German Sweet & Sour Roast Beef (Sauerbraten)

Sauerbraten is a traditional German roast recipe that translates to “sour roasted meat”. It’s not the most appealing name, but ask anyone who has ever had sauerbraten and they will tell you it’s a dish they’ll never forget.

The meat is marinated for anywhere from 2 to 10 days in a mixture of red wine, vinegar, and spices that both tenderize and flavor the meat. This tenderization is needed as traditionally the cuts of meat used are tougher and cheaper than other cuts of meat. 

One of the more interesting things about sauerbraten is that crushed gingersnaps are used to thicken and flavor the sauce that is spooned over the sliced meat. Fun!

Sauerbraten – Sweet and Sour Pot Roast

This method of adding flavor and tenderizing tougher cuts of meat makes for a delicious result. Long braising tenderizes the meat even more. Sauerbraten can be cooked on the stove, in a slow cooker, or with an Instant Pot. Any way you cook it, sitting the dish in the refrigerator for a day allows the flavors to meld. Serve with red cabbage and potato dumplings.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Marinating: 5 days
Total Time: 3 days 4 hours
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large pot or Dutch oven with cover


  • 3-4 lb Beef rump or sirloin tip
  • cup White vinegar
  • 1 cup Dry red wine
  • ¾ cup Water
  • 3 medium Onions, sliced
  • 2 stalk Celery, sliced
  • 2 stalk Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 10 whole Peppercorns
  • 10 whole Cloves
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Flour
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 8 Ginger Snaps, crushed


  • Marinade Meat – Place meat in a large plastic freezer bag. In a large bowl, combine vinegar, wine, water, onions, celery, carrots, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, sugar, and salt. Close bag and place in the refrigerator for 3-6 days, turning at least once a day.
  • Cooking Meat – Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove meat from bag and reserve marinade. Heat oil in Dutch oven. Dry meat thoroughly, dust lightly with flour and sear meat in oil until browned on all sides. Add 1½ cups of the reserved marinade along with some of the vegetables to the pot. Cover and place in the oven for 3 to 4 hours. Check occasionally to be sure there's a least ½-inch liquid on the bottom. If not, top off with a little more marinade. After 3 hours check on meat. It will be done when a fork will come out easily. When done, remove meat and keep warm under foil.
  • Make Gravy and Serve – Strain drippings into a large measuring cup with 3 ice cubes. After a few minutes, skim fat from top.
    Pour measuring cup contents with ginger snaps back into Dutch oven over medium heat. Mix in 5 tbsp flour and cook until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. If seems to thick, thin with a little reserved marinade and keep cooking. Whisk in 2 tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
    Slice meat ½-inch thick and arrange on a serving platter. Lightly knap meat slices with gravy and serve the rest in a sauceboat. Serve with dumplings, spaetzle, boiled potatoes, or potato pancakes.


  • Marinate at least 3-5 days before cooking.
  • Can be completely cooked days in advance and also freezes nicely.


Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 976mg | Potassium: 970mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6mg

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