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A plate with rouladen, braised red cabbage, and mashed potatoes.


Bacon, beef broth, and tomato paste make this hearty beef recipe a major umami delight. Try this gravy-topped classic German entree as part of your Oktoberfest menu or anytime you're craving comfort food.
Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6 (1 rouladen) servings
Calories 177kcal


For the rouladen:

For the gravy:


  • On a cutting board lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper, lay out beef slices in a single layer. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and gently pound slices using a meat tenderizer.
  • Spread a thin layer of brown mustard over each slice, about 1 1/2 teaspoons each. Lay one bacon slice over each slice of beef, trimming if necessary. Top each with a small amount of the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground back pepper. Top with a pickle spear, if using.
  • Roll each rouladen jelly-roll style, and secure with twine.
  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Brown each roll, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove rouladen, set on a plate, and cover to keep warm. Add remaining onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery to pot and saute until the onions start to become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add red wine to Dutch oven, deglaze pan making sure to scrape up any brown bits. Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return rouladen to pan, cover, reduce heat and simmer until fork-tender, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Remove rouladen from pot, set aside. Increase heat to medium-high and bring broth to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with water to make a slurry. Add cornstarch slurry to the boiling broth while whisking until it reaches the desired thickness. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove twine from rouladen. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve over mashed potatoes topped with gravy, if desired.



  1. Flank steak: If your store doesn't sell this beef cut pre-packaged and thinly-sliced, ask at the meat counter. Most butchers will be happy to slice the steak thin for you so less pounding is required in step 1 of this Rouladen recipe. Otherwise, you'll just need to pound your beef a little longer to get it thin enough to roll. Hanger steak and skirt steak are terrific alternatives if you can't find flank.
  2. Mustard: Brown or yellow; homemade or store-bought.
  3. Bacon: Thick or regular strips work great, just skip the sweet-flavored styles such as maple or apple.
  4. Dill pickle spears: I love the tang and texture these add to the Rouladen stuffing, but these are totally optional. Omit if pickles aren't a family favorite.
  5. Dry red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot all fit the bill. For an alcohol-free alternative, use 3 cups of beef broth instead of 2 cups of broth and 1 cup of wine.
  6. Yield: This Rouladen recipe serves 6 adults: either in one large Rouladen or 6 single-steak portions.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. Make ahead: Rouladen tastes even better when it has a day to rest and let the flavors blend. Make it a day or two in advance and reheat over the stove on medium until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  9. Freezer: The Rouladen can be fully cooked, cooled, and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat over the stove on medium until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 1056mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2478IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg