How To Host The Perfect German Dinner Party

These are the recipes and phrases you need to host an authentic German meal. Lederhosen are optional.
German Dinner Party

The rules are simple: pick a date, invite your friends and then follow the guide below to host a German dinner party the guests won’t soon forget! Our three favorite food groups — beer, meat and carbs — will be thoroughly represented. This is a German meal, after all. Ready? Sehr gut!

Drink: Beer

Pilsner Beer
Photo: Paul Hudson | Flickr

Beer is about as German as it gets, so obviously it’s the drink of choice for an authentic German dinner party. The most popular beer in Germany is pilsner, a golden-colored lager often referred to simply as “pils”. Pilsner originates from the Czech city of Pilsen, and there are some differences between the Czech and German varieties. German pilsners tend to be lighter, drier and crisper than their Czech counterparts. Make sure you pick up a German brand, like Weihenstephan, Ayinger or Bitburger. Another option is to offer wheat beer (weissbier), which tends to be more popular in the Bavarian region of Germany.

Appetizer: Brezeln (Soft Pretzels)

German dinner party Brezeln


Homemade soft pretzels are a common snack in Germany, and they make for a simple yet tasty appetizer. They’re often dipped in lye, but this recipe gives an easier (and less corrosive) alternative. The recipe calls for pretty ordinary ingredients: water, milk, flour, yeast, oil, salt, sugar and baking soda. Traditionally, Germans will eat Brezeln with butter; dipping them in mustard or cheese sauce is an Americanization.

Main Course: Jaeger Schnitzel Mit Spaetzle

Jaeger Schnitzel with Spaetzle
Photo: Jeanette’s Edelweiss

When looking for an authentic German dish, schnitzel is a very safe bet. Schnitzel is essentially a thin cutlet of any type of meat, usually breaded and fried. Jaeger schnitzel is a veal cutlet topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. Spaetzle, a common side dish in Germany, is simply soft egg noodles in the shape of tiny dumplings.

This delicious recipe pairs the two German food staples for the ideal main course. The ingredients are relatively straightforward and the total cooking time is about an hour and a half. It takes a bit of effort, but your dinner guests won’t be disappointed!

Dessert: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)

Black Forest Cake
Photo: Mikel Ortega | Flickr

You’ve probably heard of Black Forest cake, and maybe you’ve even tried it. It was invented by a patissier who hailed from the Black Forest region of Germany, a mountainous area in the southwest part of the country. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a decadent and very popular chocolate cake, filled with black cherries and kirsch (cherry brandy).

Try this recipe! Keep in mind that it takes quite a while to make an authentic Black Forest cake, so be sure to start a couple of days before your dinner party. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to make this incredible dessert the right way.

Key German Phrases

I’m hungry — Ich habe Hunger

I’m full — Ich bin satt

Please — Bitte

Thank you — Danke

You’re welcome — Gern geschehen

Enjoy your meal — Guten Appetit

It’s delicious! — Das ist lecker!

Cheers! — Prost!

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