Craving a reason to celebrate between Labor Day and Halloween? Set up a spread of my best Oktoberfest recipes for German food and drink to commemorate the largest “volksfest” or people’s festival in the world.

A table of Oktoberfest food including schnitzel, spaetzle, soft pretzels, German potato salad, Lebkuchen, and beer.

Oktoberfest is a 16- to 18-day “people’s festival” hosted annually (since 1810!) in Munich in honor of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria.

When it’s not impacted by the pandemic, Oktoberfest celebrations now begin in late September to take advantage of the longer days and nicer weather. Regardless of when or where you enjoy this Oktoberfest menu, it’s sure to deliver a big punch of German flair.

My best Oktoberfest recipes are inspired more by my Midwestern family’s German roots rather than classic German cuisine, so feel free to take liberties to make these German recipes your own, too!

But know that all of my Oktoberfest menu features have are tested and true; put through the paces in the Culinary Hill test kitchen (and my home kitchen) many times before being shared on this Oktoberfest menu.

So if you can’t make it to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest in person, add any or all of my German recipes to your dinner table or fall party menu. Just add a big “boot” of beer (German Hofbräu beer is a staple among Midwesterners with German roots), and you’ll feel practically transported to Munich. No passport required!

Table of Contents
  1. Pork Schnitzel
  2. Spaetzle
  3. German Potato Salad
  4. Homemade Soft Pretzels
  5. Lebkuchen

Pork Schnitzel

A plate of pork schnitzel, spatzle, and braised red cabbage.

Pan-fried to crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside perfection, my Pork Schnitzel is a crowd-pleasing Oktoberfest entree idea.

Similar to a Midwestern Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, these pork cutlets are breaded and sizzled up to a consistency that will remind kids (and kids at heart) of chicken fingers. Garnish with fresh parsley and pair with lemon wedges to squeeze on top; these fresh elements will really perk up the savory, hearty flavors.

A plate of schnitzel, spaetzle, and braised red cabbage.

More German mains

Chicken Schnitzel

Bread and fry thin chicken cutlets to bring a platter of traditional Chicken Schnitzel to the table in just 25 minutes. Like supersized chicken nuggets, this classic German dinner recipe is a supremely family-friendly meal!

25 minutes

Rouladen

Bacon, beef broth, and tomato paste make this hearty beef recipe for Rouladen a major umami delight. Try this gravy-topped classic German entree as part of your Oktoberfest menu or anytime you’re craving comfort food.…

1 hour 35 minutes

Wisconsin Beer Brats

It’s not summer or tailgate season without beer brats. If you like the flavor of caramelized onions, then you’ll love this easy 4-ingredient grilled brat recipe. Beer brats are a time-honored Midwestern tradition, and no…

30 minutes

Spaetzle

A platter of spaetzle.

Think of these eggy, easy make-ahead noodles like the German cousin of classic butter noodles.

While the texture is best with a spaetzle press, I have a trick for scoring similar results with a colander or steamer. The best news about this German side dish recipe? You can form and boil the noodles up to 3 days ahead!

More simple sides

German Potato Salad

Plates of German potato salad.

Take a break from mayo-strong salads and try my punchy German Potato Salad. Spiked with tangy mustard and crowned with crumbled crispy bacon, after just one bite, chances are you’ll want to serve this German side dish all year long (not just as part off your Oktoberfest menu).

A table of Oktoberfest food including schnitzel, spaetzle, soft pretzels, German potato salad, Lebkuchen, and beer.

More sides and salads

Braised Red Cabbage

Tender-crisp red cabbage transforms into a tangy and savory side dish recipe in this classic German Braised Red Cabbage. This is my twist on traditional Rotkohl, a sweet-sour cabbage dish often served alongside Rouladen and…

1 hour 15 minutes

Homemade Soft Pretzels

A platter of soft pretzels with a bowl of cheese sauce.

Sure, you can buy these in the supermarket freezer section. But it’s actually a cinch, and a totally fun family cooking project, to make chewy and pillowy Homemade Soft Pretzels right in your own kitchen.

Simply round up some flour, yeast, sugar, baking soda, butter, egg, and salt, then gather the family. It’s time to do the twist!

Favorite sauces for soft pretzels

Lebkuchen

Glazed Lebkuchen on a cutting board.

This traditional German cookie is like a mash-up of Gingerbread and frosted Sugar Cookies. Warmly-spiced with notes of molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and allspice, these glazed cookies pair beautifully with everything on this Oktoberfest menu. Especially another boot of beer.

More German dessert ideas

Now that you have a complete line-up of Oktoberfest recipes, just stock up on Hofbräu beer, cue up a polka playlist, and invite your family and friends. Happy Oktoberfest, friends!

A table of Oktoberfest food including schnitzel, spaetzle, soft pretzels, German potato salad, Lebkuchen, and beer.
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Hello, I enjoyed your article and take on German recipes. However, I would like to clarify that German Chocolate Cake is not German. It is actually named for Samuel German, an American who developed a process to make dark chocolate.

    1. Hi Shirley, wow! Thanks. I will have to remove it from this roundup. It’s funny because when I look up “German desserts” online it always shows up. I was totally fooled. Thank you!!! -Meggan

  2. I’d have to say that your German recipes are pretty true to the real thing! I’ve been married to a Black Forest native for forty years and have been making a lot of these recipes and with only a few variants. Really enjoy your posts💕 Keep those yummy recipes coming😋

  3. Hello Meggan!
    All the Oktoberfest recipes sound great!
    Don’t know which to pick. Although a little time consuming I’d like to see a Sauerbraten recipe in the mix as well.
    Thanks

    1. Hi William, it was on the original list but didn’t make the cut because we didn’t have time to do it all. I also wanted to make Schweinebraten and Bienenstitch (bee sting cake). I have a whole list of additional German recipes actually. Hopefully we can get to them next time! Thanks for letting me know though, it’s good to know people care. :) Thank you so much! -Meggan

    1. Hi Juliet, thank you for the comment! Many of these recipes are plant based or modified by subbing veggie broth and veggie cutlets! Thanks for the suggestion and I’ll add it to our list for possible future recipe testing. – Meggan