Best Authentic German Rouladen (Beef Roll-Ups) Recipe

Updated on November 26, 2017
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.


A Family Favorite

In my husband's German family, everyone loves rouladen (German beef roll-ups). This German stuffed-beef-rolls recipe 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 it, and it was easier than I expected. I still use her recipe today.


  • 1-2 lbs. of flank steak or round steak (this can also be made from venison)
  • Spicy, dark mustard
  • Dill pickles cut into wedges
  • Bacon
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • A toothpick or sewing string to keep the rolls closed


  1. You will need about 2 pounds of thinly sliced steak. Some grocery stores will carry steak sliced 1/8" thick. If not, get the thinnest cut you can find, and pound it between two sheets of plastic wrap until it's the right thickness.
  2. Cut into 3" x 6" strips. Plan on two to three pieces per person.
  3. Lay meat on a board, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread with a light coating of spicy mustard.
  5. Lay half a strip of bacon lengthwise on the meat, and then place a dill pickle wedge crosswise near one end.
  6. Roll the meat into rolls starting at the pickle end, and then tie with some white sewing thread or fasten with a wooden toothpick.
  7. In a heavy skillet, sauté onion in butter or oil, and then brown the meat rolls in the pan.
  8. After rolls are browned, add a quarter cup of red wine to the skillet to deglaze it, and then add 2 cups of water.
  9. 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.
  10. When finished cooking, remove rouladen to a bowl.
  11. 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.
  12. Pour gravy over rouladen. Serve with red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

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 brings back memories of his mother's joy as she shared her cooking with her five children and, later, their spouses and thirteen grandchildren at big family gatherings. 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!

Black Forest Cake for Dessert


What Can I Serve With Rouladen?

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet and sour red cabbage
  • Potato dumplings (called spaetzel)
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Apple strudels
  • Black Forest cake

© 2010 Stephanie Henkel


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    • profile image

      Peppermint1701 6 weeks ago

      We had Rouladen, Rotkohl und Kartoffelknödel (potato dumplings) at Christmas. All the family loved it.

      N.b: spätzle are egg-noodles which are nice with rouladen, too!

      Potato dumplings are made from half cooked(mashed) and half raw grated potatoes mixed with some flour and egg, cooked in hot (not boiling) water.

      Thanks for sharing your receipe

    • 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 7 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.