Best Authentic German Rouladen (Beef Roll-Ups) Recipe

Updated on March 19, 2020
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 dessert!

Black Forest Cake for Dessert


What Can I Serve With Rouladen?

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet and sour red cabbage
  • Potato dumplings (Knoedel)
  • Spaetzel (homemade noodles)
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Apple strudels
  • Black Forest cake

Questions & Answers

  • Is rouladen always made with pickles in Germany? Or is it regional?

    It's possible that using pickles in rouladen is regional in Germany, but I would argue that the dish would lose the distinctive, slightly sour flavor if the pickles were omitted. I've only had it with pickles in the rolls. However, each cook has the option of altering the recipe to his/her taste preferences.

  • Potato dumplings are potato dumplings. Are spaetzle homemade noodles?

    Yes, spaetzle are a thick homemade noodle. They are yummy with rouladen or sauerbraten, or any meat dish with gravy!

  • Do I precook the bacon?

    No, the bacon is raw. It will cook with the rest of the mean during the cooking process.

  • Is your black forest cake recipe a genuine recipe?

    The recipe I have posted is one that I've made many times for my family to enjoy, so it's a real recipe. However, it's not something that was handed down to me through generations.

© 2010 Stephanie Henkel


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Patricia Vasel 

      3 months ago

      My mother in law is from Germany. She and my father moved to NY over 60 yrs ago. My husband born in NY is still 100% German born in the states and this year having to be homebound from coronavirus he's going to be making us Easter dinner with this exact recipe. His mom made it the exact same way and I'm looking forward to finally trying it. All i I have to do is find an Easter dessert to make to go with it. He's making red cabbage and potatoes for the sides

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      I years ago had a very nice friend (Rose) her Mother was German .Rose showed me how to make these they are delishes and although i have seen Rose in many,many years i will never forget her.

    • profile image

      Trudy Gernert 

      8 months ago

      My husband is from a region which does not require pickles in Rouladen. Hi mother used to serve it with gravy made from gently browning the Rouladen in lard, draining and adding water with beef bouillion to cover. She boiled it one hour if the meat was thin, more if thicker. She also added cut carrots to the boiling pot. Meanwhile she made spaetzli and or potato balls and a green bean salad. Yummy!

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      with you on the paprika bob! Only use Hungarian paprika not Spanish paprika (also known as sweet paprika) or it wont have the right flavor.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      My grandparents were from Germany and I've learned how to make many of the German dishes. One of my favorites is sauerkraut and dumplings. I make the traditional bread dumplings. I also make kraut runzas.

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Try a little paprika with your recipe, surprising what it add to Rouladen

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Hi Kathy, My mom and I make Rouladen often it's one of my family favorite only we don't put pickle in ours. My mom learned from her grandmother as my mom and grandparents were born in Germany and brought their receipt with them.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      22 months ago from USA

      Hi Kathy, I do not know what bread dumplings are, but I will look them up. My family and I love all German food!

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      I work for German couple at a fishing camp . The lady taught me to make this dish with the bread dumplings. She showed me two different kinds of bread dumplings and they were great the next day for breakfast. I have made this dish over the years when my husband was alive, seeing your recipe has brought back wonderful memories. I saved the recipe to make again.

    • profile image


      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 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


      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 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 

      7 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

      Claudia Mitchell 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 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


      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      8 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


      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      8 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 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 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


      9 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.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)