German Rouladen

German Rouladen melts in your mouth by the time it has simmered in its juices for an hour or two.  This is a typical Sunday dinner or holiday recipe.  Rouladen is a traditional German recipe which literally translates to ‘roll ups’.

I came to realize a number of years into my marriage into a German heritage family that most of my family holiday entertaining recipes were German.  I am not particularly sure why except that when you were entertaining my traditional German father-in-law, traditional German cooking was generally a much safer bet!

I guess also the more English childhood recipes from my Mom – think ham and scalloped potatoes- though delicious were not as intriguing as a new type of cuisine. Regardless of the reason I am happy to have this recipe in my repertoire!

Because the Kitchener Waterloo area has a strong German background I can go to the meat market and buy rouladen cutlets. The are escalopes of beef usually about 10″ long by 4-6″ wide and about 1/4 ” thick.  If you have to ask your butcher to cut them for you ask for inside or top round cut to the above specifications.rouladen-prep

For the mustard slather I just trickle a zig zag line the length of the rouladen from the squirt jar. Then I smooth it all over the  face of the meat. All that to say… I am guessing at the 6 Tbsps below!

The ‘roll ups’ are typically slathered with mustard, topped with onion and bacon and rolled around a dill pickle slice.  I sometimes use whole baby dill pickles if they are approximately the width of my rouladen.  If I only have large dills then I would halve them lengthwise.

My mother-in-law had a good trick – she always used 2 toothpicks per roll up whether she needed two or not. That way she knew if she removed 2 from each rouladen she had them all.  This is more important than you might think!  I always double check the number of toothpicks I have removed at the end…and I have had to go back for a missing one more than once!


Two German rouladen on a plate with crispy potatoes

This recipe makes a lot of broth that you thicken to gravy consistency.  I like to serve it with red cabbage on the side and lots of mashed or roasted potatoes to take advantage of all that gravy!

German Rouladen

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Course: Main Dish
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings


  • 12 rouladen slices (or inside round cut 1/4" thick about 10" X 6")
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 6 Tbsps yellow mustard
  • 2 medium onions finely diced
  • 10 strips bacon finely minced
  • 6 dill pickles halved lengthwise to make 12 spears
  • 2 Tbsps vegetable oil
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsps dried thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsps each cornstarch and water
  • 24 toothpicks


  • Lay the rouladen out flat on a work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.
  • Drizzle mustard the length of the meat and smear it all over the face of the meat with a knife.
  • Mix onion and bacon in a small bowl. Sprinkle onion and bacon over the surface of the rouladen leaving about a 1/4 " from the outside edges.
  • Place a dill pickle spear across the widest end of the rouladen. Starting at the pickle end, roll the meat lengthwise into a roll. Secure with 2 toothpicks.
  • Repeat with remaining rouladen.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet, large enough to eventually hold all 12 rouladen. Brown the rouladen a couple of minutes on each side. You may have to do this in batches. Remove browned rouladen and repeat in batches until they are all browned.
  • Return all rouladen back to the skillet. Pour enough broth into the skillet to come half way up the rouladen. Add the herbs and spices.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer about 90 minutes. Check half way through to see if you need to add more broth to keep the level halfway up the rouladen.
  • When rouladen is cooked remove the rolls and keep warm. Remove the toothpicks from each rouladen.
  • Strain and reserve the broth. Discard the solids and return the broth to the skillet. Add water to the cornstarch to dissolve it. Add to the broth and bring to a boil. Stir until it reaches the thickness you want. Depending on how much broth you have you may have to add another Tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in water to get a nicy gravy consistency.
  • Serve on a platter with gravy on the side.



Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 983mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

German Rouladen

2 Replies to “German Rouladen”

  1. This is the EXACT same recipe I always use when I make rouladen, although I finish cooking them in my pressure cooker. My grandmother taught me how to make these rouladen many moons ago. Five stars!!

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