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Best German Rouladen Recipe — German Beef Roll-Ups

Updated on January 30, 2014
Stephanie Henkel profile image

Old family recipes make the most satisfying meals and are always a hit with family and friends. Here are some of Stephanie's favorites.

It's time to make Rouladen!
It's time to make Rouladen! | Source

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German Rouladen - A Family Favorite

In my husband's German family, everyone loves Rouladen (German beef roll-ups), a German recipe for beef rolls stuffed with a tart and savory filling, and it is made for many special occasions. I had it for the first time when my future in-laws invited my parents to dinner to celebrate our engagement. Although very much different from the Polish and American style food my family was accustomed to, we all liked it instantly. I didn't know then that this was one of my German mother-in-law's specialty dishes, but I did know that I would have to learn to make rouladen one day. Eventually, she taught me how to make rouladen, and it was easier than I expected. I still use her recipe today.

Have your own family Oktoberfest Celebration!

Celebrate a special family occasion or make your own Oktoberfest celebration by cooking a traditional German meal like Rouladen. These delicious beef rolls are made from thinly sliced beef, rolled up with bacon, pickles and mustard. Traditionally, Rouladen is served with red cabbage and potato dumplings or spaetzle, but mashed potatoes also go well with it. Serve German beer or red wine with this dish along with pumpernickel bread and sweet butter. For very special occasions, serve apple strudel or German Black Forest cake for desert.

Rouladen ready to cook.
Rouladen ready to cook.

Rouladen (German Beef Roll Ups) Recipe

1-2 Lbs. of flank steak or round steak (this can also be made from venison)
Spicy dark mustard
Dill pickles cut into wedges
2 medium onions sliced

You will need about 2 pounds of thinly sliced steak. Some grocery stores will carry steak sliced 1/8" thick. If not, get a cut as thin as you can find and pound it between two sheets of plastic wrap until it's the right thickness. Cut into 3" x 6" strips. Plan on 2 to 3 pieces per person.

Lay meet on a board and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spread with a light coating of spicy mustard. Lay half a strip of bacon lengthwise on the meat, then place a wedge of dill pickle crosswise near one end. Roll the meat into rolls starting at the pickle end, then tie with some white sewing thread or fasten with a wooden toothpick.

In a heavy skillet, sautee onion in butter or oil, then brown the meat in the pan. After rolls are browned, add a quarter cup of red wine to the skillet to deglaze it, then add 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. This can also be cooked in a pressure cooker at 10 lbs. pressure for about 30 minutes.

When finished cooking, remove rouladen to a bowl. Carefully remove string or toothpicks so that rolls don't fall apart. Mix about 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 cup of water and whisk into the pan juices, cooking until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour gravy over rouladen. Serve with red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Black Forest Cake for Dessert


Play Some German Merry German Music

Ethnic Foods are Family Traditions

Some foods, particularly ethnic foods, become a part of a family's traditions and bring back memories of happy family gatherings and good times. Rouladen and Sauerbraten are two of those dishes in my husband's German family. Each of these meals bring back memories of his mother's joy as she shared her cooking with her 5 children and, later, their spouses and 13 grandchildren, at a big family gathering. Either of these dishes are great winter recipes, though we're happy to eat them any time of year. I remember her serving either rouladen or sauerbraten on New Year's Day and at special birthday dinners.

These days, when I cook one of these traditional German recipes, I'm sure to play some German music to get us all in the mood, and offer some German beer, dark bread and butter and pickled herring before dinner. On very special occasions, Black Forest Cake is served for desert!

Copyright ©2010 Stephanie Henkel


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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Joaniebaby - Some grocery stores carry the very thinly sliced beef that is good for Rouladen, but you can cut your own from a nice cut of beef. The flavor is the same. Good luck with your Rouladen! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

    • joaniebaby profile image

      joaniebaby 5 years ago

      What a coincidence! My daughter works for a man who has a very German background and he invited her and her husband over for a Rouladen dinner, and she was so impressed she sent me the recipe. I have not tried it yet because I thought I needed a special cut of beef. But you say I can use round steak, so am going to try Rouladen now. Wish me luck as my husband isn't always eager for my "new recipes." Voted up and useful and shared. Thanks so much for this Hub.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Glimmer Twin Fan - Mom's cooking is always the best, but I hope you enjoy this recipe for rouladen, too. Thanks for stopping in and for the comments!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Sunshine625 - No, I haven't figured out how to add zucchini to this and still have it taste this yummy! :) This is pretty good just as is!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This looks yummy! I'm in as long as you don't add zucchini relish!:)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Ahh, the favorite thing that my German mom makes. She rarely does it anymore and it's the best thing. Nice recipe. Useful hub and shared! Thanks for the memories!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Sally's Trove - You're a girl after my own heart, Sherri! We do love pickled beets, and they always add a nice touch of color to any meal. Thanks for your comment and the pin! Hope you enjoy the rouladen!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I've never made rouladen, but I'm going to now. I just cooked some fresh beets. I think I'll pickle them with onions, and that might make a colorful and tasty accompaniment. Pinned!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Steph,

      Mmmm...can I come to your house for dinner? We love rouladen, but I just don't make it often enough! The addition of beer sounds interesting...will have to give that version a try sometime. Thanks for commenting and enjoy your dinner!

    • profile image

      Steph 5 years ago

      Thanks for this! I made it with just pickles and bacon last time in beer rather then everything else and it was great. this time i got the rouladen meat :) cant wait for dinner tonight!! Thanks for this recipe!!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Dolores Monet - Did your mother still wrap the pickles and bacon into the Rouladen? Leaving out those ingredients would change the flavor considerably. Stuffed beef roll-ups with bread stuffing sounds interesting, though. However you make it, Rouladen is a wonderful fall or winter meal. Thanks for your comments!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      My mother used to make a version of this rouladen. Only she stuffed the beef with a kind of bread stuffing like you use for turkey. What a wonderful meal in the winter, so cozy and warming. Haven't had it in years.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by, Oceanssunsets. Our family really enjoys German food. I hope you will enjoy it, too!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Stephanie, this rouladen recipe sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing it! I would love to try to make it. Great story and hub.