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Prost! Your Easy Oktoberfest Menu

If you’ve been lucky enough to celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich like I did in 2016 (yep, I rocked a dirndl!), you know those Germans throw a mean Good Food party. Oh, and they like their lager. But honestly, the slow-roasted meats, savory sides, and rich desserts were the real stars of the celebration. Sure, those jumbo steins of bier were impressive, but for me, trying so many delectable dishes for the first time was the real treat.

The good news is you don’t have to cross the Atlantic to experience Oktoberfest flavors. Chef Cathy Christiansen shares five scrumptious, simple recipes to anchor your own Oktoberfest feast—dirndls and lederhosen optional.

Beer Cheese Soup With Rye Croutons

A Bavarian staple, beer cheese soup is bold, rich, and creamy with a hint of hoppy flavor. Topped with crunchy croutons and chopped bacon, this soup will start your party with a bang.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
1 bottle German lager
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
12 ounces sharp or medium cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp, remove from pan, chop, and set aside.
2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of grease from pan. Add onions, celery, and garlic and cook until soft and browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring often, for another 3 minutes.
4. Add beer and scrape pan, making sure to get all the browned bits. Add chicken stock and stir well.
5. Remove from heat and puree mixture with a stick blender (or add half the mixture to a standard blender). Puree and repeat with remaining half.
6. Return mixture to heat and bring to a simmer.
7. Add half-and-half and cheeses and simmer over low heat until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste. Note: Cheeses and stock are already salty, so you probably won’t need much, if any, salt.
8. While soup simmers, cut bread into cubes, spread out on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder. Toss to coat.
9. Bake croutons for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until brown and crisp.
10. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped bacon and croutons.

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Sausage, Onion, and Apple Skewers

Bavaria meets backyard barbecue with this smart and simple recipe. These sweet and savory skewers work great as apps or part of the main course.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
6 bamboo or metal skewers
6 precooked sausages, any flavor
2 red onions
2 Gala apples
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Soak bamboo skewers, if using, and preheat grill.
2. Slice sausages into ½-inch rounds, cut onions into wedges, and core apples and cut them into large cubes.
3. Alternate sausage, onion, and apple pieces on skewers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Grill on medium until sausages and apples are browned and onions are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

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Beer Brats and Onions

Bratwursts are delicious on their own, but simmered in beer and onions? Whoa. Enjoy these brats as part of your Oktoberfest feast—or take them tailgating! Just do the prep work ahead of time and save the grilling for game day.

Serves: 10 to 12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 bottles lager
10 to 12 bratwurst
10 to 12 hot dog buns or crusty bread
Spicy mustard

Directions:
1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat butter and olive oil.
2. Add onions and sauté until brown and caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add beer, scraping well. Add bratwurst and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat grill.
4. Remove bratwurst from pan and continue simmering onions on low. Place bratwurst on grill and cook just until brown on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes total.
5. Add bratwursts to buns and top with onions, spicy mustard, and any other favorites, like sauerkraut.

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Roasted Red Cabbage and Sausages

In Germany, sausages are everywhere. Buns, on the other hand, are not. The Germans prefer their sausages mingled with seasoned veggies and savory sauces and eaten with a fork and knife. Try this recipe and see why!

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 head red cabbage
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package sausages, any flavor

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut cabbage into 8 wedges and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Roast for 15 minutes, flip, and drizzle with remaining olive oil and balsamic.
4. Add sausages to baking sheet and roast for another 15 minutes.

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Easy Apple Strudel

Well, of course you’ll need some sweetness to balance out all the savory in your meal! This no-fuss apple strudel is the perfect dessert to cap off an Oktoberfest feast.

Serves: 8 to 10
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tart apples, chopped
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted, divided

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spread out rolls on a lightly floured surface, pinch all perforations together, and roll out dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle.
3. In a bowl, toss apples with pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
4. Brush dough with 1½ tablespoons butter and arrange apples along the bottom of one of the 12-inch sides.
5. Gently roll up filling, forming a long log. Brush with remaining butter and place on a baking sheet.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

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We have all kinds of sustainably sourced natural sausages at the Shop, plus most of these other ingredients. Grab your Oktoberfest essentials now!

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