This authentic German rouladen recipe is going to become one of those recipes your family begs you to make for special occasions. A rolled slice of beef stuffed and roasted is full of rich flavor, a delicious sauce, and ideal for comfort food cravings. This recipe takes longer than most we share, but the time spent is well worth the investment. Rouladen is a fabulous beef recipe that combines traditional German flavors to create a new family favorite.
Authentic German Rouladen Recipe
Admittedly, when I think of German foods, my mind immediately goes to bratwurst, sauerkraut, and spätzle. I had never made a rouladen before this recipe, so when it was shared I was a bit worried about if I could manage to bring out the right flavors. There was no worry. This was indeed one of the recipes that's a bit more time consuming to prepare, but not terribly difficult. The result was fantastic.
If you are a fan of more traditional German flavors that include great spice, richness with just a bit of sour or tart, you will love this beef rouladen. Embrace something new and unique and prepare this dish to surprise your family.
Where Does Rouladen Come From?
Beef rouladen is a traditional Polish or German recipe that combines all of the best flavors you enjoy in traditional German foods. The tender cuts of rich beef pair perfectly with the sourness of the mustard and pickles, and the richness of the tomato and wine sauce.
While it is most widely known for being a Polish dish, there are versions in the Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, and Russia that some love. Adjust this recipe to fit your take on rouladen, but follow it exactly for an authentic German recipe.
What Cut of Beef is Rouladen?
Typically the beef for a rouladen is a silverside or topside cut. You can easily use a flank steak or skirt steak in this recipe if desired. Since it has a longer cooking time, you don't have to worry about it being overly tough. It will tenderize both in preparation and in the slow cooking process.
If you are unsure what silverside or topside is, you can check with your local butcher or the meat counter at a market to ask for it to be cut to order. This is often the easiest way to get the beef sliced thin and evenly for this recipe.
Can You Make Rouladen Ahead of Time?
You can definitely make this recipe ahead of time. It works well as a freezer meal and also as a meal you can prep 1-2 days in advance of baking. My preferred method is to do the prep work for this the evening before I plan to serve it, so I can easily cook it for dinner.
If you plan to prepare it as a freezer meal, I highly recommend preparing just the meat portion and creating the sauce the day you serve the recipe. Roll the beef and then place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for two hours, then remove and place the rolls into a large freezer storage bag. Date and label the bag, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan to cook and serve the rouladen.
This is good for 2 days in the refrigerator before cooking or up to 4 months in the freezer before thawing and cooking. You can also cook completely and freeze for up to 3 months to thaw and reheat to serve.
- Sweet mustard
- White onion
- Olive oil
- Red wine
- Chicken broth
- Tomato paste
- Bay leaf
- Yellow mustard
- Sour cream
- Meat mallet
- Cooking twine
How to Make German Rouladen
Prepare the beef by tenderizing with a meat mallet until it is an even thickness.
Brush the top of the beef with mustard, then a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Lay 3 pieces of bacon onto each slice of beef.
Now, place a pickle and some onions onto the sliced beef horizontally, and roll the beef around the vegetables then tie together with cooking twine.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat then cook each side of the beef roulade for 2-3 minutes until it is nicely browned
Remove the beef rolls from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Now, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and saute the remaining onion and carrots for 2-3 minutes.
Mix in the tomato paste, garlic, the bay leaf, and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Pour in the red wine and broth, then stir well.
Add the beef rolls back into the skillet and bring the liquid mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer on low for 1 hour.
Remove the beef rolls from the pan and cut then remove the twine.
Strain the sauce from the skillet into a separate pan that is over medium heat.
Add the cold butter, mustard, and sour cream into the sauce and whisk.
Place the beef rolls into the skillet with the sauce, and cook for an additional 15 minutes before serving.
What do You Serve With Rouladen?
Typically, this recipe would be served with a side of red cabbage, noodles, or potatoes. I love this with my homemade egg noodles recipe and a side of veggies. Others may prefer to serve with this potato onion cake recipe, homemade potato pierogi, or these leftover mashed potato pancakes. You could even serve with this recipe for Instant Pot mashed cauliflower for more vegetables in the meal.
When you are making rouladen, you need to pound the beef into a thin layer for rolling. In this case, you may want to use a meat tenderizer to make sure the beef is both tender and thin enough to roll. I recommend using a traditional meat mallet but have recently fallen in love with the meat tenderizer that also punctures the meat with small holes to help break up the tissue.
- 6 slices beef topside
- 18 slices bacon
- ¼ cup sweet mustard
- 6 pickle spears
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
For Finishing Sauce
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- ½ cup sour cream
- Tenderize the beef slices until an even thickness;
- Divide the ¼ cup mustard between the slices of beef and brush to coat one side, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with 3 pieces of bacon per slice of beef;
- Place a pickle spear and a few pieces of onion onto each slice of beef horizontally then roll into a roulade and tie with cooking twine to secure;
- In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat then cook each side of the beef roulade for 2-3 minutes until it is nicely browned;
- Remove the beef rolls from the pan and set aside;
- Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the pan along with the onion and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes;
- Mix in the tomato paste, garlic, the bay leaf, and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the beef back into the skillet along with the sauce, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for one hour;
- After 1 hour, remove the beef rolls from the pan and strain the sauce into a new pan removing the bits of vegetabels and herbs;
- Add the cold butter, additional mustard, and sour cream into the sauce and whisk together then bring to a simmer;
- Remove the twine from the beef;
- Place the beef back into the pan with the sauce and cook for an additional 15 minutes;
- Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and your favorite sides.
This recipe can be made with thinly sliced veal or pork if preferred.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 565Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 1430mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 37g