Munich may lay claim to the original, but Oktoberfest is also an excuse for food and beer lovers everywhere to drink up and gorge on meat, potatoes, and doughy things with the rapaciousness of a squirrel in the days before hibernation.
Between the platters of wurst and stacks of knotty pretzels, the celebration is a glutton’s dream come true. It’s also a great occasion to reacquaint yourself with all of those classic German dishes that you haven’t had since your last visit to the biergarten (which has been a while now, we know). And while the official Oktoberfest 2020 may be cancelled, you can still celebrate at home.
So pour yourself a Märzenbier and get into the Oktoberfest spirit with these 11 recipes that are all about feasting without reservations, Bavarian style—just socially distant this year.
Beer and sausages are the backbone of many a German-style feast. With this recipe, you get a bit of both by braising brats in dark beer, which infuses them with tons of malty and yeasty flavor. (And if you want to really get into the Oktoberfest spirit, make your own bratwurst to use in this dish.) Get our Beer-Braised Bratwurst recipe.
Spaten Oktoberfest, price & availability varies from Saucey
Wash it down with an Oktoberfest brew.
Oktoberfest isn’t exactly the best time of year to be of pig: many of the festival’s signature dishes revolve around some form of Schweinefleisch. This traditional recipe features pork two ways, with sausages and ribs surrounded by a steamy bed of sauerkraut and potatoes. Get our Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut recipe.
One alternative to all the pork is Hendl, a simple roast chicken. Don’t expect to get your choice of white or dark meat, however. The bird is usually split down the backbone and served by the half, so that you can get your fill of each and every part. Get our Basic Whole Roasted Chicken recipe.
In between all those rich meats, you’ll want something to cut through the grease (ummm, leave out the bacon if you want). Braised cabbage brings a shock of tartness (and color) to a landscape otherwise populated by brown foods—and despite the bacon, it’s still a palate cleanser, thanks to a generous dose of cider vinegar and sharp mustard tempered by brown sugar and chicken stock. Get our Braised Red Cabbage recipe.
Bavarian potato salad eschews the mayo in favor of vinegar (and lots of it). Our take amps it up even further, adding in capers, bacon, and other ingredients that pack a wallop. Get our Warm German Potato Salad with Bacon recipe.
If you’re worried that your celebration spread is short on vegetables, there are ways to sneak them in. This cucumber and potato salad hybrid brings a welcome bit of green to the feasting table. Get our Warm German Potato-Cucumber Salad with Dill recipe.
Take a break from all the meat and vinegary sides with herb-flecked spaetzle. Browned and coated in a slick of butter, the chewy, pasta-like nubbins of dough bring a stomach-filling comfort to help buffer against the excesses of all that beer. Get our Fresh Herbed Spaetzle recipe. (Or try our Cheese Spaetzle recipe if you want to bump the richness up another notch.)
Spaetzle Maker, $24.95 from Sur La Table
If you plan on making a lot of spaetzle, this could be a worthy investment.
Get ready to do the twist. Oktoberfest snack time means grabbing a pretzel, preferably one with a touch of salt and a squiggle of hot and spicy mustard. Get our Soft Pretzel recipe.
You need something to slather on the aforementioned soft pretzels and the many meats you’ll be eating. Making your own mustard is much easier than you might think—plus, way tastier than most store-bought stuff. This grainy mustard includes dark porter beer and caraway seeds for extra depth of flavor. Get our Beer and Caraway Seed Mustard recipe.
Staunch traditionalists wouldn’t be caught dead quaffing anything other than malty märzenbier by the liter. But if your tastes lean toward something lighter, go for a radler, the low-alcohol mix of lager and sparkling lemonade that is believed to have been invented in Munich. Get our Traditional Radler recipe.
2 Liter Beer Boot Oktoberfest Glasses, 2 for $42.50 from Amazon
For when even a stein isn't quite festive enough.
You could make a German apple cake or stollen for your Oktoberfest dessert option, but why not go all out with a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte? You may not actually have room for a slice for several hours after the main event, but you’ll be glad this dark chocolate and cherry-laden confection is waiting for you when your stomach does start grumbling again. It pairs well with roasty, dark porters and stouts if you can take another beer by then too. Get our Black Forest Cake recipe.
Related Reading: How to Have Oktoberfest at Home
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