german-food-vocabulary

62 Delicious Words to Master German Food Vocabulary

Eating is about much more than simple nourishment.

Anyone who’s gobbled a smoky, spicy wurst (sausage) straight from a Berlin food stand knows.

It’s about comfort, flavor, traditions and culture.

It’s something that connects us to friends, family or the places we visit.

So if you really want to improve not only your German language skills, but also your understanding of Germany itself, it’s time to sit down with a knife and fork.

This article will introduce you to more than 60 important German food vocabulary words for your shopping, cooking and dining needs. We’ll also give you some study tips to incorporate these words and German food culture as a whole into your life.
 


 
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Basic German Dishes and Food Culture

Every German likes a hearty, traditional, home-cooked meal. Preferably some Sauerbraten (a type of pot roast), Bratwurst (German sausage) or Käsespätzle (a German noodle dish), but there’s a lot of variety between regions. Typical German food is rather heavy and often includes meat, accompanied by some side dish such as noodles, potatoes or dumplings in all forms.

While German food remains popular, we can also see a trend toward a more international cuisine. One of Germany’s favorite dishes is Spaghetti Bolognese, which is meaty but not very German. If you don’t like meat, don’t worry—you’ll be able to find vegetarian options.

For those who like it sweet, Germany’s cuisine is also filled with delicious cakes and pastries. You can also find an incredible range of chocolates, cookies and candies on the store shelves.

Typically, Germans start their day with a nice breakfast, consisting of a bread roll or a slice of wholegrain bread with ham and cheese, or butter and jam, all washed down with a strong cup of coffee. Some people prefer healthier options such as cereal with fruit.

Lunch is considered the main meal of the day. Dinner is usually a smaller, cold meal including an assortment of deli meats and sausages, cheese, German wholegrain bread and a variety of vegetables.

However, with today’s busy lifestyles many people eat their warm meal in the evening.

Many families keep traditions up by having a fancy, home-cooked German family lunch on weekends.

Tips for Top Chef Status in Your German Kitchen

Get Familiar with German Food Measurements

Before you get out your measuring cups, it’s important to know that Germans use the metric system. Gramm/g (grams), Liter/l (liters) and Kilogramm/kg (kilograms) are the main measurements you need for grocery shopping and cooking in Germany. They also use Celsius/C instead of Fahrenheit.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy new scales and measurement tools—you can simply use a conversion chart or an online conversion tool.

Some German recipes also use the U.S. measurements TL/Teelöffel (teaspoon) and EL/Esslöffel (tablespoon).

Be Aware of Grammatical Gender and Plurals

As you probably know, all German nouns come with an article. We’ve got the masculine der, the feminine die, the neutral das and the plural die.

Be aware that some foods, such as das Obst (fruit) der Reis (rice) and die Butter (butter) don’t have a plural word. If you need to use them in plural, you can simply use the singular article plus the singular noun. For some other words, such as der Zucker (sugar), das Gemüse (vegetables) and der Käse (cheese), the plural form is the same as the singular, but the article changes.

The easiest way to memorize food vocabulary with the correct articles is to label items around your house with the article included. In other words, think of the article as a permanent part of the word itself.

Don’t have the time or patience to draw up all those labels yourself? Just grab some Vocabulary Stickers, which are fun, durable vocabulary labels for household items including food and kitchen words. The best part is they all come color-coded according to the article, which makes them that much more memorable.

Make Grocery Shopping a Learning Experience

Every trip to a German food market will automatically turn into a great learning experience. Just take your time, read the different labels and try to memorize the names of different items.

Even if you haven’t had the chance to visit Germany yet, you can still turn your grocery shopping into a fun vocabulary game at home. Just write your shopping list in German with the help of your German textbook or dictionary and then try to find the right items at the store.

Pro tip: being able to talk about quantities comes in handy during grocery shopping or when ordering food at a restaurant. When asking for a quantity “of” something, Germans simply skip the “of.” For example:

ein Stück Kuchen – a slice of cake

drei Kilogramm Äpfel – three kilograms of apples

100 Gramm Schinken – 100 grams of ham

eine Scheibe Käse – one slice of cheese

zwei Säcke Kartoffeln – two bags of potatoes

ein bisschen Zucker – a bit of sugar

ein Glas Wasser – a glass of water

Cook German Recipes

What would you like to cook today? Some hearty meat dish or maybe some sweet German dessert?

German recipes are a great way to test your vocabulary knowledge. If you don’t feel confident about it yet, don’t worry, you can still use your dictionary.

The website Essen & Trinken (Eat & Drink) provides you with a great variety of easy recipes, for every taste.

62 Useful German Food Vocabulary Words for Hungry Language Learners

Typisch Deutsche Lebensmittel (Typical German Foods)

A small selection of foods that you’ll eat a lot when in Germany:

Das Schwarzbrot/die Schwarzbrote

German bread, typically of dark brown color and made with wholemeal rye flour. You’ll find a huge selection of Schwarzbrot in German bakeries and grocery stores.

Die Brezel/die Brezeln

A type of baked bread product made from dough shaped into a twisted knot.

Der Leberkäse (no plural)

Also called Fleischkäse, this is a German meatloaf and common snack food in the south of Germany.

Der Quark (no plural)

Quark is a type of fresh dairy product, somewhat similar to soft fresh cheese. It can be used for everything from cake recipes to dips and low fat spreads.

Das Sauerkraut (no plural)

Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. In Germany it’s a very common side dish.

Die Bratwurst/die Bratwürste

A German sausage usually made from pork and often served with Sauerkraut.

Die Weißwurst/die Weißwürste

A traditional white sausage from Bavaria, made from minced veal and pork back bacon.

Der Süße Senf (no plural)

Sweet mustard that comes from the south of Germany and is very common with sausages.

Essen Beschreiben (Describing Food)

lecker (delicious)

süß (sweet)

sauer (sour)

bitter (bitter)

salzig (salty)

scharf (spicy)

leicht (light)

schwer (heavy)

Grundnahrungsmittel (Basic Foods)

SingularPluralTranslation
das Brotdie Brotebread
der Reis rice
die Nudel die Nudeln noodles
der Zuckerdie Zuckersugar
der Honigdie Honige honey
die Marmeladedie Marmeladenjam
das Mehlflour
das Öldie Öleoil
der Essig die Essigevinegar
das Salz die Salzesalt
der Pfeffer die Pfefferpepper

Obst und Gemüse (Fruits and Vegetables)

SingularPluralTranslation
der Apfeldie Äpfelapple
die Bananedie Bananenbanana
die Orange die Orangenorange
die Zitronedie Zitronenlemons
die Erdbeeredie Erdbeerenstrawberry
die Himbeeredie Himbeerenraspberry
die Brombeeredie Brombeerenblackberry
die Kartoffeldie Kartoffelnpotato
die Karottedie Karottencarrot
die Zwiebeldie Zwiebelnonion
der Knoblauchgarlic
die Erbsedie Erbsenpea
die Bohnedie Bohnenbean
die Tomatedie Tomatentomato
die Gurkedie Gurkencucumber
der grüne Salatdie grünen Salatelettuce
der Spinatdie Spinatespinach
der Kohldie Kohlecabbage

Tierprodukte (Animal Products)

SingularPluralTranslation
die Milchdie Milchemilk (hardly ever used in plural)
die Butterbutter
das Eidie Eieregg
der Käsedie Käsecheese
der Schinken die Schinkenham
die Wurstdie Würstesausage
das Schweinefleischpork
das Rindfleischbeef
das Hühnerfleischchicken
das Putenfleischturkey
der Fischfish

Süsses (Sweets)

SingularPluralTranslation
die Schokoladedie Schokladenchocolate
das Bonbondie Bonbonscandy
die Eiscremedie Eiscremesice cream
der Keks die Keksecookie
der Kuchen die Kuchencake

 

Feeling hungry yet? I bet you do.

So, let’s prepare some German food then!
 


 

And One More Thing…

What’s the key to learning German vocabulary effectively?

Using the right content and tools.

You’re not going to pick it up from your textbook.

You’re going to learn it from real-world German videos like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks.

Well, that’s exactly what FluentU is for. FluentU takes great videos and turns them into language learning experiences so that you can learn real German as people really speak it:

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Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts.

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You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

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And FluentU isn’t just for watching videos. It’s a complete platform for learning. It’s designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. This is a level of personalization that hasn’t been done before.

Start using FluentU on the website or practice anytime, anywhere with the iOS or Android apps.

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