Rinderrouladen – German Beef Rouladen

Rinderroulade is a beef roulade, usually filled with bacon, pickled cucumber, and onion. It’s one of the most loved German dishes, easy to make and delicious. Although it is commonly made with beef, some people also use pork, in this case, we have Schweinerouladen.

Here is the basic beef roulade recipe, just how the German grandmothers make it. It can’t get easier than this.

Ingredients for 2 servings

For the roulades:

  • 2 beef roulades (~500 g in total)
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard (Dijon)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion (~100 g)
  • 1-2 pickled cucumbers (whole or slices)
  • salt, pepper
  • vegetable oil, clarified butter or ghee (Butterschmalz) for frying (3-5 tbsp)

For the brown sauce (gravy):

  • 2 carrots (~200 g)
  • 2 onions (~200 g)
  • a small piece of celery, parsnip, or parsley root (~75 g, optional)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves (optional)
  • wine, grape juice (~ 250 ml, optional), or water
  • water to cover (~500-750 ml)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • allspice
  • salt, pepper

You will need a pot, preferably a saucepan, to fit the size of your roulades, with enough space to fry them and later add the vegetables, but not too big so you can cook the meat and the vegetables in a thick flavorful sauce.

Instructions for the roulades:

  1. Lay the beef slices and sprinkle salt and pepper.
  2. Spread mustard on each slice.
    Beef slice covered in mustard for Rinderrouladen
  3. Add bacon stripes.
    Beef slice covered in mustard, with bacon stripes, for Rinderrouladen
  4. …and pickled cucumbers. I had some sliced pickled cucumbers which fit great.
    Beef slice covered in mustard, with bacon stripes and pickled cucumbers, for Rinderrouladen
  5. Add onions on top. Some people cut the onions in small pieces, others like to saute them. I usually let them raw because it’s faster. We love onions so we use quite some.
    Beef slice covered in mustard, with bacon stripes, pickled cucumbers and onions, for Rinderrouladen
  6. Gently roll the meat slice. You can also tuck in the sides if they are irregular.
  7. For roulades to not fall apart while cooking, you will need to either tie or fasten them. I used metal skewers but you can also use wooden skewers, toothpicks, string.
    Raw rolled Rinderrouladen
  8. In a saucepot add the cooking oil or clarified butter and when the pot is hot, add the roulades and fry them for few minutes on each side. You want to fry them at a high temperature for a short time. For extra taste, you can coat them in flour before frying them. You’ll also get a rather thicker sauce. Don’t worry about the brown parts, those will give flavor to the sauce.
    Fried Rinderrouladen in a saucepan
  9. Take the roulades out and we’re continuing with the sauce.

Instructions for the brown sauce (gravy):

  1. In the saucepan, after the roulades were taken out, add the vegetables and fry them until there’s no liquid left.
    Vegetable in a saucepan, for Rinderrouladen
  2. Add the tomato paste and garlic (optional) and mix a few more times. Without tomato paste and garlic it will still taste great.
  3. Add half of the wine, grape juice, or water (~125 ml) and fry until the liquid is almost done (deglaze). You will get a nice brown color. Make sure to scrape the bottom.
  4. Add the remaining wine, grape juice, or water (~125 ml) and mix again until the liquid is almost done.
  5. Add the roulades on top of the vegetables and cover everything with water until about 2 thirds of the meat rolls. The roulades should not be completely covered in water. It is therefore important to not have a big pan so that you don’t need to add a lot of water and the sauce is flavorful.
    Simmering beef rolls and vegetable in a saucepan
  6. Add allspice and bay leaves.
  7. Cover and simmer for about 1,5h. Make sure to check the pan from time to time and add a little bit of water, if needed.
  8. When the vegetables are soft and there isn’t a lot of liquid left, take the roulades out.
    Rinderrouladen - Beef rolls and vegetable in a saucepan
  9. Use a sieve or a food blender to make the sauce from the remaining vegetables. You can add more spices if you like.
  10. And it’s done. I like to use up as many vegetables as possible so my sauce is rather thick.
    Rinderrouladen (German beef roll-ups) with a thick brown sauce (gravy)

You can serve this dish with potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel or Kartoffelklöße) and pickled red cabbage (Rotkohl). You can also make more roulades and freeze them in their sauce. They can be easily reheated later.