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Every year, starting late September, the state of Bavaria in Germany kicks off the famous Oktoberfest festival. Literally, it means October festival. It happens to be the largest celebration of German culture, food, and beer in the world and attracts more than six million visitors over the course of three weeks. There, attendees can sample dozens of German-made beers and try German foods from all over the country. It's often the first time foreigners have the chance to try many different authen…

ic German recipes, like schnitzel, Bavarian pot roast, German potato salad, red cabbage, pretzels with spicy mustard dip, German pancakes, and much more. But you don't have to be a Bavarian Oktoberfest alum to have had a real German meal. Lots of North American cities host their own Oktoberfest celebrations, which is where even more people can get a taste for the savory pork and veal-heavy comfort foods from the old country. One thing is sure, whether or not you visit the European country, once you taste real German cooking, you won't stop craving it. Fortunately, we have a stash of German recipe ideas for you.

Classic German Main Dish Recipes

If there's one German dish that most people have heard of, it's traditional pork schnitzel. And despite the funny sounding name, it's straightforward to make. It's almost like making a chicken cutlet, or crispy chicken fillet. Once you coat thin cuts of pork in a mixture of egg, flour, and breadcrumbs, fry in a shallow pool of vegetable oil and then cook on both sides until golden brown. Another main dish that Germans love is tender, juicy Bavarian pot roast. This recipe is as easy as it gets, but it can take about three hours for your roast to thoroughly cook. You will need a boneless pot roast, canola oil, beef broth (or use beer instead!), tomato sauce, onion, vinegar, and a few different seasonings, like cinnamon, ginger, and a bay leaf. First, you brown the pot roast and then separately, bring all the ingredients to a boil. And then place the seasoned meat in a Dutch oven over simmering heat. In the end, you can make gravy by adding cornstarch to the seasoned liquid.

Classic German Side Dish Recipes

For your side dishes, consider serving potato dumplings, potato pancakes, red cabbage, or any number of other crowd pleasers. German potato salad is one of the easiest recipes you'll ever make and the cook and prep time are just 30 minutes. You will need red potatoes, onion, flour, celery seeds, sugar, and vinegar. After boiling the potatoes and, separately, boil dry and wet ingredients, cook the potatoes in a skillet while stirring in the seasoned mixture. Unlike American potato salad, this German classic can be served warm.

Red cabbage is another German classic. You need a head of red cabbage, tart apples, sugar, cloves, white vinegar, and canola oil. You have the option of using bacon drippings instead if you already made bacon to go with your schnitzel, pot roast, or other main courses. Place everything but the vinegar in a Dutch oven and first boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the cabbage to cook covered for up to 45 minutes. Once it's done, add the vinegar. German potato pancakes may look like American hash browns, but there's a bit more to it. The recipe calls for peeled potatoes, eggs, onion, flour, baking powder, and vegetable oil. Combine grated potatoes with eggs and dry ingredients and the shape into small pancakes and fry over medium-high heat. Flip once or twice and remove when golden brown. Don't even think of dipping these in ketchup. Instead, use sour cream, apple sauce, fruit preserve, or herbed yogurt as a dipping sauce.

German Dessert Recipes

Germans love their bakeries and make some of the most delicious cakes, cookies, pastries, strudel, and dessert dumplings worldwide. One dessert, in particular, that Germany is famous for is the black forest cake. People tend to mistakenly believe that this cake was named for the Black Forest, but in actuality, the dessert is named for a liquor made from cherries. Germans first started making the black forest cherry cake in the early 1900s. What's so great about this cake is that it's made of several layers of cake, cherry or vanilla filling, and whipped cream icing, but total prep and baking time is just around 75 minutes.

Another famous German confection is the bee sting cake, so named, according to one legend, is because the honey topping attracted a bee that stung the baker. This dessert recipe calls for flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, egg, and butter. And once it turns golden brown in the oven, make a homemade pudding filling and top with honey and almond slices. Other real German desserts you can easily make at home include an apple tart, a fruit coffee cake -- known as fruit kuchen or coffee kuchen. Finally serving your guests' German soft pretzels is a bit of a traditional evening snack. To make the homemade mustard dip, use a dark beer, mustard seeds, brown sugar, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and allspice and cloves.

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