16 Traditional German Breakfast Dishes

Are you stuck in the same boring breakfast rut? Not for long! In this article, we’ll dive into some of my favorite German breakfast foods.

Breakfast with fried potatoes, fried egg and bacon served in an iron pan

When you think of breakfast, you may not immediately think about Germany, but after reading this list, I promise you’ll be hungry for these traditional meals. 

Forget that boring cold cereal or that sad piece of toast you had this morning. We’ll explore hearty options like the traditional Farmer’s Breakfast, eggs in mustard sauce, and apple pancakes.

Whether you prefer sweet or savory in the mornings, there’s sure to be a meal that’ll strike your fancy. 

I’ve experimented with many traditional German breakfast foods and tried to be mindful of different diets. Below you’ll find hearty options full of meats and eggs and meatless options. 

Some of these options are great for busy mornings; others will be a labor of love worth the effort.

No matter your dietary restrictions or schedule, there’s bound to be a German breakfast choice you’ll enjoy. German food is severely underrated!

Farmer’s Breakfast (Bauernfrühstück)

This meal is such a winning combo that Germans often opt for this meal for lunch and dinner, too.

What makes the Farmer’s Breakfast so good? This hot dish consists of potatoes, cheese, your choice of meat (usually sausage or ham), parsley, green onions, and eggs. Some variations contain leeks or chives. 

The presentation can vary a bit. Sometimes the potatoes, meat, and vegetables are served inside an egg omelet.

It can also be served in a scramble or a skillet. Wondering what to pair it with? It’s traditionally served with fresh tomatoes, a salad, or a side of pickles. 

German Eggs in Mustard Sauce (Senfeier)

When I first heard about senfeier or eggs in mustard sauce, I knew I had to try this dish.

This meal consists of hard boiled eggs smothered in a delicious mustard-based creamy gravy. This vegetarian dish is relatively simple to make and budget-friendly.

The sauce combines chicken (or vegetable) broth, yellow mustard, heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper, and a bit of sugar. 

Try this gravy over fried eggs, meat, or your favorite vegetables. If you’re a fan of a bit of spice, try swapping the yellow mustard for spicy brown mustard!  

German Semolina Pudding (Griessbrei)

This is a traditional favorite of Germans. It conjures up visions of breakfast at grandmother’s (or Oma’s) house.

What is semolina, you ask? It’s a grain product mainly from durum wheat and full of good things like vitamin B and iron. If you’ve ever had hot breakfast cereal, it’s a bit like that. 

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Traditionally, semolina pudding is served with butter, raisins, chocolate, or fruit. Basically, whatever sweet topping you prefer on top!

I enjoyed this light breakfast that satisfied my sweet tooth without going overboard. 

German Apple Custard Cake (Apfelkuchen)

This sweet German breakfast item is not only fun to pronounce; it’s delicious.

Think apple pie meets coffee cake, and you have the delightful apfelkuchen. Traditionally, there are hints of lemon zest, vanilla, and nutmeg.

Eating a slice of this apple cake on a chilly fall morning is nothing short of perfection. 

Once in the oven, this apple cake is done in about 35 minutes. You’ll know it’s time to pull it out when you see that mouth-watering crust turn golden brown.

Traditionally, this cake is baked in a round dish. However, the classic 9×11 baking dish you probably have on hand will do nicely, too. 

German Waffles

You’ve heard of Belgian waffles, but I think it’s time the German version got some love.

What exactly is a German waffle? A German waffle conjures up something closer to a cookie and has a unique heart shape. 

Why must they be shaped like a heart? German tradition dating back to the 16th century dictates it must be so.

Like in other countries, toppings are left up to the cook’s discretion. Traditionally, compotes are a popular topping, so I went with that.

I chose a cherry compote to complete my heart-shaped German waffle, and the result was incredible. 

German Apple Pancake

Now that you know about the magic of the apfelkuchen let me introduce the German apple pancake.

This is one of those labor of love dishes I mentioned above, but let me assure you: it’s totally worth it. 

This baked breakfast item is apple pie in pancake form. This dish is traditionally baked in a skillet and contains a peeled tart apple, nutmeg, cinnamon, and hints of vanilla.

The key here is to let the mixture and apples bubble on the pan before baking. If this sounds like a winner, don’t miss the chance to check it out. 

German Potato Omelet

Omelets are great because you don’t need much time to make something delicious in the mornings. Enter the German potato omelet.

This hearty dish consists of thinly sliced, crispy potatoes stuffed inside an omelet. Typically, green onions are used to infuse flavor into the dish. 

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I liked this recipe because not only is it delicious, but it’s simple as well. The ingredients are eggs, butter, potatoes, green onions, milk, salt, and pepper.

This quick and easy dish kept me feeling full until lunchtime. 

Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

Another delicious German breakfast food that is not only tasty but fun to say.

Similar to hashbrowns, Kartoffelpuffer is a crispy potato pancake. They can be served savory or sweet and sometimes served alongside meat. This is truly a versatile dish just begging to be customized. 

Are you a fan of dipping sauce? Germans often dip these potato pancakes in sour cream or applesauce. I enjoyed these with a poached egg on top, another way it is commonly served.

I also added some parsley to infuse some flavor, and it turned out wonderfully. No one loses when choosing this breakfast.

Sticky German Cinnamon Buns (Schnecken)

If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth in the mornings, you’ve got to experience the magic of schnecken.

These are like cinnamon rolls but have a nut mixture on top and sometimes inside. 

I love glazed pecans, and the combination of these sweet and salty cinnamon buns will be sure to please.

If you’ve been burned by sad, dry cinnamon rolls before, give schnecken a try.

With each bite, you’ll enjoy a gooey, syrupy glaze that compliments the pecans in the best way. 

Apple Cinnamon Kaiserschmarrn

This dessert can be found in many European countries besides Germany.

It’s pretty popular in Austria and Bavaria, among other places. It’s named after the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I.

He was a huge fan of this dessert, which translates to emperor’s mess. 

While other countries serve it with raisins or other fruits, it’s typically served with apples and cinnamon in Germany.

Think of this sweet dish as a shredded pancake that’s been caramelized. Add a generous amount of powdered sugar and a tasty apple cinnamon compote on top. 

German Bread Rolls (Brötchen)

When you think of rolls, you might think of dinner time.

However, this type of roll is such a staple in Germany that it can be served alongside breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Dan Woeller, a food etymologist, says that this is where the typical American hamburger bun came from

This roll is known for its crunchy exterior and soft, warm interior. These rolls are so good when served in a breakfast setting that one only needs simple ingredients.

You may find these paired with cheese, butter, or jam. If you like baking homemade bread, try these German bread rolls!

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German Potato Breakfast Casserole

Who doesn’t love a breakfast casserole? The German potato breakfast casserole can take on a few different forms, but most have some shared ingredients.

Typically red potatoes are used, alongside bacon, onion, hard boiled eggs, and some salt and pepper. Simple enough, right? 

These core ingredients are combined with cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar. Creamy, savory, and hearty are my words to describe this delicious German breakfast!

Combine these ingredients and pop them in the oven until things get crispy and bubbly. Need more details? 

Homemade Bircher Muesli 

We’ve covered a lot of greasy and dessert-like options so far.

While delicious in their own right, sometimes you need a healthy go-to option to kick off your day right. In comes Bircher Muesli. 

This is a great light breakfast option that can easily be made vegan. It’s adjacent to a parfait with a few tweaks.

To enjoy Bircher Muesli, you’ll need your favorite combination of uncooked oats, nuts, and seeds.

These are then soaked in milk or yogurt (or juice to be made vegan). It’s then commonly topped with nut butter or fruit. 

Hopple Popple German Breakfast Casserole

Another delicious option that’s fun to say out loud!

This hearty and delicious breakfast casserole combines shredded potatoes, pepperoni, eggs, and cheese. What’s not to love?

If you’re looking to up your protein intake, the Hopple Popple German breakfast casserole is a great start. 

Sprinkle some Italian seasoning in there, and you’ve got yourself a breakfast masterpiece! I love how there’s no baking necessary with this casserole. Yes, you can make this on the stove!

You just need a skillet and a lid. Melt until your cheese is gooey! 

White Sausage (Weisswurst)

To foreigners, a white sausage might be considered unappetizing.

Don’t let the weisswurst’s color fool you! This delicious German sausage is made from minced veal and bacon. 

My favorite part is the seasoning. This sausage is flavored with ginger, onion, cardamom, parsley, mace, and lemon.

These sausages are not smoked or fried; they are instead boiled. This is where they take on their unique color.

Curious what they’re served with? Typically sweet mustard with a pretzel on the side. What do you think, would you try the weisswurst? 

Dark Hot Chocolate (Zartbitter Heisse Schokolade)

Who says it has to be winter to enjoy hot chocolate?

Certainly not me. I’m a big hot chocolate fan, so I was excited to try the German style of this popular drink.

There’s not much difference between American hot chocolate and Zartbitter Heisse Schokolade.

I’ve found that the German variation may be a bit creamier with higher-quality chocolate. 

Marshmallows are also not a common topping. Many Germans prefer whip cream instead.

This is an excellent drink because you can replace cow’s milk with any milk that suits your dietary needs! 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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