German Pork Rouladen with Bacon, Apple & Pickles

Pork Rouladen are one of Germany’s most famous and delicious dishes.

The popular German entree features thin pork cutlets stuffed with bacon, apple, onion, mustard and pickles. They’re wrapped into bundles, held together with toothpicks then fried on the stove.

We suggest serving our traditional Pork Rouladen with a rich and comforting gravy alongside plump German dumplings.

Our authentic Pork Rouladen recipe is easy to make, ready to serve in under 2 hours. It features flavours like smoked bacon, onion, mustard, apples and pickles.

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What Is Rouladen?

Rouladen, also known as Rinderrouladen is a German meat dish, usually consisting of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef or pork, which is then cooked. The dish is also considered traditional in the Upper Silesia region of Poland and in the Czech Republic.

Originally considered a simple dish for common people, today it is enjoyed by many Germans as a festive and celebratory dish, especially Sunday dinners and Christmas Eve.

Beef, veal or pork is typically used, though some food historians believe that the original recipe was probably venison.

Rouladen fillings can vary widely based region, family traditions or seasonality. Fillings often include a mixture of smoked and cooked pork belly, chopped onions, sliced gherkins, mustard, apple, minced meat or sausage.

While rouladen fillings vary from region to region, the hearty dish is almost always served for dinner. Red wine is often used to create a rich gravy that is poured over plump potato or bread dumplings.

Traditional Pork Rouladen ingredients.
Traditional Pork Rouladen ingredients.

Travel to Germany by Cooking Pork Rouladen at Home

I love traveling to Europe.

As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Europe, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.

For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Pork Rouladen recipe. I’ve embarked on culinary adventures at German restaurants throughout Western Europe in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria.

On a road trip of Germany, I’ve forked through steaming plates of traditional Pork Rouladen at restaurants in Freiburg, Berlin, Ahrenshoop, Hamburg, Spreewald, Potsdam, Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cochem, Mettlach, Nennig, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Munich, Koblenz and Rudesheim.

The first time I ever ate Pork Rouladen was during a memorable first meal in Munich. An oversized plate arrived at my table featuring gravy smothered pork parcels, fermented pickles and two plump German Potato Dumplings.

I hadn’t seen Pork Rouladen on menus in Berlin so was delighted to encounter the classic German dish in Bavaria. I enjoyed them with a swig of fresh beer and ordered them whenever I could while galavanting through Germany.

After you’ve enjoyed your first taste, you’ll realize why Pork Rouladen are a must-try when visiting Germany!

Pork Rouladen Filling: scallopini is stuffed with German mustard, onions, apple, bacon and pickles.
Pork Rouladen Filling: scallopini is stuffed with German mustard, onions, apple, bacon and pickles.

Where To Eat Authentic Pork Rouladen

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local German restaurant that serves traditional Pork Rouladen.

Haven’t traveled to Germany before? It may be helpful to first sample traditional Pork Rouladen at a local restaurant to better understand how the entree is served. You’ll get an idea of how large to roll your pork parcels, what fillings to use and how much gravy to pour on each plate.

In Toronto, popular restaurants serving German dishes that may offer Pork Rouladen include Country Style Hungarian, Wvrst, Otto’s Bierhalle, Little Bavaria, Cafe Polonez and Europe Bar and Restaurant.

Roll Pork Rouladen tightly to ensure filling does not fall out of each roll.
Roll Pork Rouladen tightly to ensure filling does not fall out of each roll.

My Family Loves German Stuffed Pork

My family loves carb-heavy feasts. Many of our favourite dishes are pasta, polenta, dumplings and homemade pierogies.

After traveling to Germany, Switzerland and Austria several times I decided to treat my parents to a traditional German feast featuring homemade Pork Rouladen with plump potato and bread dumplings.

I knew my parents would love the popular German main dish because they both love bacon, apples, pickles, mustard, fried onions and gravy.

I like to serve Pork Rouladen during the colder months of the year in the fall and winter. There’s honestly nothing more comforting after shoveling snow during a blizzard then slicing into a plump pork bundle swimming in rich gravy.

Pierce Pork Rouladen bundles with toothpicks to ensure they don't fall apart while cooking.
Pierce Pork Rouladen bundles with toothpicks to ensure they don’t fall apart while cooking.

Pork Rouladen Health Benefits

Our Pork Rouladen recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Celery is a great source of antioxidants, reduces inflammation and supports digestions.

An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

A useful source of vitamins C, K and B6, apples support your immune, skeletal, and circulatory systems. Phytochemicals in apples may also keep your eyes healthy and help reduce bad cholesterol. 

Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.

Quickly sear Pork Rouladen on all sides.
Quickly sear Pork Rouladen on all sides.

Pork Rouladen Tips

This homemade German stuffed pork is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips:

  • Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to avoid splattering when cooking.
  • We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if the gravy needs to be seasoned further.
  • There are many regional variations of Pork Rouladen. Once you’ve perfected our cooking method, feel free to get creative with your fillings by featuring additional ingredients like roasted chestnuts, sauerkraut and cheese.
  • We suggest using toothpicks to ensure your pork bundles don’t fall apart but you can also use cooking twine.
  • Feel free to purchase pork cutlets and use a meat mallet to flatten them out at home. Or to make your life easier, ask your butcher for thin pork scaloppini.
  • We think the rich gravy makes this dish perfect but you can omit the sauce and simply serve with chopped parsley on top.
  • Feel free to add a few glugs of cream to the gravy to make it extra rich and silky smooth.
Add Pork Rouladen to homemade gravy then bake in the oven.
Add Pork Rouladen to homemade gravy then bake in the oven.

What To Serve with German Stuffed Pork

The first time I ever served Pork Rouladen to my family was at Christmas. I served the stuffed pork parcels with bread dumplings, potato dumplings, roasted vegetables and a kale salad.

If you don’t want to fuss over making homemade German dumplings you can serve this recipe with mashed potatoes and braised cabbage.

If you’re hosting a German-themed dinner party you might also want to serve Flädlesuppe German Pancake Soup, Kartoffelknödel German Potato Dumplings, Semmelknödel German Bread Dumplings and Speckknödel German Bread Bacon Dumplings.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers or Black Forest Pancakes.

Serve Pork Rouladen with chopped parsley and gravy.
Serve Pork Rouladen with chopped parsley and gravy.

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We love serving German Pork Rouladen at special occasions like Christmas.
We love serving German Pork Rouladen at special occasions like Christmas.

Storing Pork Rouladen

If you have leftover rouladen you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply zap them in the microwave or roast in the oven.

They also freeze well, so I like to often double the recipe, cook them, freeze them separated on cookie sheets, and then transfer them to ziplock freezer bags. When you want to eat them later, all you have to do is thaw and reheat them in the microwave. 

Serve Pork Rouladen with braised cabbage and German bread dumplings.
Serve Pork Rouladen with braised cabbage and German bread dumplings.

How To Make Traditional Pork Rouladen

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

German Pork Rouladen

Learn how to make traditional Pork Rouladen. This German recipe is stuffed with bacon, apple, pickles, mustard and onions. Serve with gravy.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: german
Keyword: Pork Rouladen
Servings: 8
Calories: 397kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven
  • oven
  • Toothpicks
  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Sieve

Ingredients

Pork Rouladen

  • 8 Pork Cutlets or Scallopini
  • 1/3 cup German mustard
  • 8 Bacon slices
  • 8 Dill pickles sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Gala Apple shredded

Gravy

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Large carrot chopped
  • 1 Large celery stock chopped
  • 1 cup Dry red wine
  • 2 cups Beef broth
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp Chilled butter

Instructions

  • Lay the pork slices out on a clean work surface. Spread each slice with approximately 2 teaspoons of mustard and sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place a strip of bacon on each pork slice so it's running the same length as the pork. Place the sliced dill pickles, chopped onions and apples on each pork slice. Roll up the pork slices, tucking in the sides as best you can and securing each roll with toothpicks.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pot and brown the pork rouladen on all sides. Set the rouladen aside on a plate.
  • Add the onions to the pot and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add carrots and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the red wine, bring to a boil for one minute then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  • Gently place the pork rouladen in the pot ann cover with a lid. Transfer to a 325 F oven and cook for 45 minutes.
  • When the rouladen are finished roasting in the oven, remove them from the pot and aside.
  • Pour the remaining liquid and vegetables through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid. Return the strained liquid back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Thicken the gravy with cornstarch slurry. Simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened to your liking.
  • Add the chilled butter, whisking constantly, until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the toothpicks from the rouladen and return them to the gravy and heat through. Serve hot smothered in gravy with your favourite knödel.

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.9g | Protein: 33.1g | Fat: 21.6g | Saturated Fat: 8.8g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1506mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 6.4g | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg

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