Oma's Classic German Sauerbraten Recipe

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

Here's the Sauerbraten recipe that comes from my Mutti's own handwritten cookbook. 

Her recipes are special to me. Full of wonderful memories, especially sitting in the dining room, enjoying these delicious feasts. This amazing beef dinner is one of those. The meat is so tender and flavorful. It's German food at its best!

Sauerbraten, made in a slow cooker. A traditional German meal.

And, it's so easy to make, especially using a crockpot, aka, a slow cooker.

The slow cooker makes this tender marinated meat ever more tender. It's a traditional German dinner and still is a favorite.

However, if you wish, you can cook it on the stove top instead. Which ever way you choose, you'll be thrilled with the tenderness and the flavor.

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An authentic German sauerbraten is so easy to make, but it's NOT quick ... it takes time to marinate and to cook. It just means that you need to do some planning to allow several days for the marinating to take place. 

But, it's SO good and SO worth the time.

How long should you marinate the Sauerbraten?

For most cooking, marinating normally takes from two hours to two days. However, for German Sauerbraten, that's not long enough!

The traditional marinating time is anywhere from three to five days. During this time, all you need to do is daily turn the meat once or twice in the marinade. The results are worth the time. 

Oma Says:

Personally, I like using the slow cooker since it's something I can leave on the counter and go shopping.

You still need to go through the browning of the meat, in order to build the flavor. Then just put the vegetables and broth (or water) in the slow cooker, along with the meat.

Then, it's set it and forget it until it's dinner time.

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OR ... satisfy your Sauerbraten craving RIGHT NOW ...

Here, I'm just about to seal the Instant Pot pressure cooker and have dinner ready in only one hour. Wunderbar!

Sauerbraten, in an Instant Pot pressure cooker, makes this German meal in just 1 hour.

Just got a craving for Sauerbraten. It's 4 o'clock? Follow my recipe for making this in an Instant Pot pressure cooker and you'll have a complete meal on the table by supper.

It won't be identical to a marinated roast, but if you've got a sauerbraten craving and want it for dinner tonight, it'll be the pressure cooker method. WUNDERBAR!

How to make Sauerbraten the traditional way 

The first step is to marinate the beef. To do this, I prefer to use a Ziploc bag. I place that into a bowl or, as shown here, in a super large measuring cup. Why? Just in case the bag breaks!

If you wish, you can use a ceramic or glass bowl instead. However, using the Ziploc bag makes turning the meat daily an easy task.

Put seasoned meat into the bag. Add the vinegar, wine, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves and onion slices. Add extra water to cover, if needed.

Marinating the meat for this Sauerbraten for 3 to 5 days is a must for tender and flavorful meat.

Now just put the whole thing into the fridge and turn the meat, once or twice daily. Plan on doing this for 3 to 5 days, for the best flavor.

Then, it's time to get a nice sear on the meat. This seals in the juices and builds flavor, not only for the meat, but for the gravy, as well.

Drain the meat, discarding the marinade. In a large deep saucepan, brown the meat in fat (bacon fat really is the best) on all sides. 

Browning the meat for Sauerbraten seals in the juices and builds the flavor.

Add the carrots, onions, and celery and brown these a bit as well.

Now, you get to choose how you want to actually cook the meat. Either, add the liquid to the saucepan, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours.

Or, put the meat and the rest of the contents of the saucepan into the crockpot. Add the liquid. Cover and set for 7 to 8 hours on low. This is my favorite way and the one I learned from my Mutti.

Then it's time to make the gravy and serve.

Authentic German Sauerbraten (marinated beef) served with potato dumplings and red cabbage. And, lots of gravy!

What are the best sides to serve with Sauerbraten?

Traditionally, Sauerbraten is served with potato dumplings and red cabbage (as shown above. Applesauce makes a nice accompaniment as well. Don't like potato dumplings? Spätzle, those little homemade noodles or boiled potatoes make a great side dish, as well. In fact, these little noodles are very popular in southern Germany and are the usually accompaniment for Sauerbraten there.

Want something just a bit different with Sauerbraten? Try serving potato pancakes, aka Kartoffelpuffer, with this instead. A very yummy variation.

Here's how to make Mutti's Marinated Sauerbraten...

Oma's Classic German Sauerbraten Recipe

Here's the Sauerbraten recipe that comes from my Mutti's own handwritten cookbook. 

Her recipes are special to me. Full of wonderful memories, especially sitting in the dining room, enjoying these delicious feasts. This beef dinner is one of those. The meat is so flavorful and is often served with red cabbage and potato dumplings

Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

3.5 hours

Total Time

3.75 hours + 3-5 days


Makes 8 - 10 servings


  • 4 lbs beef (chuck, rump, or round)
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • bacon fat, butter, or oil for browning
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional)


  1. Wipe meat with damp cloth and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place in ceramic or glass bowl (not metal) or into a Ziploc bag that's been placed into a bowl in case it should leak. Add vinegar, wine, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves and one sliced onion. Add water to cover.
  3. Tightly cover bowl (or seal Ziploc bag) and refrigerate for 3 - 5 days, turning once or twice every day.
  4. Drain meat.
  5. In Dutch oven or deep pan, put about 2 - 3 tbsp bacon fat, butter, or oil to brown meat.
  6. Brown roast on all sides.
  7. Add carrots, onions, and celery. Brown slightly.
  8. Add about 1 cup water (or broth) and cook over low heat about 3 hours, until meat is tender. (Or put everything into slow cooker. See hints below.)
  9. Remove meat. Mix cornstarch with a bit of water. Slowly add just enough to simmering cooking liquid until thickened for gravy. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream (if using). Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Serve meat and gravy with potato dumplings and red cabbage!


  • Can be cooked in SLOW COOKER. Will take about 7 - 8 hours on low. (Check your slow cookers' manual)
  • For a 'spicier' taste, remove meat from marinade the night before cooking and cover all sides thickly with mustard. Cover and continue the following day with above instructions.
  • You can use your pressure cooker to make a sauerbraten from beginning to end in 2 hours. 

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Oma's Sauerbraten! Tender and flavorful
Oma's Sauerbraten! This recipe is such a popular German dish, served so tender and flavorful! Absolutely irresistible... YUM
Oma's Sauerbraten! Tender and flavorful

Oma's Classic German Sauerbraten Recipe


Oma's Classic German Sauerbraten Recipe
This German Sauerbraten recipe comes from my Mutti's own handwritten cookbook. Tender and flavorful, she made this favorite either on the stove or in her slow cooker.

Ingredients: beef rump roast, seasonings, red wine vinegar, red wine, onions, butter/oil, carrots, celery, cornstarch, sour cream,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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