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Authentic German Rouladen Recipe

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One of Germany’s most famous and delicious dishes, Rouladen are beef roulades filled with bacon, onions, mustard and pickles, then browned and simmered in the richest gravy imaginable.  Mouthwateringly delicious, this authentic Rouladen recipe is the only one you’ll ever need!

rouladen recipe homemade how to make German authentic traditional beef roulades roll ups

Growing up in Stuttgart, we regularly enjoyed family dinners with my Oma and Opa.  My Oma was famous for her Kasseler, Kartoffelpuffer, Sauerbraten and her Rouladen.  When a meal included gravy she always knew to make extra when we came over because I would heap copious amounts of it over my meat, potatoes, Knödel, Rotkohl, Sauerkraut, you name it.  (I still do.)  For me the gravy was one of the primary highlights of the meal.  Rouladen is one of my all-time favorite German dishes and its accompanying gravy is arguably the king of all gravies.  Today I’m sharing my homemade Rouladen recipe with you and I’m confident you’re going to love it as much as we do!

What Are Rouladen?

Rouladen is a traditional German dish featuring long, thin strips of meat slathered with mustard and filled with bacon, onions, and pickles.  The filling is enclosed by rolling up the meat strips and the roulades are then browned and slow-simmered in a rich gravy.

Rouladen are enjoyed throughout the year in Germany but are often associated with Sunday dinners and special occasions like Christmas Eve.

rouladen recipe homemade how to make German authentic traditional beef roulades roll ups

Can Rouladen Be Made Ahead Of Time?

You can save time by assembling the rouladen in advance and chilling them until you’re ready to cook them.  They are also good reheated.

How Large Should the Slices of Beef Be?

They need to be large enough to stuff and roll up, at least 4×6 inches in size and about 1/4 inch thick.  This recipe makes 2 rouladen per person.  Alternatively you can make larger rouladen and serve one large rouladen per person.

Flour or Cornstarch to Thicken the Gravy?

You can use either.  Cornstarch will make a more translucent gravy and flour will make a slightly opaque gravy.  It just comes down to personal preference and/or allergies.

What Do I Serve With Rouladen?

Traditionally, Rouladen are served with Rotkohl and boiled potatoes or Knödel – either Semmelknödel (bread dumplings) or Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings).  Instead of potatoes or Knödel, they are also commonly served with Spätzle.

Get our recipe or Authentic German Rotkohl

rotkohl recipe

Get our recipe for Authentic German Semmelknödel (Bread Dumplings)

semmelknoedel recipe homemade German bread dumplings authentic traditional

Get our recipe for Authentic German Spätzle

spaetzle recipe homemade authentic traditional best German

Authentic Rouladen Recipe

Rouladen aren’t hard to make, but they do take time.  You can shave off some time on the day of your meal by assembling the rouladen ahead of time and chilling them until you’re ready to cook them.

Rouladen are made by spreading some German mustard on thinly cut slices of beef, adding bacon, sliced German pickles and chopped onions.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roll them up, securing the rolls with toothpicks or cooking twine.  Next you generously fry the rouladen in oil until they’re nicely browned on all sides.  They’re then removed and set aside so you can saute the onions and vegetables for the gravy.  Add the liquids and spices to the cooked veggies and nestle the rouladen in this mixture to simmer on low until the meat is fork tender.  The rouladen are removed, the sauce is poured through a strainer, and the resulting gravy is returned to the pot and thickened.  The rouladen are returned to the gravy, heated through and served with Rotkohl and boiled potatoes, Knödel, or Spätzle.

Below we’ve provided step-by-step pictured instructions to ensure your success!

rouladen recipe homemade how to make German authentic traditional beef roulades roll ups
© Arkadiusz Fajer | Dreamstime

Let’s get started!

Lay the beef slices out on a work surface. Spread each beef slices with about 2 teaspoons of German mustard and sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a strip of bacon on each beef slice so it’s running the same length as the beef. Place the sliced German pickles and chopped onions on each beef slice. how to make rouladen recipe

Roll up the beef slices, tucking in the sides as best you can and securing the beef rolls with toothpicks or cooking twine.

how to make rouladen

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy Dutch oven or pot (make sure it’s oven-safe if baking in the oven) and generously brown the rouladen on all sides. Browning them well will ensure a rich and flavorful gravy. Set the rouladen aside on a plate.

how to make rouladen

*Do not remove the browned bits in the bottom of the pan, it’s key to the most flavorful gravy!

Add the onions to the pot and a little more butter or oil if needed. Cook the onions until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the leek, carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the red wine, bring to a rapid boil for one minute, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 more minutes.

how to make rouladen

Add the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Nestle the rouladen in the pot.

Oven or Stovetop: You can cook the rouladen, covered, on the stovetop on low for about 90 minutes or until fork tender but for the most even cooking we recommend transferring the pot (make sure it’s oven-safe) to the oven preheated to 325 F and cook it there for about 90 minutes or until fork tender.

To Make the Rouladen Gravy:

When the beef is fork tender, remove the rouladen from the pot and set aside. Pour the liquid and vegetables through a strainer and reserve the liquid. (You can set the veggies aside for another purpose, they are yummy.  Or, as some of our readers have mentioned, you can puree the veggies in the blender and then return them to the gravy.)

how to make rouladen recipe gravy

Return the strained liquid back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Thicken the gravy either with either a cornstarch slurry (for a clear/translucent gravy) or flour slurry (for an opaque gravy). For a creamy gravy you can also add a few tablespoons of heavy cream at this point. Simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened.

Add the chilled butter, whisking constantly, until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add salt, pepper and mustard to taste. Note:  If you’d like creamy gravy you can stir in some heavy cream at this point.

Carefully remove the toothpicks or cooking twine from the rouladen and return them to the gravy and heat through.

how to make rouladen gravy

Serve the Rouladen with Rotkohl and either boiled potatoes, Semmelknödel (bread dumplings) or Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings) or Spätzle.

rouladen recipe homemade how to make German authentic traditional beef roulades roll ups

For more authentic German dishes, be sure to also try our:

rouladen recipe german traditional authentic bacon pickles onions mustard best

Authentic German Rouladen

One of Germany's most famous and delicious dishes, Rouladen are beef roulades filled with bacon, onions, mustard and pickles, then browned and simmered in an incredibly rich and flavorful gravy.
5 from 248 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Entree, Main Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 4 servings
Calories 392 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • For the Rouladen:
  • 8 slices top round beef, about 4x6 inches in size and 1/4 inch thick (*see note) (ask your butcher), gently pound the slices with a meat mallet until they're a little thinner than 1/4 inch (be careful not to pound holes into them)
  • 1/3 cup German yellow mustard
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 medium German pickles , sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Gravy:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 small leek , chopped, rinsed and drained in colander
  • 1 large carrot , chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk , chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups strong beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • cornstarch or flour dissolved in a little water for thickening (depending on how much gravy liquid there is you'll need about 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of water or 2-3 tablespoons flour dissolved in 1/4 - 1/3 cup water)

Instructions
 

  • Lay the beef slices out on a work surface. Spread each beef slices with about 2 teaspoons of mustard and sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a strip of bacon on each beef slice so it's running the same length as the beef. Place the sliced German pickles and chopped onions on each beef slice. Roll up the beef slices, tucking in the sides as best you can and securing the beef rolls with toothpicks or cooking twine.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a heavy Dutch oven or pot (make sure it's oven-safe if baking in the oven) and generously brown the rouladen on all sides. Browning them well will ensure a rich and flavorful gravy. Set the rouladen aside on a plate.
  • *Do not remove the browned bits in the bottom of the pan (important for a flavorful gravy): Add the onions to the pot and a little more butter or oil if needed. Cook the onions until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the leek, carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the red wine, bring to a rapid boil for one minute, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Nestle the beef rouladen in the pot.
    Oven or Stovetop: You can cook the rouladen, covered, on the stovetop on low for about 90 minutes or until fork tender, but for the most even cooking we recommend transferring the pot (make sure it's oven-safe) to the oven preheated to 325 F and cook it there for about 90 minutes or until fork tender.
  • To Make the Rouladen Gravy:
    When the beef is fork tender, remove the rouladen from the pot and set aside. Pour the liquid and vegetables through a strainer and reserve the liquid. (You can eat the veggies on the side or puree them in the blender and then return them to the gravy.) Return the strained liquid back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Thicken the gravy either with either a cornstarch slurry (for a clear/translucent gravy) or flour slurry (for an opaque gravy). For a creamy gravy you can also add a few tablespoons of heavy cream at this point. Simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened.
    Add the chilled butter, whisking constantly, until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add salt, pepper and mustard to taste. Note: If you prefer a creamy gravy you can stir in some heavy cream.
    Carefully remove the toothpicks or cooking twine from the rouladen and return them to the gravy and heat through.
  • Serve the rouladen and gravy with Homemade Rotkohl and either Homemade Spätzle, Homemade SemmelKnödel (or Kartoffelknödel) or boiled potatoes.

Notes

  • This recipe makes 2 rouladen per person.  Alternatively you can make larger rouladen for one large rouladen per person.  

Nutrition

Serving: 2rouladenCalories: 392kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 39gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1121mgPotassium: 360mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2073IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Rouladen
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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Recipe Rating




5 from 248 votes (122 ratings without comment)

375 Comments

  1. Should the mustard have mustard seeds in it? I am only finding german mustard that has the seeds in it.

  2. Hi, I’m having family visit soon and wanted to try and partially cook rouladen and sauerbraten then freeze it. What are your thoughts?

  3. Absolutely authentic rouladen! This is a fantastic recipe and like most dishes relies heavily on buying good meat. I recommend this highly!

  4. Made this recipe and it’s great. I puréed the veggies into the gravy and added Maggi to the gravy. After rolling them up , I place them seam side down ( no tying or pinning) and brown them in the air fryer ( turning once). It gives them a nice even browsing outside. I then transfer them ( seam down) to the non thickened gravy to simmer for a couple of hours. I remove them and thicken the gravy then

  5. Yes, these can be made in the Instant Pot / Foodi / pressure cooker. I made the roll ups, sauteed them in bacon grease, removed from pan, sauteed the vegetables, added the gravy ingredients, returned the rouladen to the pot, cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes, did a natural release, then added the flour slurry to thicken the gravy. They were fork tender and absolutely yummy!

  6. Can’t wait to try this recipe. The saurbratten turned out wonderful. But do have a question. What is meant by “strong beef broth”?

    1. Hi Christopher, I’m so glad you enjoyed the Sauerbraten, thank you! I look forward to hearing what you think about these Rouladen. For the beef broth I typically use Better Than Bouillon broth and instead of using the customary teaspoon per cup of water I’ll double or triple it to get a good, rich flavor. Happy cooking! :)

  7. I have prepped the actual Roulardens. Can I cook them tomorrow and reheat for Sunday. Y friend made them a few months ago and puréed the veggies into the gravy…..SO GOOD.

  8. i made this dish for several years, red cabbage boiled potatoes and the gravy. handed down from mother in law from Germany.

  9. Hi I’m from Silesia Poland we make them as well but German family Koln dont know them and also dumplings “kluski”with serwis them with altogether with red cabbage but they lived them while visited us. I’ll try to use you gravy with vegetables as we make gravy from the under meat base. Like you blog so much. Good job!

  10. How would you make extra gravy for this? Just add more broth? or would that dilute the rich flavor?

    1. Hi Tiffany, you can stretch the gravy a little with some extra broth but correct, if you add too much it will dilute the flavor. Start with a little, taste, and determine if you can get away with adding more.

  11. Just made this today, 12-25-22. I used deer cube steaks as the meat and a homemade mustard sauce as the mustard, and finally served this with mashed potatoes. Fabulous, delicious, and some of the richest brown gravy I’ve ever had! Everyone loved it!