Top 25 German Sweets and Desserts
Germany is not only famous for its beer, sausages and sauerkraut, but also for its delicious chocolate, gingerbread, and cookies. So let’s discover some of Germany’s best sweets and desserts.
If you’re looking for something savory instead, check out our round-up of the best 24 German foods.
Nussecke, or “nut corner” in English, is a cookie consisting of 3 layers: a shortcrust pastry base, a layer of jam or macaroon mixture, and a top layer of roasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or almonds.
After baking, the nussecke are traditionally cut into triangles or rectangles and coated with chocolate on the edges. You can typically find these at any bakery, and they don’t cost a lot of money either.
Käsestangen are delicacies made from puff pastry. Layers of grated parmesan cheese and sometimes spices such as paprika powder are rolled up between several layers of dough. This mass is then cut into strips, twisted like a corkscrew, sprinkled with cheese, and baked in the oven.
In addition, stick-shaped pastries are also called Käsestangen if they are baked or gratinated with different types of cheese. This is often prepared from pretzels or baguettes made from yeast dough, or pieces of shortcrust pastry.
The Hefezopf (yeast braid) is a uniquely shaped cake made of yeast dough made with egg and butter. For the baking process, the dough is divided into parts, rolled into strands, and braided. Before baking, the braid is coated with milk so that the typical browning occurs. It can also be sprinkled with sliced almonds or granulated sugar.
The pastry is often made with raisins, chocolate, or spices, or includes various fillings, such as nuts or poppy seeds. In Germany, it is often baked on special occasions such as Easter or New Year’s Eve and can also serve as a table decoration.
Rittersport is a very well-known brand of chocolate manufacturer from Germany. Particularly noticeable and well-known are the small, colorful chocolate squares that come in different flavors, and sometimes with cookies or pieces of nuts. It’s also typical for them to have a division so they can be broken off into smaller squares and shared with friends.
Interestingly enough, Rittersport is the only square chocolate bar in all of Germany, because the inventor wanted to come out with a chocolate bar that didn’t break into pieces so easily when kept in her jacket pocket.
A Franzbrötchen is a sweet pastry made of a special danish pastry-like dough that is filled with sugar and cinnamon. It is a specialty from Hamburg in particular and is often served with coffee and cake, which is a valued fourth meal in Germany, or with breakfast.
There are also variations of Franzbrötchen with raisins, crumble, chocolate chips, marzipan, poppy seeds, or pumpkin seeds. These treats are very popular with children, as the pastries are prepared relatively quickly and do not require many ingredients.
20. Kinder Riegel
Kinder Riegel is another well-known sweet from Germany. It is a combination of milk and chocolate in a stick form and is one of the most original products from the Kinder brand. Kinder means children in German, and therefore is very popular at birthday parties or as a small gift from the neighbors.
Nowadays, the Kinder company has also introduced chocolate bonbons, bars, and other products with nuts or sweet milk cream. However, the children’s bar will always be a unique brand, as they also used to put faces of children on their products as advertising.
19. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake) is a cream cake that has been popular in Germany for almost 100 years and has become one of the most popular German cakes recently. The essential components are chocolate cake bases flavored with cherry water (i.e. Kirsch), a flavored cherry filling, cream, cherries, and chocolate flakes as a decoration.
These black chocolate flakes could have led to the name, as it resembles a forest like Germany’s Black Forest. The term “Black Forest Cherry” is used today by numerous food producers for a wide variety of products, such as cream rolls, yogurt, or ice cream. It usually refers to the combination of cherries and chocolate.
Related: Best 19 Kirsch Substitutes
18. Rote Grütze
The name is derived from the typical red color due to the fruits used. Grütze refers to the use of crushed starchy ingredients, which are the reason for its typical consistency. For the classic preparation, currants and raspberries are boiled with water and then strained through a sieve.
Depending on the recipe, it can be seasoned with sugar, lemon, vanilla, wine, or spirits. Starch from wheat, corn, potatoes, or rice is used for binding and making it thicker. Then some whole fruits are added to give it more flavor. Whipped cream, vanilla sauce, and ice cream are often served with it as well.
Schneeball is a pastry made from shortcrust pastry. It is common in Mid and South Germany, and especially in the Franconia region of Bavaria. It owes its name to its spherical shape and traditional decoration with powdered sugar that makes it look like a snowball. The Schneeball has a diameter of about 8 to 10 cm.
While they were once mainly served on special occasions such as weddings, the round cookies can now be purchased in most bakeries, pastry shops, and cafés around Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl in Bavaria, Germany.
In addition to the classic snowballs dusted with powdered sugar, you can also find them covered with chocolate and nuts, as well as with marzipan and other creations, which makes them a perfect souvenir too.
16. HARIBO Goldbären
HARIBO is a German sweets and candy manufacturer, and their best-known product are the gummy bears called HARIBO Goldbären, which means gold bears in English. Goldbären are fruit gummies in the shape of a bear about two centimeters tall. They are made of sugar, sugar syrup, and a solidified gelatin mixture that gives them their gummy consistency.
All these gold bears got a smiling face a few years ago when Haribo produced the “Goldbären-Fan-Edition” in the German national colors for the soccer World Cup in 2014.
15. Dresdner Weihnachtsstollen
Stollen is a bread-shaped cake made from heavy yeast dough. Its important ingredients are butter and dried fruits (often raisins), or other fillings such as marzipan or poppy seeds. They are mainly made around Christmas following tradition and are called Weihnachtsstollen.
This pastry has its origin in Eastern Germany, in the city of Dresden. Many families meet on Sundays in December for a few pieces of this pastry with coffee to start the Christmas season.
Quarkbällchen are fried dough balls made from yeast dough and usually quark. The pieces are normally cooked in hot fat for 4 to 6 minutes and then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. They are often sold at a Christmas market or at food markets and are perfect on the go, as they are small.
This sweet, chocolaty treat consists of crispy rye bread that is coated with fine milk chocolate. Knusperflocken is considered particularly traditional, because at the time Germany was divided in two, it was only offered for sale in East Germany. It is still a popular snack today.
12. Berliner Pfannkuchen
Berliner Pfannkuchen are deep-fried pastries that are fried in fat, made of a sweet yeast dough, contain a jam filling, and are usually dusted with fine sugar or covered with a sugar glaze. For the typical Berliner Pfannkuchen, sweet yeast dough is made with egg, milk, and butter. The filling is usually made of very sweet berry jams. Other recipes also contain cream or vanilla cream, nougat, or alcoholic beverages, such as eggnog.
Spritzring are donut-shaped pastries made from a very sweet dough and are not filled. To prepare them, lightly sweetened dough is formed into rings on parchment paper with a piping bag and a star-shaped nozzle. Then they are cooked while floating in fat. Next, the drained pastries are sprinkled with powdered sugar or glazed with fondant on top. The taste is very sweet. They are sold nationwide in all common German bakeries.
Bienenstich is a traditional sheet cake made from sweet dough with a topping of a fat-sugar-almond mixture that caramelizes when baked. This German cake is filled with cream, buttercream, fat cream, light vanilla cream, or a pudding mixture. There are variations of the Bienenstich in the shape of a round cakes instead of squares. The origin of the funny name Bienenstich, which means “bee sting” in English, is unclear.
This is a sweet, strongly flavored pastry that comes in a variety of shapes and variations. In German culture, it is an important part of the Christmas tradition and is eaten with pleasure.
Children love to roll out the dough and cut out fun shapes. After baking it, they decorate the cookie-like pastries with icing or chocolate and paint funny faces on them. Some build houses out of the same dough, decorate it with chocolate and candy, and eat it during the Christmas season.
Related: Most Popular German Christmas Foods
These typical German pastries can be found in many bakeries. You can recognize it by the fact that it is filled with poppy seeds and might also be decorated with them. It tastes very sweet and is greasy, because a lot of sugar and butter is used in the preparation. As the last step, sugar icing is drawn over the snail-like pastry.
These are German pastries made from fatty dough, usually the size of a fist or smaller, and filled with whipped cream or vanilla cream. Sometimes you can find them served with additional fruits, such as sour cherries or jam. They can have both sweet and savory fillings, such as quark, cream cheese, or avocado puree.
For preparation, small portions of the sweet dough are placed on a baking sheet with a piping bag. After baking, the pastries are cut open while still hot and then filled after cooling.
Spekulatius is a flat-shaped pastry made from seasoned shortcrust pastry in the form of figurative representations. The most common is the spiced Spekulatius, which gets its typical taste from the spices cardamom, clove, and cinnamon.
There is also the almond Spekulatius, which is slightly more subtle and coated with almond slivers on one side before baking. The butter Spekulatius is also very popular. Like other Christmas cookies, Spekulatius is marketed as Advent or “autumn cookies” and is offered in stores and consumed in early autumn.
Zimtsterne are Christmas cookies from Germany made from egg whites, sugar, at least 25% almonds, cinnamon, and a maximum of 10% flour. This recipe goes back a long way in German history. The mentioned ingredients are used to make a compact dough that is easy to roll out.
After drying, an egg white glaze is applied and the star-shaped cookies are cut out. They are then baked on baking trays over low heat, in which the egg white glaze only congeals and does not take on any color.
4. Ahoj Brause
Ahoj Brause is an effervescent powder packaged in small pouches. Well-known flavors are cola, woodruff, raspberry, orange, and lemon. In addition to the powder, which can be used as a drink when mixed with water, there are also effervescent chunks and pills. The taste is very sweet and sour, and it gives a funny feeling on the tongue. It mostly contains sugar.
Karottenkuchen is very popular not only in Switzerland but especially in Germany. Grated carrots are added to the sweet dough, and many recipes have a topping made from cream cheese. There are also recipes using powdered sugar instead. The cake takes on a strong orange color thanks to the carrots and is particularly popular around Easter.
2. Dickmann (Schokoküsse)
These funny-looking sweets are made from soft foam sugar, which is placed on a waffle and coated with chocolate or a fat glaze. The sugared protein foam, which is sometimes mixed with cocoa and/or rum flavor, is coated with white, milk, or dark chocolate. They are often simply called Dickmann after the company who made them instead of their real name Schokoküsse.
Bretzel is a pastry in the form of a symmetrically intertwined dough strand, which can consist of pretzel dough sprinkled with salt, or it can be made with a sweet taste. The pretzel has been used as a symbol of the baker’s trade since the Middle Ages. In Bavaria it is very common in every bakery and sold at the famous Oktoberfest.