Beef Rouladen Recipe

Rouladen with gravy and red cabbage

This beef rouladen recipe, along with potato dumplings and red cabbage, is among our most cherished authentic German recipes. What could be better than to serve this as your traditional German Christmas food or other holidays or birthdays ... or anytime you have something special to celebrate. And they're easy to make.

There are many versions of this beef rouladen recipe, with a difference in filling being the usual change. 

Beef Rouladen Recipe


  • 6 slices top round (see hints below)
  • 3 slices lean bacon
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic dill pickles, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • mustard, salt, pepper, corn starch
  • 1 - 2 cups water


  • Season beef slices with salt and freshly ground pepper. Thinly spread mustard on top of each slice.
  • Divide bacon, pickle, and onion slices on one end of each slice.
  • Roll up slices, tucking the ends in and securing with skewers, wooden cocktail picks, or thread.
  • Heat butter in skillet. Brown rouladen well on all sides. Do not crowd rouladen in skillet, or they will not brown nicely. Do in small batches if necessary. Add extra butter if needed.
  • Once all rouladen are well browned, add 1 - 2 cups of hot water, gently stirring up browned bits. Return all rouladen and any accumulated juices to skillet, bring to simmer and cover.
  • Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove rouladen. To thicken gravy, combine about 1-2 tbsp corn starch in a little cold water and stir gently into cooking liquid until slightly thickened.
  • Season gravy to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you wish, add sour cream to the gravy.
  • Remove skewers, picks, or thread to serve rouladen with their gravy.
  • Have the butcher cut beef top round into thin slices, about 3/8 inch thick. Each roulade should measure at least 6 inches by 4 inches. Gently pound meat until it is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to put holes in the meat. The larger the roulade, the easier it is to roll up. 
  • Some add pickles, others don't. Some add other vegetables, others minimize the fillings. Use Black Forest ham instead of bacon. 

More Beef Rouladen Recipe Tips:

  • I usually make two rouladen for each person, but this really depends on the size of the top round slices I get from the butcher.
  • Sometimes they are quite large and one roulade is all that's needed for one serving.
  • But I find that even though one SHOULD be enough per person, because they are so good, most people like to take a second one. Or, often times they will share a second one with someone else.
  • Because of this, I usually make as many as my budget allows, hoping for leftovers, because these taste so great the next day, heated gently in their gravy.
Making German beef rouladenIf you prepare all your ingredients and then work 'assembly line' style, you'll find that the preparation time for making rouladen is minimized.
alana making rouladenAlana making her rouladen. Instead of using bacon strips, she put a slice of Black Forest ham down the length of the rouladen. A delicious variation on the traditional recipe, one I'll be doing often.
Alana's rouladen 2012Wunderbar! (from her birthday 2 years ago!)
German food recipe: RouladenHere, my granddaughter, Alana, made them for her birthday again this year.
Rouladen with gravy and red cabbageHere's dinner! Rouladen, carrots with asparagus, red cabbage, potatoes, and, of course, gravy!

I find it just as easy to make twice as many of these beef rolls as I need.  The extras freeze well, as long as they are covered in their gravy.

Thaw them in the fridge and then reheat. Now that's quick German food!

BUT ...

Does your budget say "too expensive" to make these German rouladen often? Want something a bit easier for everyday?

Try my own flatladen recipe. Created by me for my boys. We ALL love it! Same great rouladen and gravy taste without all the work or expense.

More Beef Recipes ...

More German recipes ...

German meat recipes
German vegetable recipes

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Rouladen Dinner

Here's an inside look at my rouladen, covered with delicious gravy. So scrumptious with potato dumplings . You'll find another version as Rinderrouladen

flatladen and dumplings

Love rouladen, just not the work? Then try our family recipe for Flatladen. Same taste, same gravy, less work, less expense.  What's not to like? Here they are being served with potato dumplings stuffed with croutons. 

red cabbage

Both rouladen and flatladen taste even better when accompanied with a traditional side dish of red cabbage.

Black Forest Cake

Follow this authentic German meal with a traditional German Black Forest Cake. This one is really easy to make. All it takes is a cake mix, whipping...(more)

What others are saying . . .

Anne says, "Just made this last week for my Birthday. I usually add walnut pieces or almond slivers. Can't believe it looks exactly the same as my Mama taught me some 40 years ago, the only thing what we did different, we use a fork to make the ridges in the apples. But they do open up better the way you do it with the knife. And you are right, this recipe never fails :)"

Gabriele H. says, "What a wonderful place to find German recipes without having to call family in Germany. I'm loving it."

Catherine R. says, "Tomorrow is a good day to try this!"

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Recommended by Chef Glenn

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Your Quick Fix Soups e-book is wonderful. My Swiss wife is going to love the soups that I make for her with your recipes. She already loves my soups, but your e-book will greatly expand the variety

Thank you for making the recipes easy to follow and see with the beautiful photos. The extra tips and options that you give after each recipe are very helpful. Thanks for the printable recipe cards, too!"

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