Old Fashioned German Sauerbraten is slow cooked marinated beef roast with a savory gingersnap gravy. Traditional sauerbraten is the perfect holiday dinner!
This Pot Roast Recipe is a traditional Sunday Dinner from Germany that anyone can make! Just like Classic Pot Roast, you can make sauerbraten in the oven, the slow cooker, or the Instant Pot!
An Authentic German Sauerbraten takes longer than other roast beef recipes to prepare, but one bite of the melt-in-your-mouth tender beef proves it’s more than worth the wait. You want to marinate your rump roast at least 2 days to get enough sour flavor, so make sure to plan ahead if you are making this dish for the holidays. Prep this German-style pot roast during the week and cook low and slow for a flavorful Sunday dinner and leftovers for the following week.
A German Sauerbraten is roast beef marinated in a sour, vinegar base that tenderizes the meat and gives it flavor. The marinade for this sauerbraten recipe is vinegar and beef broth with pickling spices and a hint of sugar. The beef is braised in the marinade in the oven to soak up even more flavor. The Sauerbraten is then served with a sweet and tangy gravy made from the same marinade, thickened with crushed gingersnaps.
Traditional German Sauerbraten is served with German Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes, using the delicious sauce as a gravy for the meat and potatoes. Make sure to serve some soft, doughy bread like Dinner Rolls or Beer Bread (made with German beer of course) to soak up the thick, sweet-sour gravy. A dollop of sour cream and shredded red cabbage is great garnish for German Sauerbraten too!
EASY SIDE DISH RECIPES:
Tips for Making German Sauerbraten
- Marinate sauerbraten at least 3 days but you can keep it in the marinade up to 10 days! The longer you marinate the meat, the more tender and flavorful it will be.
- Sauerbraten will cook quicker the longer it has been marinated, so check the temperature periodically after 2 hours, especially if you marinate for more than 3 days.
- Strain the braising liquid with a fine-meshed strainer so that no bay leaves or cloves remain, and you get a smooth and thick gravy.
- You can marinate the beef in the dutch oven or a large container instead of a bag, just be sure to turn the meat daily if it is not fully submerged in the marinade.
- Taste and adjust your gravy to your liking, depending on how sweet or sour you like it. Check out our variations on how to adjust sweet and sour flavors.
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VARIATIONS ON GERMAN SAUERBRATEN
- Meat: Sauerbraten is a great recipe for any lean or tougher roast like pork roast, venison, lamb roast, bottom round, or chuck roast. Make it with mutton or lamb during the spring holidays!
- Veggies: Add aromatic vegetables like leeks, carrots, and celery to your marinade. You can return the veggies to the gravy after you strain the spices.
- Sour: Use cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, or add a cup of dry red wine like Pinot Noir for a different sour flavor. You can add up to a ½ cup lemon juice when making the gravy.
- Sweet: Along with gingersnaps, you can add brown sugar, honey, golden raisins, or beet syrup to make the gravy more sweet.
- Spices: If you like, add cracked juniper berries and peppercorns for Sauerbraten spices you’d find in any German restaurant. You can also add seasonings like rosemary, thyme, or pickling spices.
Slow Cooker German Sauerbraten
- Marinate beef roast for at least 3 days in sour pickling marinade.
- Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with paper towels before seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Sear beef on both sides in oil over medium high heat.
- Add beef and marinade to a slow cooker.
- Cover crock pot with lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.
- Remove beef and add gingersnaps to sauce.
- Simmer on high uncovered for 20 minutes, until thickened.
- Slice sauerbraten and return to crockpot.
Instant Pot German Sauerbraten
- Marinate rump roast for at least 3 days then remove meat, pat dry with paper towels, and season.
- Add oil to Instant Pot and turn on Sauté function to heat oil until shimmering.
- Brown beef roast on both sides for 3-4 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
- Deglaze Instant Pot with 1 cup marinade and scrape off any browned bits.
- Return beef to pot and top with remaining marinade.
- Close and lock lid, setting pressure valve to sealed. Cook on Manual High Pressure for 60 minutes.
- Naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release and remove roast.
- Turn Instant Pot to Soup and add ½ gingersnaps to sauce.
- Simmer until thickened, adding gingersnaps if needed.
- Slice sauerbraten and serve with gravy.
MORE POT ROAST RECIPES
HOW TO KNOW WHEN GERMAN SAUERBRATEN IS COOKED
For a medium rare roast beef, the internal temperature should read 135 degrees with meat thermometer. Always rest meat before slicing so it maintains heat and juiciness.
HOW TO STORE GERMAN SAUERBRATEN
- Serve: You can keep German Sauerbraten at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Store: Cool German Sauerbraten and sauce before storing in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, cook covered in sauce over medium-low heat until warm, adding beef broth if sauce is too thick.
- Freeze: Once cooled, slice German Sauerbraten and store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven or in a saucepan over medium heat.
- 3 pound beef rump roast
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 yellow onions , chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 5 gingersnap cookies , crushed to crumbs
- Add beef, red wine vinegar, beef broth, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, sugar, cloves and bay leaves to a large ziplock bag.
- Mix ingredients together, remove all air and marinate for 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove beef from marinade, reserve marinade, and dry well.
- Add vegetable oil to large pot on high heat.
- Season beef with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper.
- Sear on all sides until well browned, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Add in the onions, and the marinade.
- Cover and cook for 3 hours.
- Remove the beef from the pot and strain the liquid in the pot.
- If too much liquid cooked off, add 1 cup beef broth.
- Add in half the cookie crumbs and cook until sauce thickens.
- If it stays too thin, add remaining cookies.
- Slice the beef against the grain and serve with sauce.
Love this sauerbraten recipe can I speed up the marinating by cooking the beef in the marinating liquid
Then removing it half way through????
Made this exactly as the recipe. Meat and gravy was delicious and brought back fond memories. Served with German potato dumplings, cabbage and red cabbage. Also roasted carrots with roast and served with cooked apples. Wanted to hit everyone’s taste buds, young and older folks.
Note: doubled the marinade bc the roast was over 4 lbs.
I’m sorry, but your ‘authentic German Sourbraten’ isn’t even close to the original German one and I can tell cause I am German. We don’t eat mash potatoes to this dish or roll breads. We eat ‘Klöse’ (Kartoffel, Semmel and/or Speckklöse) to this dish. You don’t need rolls to soak the gravy. And we don’t use gingersnaps, nooooo. And there are also still a lot of other spices missing in your ‘authentic German Sauerbraten.
I agree. Mashed potatoes is not traditional but, who am I to tell someone there traditions are wrong. In my family, potato balls with the initial meal is traditional and leftover potato balls sliced into ¼ inch coins and fried crispy in butter are traditional with the leftover Sauerbraten. And if there’s no leftover potato balls, we have potato pancakes covered with apple sauce or a slice of American Cheese which gets melted gooey when you cover it with the hot gravy.
Adding Gingersnaps is a regional thing. My father’s German family never added them whereas my mother’s German family did. Those who add gingersnaps either do so to helps balance the sourness of the sauce, help thicken it or both. I’ve been to German restaurants where they add raisins to help sweeten the gravy. I’ve also seen recipes that sometimes call for sugar, honey or both to quell the sourness.
As far as eating bread/rolls goes, both sides of my family used buttered rye or pumpernickel bread to slop up all the leftover gravy. But maybe that’s just a traditional New Yorker thing.
I made it in a vacuum bag with the marinade for venison and added juniper berries. It turned out perfect! Eight days was perfect for an older animal.
Oh my! This was really good! It was a huge hit at my house! We will be doing it again this weekend!
That’s amazing to hear! Thanks for the 5 stars, Toni.
This was for sure worth the wait. Melt in your mouth good and made the perfect dinner on a rainy evening!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Eden.
Hi! I the slow Cooker instructions, there’s no mention of the onion. Can I put that in at the same time as the beef and marinade and cook for the full time? Thanks!
The last time I had Sauer braten I was in Frankenmuth, Michigan with a group of Senior Citizens from church that I was taking out on a day trip. We had the best time at Frankenmuth, and one of the best parts was the always wonderful German feasts, including the Sauerbraten! This brings back wonderful fond memories as I haven’t been back to Frankenmuth in years. Delicious meat, wonderfully easy! Great memories. Thanks for all the feels!
I’m so glad you have brought back all the feels of this dish, Betsy. Thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know.
I made this last weekend with a chuck roast, it’s what I had. I didn’t marinate it for nearly as long as I should have, but still turned out good. Looking forward to making it again with the recommended marinating time. I have made several of your recipes in the past and your recipes never disappoint!
Can this recipe be made in the slow cooker? Recommended cook time? Want to make for my husband and friends. Will 3lb roast be enough for 4-6 people? Thank you for your help.
Yes, I give instructions for using a slow cooker in the post above. Enjoy!
Marinated a rump roast mid Tuesday and roasted it, to eat on Friday—delicious!! Excellent flavor! Served with the German Red Cabbage recipe, described in the text, also flavorful! And used the delicious gravy on the meat and mashed potatoes. Husband loves German food and THIS is the recipe I’ve been looking for to serve him.
Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know how much you all enjoyed it, Victoria. I appreciate the 5 star rating.
When you marinate the beef, do you put it in the refrigerator for 3 days or on the counter? My sister in law used to make this for family gatherings and it was delicious!
You’ll want to keep the meat while marinading in the refrigerator. Enjoy!