Zigeuner schnitzel with it´s tasty bell pepper gravy aka gypsy sauce is one of the most favorite schnitzel toppings for the delicious German specialty.
With this recipe, you can make the German schnitzel classic at home and surprise your family with a flavorful dish that tastes like it came straight from a German "Gasthaus."
If you enjoy different types of German schnitzel, you should check out my list of the Top 15 Types of Schnitzel Variations That Everybody Loves.
- What does "Zigeunerschnitzel" mean in English?
- How to pronounce "Zigeunersoße"?
- What is a Balkan Schnitzel?
- Cultural Background
- Store bought Variations
- What Kind of Peppers are Best for Gypsy Gravy?
- How To Serve Zigeunerschnitzel
- Other Ways To Use This Tasty Bell Pepper Sauce
- Top Tip
- More German Schnitzel Recipes
What does "Zigeunerschnitzel" mean in English?
Zigeuner schnitzel literally translated means gypsy schnitzel. The German word for "gypsy" is "Zigeuner." This is why the dish's name is controversial.
How to pronounce "Zigeunersoße"?
To learn how to say "Zigeunersoße" in German, listen to this audio file.
The letter "ß" stands for "ss." As a result, you could also write "Zigeunersosse"; another variation is "Zigeunersauce," which is also used.
What is a Balkan Schnitzel?
Balkan schnitzel is another name for this dish.
The controversy about the name "Zigeunerschnitzel" aka "Gypsy Schnitzel"
The name Gypsy Sauce has been challenged by the "Forum for Sinti and Roma" in Hanover, Germany. They contend that the term is discriminatory. Instead, the delicious sauce should be renamed "piquant sauce" or "paprika aka bell pepper sauce," according to the association.
The Sinti Alliance Germany, on the other hand, opposes the sauce's renaming.
They believe that the current debate over the term "Zigeuner" (gypsy) is destroying part of their heritage. The Sinti people frequently use the term "gypsy," and want it remain in everyday language. That is why the Sinti Alliance opposes the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma's position.
The dish is still known as "Zigeunersoße", but how you refer to it is entirely up to you.
Bottled Paprikasoße - a favorite for German Barbecues
In Germany, you can buy bottled "Zigeunersoße" like barbecue sauce.
At German barbecues, this is a popular condiment for grilled meat and seafood.
Due to public pressure, the manufacturers of bottled "Zigeunersoße" products began changing the names of their famous sauces to "Paprikasauce" and "Pikante Sauce."
Store bought Variations
In German-speaking countries, you can buy Zigeunersauce from a variety of brands.
As previously stated, they are now marketed as "Paprika Sauce" and "Pikante Sauce."
There are a variety of these sauces available in online shops and German delis, but the homemade version is far superior in my opinion.
The ingredients for this tasty dish are surprisingly simple and inexpensive.
- German schnitzel or unbreaded, boneless cutlets
- bell peppers
- bread and butter pickles
- tomato ketchup
- tomato paste
- garlic paste
- chili powder
- paprika powder
- chicken broth
- heavy cream
- pickle juice (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
What Kind of Peppers are Best for Gypsy Gravy?
This gravy is traditionally made with red, orange, and yellow bell peppers.
Fresh and firm is always best, but if you have some bell peppers that are no longer suitable for salads, this sauce is a great way to use them up.
A flavorful way to alter the taste:
- Spicy - Why not incorporate some international pepper varieties into this dish? Season the gravy with your favorite spicy peppers to taste. Poblano and Anaheim peppers are my favorites for adding heat to the dish. A few dashes of hot sauce are also an excellent way to spice up the sauce.
Set up these kitchen tools to make cooking easier.
- cutting board
- large skillet
- cooking spoon
How To Serve Zigeunerschnitzel
Zigeunerschnitzel sauce goes well with breaded schnitzel or unbreaded pork cutlets.
Both variant are extremely popular in Germany.
This delicious bell pepper schnitzel is traditionally served with French fries, rice, or boiled potatoes.
Other Ways To Use This Tasty Bell Pepper Sauce
The German sauce complements any meat or fish dish. The gravy goes well with grilled chicken breast, pork steaks, fish, and even scampi. The zesty sauce also goes well with vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Refrigerate any leftover sauce for up to 3 days. It freezes well too. I recommend thawing the sauce at room temperature. The bell peppers may become soggy if defrosted in the microwave.
If you want a quick and easy dinner, use frozen bell pepper strips and frozen onion slices, or pre-cut the veggies in the morning and refrigerate them.
Zigeuner Schnitzel Gravy
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 6 bread and butter pickle stackers / sandwich slices
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. garlic paste
- ¼ tsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. paprika powder
- 1 ½ cups chicken alternatively vegetable or beef broth
- 6 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 shot of pickle juice optional
- 1 tbsp. oil
- Peel and slice the onion and pickle slices into strips.
- Wash the bell peppers, clean out the seeds and cut them into strips.
- In a large pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour, tomato paste, ketchup and garlic paste, and fry for a couple of minutes. Be careful not to burn it.
- Add the heavy cream, garlic paste, paprika powder, chili powder, season with and pepper to taste and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Add the broth and the pickle juice, mix well and bring to a light simmer and then set it aside.
- In another pan heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Fry the onions until lightly brown, then add the bell pepper strips and fry together for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the onion and bell pepper mix to the pan with the sauce and mix well.
- Taste test and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.