German meatloaf comes in a lot of varieties. This flavorful recipe is one of my favorites. The recipe guaranties the perfect meatloaf German style. It is moist, holds together very well and is easy to cut without crumbling. The recipe incorporates finely chopped pickles and onions which gives this dish an amazing savory touch.
You can't go wrong with a classic like this! German style meatloaf with pickles is flavorful and delicious. The ideal comfort food for cold days that the entire family enjoys.
Meatloaf is a worldwide favorite. It's no surprise because it's simple to make, the flavors can be easily adjusted, and cooking meatloaf is also a great way for families to stretch their food budget. Adding bread and bread crumbs to the meat is a tasty way to put more meat on the table for less money.
How is Meatloaf called in German?
The German word for meatloaf is "Hackbraten". Der Hackbraten (m) in singular and die Hackbraten (f) in plural. "Hack" or "Hackfleisch" are the German words for ground meat. Braten means roast.
How to pronounce "Hackbraten" the correct way in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Hackbraten" the right way.
Ingredients & Substitutes
This German-style meatloaf recipe calls for a few simple ingredients that you might already have at home. Making the meatloaf German style is straightforward and easy, but utterly delicious and will be in the oven in just 15 minutes.
Ground beef: I like to use 80/20% ground beef for this German meatloaf, but you can also make it with leaner beef, a mixture of ground beef and pork. Ground turkey and ground chicken are also great meat choices, but you might need a bit more seasoning.
White Bread: German versions of meatloaf usually contain stale bread or rolls and bread crumbs. The bread or rolls are soaked in milk or water. This makes the meatloaf juicier.Instead of white bread, you can use stale bread rolls. If your bread has a thick crust, I recommend removing it.
Plain Bread Crumbs: I prefer plain bread crumbs as seasoned bread crumbs would alter the flavor. If you like to alter the taste, seasoned bread crumbs may be your preference.
Milk: The bread or rolls are soaked in liquid; this makes the meatloaf juicier. You can use water instead of milk.
Onions: I prefer to use white onions for this dish. If you don't like fresh onions or have problems digesting them, onion powder will be a good alternative.
Bread and Butter Pickles: Pickles add a great flavor and a little crunch to the meatloaf. I love the sweet-tangy flavor of bread and butter pickles, but you can either omit the pickles or use the ones you like best.
Garlic Paste: I always have my homemade garlic paste on hand. You can use fresh garlic or garlic powder instead. If you don't like the taste of garlic, you can certainly omit it.
Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent and keep the loaf firm while still juicy. This will make it easy to cut beautiful slices.
Parsley: I prefer fresh parsley, but you can also add dried parsley instead. If you don't like parsley or have none on hand, you can just omit it.
Salt & Pepper: I usually add coarse Kosher salt and coarse black pepper to my meatloaf, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Paprika Powder: Regular paprika powder is best for this recipe; smoked paprika is not recommended because it changes the taste. But if you like it, go for it!
Mustard: Depending on your preferences, you can substitute Bavarian sweet mustard or spicy German mustard for the plain yellow mustard that I use.
Butter: Every 15 minutes during baking, I baste the meatloaf with butter to ensure a nice, crispy crust. If you are super busy, you can skip that step; the meatloaf will still be delicious.
See recipe card for quantities in US customary and metric units.
Follow these easy steps to learn how to make this German meatloaf.
Cut the onions and pickles into small cubes. Chop the cleaned parsley finely.
Slice or tear the bread into pieces, then soak it in the warm milk.
Add the ground meat, onions and pickles to a large bowl.
Add the bread crumbs, garlic paste, salt, pepper, paprika powder, parsley (optional), and mustard also to the bowl.
Squeeze the milk out of the bread and add the bread and the eggs to the bowl. You can discard the milk or use it for another recipe.
Knead the ingredients until well combined, then add the meat mixture to a greased casserole dish.
Form the meat into a loaf and bake for 45-60 minutes at 375 F in a preheated oven.
Melt butter and brush the meatloaf every 15 minutes.
Hint: If your casserole dish is not large enough, you can make two small meatloaves instead of one.
This basic recipe can be adjusted to your taste.
- Spicy - Do you love spicy food? Season the meat with chili powder or flakes. German food is not known for being spicy, but my father always liked a spice kick in his meatloaf and replaced the pickles with banana peppers.
The recipe only calls for a few basic kitchen tools and can be prepared quickly.
- kitchen knife
- cutting board
- large bowl
- casserole pan
- small bowl
- basting brush
Meatloaf can be kept refrigerated for at least 3 days. It also freezes very well. I always make a double batch and freeze one meatloaf for a busy weeknight.
When entertaining a large number of guests, meatloaf is the ideal dish. It can be prepared the day before, saving you a ton of time on the day of the party.
How to Serve
Serve with mashed potatoes, Salzkartoffeln (poiled potatoes), rice or noodles. Many people in Germany also like fried potatoes and french fries as a side.
Mixed vegetables, beans or carrots & peas with buttery bread crumbs are some favorite veggie side dishes.
- 4 pounds ground beef 80/20
- 3 slices white bread
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 large onion
- 8 slices bread and butter pickles
- 1 tbsp. garlic paste
- 2 tbsp. pickle juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 bunch fresh parsley optional
- 1 tbsp. coarse Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
- 2 tsp. paprika powder
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Cut bread into cubes and soak in a cup of warm milk.
- Finely cube the onions and the pickles. Finely chop the cleaned parsley.
- Add the ground meat to a large bowl.
- Add the bread crumbs, onion, pickles, garlic paste, salt, pepper, paprika powder, eggs, parsley (optional), and mustard to the bowl.
- Squeeze the milk out off the bread and add the bread to the bowl. You can discard the milk or use it for another recipe.
- Knead the ingredients until well combined, then add the meat mixture to a greased casserole dish.
- Shape the meat into a loaf and bake for 45-60 minutes at 375 F in a preheated oven.
- Melt butter and brush the meatloaf every 15 min.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally German meatloaf is made 50% of ground pork and 50% of ground beef. Nowadays many people make it with 100% ground beef like in this recipe.