German Recipes for Christmas Dinners and Holiday Parties

Christmas Goose

Christmas Day in Germany is a time for enjoying family and friends, capped off with a celebratory feast.

For Christian Germans, the time between St. Martin’s Day (November 11), and Christmas Eve was historically dedicated to fasting. A simple fish dinner with potato pancakes and sauerkraut is still often served on Christmas Eve, although potato salad with sausages is also a popular choice. Traditionally, December 24 is when the Christmas tree is trimmed, presents are opened, and families go to church.

On December 25, the dinner table will be elegantly set for a special Christmas dinner featuring duck, goose, rabbit, or a roast. This main dish is accompanied by German delicacies such as apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings. The meal finishes with a assortment of German sweets, usually including the beloved Christmas Stollen.

The following recipes would be equally as welcome at a festive December dinner party.

Looking to limit your time in the kitchen? Visit our sister site TheTasteOfGermany for everything you need to celebrate Christmas, German-style.


Savory Black Forest Shortbread

Make these tasty savory “cookies” in advance, and simply slice and bake when you need them. They’re a terrific nibble with wine and cocktails.

Broiled Oysters from the Isle of Sylt

Oysters always feel like a special starter, and these are broiled with Emmentaler cheese and breadcrumbs.

Holiday Strudel with Mustard Sauce

A great party treat ! Make sure to use genuine German imported sauerkraut and mustard for an authentic experience.

Main Dishes

Goose Breast with Potato Dumplings, Red Cabbage and Caramelized Chestnuts

A traditional German Christmas feast with potato dumplings and red cabbage as popular sides. Caramelized chestnuts add a refined touch to this flavorful meal.

Roast Goose with Liver Pate Stuffing and Redcurrant Glazed Peaches

Liver pâté makes for a special stuffing, dumplings made from rye bread stuffing provide substance and halved fresh peaches baked and glazed with sugar and red currants add a wonderful fruity touch.

Roast Duck with Apple and Rum Raisin Stuffing

This stuffed duck comes from Lübeck, the historic port city on the Baltic Sea. If you find that duck does not yield enough meat, there is no reason why you cannot use the exquisite stuffing for other poultry, such as Cornish hen or even turkey.

Side Dishes

Creamy Sauerkraut with Chives 

Tangy sauerkraut is tempered with creamy crème fraîche in this simple-to-make side

Cassis-Flavored Red Cabbage

This is delightfully spiked up side dish featuring red cabbage and warm spices is ideal for a year-end meal.

Scalloped Kohlrabi

A recipe from Chef Olaf Mertens, who wants more people to fall in love with the broccoli-like flavor of  this “underloved” vegetable.

Seasonal Desserts

Stollen Bread and Butter Pudding

If you just can’t get enough of Germany’s tempting Stollen fruit breads during the Christmas season then this recipe is for you! Use any Stollen, but the Edel-Marzipan filled one is particularly delicious. You should be able to find genuine German Stollen in your local market – look for stollen by Bahlsen, Dahli, Dr. Quendt, Elzer, Kuchenmeister, Lieken, Oebel, Otto Schmidt, Reimann, Schlunder, and Schwermer, to name just a few.

Almond-Cherry Souffles with Warm German Chocolate Sauce

By themselves, these rich, flavorful soufflés are virtually fat-free. The German chocolate sauce is rich but not too sweet, as most German-produced chocolate contains a higher content of cocoa and less sugar than most American chocolate.

Baked Gingerbread Apples

Baked apples stuffed with chocolate and crumbled lebkuchen (gingerbread), garnished with whipped cream and crystallized ginger.

Baked Apples with Marzipan and Cranberries (Bratäpfel)

Another wonderful version of baked apples stuffed with marzipan and spiced cranberries.

Mini German Cheesecakes with Apricot Compote

Individual cheesecakes with a gingerbread cookie base and an apricot compote top.

Cherry, Quark and Pumpernickel Trifle

This quick dessert is ideal if you want to cause a stir at a dinner party. Make stunning layers in a chic plain glass serving bowl. Or for individual servings, use elegant wine glasses.

Festive Beverages

Non-Alcoholic Hot Fruit Punch (Kinderpunsch)

Even though a cup of hot chocolate is a perfectly wonderful drink for children during the holiday season, this flavorful steaming concoction will make your younger family members and guests feel extra special. It goes especially well with scrumptious freshly-baked Christmas cookies.

Hot Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

At Christmas many German town centers have street markets with stalls selling cookies, arts and crafts, wooden toys and other festive items. Almost every street corner seems to boast Bratwurst and Glühwein stalls. It’s amazing how revived one can feel after a small glass of warm, spicy red wine.

Feuerzangenbowle (Fire Tongs Punch)

Feuerzangenbowle is arguably the most spectacular drink Germans like to prepare and savor during the holiday season. It is prepared in a fireproof bowl or pot which usually is suspended over a small fuel burner (specific sets are available but most large ovenproof container will work as well). The bowl is filled with heated red wine, orange juice (optional) and spices similar to those used in mulled wine. The Feuerzange is a metal holder for the Zuckerhut, a cone-shaped sugarloaf, available in the US at well-stocked specialty retailers who carry German products, a large conical mass of sugar around 7 inches in length, which is placed above the bowl. The sugar is soaked in rum and set alight, and rum is continually added with a ladle until all the sugar has melted and mixed with the wine. The rum must have a strength of at least 54% alcohol (per volume), as it would otherwise not burn properly. The resulting drink is then served in mugs, in the same way as Glühwein, and the burner keeps the bowl warm until it is emptied. (**Important note on safety: This recipe requires handling alcohol and open flames. Be extremely careful and proceed with caution.)


Party Canapés (Party-Häppchen)

Dumpling Recipes

Guide to German Holiday Baking

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