Simple items like flour, eggs, and milk form the basis of the pickert. You’ll often find raisins in the traditional varieties of these popular German snacks. And, of course, grated potato!
Eierkuchen (Traditional German Pancakes)
Pancakes! Everyone loves a good pancake, and the Eierkuchen is highly popular and features prominently in German snacks and morning meals. This sweet and savory food is a traditional go-to treat for many locals throughout Germany, and like most pancakes, the ingredients are delightfully simple.
Made with flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and other common items, the German twist that makes the Eierkuchen so fantastic is the cinnamon that is mixed into the batter before cooking. Unlike the Western tradition of sprinkling cinnamon, the German pancake mixes it in before and often features vanilla extract too. When it comes to German breakfast, it’s hard not to consider the Eierkuchen.
You’re limited by your imagination when it comes to the topping you can add to these popular German snacks, and the Germans regularly love to add sweetened jams, applesauce, and of course, chocolate spreads.
Popular Savory German Snacks
Currywurst (German Curried Sausage And Tomato Sauce)
Firstly, German cuisine has always had a deep love for sausage. As one of the most special and essential foods in the country, currywurst lies at the heart of German snacks. Hundreds of millions of currywurst are eaten every year in Germany, and the numbers never lie!
There are two crucial ingredients in the currywurst, and that is German sausage and tomato sauce! But the essence of this German snack food lies in the curried sauce that is both beautifully rich and full of flavor. You can find cinnamon, paprika, and other famous curry spices in the sauce, making it an absolute hit and one of the very best German snacks!
Bratwurst is the preferred German sausage for this, although you often find other types of sausage used depending on where you find them in Germany. The bratwurst is most often boiled first to give it a soft and fluffy texture inside, and then fried until the outside is crunchy and golden, and delicious! You simply can’t go wrong with these exquisite German snacks.
It is also one of the typical German street foods that Berlin is particularly famous for.
Leberkäse (Traditional Meat Loaf)
As one of the most traditional German snacks, the Leberkäse has been part of the German cuisine culture for hundreds of years. Thought to have first been made in Bavaria, this meatloaf is a perfect glimpse into the world of modern and historic snacks from Germany.
This German meatloaf is primarily made from pork, but beef is often added to create a contrasting flavor. The meat is ground up, shaped into a meatloaf, and baked until the surface is a delightful crunchy texture.
When served warm, the inside is steaming and soft and makes for the perfect sandwich or roll filling. You’ll find locals love serving the Leberkäse with fresh, warm German chips.
Leberkäse is the epitome of German snacks and quick meals, and once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to imagine your life without it!
Brezel (German Pretzel)
If you’re wondering what German snacks represent the country more than any other food, the locals will be quick to point out the pretzel. While this delightful pastry is famous around the world, there are arguments over where it originated. It was either France or Germany. But the Germans like to believe it was in Germany.
If you’re in Germany during any major celebration or festival, it’s hard to look anywhere without seeing the pretzel! These popular German snacks are also one of the most beloved street foods, even outside of the festive season.
The 2 most common kinds you’ll find are the soft pretzel and the hard pretzel. Both have the famous twisted knot appearance, but the soft pretzel is best eaten right away, while the hard pretzel can be enjoyed later and preserved for a longer time.
You can enjoy these amazing German snacks in a variety of flavors, from the simple salted pretzels to the more rich varieties like chocolate-coated or cheesy pretzels. That’s the beauty, it all depends on where you find them in Germany and what your preferences are!
Zwiebelkuchen (Traditional Onion Cake)
Some call the Zwiebelkuchen a pie, and some call it a cake. But what every local can agree on, is how delightfully delicious these German snacks are! As one of the more traditionally iconic foods of Germany, the Zwiebelkuchen lies at the heart of Germany’s cultural cuisine.
Made with simple ingredients, like flour, eggs, and sour cream, what makes this dish so amazing is the savory flavors of smoked bacon and onions that have been caramelized. Once the components have been mixed, they are placed in a baking tray and baked until the top has a beautiful crunch, with bits of bacon peaking out to tantalize the eyes.
When it comes to snacks from Germany, this traditional baked pie is a wonderful afternoon snack. Since German cuisine is almost always paired with wine, the combination of savory food and good wine is out-of-this-world. And it makes for a fantastic choice of German appetizers.
Kartoffelpuffer (Traditional Potato Pancakes)
Another iconic potato dish and one of the most popular German snacks is the Kartoffelpuffer. What makes these potato pancakes so phenomenal, is how simple they are to make. With simple ingredients like eggs, potato, and flour, the Kartoffelpuffer can be found all across the country, from market stalls to fancy restaurants.
The beauty of this German snack food is that they pair so well with almost anything and make for a phenomenal side dish for a main meal or a quick snack during the day. You can spread a variety of sauces and toppings on the Kartoffelpuffer, from sour cream to sweetened jams, and it’s by far one of the most beloved German snacks. Once you’ve tried it, you’re sure to agree.
Pre-Made Packaged German Snacks
Erdnussflips (Peanut Puffs)
Erdnussflips are very popular German snacks that can be found all across the country in stores and shops. They are most often packaged snacks bought in bags, also known as “peanut flip”. Made primarily from peanuts, the ingredients are surprisingly simple and contain items like salt, spices, oil, and coconut.
The shape of this lovely German snack food is formed by cutting the mixture after it has been heated and pressurized under a revolving cutter. The wonderful combination of light crunchy textures and the nutty, coconut flavor is simply divine.
Gummibärchen (German Gummy Bears)
When it comes to German snacks and sweets, Gummibärchen has reached the level of world fame. These little sweet German candies were first made nearly a century ago in the 1920s, and have remained highly popular snacks from Germany ever since.
With a wide variety of flavors within one packet, Gummibärchen is a staple treat you can find at festivals, dinner parties, and birthday bashes for children. And they’re extremely easy to order online if you want to get a taste of some of the best German snacks.
Schokolade (Traditional German Chocolate)
German chocolate has many famous brands and varieties, and the Swiss aren’t the only phenomenal producers of divine chocolate!
Almost every child, no matter where they are in the world, is familiar with Kinder (or at least, the toys that come with it). German snacks are not complete without having some form of chocolate nearby.
What makes their chocolate district and such popular snacks in Germany, is that they are not as sweet as the varieties you’ll find elsewhere. With a richer taste that features the full flavor of cacao, it’s vastly different from the chocolates that are loaded with sugar.
Germany is well-known for their variety of rich and flavorful chocolates. Connaisseurs of chocolate will preach about the beauty of these varieties!
It’s safe to say that the foods and cultural cuisine of Germany love paprika. And potatoes. Paprika chips are certainly one of the most beloved German snacks, for this very reason!
Throughout Germany, you can be sure to find these delightful packaged snacks in supermarkets and cafes, but they’re also incredibly easy to make. Thin slices of potato coated in a beautiful paprika spice are all you need to make this delicious German snack food. And if you can’t handle spicy food, you’re in luck – there’s no heat, just fantastic flavor!
Studentenfutter (Raisin And Nut Trail Mix)
As one of the most traditional German snacks, Studentenfutter has been at the heart of German cuisine for hundreds of years. As far back as the 17th century, Studentenfutter has been part of the daily lives of the locals. The mixture of nuts will vary depending on the region, but the most common nut types include almonds, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts with raisins.
A common “housewives tale” preaches about how almond nuts were the best way to avoid and help with the effects of a hangover and were popular choices of German snacks during nights of drinking.
The Delicious Dimensions Of German Snacks And Treats
It’s safe to say that the world of German snacks and sweet treats is vast and varied, with combinations of sweet and savory that are out-of-this-world. If you’re a potato lover and connoisseur of delicious sausage, you can’t go wrong with German cuisine!
Snacks from Germany can also cater to all taste types and preferences, from sweet gingerbread donuts and pretzels to the savory world of currywurst and potato pancakes, locals are proud to say their snacks are wholesome and above all else, delicious!