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

Sauerbraten – Sweet and Sour Pot Roast

The traditional method of adding flavor and tenderizing tough cuts of meat for days makes for a delicious result. Long braising tenderizes the meat even further. With today's Instant Pot, it can take 1½ hours instead of the traditional 3-4 days to experience the same incredible flavors. Serve with red cabbage and mashed potatoes.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 days 4 hours
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Instant Pot
  • Immersion blender or food processor


  • 3-4 lb Beef rump, eye of round, chuck roast, or sirloin tip
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil (Sub: vegetable oil)
  • ½ cup Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Dry red wine
  • 1 cup Beef broth
  • ½ cube Bullion cubes, beef or chicken (Sub: bouillon granules)
  • 1 large Onion, sliced
  • 2 stalk Celery, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 stalk Carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 10 Ginger Snaps, crushed

Pickling Spices

  • 6 whole Peppercorns
  • 6 whole Cloves
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs Thyme (Sub: 1 tsp dried thyme for every 3 sprigs)
  • ¼ cup Brown sugar
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper


  • Prep – Place pickling spices in a cheese cloth bag. Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add ⅔ of the oil and let it get hot. Sprinkle generous amounts of salt and pepper over both sides of the meat. Brown both sides of meat, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Cook Vegetables – Add remaining oil to the pot still on SAUTE. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
    Add wine and vinegar to the pot and scape up any brown bits on the bottom, around 2 minutes. Stir in broth and bullion plus salt, pepper, and the spice bag.
  • Cooking Meat – Press CANCEL button and add beef and its juices back into the pot. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to MEAT/STEW and set the timer to 55 minutes with the Pressure valve set to Natural Release. Ten minutes after cooking is complete, do a quick release until the valve pops up. Remove the cover and carefully transfer meat to va cutting board and let rest 10 minutes covered in aluminum foil.
  • Make Gravy and Serve – Discard spice bag and mix in the crushed ginger snaps to the pot.
    Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the vegetable to nearly smooth or totally smooth. Set Instant Pot on SAUTE while slicing the meat. Slice meat thinly across the grain. Turn Instant Pot to CANCEL and taste the sauce and adjust seasoning to taste.
    Return sliced meat to the pot and spoon sauce over the meat to coat all the slices. Arrange meat on a serving platter and serve any remaining sauce on the side. 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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