Traditional German Meatloaf (Hackbraten) – My Dinner

Hackbraten, is a delicious German meatloaf served with a creamy rahmsauce. Meatloaf is a dish just ticks all the boxes While the hackbraten is baking in the oven, you have enough time to prepare all the other lovely side dishes. It is easy to scale up or down, according to how many mouths you have to feed and the leftovers taste great. The recipe is easy to personalize and it’s quick to prepare.

German Meatloaf on blue and white plate.
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About this dish

What is German meatloaf made of?

Meatloaf is a dish that is prepared from ground/minced meat. The meat is flavored with spices such as mustard, paprika, and gherkins. Binding ingredients such as bread and eggs are added. Then it formed into a loaf form and baked.

In a German-style meatloaf, the most common meat to use is a mixture of ground pork and beef mince, although only beef mince can be used.
Other popular German dishes using minced /ground meat are Frikadellen (German Meatballs) or Königsberger Klopse (Boiled German Meatballs in a caper sauce)

Meatloaf in German

There are several different names for this dish in Germany. The most common term is HackbratenThe term is put together by two words “Hack” referring to the minced / ground meat and “braten” the German word for Roast.

Other popular names are “Falscher Hase” (translated “Fake Rabbit”) or “Heuchelhase” (translated “Pretend Rabbit”)

Faschierter Braten” is another term to describe this dish. “Faschiert” is another word for “minced” and “Braten” is the word for a roast. So you can translate this dish as “minced roast”.

Falscher Hase name Origin

The name that immediately grabs attention is “Falscher Hase” false rabbit. This term originates from the time after the 2nd World War. At the time it was common to have a roast rabbit on Sundays. After the war, due to all the bombing, there was a shortage of rabbits, so the government protected them. So poorer families replaced the expensive rabbit with ground meat. That is why the meatloaf is shared in the form of a sleeping rabbit. [Source: Bedeutung Online: warum sagt mann falscher Hase zu Hackbraten?]

The Falscher Hase dish often has a hard-boiled egg hidden in the meatloaf which also makes it a popular German Easter Food.

German Hackbraten surrounded by vegetables.

How to make Hackbraten

The beauty of this German meatloaf dish is that there is not just one recipe. You can use any Hackbraten seasoning as you like. It is also popular to make a meatloaf with a boiled egg in the middle. My husband is not so keen on boiled eggs, so mine does not include one.

Ingredients:

  • mince /ground meat – in Germany the most common mince you can buy is a mixture of pork and beef. The pork meat has a higher fat content and makes the meatloaf nice and juicy. You can only use ground beef, but that will alter the texture of the meatloaf. Beef includes less fat than pork so it will become denser and drier.
  • stale bread rolls – do not use toast bread. Best use a crusty roll or some baguette. They give the Hackbraten a nice fluffiy consistency. However, make sure you squeeze out the water as best you can.
  • onion
  • pickled gerkins (or you can use cornichons). Use the dill-gherkins/picle, not the sweet ones.
  • small bunch of parsley
  • eggs – this will help bind the meatloaf
  • salt
  • pepper
  • mustard – I like using German mustard but a good Dijon will do.
  • sweet paprika powder
  • butter

Hackbraten Recipe – Step By Step Images

  1. Slice the bread rolls into small pieces and soak them in some warm water. Squeeze them out very well, in order to draw out the moisture. Otherwise, your meatloaf might end up being too wet.
  2. Chop the onions, gerkins/picckles and parsley finely.
  3. Heat up 1 tablespoon of butter and fry the onions until they start to brown.
  1. Place the mincemeat/ground meat in a large bowl. Add the bread pulp, onions, eggs, mustard, gherkins, paprika powder, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until everything is combined.
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 356°F. Grease the bottom of an oven pan with butter.
  2. Place your meat mixture into the oven form and form into an oval-shaped loaf.
  3. Place in the oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes.
  1. Melt the remaining butter in a pan or microwave. Every 10 minutes brush the top of the meatloaf with a little butter.
  2. To test if the meatloaf is done, you can stick a meat thermometer in it. If the core temperature is around 75°C/ 170°F it should be done.
  3. Serve immediately.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a rectangular or loaf form to bake your meatloaf in. This will give it a more precise shape.
  • Add hard-boiled eggs to your loaf. You will need to boil the eggs first and then peel them. Do not boil them until very hard as the eggs will still cook even more in the oven, and then they might end up too try. First, make the base of your meatloaf, add the eggs in the middle and then top with the rest of the meat.
  • Try out different seasonings: Sage, Tarragon or Oregano are popular herbs to add.
  • Cover your meatloaf with bacon instead of brushing it with melted butter. This will give you a nice crispy outside, but the inside will still be lovely and moist.
Hackbraten with Rahmsauce
Hackbraten with Rahmsauce is a popular combination

What to serve with Hackbraten

In Germany, meatloaf is served as the main dish with lots of different side dishes.

Popular side dishes for meatloaf include:

Gravy for meatloaf:

Storage Instructions

A cooked Hackbraten will stay good in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. You can reheat it in the oven or the microwave.

Alternatively, you can freeze the meatloaf in slices. Store in airtight freezer bags.

Did you try this recipe?

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Recipe

German Meatloaf on blue and white plate.

Easy German Meatloaf (Hackbraten)

Marita

This authentic hackbraten is full of flavour. A great quick meal for the family that everyone will love.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 45 mins

Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine German

Ingredients

  • 800 g mixed mince /ground meat 28 oz, 50% pork and 50% beef. You can just use beef but that will alter the texture
  • 2 bread rolls stale, you can also use stale baguette
  • 1 onion medium size approx 150 g/ 5 oz
  • 70 g pickled gerkins 2.5 oz. or you can use cornicons. Use the dill gherkins/picle
  • 15th g parsley 0.5 oz
  • 2 eggs medium size
  • 1 ½ test salt
  • 1 test pepper
  • 1 test mustard
  • 1 test paprika powder
  • 100 g butter 3.5 oz

Instructions

  • Slice the breadrolls in small pieces and soak them in some warm water. Squeeze them out very well, in order to draw out the moisture. Otherwise your meatloaf might end up being too wet.

  • Chop the onions, gerkins/picckles and parsley finley.

  • Heat up 1 tablespoon of butter and fry the onions until they start to brown.

  • Place the mincemeat/ground meat in a large bowl. Add the bread pulp, onions, eggs, mustard, gherkings, paprika powder, salt, pepper and mix with your hands until everything is combined.

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C / 356°F. Grease the bottom of an oven pan with butter.

  • Place your meat mix into the oven form and form into an oval shaped loaf.

  • Place in the oven and back for approximatley 45 minuites.

  • Melt the remaining butter in a pan or microwave. Every 10 minutes brush the top of the meatloaf with a little butter.

  • To test if the meatloaf is done, you can stick a meat thermometer in it. If the core temperature is around 75°C/ 170°F it should be done. However, it should roughly take around 45 minutes.

  • While the meatloaf is baking, you can prepare a quick sauce to go with it. I recommend this rahmsauce or jäger sauce recipe.
  • Serve immediatly. It goes well with mashed potatoes, potato dumplings and boiled vegetables.

Notes

I would recommend checking out the step by step instructions pictures on the main post.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a rectangular or loaf form to bake your meatloaf in. This will give it a more precise shape.
  • Add hard-boiled eggs to your loaf. You will need to boil the eggs first and then peel them. Do not boil them until very hard as the eggs will still cook even more in the oven, and then they might end up too try. First, make the base of your meatloaf, add the eggs in the middle and then top with the rest of the meat.
  • Try out different seasonings: Sage, Tarragon or Oregano are popular herbs to add.
  • Cover your meatloaf with bacon instead of brushing it with melted butter. This will give you a nice crispy outside, but the inside will still be lovely and moist.

Storage Instructions

A cooked Hackbraten will stay good in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. You can reheat it in the oven or the microwave.
Alternatively, you can freeze the meatloaf in slices. Store in airtight freezer bags.

Keyword Falscher Hase, German Meatloaf, Hackbraten

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