Germans are known for their love of sausage and the craft of making it. They ate the largest volume of sausage per capita in 2019 along with Czechs and Austrians, remaining top in consumption.
In this post, you’ll learn about the different types of German Sausage and their short history, differences, and examples or recipes. In other words, you’ll learn how the sausage is made! But first, what is sausage?
The Old High German word “wurst” means sausage. Sausage is a highly seasoned meat that’s minced and stuffed into animal or gelatin casings. Sausage doesn’t necessarily look like a bratwurst or hotdog, though.
You might not think of bologna as a type of German sausage, but it is one and so is Leberkaske, which is a square loaf otherwise known as “liver cheese.” It is not made of liver or cheese, however! Others are spreadable like liverwurst.
There are over 1,500 different types of German sausage! Narrowing down which German sausage to eat as a fine delicacy you cherish can feel overwhelming indeed. Following are the 12 most popular types of sausage in German cuisine.
The various types of German sausages are named after how they are made, where they are made, what they are made from, and the spices that were used to make them.
Although the Greeks and Romans were the first to make sausage, Germans made it popular, and Germany is considered the sausage capital. So, let’s break down the main types of German Sausage.
1. Blutwurst (Blood Sausage)
Blutwurst is known as blood sausage, a type of German sausage made from precooked meats mixed with the blood of pigs, cows, or geese. It is not unique to Germany but has been made popular by the culture.
The German word “blut” means blood. It is one of the oldest types of sausage. Blood sausage contains fillers like fat, bread, barley, cornmeal, or oatmeal. Blutwurst is usually cut and served cold on bread, but it can also be served hot (though it’s different from Red Hots).
Blutwurst is usually cooked with onions and pan-fried or broiled. It has a dark, rich red color due to the blood contained in it.
Blutwurst is not exactly popular in America where the bratwurst and frankfurter reign supreme, but it remains popular in Germany and many European countries.
Bratwurst dates to the year 1313 and originated in Nuremberg, Germany. The verb “braten” means to roast or pan fry in German. Bratwurst is made from finely chopped meat, typically pork mixed with beef or veal. It is one of the most popular sausages in Germany (and the world).
In America, pork bratwursts are the most common. How bratwurst is prepared and served varies by region and there are over 40 different kinds of German bratwurst.
Bratwurst should be grilled (or smoked!) and served on a bun or hard roll with sweet German mustard. People typically drink a light German beer with Bratwurst.
This type of German sausage is made with spices like caraway, marjoram, and garlic. The casings are usually made of pig intestines. It has become popular in America to boil Bratwurst in beer. There are many recipes for Bratwurst. One of the most popular follows.
- 2 lbs. bratwurst
- 2 medium, thinly sliced onions
- 1 cup butter
- 6 cans or bottles of beer (12 fl. oz.)
- 1 ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 10 Hoagie rolls
Preheat your grill to medium-high. At the same time, poke holes in the bratwurst to prevent them from exploding and boil the bratwurst in beer with the onions, butter, and beer. Remove from heat after 20 minutes.
Finally, cook the bratwurst for the remainder of time on the grill with oil for about 15 minutes, taking care not to burn them. You’ll want the bratwurst to be browned.
Bregenwurst is a type of German sausage that originated from Lower Saxony made from pork, pork belly, and pig or cow brain.
The word “bregen” means brain in German. However, bregenwurst is not made with the brain of animals any longer due to concerns like mad cow disease. It is eaten raw, or it is stewed and served with kale and potatoes in the wintertime.
Bregenwurst sausage has a soft consistency when broken apart, like its counterpart liverwurst. It is not readily available in America so you may opt to make your own. There are several traditional recipes for Bregenwurst.
You might try this one from a German American who hosts her own website with German recipes.
4. Frankfurter (Bockwurst)
Bockwurst, otherwise known as Frankfurter sausage, originated from Frankfurt, Bavaria, and Berlin, where it is sold and made popular during beer season. As you might have guessed, it is meant to be served with bock beer.
Bockwurst is made from ground veal or pork but is made mostly of veal, unlike bratwurst which is mainly made of pork.
Bockwurst is made with salt, pepper, and paprika (similar to kielbasa). Additional spices vary by region and taste. Some people add marjoram, chives, and parsley.
The sausage is typically smoked, and it may be grilled. It is never boiled, as the natural casing may break. Bockwurst is served on a bread roll with mustard and potato salad or soup.
If you have seen a curved hotdog, Bockwurst resembles two typical American hotdogs connected to each other.
Bavaria Germany brings us the Gelbwurst, which means “yellow sausage,” coming from the German word for yellow, “gelb.” Gelbwurst was named for its yellow, outward appearance. This is a new sausage, invented in 1905.
Gelbwurst is another type of brain sausage, although it is not made from animal brains any longer. The main ingredients are pork and veal mixed with spices like ginger and nutmeg.
Gelbwurst is served cold on bread and must be eaten immediately, or it will go bad very quickly. Nowadays, it can be made of bacon, pork, beef, or chicken. Some add lemon when preparing the sausage. The yellow outside contains a white to pink inside.
Knockwurst is also known as knackwurst and hails from northern Germany in the mid-16th century. It was made popular in America by early settlers.
Knockwurst can be made of all beef or a combination of veal and pork. It is made with garlic and aged for days. Then, it is smoked. Popular names for knockwurst are Salzberger and Schubling.
Sauerkraut and potatoes typically accompany a meal made with knockwurst. It is also served with mustard and fried onions and served on a bun or plain. If you feel like trying to make it yourself, be prepared, as it’s an emulsified type of German sausage like Frankfurter. You can learn more here.
Unlike most of the sausages we’ve discussed so far, landjager is a semi-dried sausage that originally came from Southern Germany.
It was made popular for people traveling and hiking because it does not require refrigeration. Most people eat landjager cold, but it can be boiled and served with potatoes and fresh greens.
Landjager is made from equal parts of beef, lard, and pork. Then, sugar and spices are added. The sausage itself resembles Italian salami.
It is a fermented sausage and requires the use of a smoker to make. If you have one and some patience, you might try this traditional recipe. Plan on taking two weeks to make the sausage with this method.
8. Leberwurst (liverwurst)
Leberwurst is also known as liverwurst. The main ingredient in liverwurst is liver. Other ingredients are added like veal, fat, and spices.
Black pepper, marjoram, allspice, thyme, ground mustard seed, and nutmeg can be added to leberwurst. The ingredients one adds to their sausage speak to their culture and Germans take great pride in their sausage.
If you are looking for a spreadable type of German sausage, try liverwurst. It is typically served cold but can be boiled and served on a bun. Most commonly, it is served on bread as a spread such as here.
“Liver cheese” is known as leberkase and hails from Southern Germany in 1776 as a specialty food. Despite the name, it does not contain liver nor cheese and instead is made from finely minced pork, corned beef, and onions like American hash, and it is sometimes served with eggs. When served as a main course, leberkase is fried and served on a hot bread roll with mustard and pickles. It may also be served cold.
Leberkase is a type of meatloaf sausage that means leftovers in a box in German. The color is a rich pink due to the main ingredient being corned beef. Look and you’ll see what we mean. Not the distinctive mushrooms from someone’s home region that speaks to their culture.
10. Nurnberger Rostbratwurst
Nurnberger rostbratwurst is one of the oldest types of sausage, dating back to 1300. These sausages come from Nuremberg, where they are under a protected geographical indication status, making them only allowed to be produced in Nuremberg. They are pinkie finger-sized and very delicious.
Nurnberger rostbratwurst are made from pork and bacon. They are flavored with marjoram, pepper, chervil, cardamom, ginger, and lemon.
They are served three at a time on buns with horseradish for lunch or a snack with sauerkraut and potatoes. They can be grilled or boiled. Many people prefer to grill their Nurnberger rostbratwurst, as in this example.
Teewurst is a type of German sausage from Pomerania made of one part pork to one part bacon that is minced and combined with seasonings and smoked over beechwood in an artificial casing. It is then matured through a fermentation process for 7-10 days to develop its taste. Teewurst is also a very fatty sausage, so it is easily spreadable even though it’s not emulsified, consisting of 30-40% fat.
Teewurst is either air-dried or raw, like many typical Italian sausages. Teewurst derived its name from its inventor in 1874, who intended for the sausage to be eaten at teatime on open-faced sandwiches. As you can see, Teewurst is very fatty and resembles a fat hot dog in size and texture.
Weisswurst is a white breakfast sausage, named for the German word “weiss,” which is the word “white.” It is a traditional Bavarian sausage comprised of a mix of minced veal and pork. Spices are added, such as parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger, and cardamom. This is an uncured sausage so it must be eaten quickly and typically it is eaten before noon and served with beer!
These sausages are also eaten as a snack often between breakfast and lunch but are typically eaten before noon. Some people consume this sausage most interestingly; they cut open the end and suck out the contents! Other people choose to cut the sausage lengthwise and spoon or cut out the contents. Weisswurst is typically warm and served with a pretzel and Bavarian sweet mustard.
To prepare weisswurst, you boil it. If you want to make weisswurst yourself, here’s how. The French also have a version of a “white sausage” with Boudin Blanc.
As you can see, the various types of German sausage are named after where they are made, as in the case of Frankfurter sausage. Types of German sausage can be named after how they look, like gelbwurst with its yellow appearance or it can be named after what it is made from, such as liverwurst, or liverwurst which is the German word for liver.
Knowing this may help you identify new sausages that you would like to try or which ones to avoid. This information also tells you how the sausage was prepared. Is it dry or does it need refrigeration? The name can tell you a lot.
German sausage has grown in popularity in America and throughout the world. You can even make it yourself! There are many more recipes available through the Internet for you to try and there are recipes for how to serve the sausage. You can try the traditional way or something new.
And now you know how the sausage is made so you can eat good meat.
FAQs About German Sausage
Here are a few FAQs about German Sausage.
What is the white German sausage called?
Weisswurst is a white breakfast sausage, named for the German word “weiss,” which is the word “white.” It is a traditional Bavarian sausage comprised of a mix of minced veal and pork.
Is German sausage the same as bratwurst?
No, German sausage is not the same as bratwurst. Bratwurst is a type of German sausage that is usually fried.
What are the most popular German sausages?
The most popular German sausages that you’ll find in the US are bratwurst and bockwurst.
What is the most consumed meat in Germany?
Pork is the most consumed meat in Germany followed by beef and poultry.
What is Nuremberg sausage?
Nuremberg sausage is a German-style pork sausage that can be served boiled, fried or baked. It’s traditionally stuffed into casings made of animal intestine and is usually seasoned with ground mace, pepper and marjoram.
How many types of German sausage are there?
There are over 1,500 different types of German sausage!
What’s the difference between bratwurst and Weisswurst?
Bratwurst is a type of German sausage that is usually grilled or pan-fried. Weisswurst is also a type of German sausage, but it is made from veal and pork and it is usually boiled.
What’s the difference between a frankfurter and a bratwurst?
A frankfurter is a type of sausage that is usually made from pork, beef or veal. A bratwurst, on the other hand, is a type of sausage that is typically made from pork and/or veal. It can also be made from beef, but it’s more commonly made with pork. Bratwursts are often grilled, but they can also be boiled or pan-fried.