Recipes for Authentic German Appetizers

Classic German ingredients naturally make easy finger food for casual entertaining, but they can also combine to make a wide variety of tasty prepared appetizers. From mini-onion tarts to ham-wrapped figs, savory cheese dips to chived potato pancakes, here’s a selection of appetizers to welcome your guests and whet their appetites.

Allondigas Meatball Pepper Cream Snacks

Allondigas Meatball and Pepper Cream Snacks


Traditional small meatballs become a festive snack or appetizer when served on Mestemacher rounds with a pepper cream sauce.
White Asparagus with Ham Wraps

Asparagus with Ham Wraps and Vinaigrette


Sophisticated take on pairing asparagus and ham, this recipe pairs ham cream bundles tied with strips of leeks with white asparagus and a warm vinaigrette.
Baked Camembert

Baked Camembert with Red Currant Sauce


Breaded and baked camembert wedges with warm red currant sauce. Great finger food for a dinner party or cocktail reception.
Bavarian Blue Cheese Mousse

Bavaria Blue Cheese Mousse with Gooseberry Chutney


A very festive canape of piped bluecheese mousse topped with gooseberry chutney and homemade hazelnut brittle. Recipe courtesy of Chef Uta Schepers.

Bone Marrow on Toast


Appetizer of bone marrow on toast with onion confit and blue cheese cream, from Schoon's Bakery in Cape Town, South Africa.

Braised Pork with Horseradish Sauce


Marinated, braised and roasted pork, shreddibly tender, finished with a horseradish sour cream sauce. Recipe by Chef Hans Roeckenwagner.
Cheese Hedgehog

Cheese Hedgehog


(Käse-Igel) Simple, tasty party appetizer that also looks great. German artisanal cheeses and grapes speared on pics into a melon half.
Cheery Soup with Dumplings

Cherry Soup with Cream of Wheat Dumplings


(Kirschsuppe mit Griessklösschen) Wonderful cold fruit soup of dark red sour cherries spiced with vanilla and cinnamon, with cream of wheat dumplings.
Chorizo and Mushroom Tapas

Chorizo and Mushroom Tapas on Whole Grain Bread


Browned sliced chorizo sausage with peppers and mushrooms on triangles of Mestemacher Westphalian Whole Grain Bread.

Crepes with Camembert and Chives


(Pfannkuchen mit Camembert-Schnittlauch-Füllung) Flavorful crepes with German Camembert cheese and chives, served with cranberry relish and a green salad.
Crispy Pasta with Balsamic Dip

Crispy Pasta with Sweet Sour Quince-Balsamic Dip


Quince jelly and balsamic vinegar gives this crispy fried pasta a new flavor dimension.

Farmers Ham with Rosehip Jam and Silver Onions


A canape of three clear German flavors on earthy sunflower seed bread - farmers ham, rosehip jam, and silver onion. Recipe courtesy of Chef Uta Schepers.

Fried Brie in Poached Pears with Lingonberries


Festive appetizer of wine-poached pears with balls of warm crusted German brie and lingonberry preserves.

Fried Tilsit with Cherry Tomato Coulis and Purslane


Breaded Tilsit cheese triangles served on cherry tomato coulis and fresh purslain or basil. Created for Germanfoods.org by Chef Hans Roeckenwagner.

German Ham-Wrapped Figs with Marinated Bean Salad and Hazelnuts


Appetizer of wine-soaked figs wrapped in Black Forest ham, and served over a salad of frisee with hazelnuts and yellow and green beans.
Ham and Sauerkraut Roll Ups

Ham and Sauerkraut Roll-Ups


A perfect Oktoberfest treat of German ham slices filled with sauerkraut, onions and caraway, baked in German beer and topped with butterkaese.

Hand Cheese Marinated with Onions


(Handkäse mit Musik) Appetizer with the rich honest flavors of German hand cheese (Harzer) marinated with sliced onions, caraway seed and cider vinegar.

Herrings with Cream Cheese Sauce


(Hering mit Frischkäse-Sauce) Herring appetizer of Matjesfilet herrings with blanched apples and onions, sauced with a creamy apple-onion sauce.
Oktoberfest Holiday Strudel

Holiday Strudel with Mustard Sauce


Oktoberfest or holiday party treat with German flavors. Strudel with apple, sauerkraut and knackwurst or bratwurst, with a sweet mustard cream sauce.

Marinated Cheese


(Handkäse mit Musik) German sour milk cheese appetizer, marinated with chopped onions, mustard and cider vinegar. A culinary speciality of Frankfurt.

Matjes Herring Salad in Yogurt Sauce


(Hering in Jogurtsauce) Marinated herring in a creamy mayonnaise and vanilla yogurt sauce with German pickles.
Mini Onion Tarts

Mini Onion Tarts


(Kleine Zwiebelfladen) Onion slices, garlic and Black Forest ham baked in seasoned sour cream on individual sized bread tart bases.
Obazda

O’batzten


(Obazda) Traditional Bavarian appetizer spread made from camembert cheese, double cream cheese, onions, paprika and beer. Serve with bread or pretzels.
Onion Cake

Onion Cake


(Zwiebelkuchen) A savory tart of browned onions, Black Forest ham, and sour cream. Onion cakes such as this are popular in Germany's winegrowing regions.
Potato Pancakes with Cheese and CHives

Panni Potato Pancakes with Cheese and Chives


Potato pancakes are quick and easy when you start with a mix. Dress them up with ketchup, grated cheese and chives.
Oktoberfest Party Bites

Party Sandwiches


(Butterbrot-Variationen) German party sandwich ideas from Roz Denny German breads, meats and cheese make a party sandwich platter with garnishes.

Pfaelzer Spundkaes


Cream cheese, quark and sour cream combo typical of Rheinhessen and Rheingau. Serve as a spread with fresh bread, pretzels, radishes or Pellkartoffel.

Pigs in a Puff Pastry Blanket


Easy adaptation using puff pastry dough. The German name of this favorite party snack literally translates as Little sausage(s) in bathrobe.
Sauerkraut Pork Roll Ups

Pork and Sauerkraut Roll-Ups


A tasty appetizer of savory pork with bacon, mushrooms, leeks, juniper berries and cream between layers of crescent roll dough.
Potato Pancakes with Three Toppings

Potato Pancakes with Three Toppings


Potato pancakes for a cocktail party, served with a choice of Black Forest Ham Sauerkraut, Smoky Salmon Creme Fraiche, and BBQ-Curry Chicken toppings.
Pumpkin Crostini

Pumpkin Crostini


(Crostini mit Kürbisrelish) Fresh pumpkin relish tops crisp crostini in this perfect appetizer for fall and winter entertaining, or a late-day snack.
Quark and Garlic Dip

Quark and Garlic Dip


(Schmand-Knoblauch Dip) Sweet and sour plus spicy describes this easy dip of mango chutney, lime, and spicy garlic ketchup in a German quark base.

Quinoa Sushi


Quinoa, pan fried tofu strips, spinach, carrots, and pickled veggies in nori wraps -- A vegan twist on a food we all love.

Rye Bread Crostini


A quick and easy German twist on crostini, made with German rye bread, soft cheese, tomato, basil and seasonings. Recipe courtesy of Roz Denny.

Salami with Sauce Remoulade and Cornichons


These canapes starts with sauce remoulade, topped by a salami rosette, and a cornichon-parsley garnish. Recipe courtesy of Chef Uta Schepers.
Sauerkraut Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

Sauerkraut Jalapeño Poppers with Bavarian Mustard Dip


Jalapeno peppers stuffed with German flavors of Bavarian sauerkraut, Pilsner beer, and cheese, and served with a sour cream and Bavarian mustard sauce.
Savory Black Forest Shortbread

Savory Black Forest Shortbread


Savory shortbread appetizers with peppery bite flavored with German Black Forest ham, Emmentaler cheese. Dough can freeze for a month before baking.
Ham Sauerkraut Rolls

Savory Sauerkraut and Ham Rolls


(Schinken-Sauerkrautrollen) Flavorful filled ham rolls, sauerkraut seasoned with leeks, juniper berries and clove. Perfect for Oktoberfest.
Serrano Ham and Melon

Serrano Ham and Melon on Whole Grain Rye Bread


Snack or appetizer of cured Serrano ham and sweet melon on robustly flavorful Mestemacher Whole Grain rye bread.

Shrimp Cocktail Büsum Island Style


(Büsumer Krabben-Cocktail) A shrimp cocktail in the style of one of Germany's North Sea islands.

Smoked Mackerel with Apple-Horseradish and Chervil


Canapes of smoked mackerel topped with a apple-horseradish cream, garnished with chervil. Recipe courtesy of Chef Uta Schepers.

Smoked Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp on Stir Fried Napa Cabbage and Sauerkraut


Grilled ham-wrapped shrimp appetizer served over sesame stir-fried napa cabbage and sauerkraut. Created for Germanfoods.org by Chef Hans Roeckenwagner.
Spaetzle Gratinee with Cambozola

Spaetzle Gratinee with Red Cabbage, Cambozola Medallions and Curry Glaze


Novel presentation of German flavors of red cabbage, spaeztle, and Cambozola blue cheese, a nutritious and elegant vegetarian entree for a holiday meal.

Stuffed Camembert with Pumpernickel


Camembert stuffed with hazelnuts, grapes and pumpernickel with a bit of chili and a bit of honey. Party food that needs no cooking as is quick to assemble.

Summer Herb Dip


(Sommerlicher Kräuter-Dip) Summer dip using German quark and yogurt with summer herbs like scallions, parsley, dill, mint, coriander, cumin, and lemon.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Endive and Walnut Snacks


A snack sandwich of rich sun-dried tomato, mushroom and sage flavored cream cheese with endive on slices of Mestemacher Mixed Cereal bread.

Westphalian Ham Lollipops


Westphalian ham wraps around a Black Forest ham mousse in this appetizer with a built-in handle. Created for Germanfoods.org by Chef Hans Roeckenwagner.

Zesty Prosciutto-Sauerkaut Rolls


Black forest prosciutto rolls stuffed with mild champagne sauerkraut on a bed of arugula salad – Great appetizer, quick and easy to make.