German Beef Sauerbraten

German beef sauerbraten

Such an easy recipe. It takes some time but it’s worth the wait.

When I was working on my MA, I lived in Germany for two years. I was on a tight budget and didn’t have much of a kitchen so nice meals were far and few between.

The second year I was there, I was invited to a friend’s house for the Easter holidays and his mother served this beef sauerbraten dish. I loved it and asked her for the recipe. She was more than happy to oblige.

The key to success is to allow the meat to marinate for three days and to cook it really slowly. You’ll need to turn it in the marinade from time to time.

The great thing about recipe is the marinade does all the work. You just need to make it and then cook the meat in a low oven for three to four hours until it is really tender.

The recipe she gave me calls for a five pound beef rump joint. This is a meal for a crowd and serves eight. You could of course reduce the amount of meat used if serving fewer.

I like to serve beef sauerbraten with homemade spätzle. Spätzle is a pasta that is popular in the southern Germany. I have a recipe for it here if you would like to try it. You could also use any good quality pasta.

Making sauerbraten

Sear the beef all over in the oil and then remove from the pan.

Making sauerbraten

Fry the onions, garlic and carrots and then stir in the marinade.

Making sauerbraten

Pour the sauce over the vegetables and add the brown sugar.

Making sauerbraten

Place the beef back in the casserole and spoon the sauce over it. Cover and place in the oven.

Making sauerbraten

After about four hours, remove the beef from the sauce to stand for about 15 minutes and then carve.

Making sauerbraten

Meanwhile make your roux and then strain the sauce into it to from a slightly thickened sauce.

Making sauerbraten


German Beef Sauerbraten
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: German
Serves: 8
  • 4 - 5 lbs (2 - 2.5 kilos) beef rump, topside or silverside
  • 1 large onion - sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves garlic - skin on and smashed
  • 700ml red wine vinegar
  • 700ml water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 large carrots - peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • A handful of raisons - finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Season the beef liberally all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the sliced onions at the bottom of a large glass bowl and set the beef on top.
  3. In another bowl, combine the vinegar, water, bay leaves, cloves peppercorns, garlic and granulated sugar.
  4. Pour this mixture over the beef and onions and cover to marinate for 3 to 4 days turning every 12 hours or so.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 175c (350f).
  6. Remove the meat from the marinade and dry it all over.
  7. Strain the marinade into a bowl and keep the onion slices and smashed garlic.
  8. Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large pan and brown the meat all over. This will take about 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the meat and set aside.
  10. Now add the sliced onions and garlic from the marinade and the carrots to the pan and fry until soft and lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will become bitter.
  11. Pour the strained marinade over these vegetables and add the brown sugar, Simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  12. Place the beef in a large casserole dish, pour the onion sauce mixture over the top and cover with silver foil.
  13. Put this in the oven to cook for about four hours.
  14. When the meat is tender, remove it from the dish to stand for 15 minutes while you finish your sauce.
  15. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to form a roux.
  16. Continue stirring until roux becomes golden brown.
  17. Stain the sauce into the roux and whisk it until smooth.
  18. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  19. Slice your meat and serve on heated plated topped with the sauce.


The stainless steel casserole used in the recipe was supplied free of charge by Le Creuset. It is the best I’ve ever used!