Beef Flatladen – Tastes Like Rouladen Made Just Like Oma

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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Beef Flatladen, you've never heard of it, right?

Of course not! 

That's my son's name for Beef Rouladen that are flat! (Check the video below!) It tastes just like rouladen without all the work and expense.

Wunderbar! My family loves rouladen, but I didn't like the work nor the expense. Buying top round for weekday dinners and then pounding and rolling, just wasn't in my budget or schedule.

What everyone loved, other than unrolling them when eating, was the flavor of the rouladen meat AND THE GRAVY!

(Take a look at Karen's comments below)*

Lydia's version of Oma's Flatladen - served with a baked potato and traditional green beans

Since rouladen were so expensive (and consuming to make) and German food is so good, I created Beef Flatladen!

I vary the type of meat, usually using whatever is on sale. Even pork works! I vary the size of chunks, usually making them about a 2 to 3 inches square and about ¾ inch thick.

Leftovers are delicious, so make lots!

Here's how easy it is ...

I use almost any cut of meat. Slow simmering tenderizes the meat, so even a tough cut of meat will do.

  • Cut the meat into the size needed. 
  • Brown in small batches in butter. 
  • Add onion, bacon, dill pickle (our traditional rouladen flavors), seasonings, and water. 
  • Let the whole thing simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Easy peasy. Really, that's all for a rouladen-tasting dinner.

Mustard? If you love having mustard in your rouladen recipes, you can always add some (do the same amount as you're used to) here as well. 

Don't like the pickle? Leave it out. Add just the rouladen additions that you would normally use when you make rouladen.

Adjust the recipe for the amount needed - the quantities don't need to be exact! Enjoy the taste of rouladen without all the fuss!

Want to use a slow cooker? Follow all the steps, but once you're at step #4, put into slow cooker and set to LOW. It'll take about 6 - 8 hours. Turn to HI right toward the end when you stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.

Kaffeeklatsch Trivia with a cup of coffee and steam rising
  • Different versions of Rouladen (thought to come from the French) are throughout Europe: Italy has Braciole, Franch has Paupiette, Czech has Španělské ptáčky, Hungary has Szüz tekercsek, and Hungary, as well as Germany, have  Rouladen
  • Some interesting names are used for this: beef birds, olive birds, steak birds, bacon rolls, stuffed rolls
  • Rouladen are filled with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, cheese, and other meats
  • Originally, venison and pork were use although now beef (Rindsrouladen) or veal are usually used

*Here's a comment from Karen Scahill-Stiles (from Facebook):

"I want to say THANK YOU for the Beef Flatladen, you have made life so much easier for me. My Oma may not have approved or she would have thought wow, why didn't I think of doing it like that.

My daughter lives three hours away and Rouladen is her favorite. She is preparing to take the Law Bar exam, called me crying from stress and wanted this for dinner she was driving home.

I was like okay, mind you I have a very active five year old so it doesn't allow me a lot of time in the kitchen. I made the Flatladen, and the entire family was thrilled and my mother couldn't believe it and how easy it is to make.

You brought a family favorite that would take forever to cook, a easy recipe that tastes just like Oma's :) "

If you are looking for the traditional rouladen, check out my Rouladen recipe. SO WUNDERBAR!

It's our 'special' dinner, usually together with potato dumplings and red cabbage. Doesn't get more German than that!

But, if you're wanting easy and something more economical, then my beef Flatladen is what you're wanting. 

There’s something absolutely mouth-watering about having a German meat-and-potato dinner. Get Oma's revised collection of her favorites in German Meat Dishes.

Take a look at Oma's German Meat Dishes eCookbook filled with traditional favorites.

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

It's as simple as ...

Just brown the meat in batches. Not too much at one time or else the fat cools down and the meat steams, rather than browns.

As the pieces brown, remove them and repeat with the remaining pieces.

Browning the beef for flatladen, the rouladen alternative.

Once all the beef has been browned and removed from the pan, brown the chopped onions and the bacon. Do keep the bacon as large pieces so that they can be removed once they are cooked. 

If you wish, you can brown the bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon and use it for other purposes, perhaps to add to mashed potatoes (YUM) or to a salad. 

However, that bacon fat is just what the flatladen needs to add the rouladen flavor to the gravy.

Brown the bacon and onion for maximum rouladen flavor for the flatladen

Once the meat and the remaining ingredients have simmered until the meat is tender, remove that bacon.

Continue on with making the gravy and serve up this most delicious rouladen-flavored gravy and flatladen meat. 

Brown the onion and bacon for maximum rouladen flavor for the flatladen

You'll be surprised how easy it is to make this alternative to rouladen. You'll even be tempted to try this method using whatever beef you can find on sale.

Perhaps you'll even try this using pork and chicken. You will be amazed at how flavorful these cuts of meat turn out, tasting oh, so similar to rouladen.

Lydia's Version

Hi everyone! After years of enjoying Oma's Flatladen at our family events and wondering, "Can I even do that nearly as well as she does?"- (because, let's face it, Oma knows what she's doing!), I finally made it for myself.

For my choice of bacon, I went with an applewood smoked bacon. You could taste some of the smokey flavor in the amazing gravy, which added an extra bit of pizzazz. As somewhat of a pickle fanatic, I also added in a few.. okay... several extra pickles. But in my defense, I only had baby dill pickles instead of the regular-sized ones. I also cut my chunks on the smaller side, around 2 inches.

It turned out so good that it was all gone in one sitting! Needless to say, Oma's Flatladen has earned its spot on my weeknight menu. :)

Lydia's Flatladen during the cooking processCan you smell it through your screen? I know I can! This is just before I poured the water overtop for the simmering process, and it was already smelling heavenly!

What to Serve with Flatladen?

If you're wanting a traditional German rouladen-tasting dinner, there are several side dishes that are a MUST! Of course, there are other ones that also pair perfectly with rouladen/flatladen and its fabulous gravy.

The Top 10 Side Dishes to serve with Rouladen/Flatladen are:

  1. Potato Dumplings
  2. Red Cabbage
  3. To see the remaining Top 10 Side Dishes, click here.

Ready to make Flatladen?

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Beef Flatladen – Tastes Like Rouladen Made Just Like Oma

Flatladen, you've never heard of it, right? Of course not! That's my son's name for rouladen that are flat! It tastes just like rouladen without all the work and expense.

It's sort of like a wonderful beef stew that tastes like rouladen with that amazing gravy. You can also do this, but keeping it as a roast.

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

1.5 hours

Total Time

2 hours


Makes 6 servings


  • 2 - 3 pounds bottom round, chuck, etc. 
  • 6 slices lean bacon
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic dill pickles, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt, pepper, cornstarch


  1. Cut the meat into pieces, about 2 to 3 inches square and about ¾ inch thick. 
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet. Brown meat well on all sides. Do not crowd, but do in several batches. Add extra butter if needed.
  3. Once meat is browned, add bacon and onion and brown briefly. Slowly add some hot water and gently stir to loosen browned bits at bottom of pan.
  4. Return meat to skillet and any meat juices. Add pickle slices and enough water to almost cover meat. Bring to simmer and cover.
  5. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours (depends on how tender the cut of beef is). Remove bacon (it will be soft and unpleasant to eat).
  6. To thicken gravy, combine 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a little cold water. Stir into cooking liquid until slightly thickened.
  7. Season gravy to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.


  • Fry bacon in butter first, remove, and then brown meat. You can use the crisp bacon to add to mashed potatoes or a salad.
  • The size of your meat pieces can be larger or smaller. I do try to stay at about ¾ to 1 inch thick. 
  • If you want this to be just meat and gravy, remove cooked meat, strain gravy to remove onions and pickles. Thicken gravy. We like the onion and pickle pieces in our gravy, so I leave them in.
  • Since we love mushrooms, I add quartered mushrooms for last ½ hour of cooking time.
  • You can turn this into the best beef stew by just adding cut-up potatoes, carrots, and celery to the simmering meat after the first hour. Delicious!
  • Want to use a slow cooker? Follow all the steps, but once you're at step #4, put into slow cooker and set to LOW. It'll take about 6 – 8 hours. Turn to HI right toward the end when you stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.
  • This recipe usually makes lots of delicious gravy. Freeze it for later use, or add it to other recipes as needed.
  • If you want to serve a roast beef that tastes like rouladen, then follow this easy slow cooker recipe.
  • Take a look at What to Serve with Rouladen. Those sides would work perfectly with Flatladen!

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma |

05.06.2022 revision update

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Oma's Beef Flatladen tastes just like Rouladen, only easier to make and much less expensive.

Oma's Beef Flatladen

Oma's Beef Flatladen
Beef Flatladen, same great taste as Rouladen, just inexpensive, much quicker, and great for everyday meals. Uses almost any cut of meat, from a pot roast to stewing beef ... you choose what's on sale.

Yield: 6 - 8 servings
Total time: 2.5 hours
Ingredients: beef bottom round, bacon, onion, pickles, butter, seasonings, cornstarch,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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