Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas from Germany

Thanksgiving recipe ideasMany favorite German dishes are a natural fit with the Thanksgiving meal, particularly those traditional to harvest season. So, if yours is one of those families whose Thanksgiving tradition allows a little play in the menu, try slipping in one or two of these recipe ideas from Germany. Your guests will be grateful! And, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Of course, you can complement the turkey and please your guests with tried and true German side dishes like Schupfnudeln, a Swabian form of gnocchi; Spaetzle, a specialty from Southern Germany; Grünkohl, green cabbage or kale; Reibekuchen (potato pancakes); Semmelknödel (bread dumplings) or Kartoffelknödel (potato dumplings).

If you want to take a break from the ubiquitous green bean casserole and try something, well… schnockered, then we suggest a unique side dish like Tipsy Plum or Cassis Cured Red Cabbage. Just follow the links to those recipes below.

Looking to take it a little easier this Thanksgiving? Visit our sister site TheTasteOfGermany for a selection of Thanksgiving foods.


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.

Pumpkin Crostini

Perfect appetizer for fall and winter entertaining, or a late-day snack.

Zesty Prosciutto-Sauerkraut Rolls (Fruchtig gefüllte Parmaschinken-Röllchen)

A great appetizer with black forest prosciutto rolls stuffed with deliciously mild champagne sauerkraut on a bed of arugula salad.

Herring with Cream Cheese Sauce

Matjesfilet herrings with blanched apples and onions and a creamy dressing.

Savory Black Forest Shortbread

Whip up a double batch of these buttery snacks to store in the freezer until you need them, then just slice and bake.

Holiday Strudel with Mustard Sauce

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

Side Dishes

Creamy Sauerkraut with Chives

Tangy sauerkraut tempered with creamy crème fraîche. This side dish will complement roast fowl or pork, and also makes a tasty baked potato topping.

Horseradish-Roasted Fall Vegetables

Zesty horseradish nicely balances the sweetness of the squash and apples in this recipe with the wonderful flavors of harvest season.

Creamy Potato Pumpkin Skillet (Sahnige Kartoffel-Kürbis-Pfanne)

Pumpkin and potatoes in a wonderfully rich cream base, enriched with Speck and spiced up with chile, peppercorns, parmesan and arugula.

Tipsy Plum (Beschwipste Pflaume)

Braised spiced plums with wine and brandy makes a side dish that adds zest to meals featuring turkey, pork, duck or beef.

Cassis Cured Red Cabbage (Blaukraut mit Cassis)

Fresh or jarred red cabbage gets both spiced and spiked in this side dish with the flavors of apple, currant, clove and cinnamon. A great festive side dish for a year-end meal, such as Thanksgiving dinner, St.Martin’s goose or Christmas dinner.


Like gnocchi, Schupfnudeln are not pasta, but potato based. When crispy fried, this Southern Germany delicacy is the perfect accompaniment to sauerkraut, red cabbage, turkey, duck or pork.

Chef Olaf’s Red Cabbage

A wonderful spice mix reminiscent of German gingerbread turns this fairly simple red cabbage recipe into the epitome of comfort food.

Chef Olaf’s Sauerkraut

Double smoked bacon gives this sauerkraut dish its depth, while fresh apples, juice and spices round off this crowd-pleasing recipe from Chef Olaf.

Red Cabbage Salad (Rotkohlsalat mit Räucherkäse)

A colorful salad for the buffet table that’s great as a festive side dish and hearty enough to be a vegetarian meal.


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.

Quick Apple Strudel

A simplified strudel using store-bought phyllo dough.

More to Explore:

Erntedank (Harvest Festival) Traditions

Read about typical German Erntedank (Harvest Festival) Traditions, like the Harvest Queen, Harvest Crown and other celebrations.

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