No pickles in this rouladen! The stuffing & mushroom gravy are spectacular!

My Mom (rest her soul) was a fantastic cook. Sure, she got sidetracked into some of the weirdness in the 60’s – Porcupine Balls, Tuna Casserole and Shake and Bake but later really found her “groove.” These Beef Rouladen, as she called them, were a family favorite – made on afternoons when she cooked for the sheer joy of it.

German Rouladen with a stuffing of bread crumbs and herbs and a Mushroom gravy.
German Rouladen with a stuffing of bread crumbs and herbs and a Mushroom gravy.

My Mom was Irish (on her Mom’s side) and German (on her Dad’s side) so I think these Rouladen came down the German side of the family. I couldn’t find any trace of Rouladen in either my Mother’s or my Grandmother’s recipe box, so as a family recipe, it survives just because Mom passed it on to me. Most Rouladen recipes I’ve seen contain bacon and pickle, but this one is a bit different with an herby bread crumb stuffing.

My Great Grandparents settled into Northwest Iowa, but originally came from around Gerbach, Germany, so perhaps that’s where this recipe originated, Regardless, this recipe is a great way to take an inexpensive and rather dense cut of meat, prone to be tough, dry and tasteless and make it moist, tender and appealing.

If you love Chicken Fried Steak, the same method of slicing and tenderizing meat from the round, used in this recipe, works very well for Chicken Fried Steak, too.

Gerbach is in the background, Werzweiller in the front.
Gerbach is in the background, Werzweiller in the front.

The filling has a lot of herbs – it is intense in flavor, and that flavor transfers through to the whole roll. The nutmeg can easily hijack the flavor, so use just the tiniest pinch if using store bought, and only the slightest scrape if grating your own. I prefer to add a pinch of allspice, instead, although that’s another strong flavor. The recipe (it’s an old one) originally called for suet; feel free, as I do, to substitute chopped bacon. Brown the mushrooms well – they are really the basis for the flavor of the gravy.

While I generally serve this with mashed potatoes (the Irish side coming out?) and a green vegetable, if I were ambitious, I think I would tempted to make a potato dumpling or home-made egg noodles, instead. I think the next time I make these, I’ll be heading over to see Marta at Plate du Jour so I can made her Potato Dumplings. If I can wait that long to try her recipe!

The number of Rouladen this recipe makes depends on the shape of the meat as well as how it’s carved. It’s helpful to have the meat sliced or to use a slicer, but if not, make sure your knife is good and sharp. I have difficulty get the full amount of slices when I cut by hand. I’d only count on six servings if serving to small children as well as adults.

German Beef Rouladen

  • Servings: 4-6 abt 10 - 12 rolls
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
  • 4 ounces fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces suet (substitute chopped, cooked bacon)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 eggs
  • small pinch nutmeg (or allspice)
  • salt and pepper
  • wine, water or stock, to moisten
  • 2 pounds top sirloin or bottom round
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour, mixed with a little water to form a slurry

Mix together bread crumbs, bacon or suet, parsley, marjoram, lemon peel, eggs, nutmeg or allspice and salt & pepper. I generally use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Moisten with wine, stock or water until mixture holds together. Set aside.

While preparing beef (below) melt two tablespoons butter in a large skillet or oven proof pan. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring now and then, until onions are softened and mushrooms are dark and flavorful. If the mushrooms appear too dry as they cook, add water by the tablespoon. The meat will be browned in the same pan, so remove if more room is needed.

To prepare beef, cut into slices about 3/8ths of an inch thick. Best if done with a slicer, by a butcher or carefully with a very sharp knife. Depending on cutting method, there should be about 10 to 12 slices. Gently pound each out to a square of about 4 by 3 1/2 inches.

Salt and pepper beef if desired, then spread with about a tablespoon of the bread crumb mixture. Since the number of slices may vary, it may be easiest to lay out all the beef, then add a tablespoon to each slice. Divide any excess mixture among the rolls.

Spread the mixture across each slice of beef, leaving a space on the end of about 1/2 inch. It’s best to choose a short, straight edge to leave the space at. Roll towards that end. May be tied or closed with a toothpick if desired, but this is not necessary if one is careful with turning the rolls while browning.

Add more butter to the skillet and heat. Place rolls seam side down and quickly saute until lightly browned. Turn and brown the top side. Turn again so the seam is on the bottom. Add mushroom/onion mixture back in if it has been removed, add beef broth.

Bring to a simmer, cover tightly and cook on stove-top at a bare simmer or in the oven at 325 degrees for about an hour and a half. Remove when tender. Because of variances in heat level, check the rolls about 15 minutes before, or cook longer if necessary.

Remove rolls from the sauce, make a slurry with the flour and water and stir into the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until desired consistency. If the sauce looks oily, a bit more flour should be added; it should have a nice sheen, though, and is best served on the thinner side.

Place rolls on a platter and pour sauce over. Garnish with parsley.

Note: The recipe originally called for thickening the gravy with two tablespoons of butter kneaded with two tablespoons of flour. Since the recipe already contains quite a bit of butter, I use a simple slurry, instead.

from the kitchen of

This is the bottom round, inexpensive, dense, prone to be tough and dry if not cooked right
This is the bottom round, inexpensive, dense, prone to be tough and dry if not cooked right


The number of rolls depends on the slicing - some people go thinner than this
The number of rolls depends on the slicing – some people go thinner than this, I try for 3/8ths of an inch or so.


Depending on how tough the meat looks, I may gently tenderize it
Depending on how tough the meat looks, I may gently tenderize it. This is the same way meat may be done for something like Chicken Fried Steak.


Spread the filling, then roll. Leave a little space at the edges.
Spread the filling, then roll. Leave a little space at the edges.


Brown the mushrooms and onions well - they'll be the basis for the gravy.
Brown the mushrooms and onions well – they’ll be the basis for the gravy.

 Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time, buying at the best prices and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.


Based on 6 servings, 2 rolls each: calories 441, tot fat 24g; sat fat 13g, chol 246mg; sod 462mg; pot 681mg; car 11g; fib 2g; sug 3g; prot 47g; vit a 20%; vit c 15%; calc 4%; iron 8%

{Heritage Recipes}


16 Comments on “German Beef Rouladen with Mushroom Gravy . $10.00

    • Hi Brian, I just gave in instructions to mix bread crumbs through salt and pepper, so that should include the bread crumbs, bacon, parsley marjoram, zest, eggs, nutmeg and salt and pepper. I’ll change the recipe up to list them so it’s clearer. Thanks for commenting. 🙂


  1. Ooooh have mercy!! These look so delicious! ! Fantastic recipe. I love it- we call them in Poland roladki – it’s almost the same word. Im sure I’ll be making these soon 😀

    • 🙂 Lovely compliment – thanks! See, I was guessing that there were variations in other places! So i’m curious – Is there a “traditional” variation to the filling/sauce that is particular to Poland or regions of Poland?

      I hope you don’t mind me linking back to your gorgeous dumplings! I just think they would be so good with this!

  2. The Beef Rouladen looks mouthwatering It is very tempting to try something like this. I am also quite enamored with the mallet-tenderizer. It looks like a good way to get the kids involved in food prep and, let’s be honest, I too could lose an hour or two with such a useful tool.

    • 🙂 I think the kids would LOVE the meat mallet! Put the meat into a large HEAVY ziploc bag and there will be less chance that they’ll pound the meat to mush and it will prevent over zealous youngsters from flinging small bits of meat caught in the teeth across the kitchen as they pound!

      Mine was my Grandmas! I use it more than you’d think. The flat sides work well to pound the thick part of chicken breasts so they cook more evenly.

      Oh my gosh – You should do a Cheesy Poblano Chili filled Rolled up Chicken breast! Or heck, whatever creative spin you’d have on one. A day off or weekend recipe to be sure, and It might be a bit of a hassle, but think how great it would be! And the kids could pound the chicken. A sturdy mug would work, too, for pounding but isn’t nearly as cool.

      Here’s the basic recipe for a Chicken roll up, obviously before I discovered URL’s could be edited!!

      • While flinging bits of meat may somehow be therapeutic, it would likely become quite messy.

        Thank you for hooking me up with the chicken recipe. I know where I can score one of those mallets and I just can’t wait!

    • Thanks! As the Holidays get closer, I seem to think more about old family recipes and traditions!

      Before I posted, I did a little research – the French have Roulades and the Italians the Braciola (which I’ve had, but never made) – and I’m betting every region around Europe probably has their own versions of Beef Rolls.

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