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Authentic Zwiebelkuchen

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Authentic German Zwiebelkuchen recipe from the heart of Swabia in southern Germany!  Loads of caramelized onions and savory bacon are packed into this incredibly delicious pie that has been a favorite for generations!

zwiebelkuchen recipe german onion pie quiche

What is Zwiebelkuchen?

Autumn in Germany means a great many things to me, among them the brilliance of leaves changing color, harvested grapes from scenic hillsides, and Zwiebelkuchen, one of my favorite baked goods.  This directly translates to “onion cake” but it’s actually a delicious savory pie.

Growing up in southern Germany, I always looked forward to the Fall, one reason being that it meant enjoying this incredibly delicious German Zwiebelkuchen.  Another reason – grape season. Traditionally Zwiebelkuchen is enjoyed with a glass of Federweisser, or grape must.  Not being an alcohol drinker, I always enjoyed it with a glass of delicious freshly squeezed grape juice. During the Fall, right after the grape harvests, you can find roadside stands selling it in large jugs and never did a year go by that we didn’t stop at least once to load up.

There are a few varieties of Zwiebelkuchen, depending which region you’re in.  Some are flat and cut into squares with a thinner layer of the topping, others are thicker and deeper like pie.  This version is from Swabia where I grew up.  A favorite past-time is going to the Black Forest in the Fall and enjoying a slice of Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen at a Cafe, made with delicious local Black Forest bacon.

zwiebelkuchen recipe german onion pie quiche

Swabian Zwiebelkuchen is typically round and deep, like quiche, though the flat varieties can also be found in bakeries throughout southern Germany.  But whatever the shape, traditional Zwiebelkuchen always consists of yeast dough, topped with buttery caramelized onions, savory bacon, and a thick creamy base.  Often, as in this version, caraway seeds are also included which add a wonderful depth and dimension of flavor.

I developed this recipe a few years ago as Autumn set in and I was craving the Zwiebelkuchen I always enjoyed in Germany.  If you like onions, butter and bacon, you will love this Zwiebelkuchen, guaranteed!


1)  Use good quality bacon with a nice, smoky flavor for best results.

2)  You can also use pie crust (homemade or store-bought refrigerated) if you prefer.

*Dough recipe has been updated, there was a typo in the milk quantity.

zwiebelkuchen recipe German onion bacon pie authentic traditional

Zwiebelkuchen Recipe

Let’s get started!

Fry the bacon until crispy.

frying bacon

Add the onions and cook for 30-30 minutes until nicely caramelized.

Let the onion mixture cool.

onion bacon mixture

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl.

preparing filling ingredients

Beat until combined.

preparing filling

Add the onion mixture and stir to combine.

adding onion mixture to filling

Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust in a 9-inch springform.

A springform is critical as you will need to release the pie from it.  I’m happy with my Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Non-Stick Springform.

Sprinkle with a few caraway seeds.

pouring filling into pastry crust

Bake in the oven preheated to 400 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until the top is light brown and the center of the pie feels fairly firm to the touch.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Can be eaten lukewarm or cold.

zwiebelkuchen recipe German onion bacon pie authentic traditional


zwiebelkuchen recipe German onion bacon pie authentic traditional

For more traditional German recipes be sure to try our:

zwiebelkuchen recipe German onion bacon pie authentic traditional

Zwiebelkuchen (German Onion Pie)

Germany's most famous (and delicious) way of celebrating Autumn!  This version comes from Germany's southern region of Swabia.
4.97 from 32 votes
Course Appetizer, Brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 6
Calories 398 kcal


  • Note: You can use pie crust instead of yeast dough per personal preference
  • For the Yeast Dough Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm (not hot) milk
  • 1 package yeast
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ¼ lbs yellow onions ,finely diced
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon ,finely diced
  • 1 ½ cups full fat sour cream
  • 4 large eggs ,or 3 extra large
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • To make the crust:
    Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the flour and salt in a food processor and make a well in the center. Add the butter and pour the milk mixture over. Using a dough hook, knead the dough on the “bread” setting for about 6 minutes. Add more milk or flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball, spray the same bowl with oil oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. (I usually turn the oven on 350 degrees F for about 1 minute just until it’s a warm, turn it off, and let the dough rise in the oven).
  • To make the filling:
    Fry up the bacon. When the bacon is done add the onions to it along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Reduce the heat and let the onions slowly caramelize to a nice golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  • In a bowl, combine 1 ½ cups full fat sour cream, eggs, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and some freshly ground pepper. Add the onion/bacon mixture to it and thoroughly combine everything.
  • If using refrigerated pie crust, grease the springform and gently press the crust into the pan, leaving about 1/2 inch or so margin along the top. If making the dough yourself, once the yeast dough has risen, butter a medium-sized springform (9 inches or so) and spread out the yeast dough on the bottom and up the sides (leaving about ½ inch from the top). The dough will keep retracting, just work fairly quickly and then immediately pour the onion mixture into it (it will hold the dough in place), sprinkle a few caraway seeds on top, and put it in the oven.
  • Place the Zwiebelkuchen on the middle shelf in the oven preheated to 400 degrees F and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is light brown and the center of the pie feels fairly firm to the touch. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Can be eaten lukewarm or cold.


Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 11gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 1314mgPotassium: 146mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 535IUCalcium: 37mgIron: 2.3mg
Keyword German Onion Pie, Zwiebelkuchen
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

4.97 from 32 votes (12 ratings without comment)


  1. Love, love, love butter, bacon and onions. This recipe sounds so delicious and satisfying. Can it also be made crustless as muffins? Any special steps or precautions?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

      1. Thank you for your reply and advice, Kimberly. Much appreciated. Will definitely
        try your version. All the best.

  2. Very good recipe. I ended up cooking about twice the bacon as called for, but mine was pretty fatty and it reduced quite a bit. A lot “lighter” than I expected. I saw a comment about having shredded potato in it. I think I’ll add that next time!

  3. My relatives come from the Langenbrücken area, they do not use bacon or caraway, and add a small finely grated potato to the mix.
    I am so glad you have added these recipes. Thank-you.

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I grew up in Schwabenland and have been making Zwiebelkuchen ever since I moved to the US. I found that authentic smoked German Schinkenspeck or Westphalian Schinken or Nuss Schinken taste better in a Zwiebelkuchen than American bacon. It actually makes a huge difference. You can order the mentioned smoked meats online. There are plenty of German meat markets in the US that ship to your doorstep.

  5. In the recipe it calls for 4 large eggs or 3 Xtra large eggs. For the filling it states use 2 eggs? I thought maybe the Xtra eggs were for the crust but no eggs in there. Please clarify as I would like to make this for my German husband. Thank you! Anna Marie Hirsch

    1. Hi Anna Marie, I’m not seeing anywhere where it says to use 2 eggs. In step 6 it says to add the “eggs”, and you’ll want to add all of them in that step. Happy baking and I hope you both enjoy it!

  6. Have you ever tried pizza crust dough from the grocery store? It seems like that would more closely resemble the yeast dough than using pie crust. Just wondered if anyone has tried it.

  7. Marion,
    I have used low fat and fat free sour cream before, which worked great. You may want to try non-dairy “sour cream”, (or even plain low fat or fat free Greek yoghurt, which I have used to make German baked cheesecake, in place of Ricotta or the German Quark, worked like a charm), and see how that works. I don’t think mayonnaise would be the thing to use, though. Good luck on your test “runs”!

  8. This sounds perfect for a lovely summer lunch. Both my husband and I cannot cope with sour cream and I was wondering if anyone had substituted mayonaise. Thank you.

  9. Fantastic recipe! Thank you! For several years I had a close-friend who used to make her “homestyle” version of this from her childhood and I’ve occasionally craved it over the years. However, being a non meat-eater/gluten free my cooking options can be somewhat limited however I’ve learned over the years how to improvise on the fly and my turkey-bacon/homemade gluten free crust worked out fantastically.

    The only small problem I ran into was that for some reason the pie “rose like a soufflé” and at 35 minutes in the oven the pie was literally 8″ tall with a ballooned “crust” that had reached so high that it was basically chocolate brown. I let it cook to a full 55 (with ballooned top still in place) and after taking it out and letting it cool it deflated and back to a normal size (just looking like a chocolate pie!).

    In any case it was delicious… not burnt at all and even better the next day cold!