Meat Eaters Only: 6 Types of Popular German Sausage

“The land of sausages.” Have you heard Germany referred to this way before?

Well, it’s actually a very true description!

After all, Germany is indeed one of the leading countries of sausage imports and exports in the world.

Vertical image of three kinds of cooked meat links on a wooden board next to a bowl of fried onions, mustard, and glasses of beer, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the country exported $848 million and imported $834 million in sausages in 2021, making it the world’s top importer and exporter of that year.

Numbers aside, I know I can’t resist a grilled Frankfurter with some cold and creamy potato salad, or a spicy Mettwurst sliced and slowly cooked in a hearty stew!

These, among a multitude of other succulent styles, are popular savory companions for many German dishes and occasions.

Not only are they enjoyed nationwide within Germany – and worldwide throughout other countries – but Germany also produces hundreds of regional and local varieties that are unique to anywhere or anything else.

For the purpose of this overview, I will introduce you to six popular types of sausage, and will offer my serving suggestions for each option.

1. Bockwurst

Where there’s beer… there might be a sausage not too far away!

Horizontal image of a hearty stew in a pot with broth, vegetables, meat, and herbs next to bread slices and a napkin.

Bockwurst is most commonly a style of white sausage made with a combination of pork and veal. It may be smoked, and could include white pepper, coriander, chives, cloves, and nutmeg or mace.

Contrary to its name, this type of sausage is not actually a product made with beer as an ingredient.

Rather, the name refers to its recommended dining companion of a bock beer, a dark and full-bodied German lager.

A popular origin story for its name is that the links were served in 1889 at a gathering for university students along with strong bock beer – the students adored the pairing so much that they playfully named the meat “bockwurst.”

Try it pan-seared or grilled with mustard or sauerkraut. This is also a phenomenal option for braising with hearty vegetables, or used in soups and stews. For a recipe that matches the fall season, try it in our Oktoberfest stew.

Just don’t forget the bock!

2. Frankfurter Würstchen

Frankfurter Würstchen is a famous sausage style produced in the city of Frankfurt.

Horizontal image of Frankfurters on a plate next to mustard.

It’s considered to be the OG hot dog, the inspiration for what many Americans adore and love!

The term was granted a name-protected status by Germany in 1860 – under German law, only sausages made in Frankfurt are permitted to carry this particular identification.

Frankfurter Würstchen is made entirely of pork, and is boiled before being lightly smoked.

This variety is a popular choice with mustard, horseradish, bread, or potato salad.

But an all-American approach would do just as well here, served on a soft and fluffy hot dog bun with relish, diced raw onions, or a generous squeeze of ketchup on top!

3. Mettwurst

Long and thin, Mettwurst is popular all over the country, although many regions have their own methods of seasoning it.

A wooden board with a pile of dried meat links next to parsley sprigs.

Different varieties may be hot and spicy with chili, pungent and bold with garlic, or aromatic and savory with cheese. It can also include alcohol in the mix, like rum or cognac.

Because this kind is most often cured and cold smoked or air dried, it has a firmer, chewier texture compared to other kinds.

With a longer duration of smoking or drying, some varieties may be as hard as charcuterie like salami.

This option is great for parties! Enjoy it as is on a meat and cheese board served with some crackers and assorted pickles.

It’s also perfect when sliced and packed in lunches for day trips, picnics, and bike rides as well. No extra preparation necessary!

Or, jazz up your stews or soups by simmering some sliced links in the pot with your liquid base to introduce deep, meaty flavors.

4. Nürnberger Rostbratwurst

Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is a scalded – also referred to as parboiled – style of bratwurst that is usually made of coarsely ground pork and an assortment of seasonings.

Vertical image of seared small links on a plate next to sauce and potatoes in front of a glass of beer.

A typical spice used to flavor this variety is marjoram.

You can easily distinguish this style of sausage from other varieties by its shorter and skinnier size.

Nürnberger Rostbratwurst was granted a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the European Union in 2003.

Among other enforcements, a sausage given this specific designation can only be produced in the city of Nuremberg and must be between 7 to 9 centimeters long, which is roughly 2.75 to 3.5 inches long.

These little ones are the best all-rounders for their versatility – replace your typical breakfast links or patties with this style the next time you are planning a brunch spread, and see what you think!

And for a hearty dinner or lunch, try them grilled in a sandwich, or serve them with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or root vegetables.

5. Thüringer Rostbratwurst

Thüringer Rostbratwurst is one of Germany’s oldest known sausages, with its first documented reference dating back to 1404, and its first documented recipe dating back to 1613.

Horizontal image of a tray with servings sliced meat topped with a red sauce and spices, next to fries and bread rolls.

Like Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, it is another product that has been granted a PGI status by the European Union.

According to these regulations, at least 51% of the ingredients must come from the state of Thüringia, and the base can be made of finely ground pork, beef, or veal.

Though there can be variations on seasonings, it is known to be heavily spiced and aromatic, typically flavored with salt, pepper, marjoram, garlic, and caraway seeds.

Thüringer Rostbratwurst is a perfect choice for preparing a currywurst!

This popular dish is usually made with a bratwurst-style sausage that has first been steamed or boiled, then pan-fried or grilled. It is then served in slices, coated with a spiced tomato-based sauce, and lightly dusted with curry powder and other spices like paprika.

There are many interpretations of this preparation. Ketchup is a popular choice for the sauce, and the meat can be served on its own, or with fries, bread, and other carb-y sides.

6. Weisswurst

Beautifully pale in color when cooked, Weisswurst literally translates to “white sausage.”

Horizontal image of Bavarian white meat links on a wooden board next to soft pretzels.

This more delicate, finely-ground style is a classic specialty in Southern Germany, made with veal and pork.

A range of spices like salt, pepper, lemon, parsley, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg can be added for additional flavor and aroma.

Instead of roasting, pan-frying, or grilling, Weisswurst is often cooked in hot or gently simmering water.

The water should never come to a rolling boil, because the skins can split and burst open, releasing all the delicate flavors and aromas into the water.

Instead of taking big bites, a popular method for eating this particular variety is to suck out the meat from the skin, using your teeth to help push the meat out, without eating the chewier casing.

You can easily find Weisswurst – where else? – at Oktoberfest! This fall festival has made this variety popular around the globe.

For the best Oktoberfest experience, serve them with homemade soft pretzels, mustard, and a cold lager.

You can find even more fun Oktoberfest recipes in our complete roundup.

What Will You Choose?

If you’re firing up the charcoal grill on a beautiful fall evening for an outdoor barbecue party, or if you’re celebrating Oktoberfest with an abundant feast of beer and food, there’s one important decision to make…

What sausage will you be serving for your guests to try?

Make it a fun foodie event by cooking more than one sausage option in different ways, and taking a poll to see what everyone enjoyed the most.

Maybe the tender, gently simmered style accompanied by a simple dish of mustard will be the star of the show. Or maybe everyone will go crazy over pairing their beer with a beautifully grilled link served in a bun topped with sauerkraut.

Horizontal image of three kinds of cooked meat links on a wooden board next to soft pretzels, mustard, and glasses of beer.

Whatever you decide, don’t stop at just these six suggestions – there are so many more to discover, cook, eat, and savor!

Are German sausages available in your neighborhood? Butcher shops or delis that can order special products for you? Share how you source your favorite meaty selections in the comments below.

In our collection of carefully curated protein-related articles, gather recipe roundups, techniques, reviews, guides, and more for preparing a wide range of meat products. Ready to continue the pursuit of learning? Read these three next:

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

49 thoughts on “Meat Eaters Only: 6 Types of Popular German Sausage”

  1. The first picture looks great. When I initially saw it, I thought it was baked bread. It’s crazy how there’s so many different kinds to try. I usually just eat sausage in a hot dog bun, but the plate that had cut up bits with sauce poured over it looked unique! Also a little side note, those pretzels looked really good too. I love those! But they have to be made right. I know that’s another topic entirely, but I had to add that in there. I hope there’s a recipe on here somewhere for those.

  2. What an education in German sausages! We have a lot of Germans and Czechs here in Texas, but I haven’t come across these varieties of sausage, although I’m sure some are available closer to the epicenter of those communities, in the Texas Hill Country. It’s funny how it seems every community makes the same type of product, but with some variations. Since I’m close to Louisiana, we also haveBoudain here, which is a Cajun type of sausage that is usually sucked out of the casing (zuzeling, in Bavaria), or scooped out and eaten. These all look and sound delicious, and I’d particularly like to try the Nuremberger Rib Steak Sausages.

    • I haven’t heard about Boudain, so I wasn’t aware that other people are zuzeling their sausages, too, except the Bavarians 😉 That’s interesting! I have a Cajun-seasoning mix in my cabinet and I like its spicy composition.

  3. I love eating sausages. It’s usually a convenient type of food I can eat with one hand if I eat it like a hot dog. I have never heard of weisswursts before reading this post. Since it is Oktober, I should have seen the topic of sausages coming up.

  4. I knew that Germany was famous for their sausages, but I had no idea just how many different varieties there were! I like eating sausages, but they are usually expensive as hell in the grocery store, so I have to go to the meat market to buy some. Unfortunately, they have little variety and I have to make due with what they have. I wonder if there is a way to get German Sausages in New York…

    • Oh yes, there are even more – also local – varieties of sausages that are not as popular as these ones.
      Well, I would be interested if you can find German sausages in New York. Actually, I can’t imagine that there won’t be a store that sells them – as (from what I’ve heard) you can find almost anything there 🙂 I hope you will be successful!

  5. I love sausages and reading your article about German sausages has given me great insight. The next time I come across these sausages I will have a better idea what they are and which I should choose. Any type of sausage is a delicious sausage as far as I am concerned.

    • I share your opinion, because I haven’t found a bad-tasting sausage until now. It didn’t matter where I was, I always liked it. I’m happy that I could give you a useful insight about some of these delicacies.

  6. German sausages are delicious. In the UK, we have a lot of visiting German Christmas markets and I always make a beeline to the wurst stands when I visit. Currywurst is probably my favorite but the smoked Bockwurst is pretty good too.

    • Great to hear! I also love Currywurst – and it has become quite a popular sport to find the best one in town or state. There are so many varieties of this one dish that it would be worth an own article 😀
      It can be a real down-to-earth meal or a gourmet-gold leaf-decorated specialty in restaurants. Some like it mild whereas some offer you to choose between ten levels of spiciness! Quite a diverse dish 😉

  7. Every country has their sausages but Germany took it to a whole other level. Eating a Weisswurst seems counter instinctive, I have never tried it but next chance I get I will. 🙂
    I can see why it’s eaten in the October beer fest, it must add to the already very lively mood.
    Thanks for an interesting article.

    • Thanks, glad you like it. Oh yes, eating Weisswurst properly can be a very communicative situation, indeed 🙂 I hope you’re able to get some and try it out yourself.

  8. These are some great pictures and I found this article very informative. I never quiet understood the difference between all these sausage varieties, now I won’t be so timid in purchasing one lol. Previously I was only familiar with the American breakfast sausage, hot dog, and the occasional bratwurst. Now that I know a little more I’m ready to enjoy a spicy mettwurst with my next cold beverage.

  9. I absolutely love Bratwurst. My best experience with it was at an authentic German restaurant in San Francisco on a trip with my German class. I also had the pleasure of trying Wienerschniztel, but the standout of course, was the Brat. It came on a platter with saurkraut on the side, I tried them together and it was lovely. To this day I have my hot dogs with just mustard and saurkraut.

    • Bratwurst is definitely the most popular of all kinds. It’s the same in Germany, too – they can be bought everywhere. It’s funny that you went to a German restaurant in San Francisco, that’s for sure more convenient that travelling overseas. Great that your visit to the restaurant has influenced your hot dog-habit, sounds yummy to me, too!

  10. No, I have never heard the phrase “…a country of many sausages.” But I can believe it. There is a German restaurant in our city, that we go to every once and a while. We love to try the sausage sample platter. It comes with sauerkraut and mustard and it is absolutely delicious!!

    • Oh, sausage sample platter sounds intriguing and yummy. I think that one offers a lot to try and taste, and together with sauerkraut and mustard, you’ve got a special kind of German eating experience, right? 🙂 Plus, it keeps you filled up for a long time, I imagine. Keep on enjoying!

  11. I find it hilarious that Germany is seen around the world as a country famous because of sausages!
    Here in Poland, people laugh at how wurst seems to be German national cuisine. Seeing your post made me realize that those are something that Germans can be proud of! My favorite is bratwurst – never ate it before, but it looks delicious! I’m not a fan of high in fat meat, so I’ll skip others. I’m sure that they’re awesome too, though 🙂

    • Great, I think Poland knows some special sausages, too, right?
      Bratwurst would be one of my favorites, too. Actually, this is the great thing about the variety – there is one kind for everyone to like 😀

  12. One of my funniest childhood memories is sitting across the table from my sister at our grandparent’s house and watching her stab into a German sausage, only to be squirted in the face with a stream of fat and liquid that had been trapped beneath the skin 😛 It’s normally not my favourite food, but I see now that out of all the varieties I like the scalded style best.

    • Oh no, I can see that this memory is not a good advertisement for these sausages 😀 Luckily, not all of them leave you with spatters of fat, although this is indeed something one has to take care of. Anyway, they provided you with this funny memory 😉

  13. Ah yes, a discussion about meat. Just reading through this article is making my mouth watery. One look at these high definition photos brings me right back to when I ate them for the first time. Traveling around has its advantages, and Europe might certainly rich in many things, but delicacies are its most treasured lure. They might not look different, these sausages, just the size and color. But the tastes are as different as day and night. Grilled, fried, boiled, no matter, these are gifts from the gods, and I would gladly consume them again in their native culinary style if I ever get the chance again.

    • I’m happy that you enjoyed reading about all these various types – and it’s nice to hear people gushing about European delicacies 😉 As there are lots of countries, there are lots of specialties and distinct foods. You’re right about the flavors, each version I presented has a unique taste and is consumed in different ways. So even the category of sausages is really versatile!
      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you to be able to get a chance to try them again!

  14. Fantastic article and definitely something with can play with. The different seasonings and types of meats used can almost create an infinite number of possible recipes. I can imagine many families pass down their unique recipes for generations, which is why when you travel to Germany and surrounding countries you see such a huge variety available, even if called the same thing.

    • Exactly, you probably won’t find “the one” sausage, but rather many versions of one sort, as many families or regions have their own recipes, methods, or spices they use. You’re so right about this leading to a versatility of products. I really enjoy being somewhere else and trying a sausage I know by its name from home, too. It’s always interesting to taste the differences!

  15. Oh man, I really, really love sausages. And I actually have tasted only one original german in my entire life, but it was so good! I don’t remember how it was called, but you can definitely taste the difference. Food is probably one of my favorite things about German culture.
    My mouth watered while I was reading the whole post, but especially the first one that you mentioned, the one who has a certain spice on it, so good!

    • I’m glad that you say the German cuisine has something to offer 😉 At most times, it is not considered to be great or interesting. But I think there are many distinct specialties that would just need some more attention.
      It’s fascinating that all those sausages have different textures and flavors, the first one is also a favorite of mine. I really like the combination of spices here!

  16. Mettwurst is my personal favorite of these varieties. There’s something about the texture (and probably the fat content!) that makes them irresistible to my palate. Typically, I’ll eat these cold on a cracker. If I’m feeling a little adventurous, fried with a spicy mustard. Sehr gut!

    • Right, that kind is tasty and hearty. There are thin and long ones we love eating during hikes or picnics, and thicker varieties go into soups, stews or elso, especially in autumn and winter. It is somehow an essential part of warming and traditional recipes 😉 The fat and spices also provide some nice flavor to the dish!

  17. Those pictures were making me hungry! They are very high quality. But anyway, I am actually surprised at how many varieties there are and how different they are. I’ve had most and I feel silly for not realizing the difference in them and how unique they are. It really goes to show how we just gobble our food down rather than slowing down and savoring it. Not to mention how we can ruin it by not cooking it correctly, like not letting the water boil. The more you know!

  18. Wow, so many varieties! I only see these meats at the specialty/gourmet section at our local grocery. I often find it expensive, thus, I’ve never gotten around to buying them on my own, except probably of the Franks. Anyway, I only get the chance to eat these lovelies when I’m staying at hotels during travels. I love my breakfast, and German sausages is usually what I order in.

  19. All of these links look great. My personal favorite is bratwurst. It is a very easy meal to cook. Add some potato salad and you have dinner. Germans make so many kinds of great sausages and when I go to Germany or eat at a German restaurant I make sure to try some sausage. Great post and a very informative guide on how to serve some of these great weiners!

  20. I’ve only had the opportunity to try boiled sausages back then when my sister’s godfather lived in town, sadly, he had to move back to Berlin due to my country’s situation, however, I still remember those amazing and really delicious sausages he used to grill, I really miss them, for real.

  21. Hmm.. I have no idea where to find such delicacies in my rural area. There is a nice little meat shop in the city. I wonder if they could do a special order. Maybe, they even know how to make some of these as they do offer some homemade varieties. I’ll have to find out.

    Some of these I have never tried, but they all sound good. I’m sure they would go great with some of the seasonal beers too. Sounds like a party waiting to happen.

  22. I know this is an old post but I couldn’t resist. The German food culture is one of the things we miss about being stationed there. There is far more to German cuisine than the schnitzel and bratwurst that most people know about. The most interesting sausage we came across we only found at the Christkindelmarkt at Rothenburg od Tauber. It was a 1 meter weiner served on a baguette. I’ve not bought sausage for over 10 years as I make my own but Mettwurst and Bratwurst are the German sausages I make most often. Sadly, there is only 1 small German restaurant in our area and they are stuck on about 3 varieties of schnitzel.

    • I and my brother Steve love the real German Grobe Mettwurst. Unfortunately, we cannot find anyone that makes it because it is considered a raw sausage when cold smoked.
      Looks like the only way to get it is to make it ourselves. Do you have a favorite recipe? Any way you could reply with a website or recipe for it?

      Gary Grimm

  23. Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio with German ancestry we had a sausage (mild spicy) that you spread on rye bread. I don’t know the name but would love to know since it was my favorite.

  24. Not sure if this is still monitored – a nice presentation on wurst.

    Having lived in Germany (Frankfurt am Main area) in the 1970’s we could go to a Schnell Imbiss and get a brat with senf and brotchen – yum.

    In the US I cannot find anything similar – strange tastes abound.

    Last trip to Germany (2012) I could not find the same brats even in Frankfurt. The ones we used to get 6 inches long and round as a US quarter or so, pale (white to light beige in color uncooked) – on last trip – the 2-3” ones not right, Rost Brat – but was long and skinny – not good

    Any idea has to type of wurst?? Thuringia style looks right but not ones from local stores. Nürnberger style looks right but short and local version tastes bad.

    • I was in Heidelberg in the year 1970. Loved two types of sausages that were eaten with mustards and sold on the streets. For the life of me l haven’t found any thing close in the U.S.

  25. Hi Nina and others… I have lived in Hessen for 7 years and became a fan of Gref Volsings “rindswurst”… a Frankfurt specialty. Unfortunately, they are not exported and I cannot find these sausages here in the US. Out of frustration I decided to make my own. I have all the equipment but cannot find a good recipe for the spices in rindswurst. Can you provide a recipe or a list of spices. I will thank you in advance!
    Sincerely, Prof Ralph Locurcio

  26. So the jumbo wiener-like wiener is really an Oktoberfest sausage? I’m told the difference is only in the spice. Held beside the real wiener and the Oktoberfest (tasted more like a wiener and the skin was a wiener, in our seniors cafe), in looks there is no difference. Please help me clarify this. I had waited a month to have Oktoberfest served and was very disappointed. I shall have to purchase my own when I understand what I’m buying.

  27. Hello Nina,
    I was a soldier stationed in Frankfurt in 1979-1980. We had a schnellimbiss nearby on Bertramstrasse that served the best rindswurst. I loved them and ate them often. Served on brotchen along with pommes frites with mayonnaise (of course). I make my own sausages at home but cannot find a recipe to make rindswurst. I miss them. Can you provide a recipe with ingredients and directions. I would so much appreciate it.
    Thanks and Blessings
    Buddy Smith

  28. I am looking for a German garlic and black pepper recipe. We loved it many years ago and it is now gone. It was a fresh (not smoked) sausage and it was fried brown and served with fried potatoes. Any ideas Of what it may be called or a recipe. Not a bratwurst!

  29. Just stumbled across this site. It’s wonderful! I was stationed in Nürnberg in the early 60s and have been back many times. Both the Original Nürnberger Bratwurst (finger size) and Nürnberger Stadtwurst are my favorite in the wurst class. Twice each year Aldi has a German Week and imports the precooked Original Nürnbergers and full size Bavarian Bratwurst that are sensational! Also, for those who love good German recipe natural casing wieners, Hoffman’s German Brand wieners are available at Publix. They are also available at some Aldis and some Sam’s Clubs. Hoffman’s is a German New York sausage maker and ships nationally. The wieners are natural casing made with pork, beef, and veal. They are the best made in the US to me. Also, Milwaukee, Wisconsin had a huge German population and many German butcher shops and bakeries when I was growing up in that city. The only one left that I am aware of is Usingers which does a lot of on line sales. Other excellent German recipe wiener and sausage products are Klements of Milwaukee and Old Wisconsin. Hopes this helps some of those reading this.


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