Sauerbraten, often hailed as one of Germany’s national dishes, is a pot roast, usually of beef (but other meats such as lamb, mutton, pork, and traditionally, horse), marinated before slow-cooking as pot roast. This tender, flavorful dish is steeped in a rich history, embodying the essence of traditional German cuisine. The meat is marinated for several days in a mixture of vinegar, water, and a variety of seasonings before being slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a dish that is both deeply savory and slightly tangy.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes (plus 2-3 days for marinating)
Cooking Time: 4 hours
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: About 4 hours 45 minutes (not including marinating time)
Serving: 6


  • 3 lbs beef roast (rump roast or chuck roast)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger snaps (crushed, for thickening the sauce)


  1. Marinate the Beef:
    • In a large bowl, combine vinegar, water, half the onions, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, sugar, and salt. Add the beef to the bowl, ensuring it’s fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning the meat daily.
  2. Brown the Beef:
    • Remove the beef from the marinade (reserve the marinade). Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables and Simmer:
    • In the same pot, add the remaining onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until softened. Stir in tomato paste, then add the beef back to the pot along with the reserved marinade and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 4 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  4. Make the Gravy:
    • Remove the beef and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, pressing on the solids. Skim off any excess fat. Stir in crushed ginger snaps (and raisins if using) to thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar if needed.
  5. Serve:
    • Slice the beef and serve with the gravy poured over. Traditional sides include potato dumplings, red cabbage, or boiled potatoes.


  • The marinating time is crucial for achieving the characteristic flavor and tenderness of the meat.
  • Ginger snaps not only thicken the sauce but add a subtle spice that complements the tanginess of the marinade.

Nutritional Information per Serving (Based on USDA Guidelines):

  • Calories: 600 kcal
  • Protein: 45g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fat: 40g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Sugars: 5g

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