This rouladen recipe comes from my Grandma Mary’ and it’s childhood favorite.  

Thin slices of beef are rolled with a bit of mustard, bacon, onions, and a dill pickle! The beef rolls are slow-roasted and served with a rich brown gravy.

This dish has an old-fashioned, hearty flavor with melt-in-your-mouth tender beef. Serve with mashed potatoes or cooked macaroni like my grandma always did.

beef rouladen on a white plate with mashed potatoes and gravy

What is Rouladen?

Just one of the finest comfort foods of all time! Beef rouladen is a German dish that my Polish grandmother and my mom made often.

Rouladen has thin slices of beef that are brushed with mustard and then wrapped with bacon, onion, and dill pickle before slow cooking. It’s served with a rich brown gravy.

The acidity from the pickle tenderizes the meat and adds lots of flavor along with the bacon.

Beef round , pickles , bacon , onion , mustard , salt and pepper with labels to make Beef Rouladen

Ingredients for Rouladen

  • Beef – Choose thin slices of top round steak or flank steak, 8 to 10-inches long, 4.5- inches wide, and ¼-inch thick. In my area, I find beef labeled “Rouladen” or you can ask the butcher to thinly slice steaks. If using round steaks you may need to layer two to get a 10-inches in length.
  • Mustard – My grandma always spread prepared yellow mustard on the beef, although Dijon mustard is great too.
  • Bacon – Use uncooked bacon, it adds flavor and keeps the beef moist.
  • Onion – Thinly sliced yellow onion is added to each roll.
  • Pickle – Our family uses dill pickles in the center of the rouladen.
  • Gravy – This recipe uses beef broth with a bit of dill pickle juice. My mom always added a can of mushrooms with the juices so I add them in as well. The juices are later used to make the sauce or gravy for serving.

While some recipes add a bit of red wine, my Grandma kept it simple. You can add extra onions to the gravy and a rib of celery and carrot if you’d like for flavor. Discard the carrot/celery before thickening the gravy.

How to Make Rouladen

  1. Gently pound the beef to tenderize (per the recipe below).
  2. Top with mustard, bacon, and onions, and roll around a whole dill pickle, secure with a toothpick, or tie with cooking twine.
  3. Brown the outside in a Dutch oven or pan. Add broth and a splash of pickle juice. Either roast or simmer the rouladen until fork tender.
  4. Thicken the juices with flour or a cornstarch slurry to make gravy.

Prefer the Crock Pot?

Rouladen can also be cooked in a slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.

How to Serve Rouladen

My mom always served rouladen on top of elbow macaroni with lots of gravy.

Of course, it’s great over mashed potatoes, spätzle, egg noodles, or potato dumplings, or even baby potatoes.

This beef rouladen recipe also pairs well with braised red cabbage (rotkohl).

Beef Rouladen sliced open on a plate

To Freeze Rouladen

Beef rouladen can be prepared and the rolls can be frozen either before or after cooking. Simply prepare as directed, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or air-tight container.

To enjoy from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and cook as directed in the recipe.

Got Leftovers?

Rouladen tastes great the next day! It makes a perfect work-day lunch over mashed potatoes or even cauliflower rice! You can also chop up the rouladen and add the gravy to a soup!

More Slow Cooked Beef Favorites

Did your family love this Beef Rouladen? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

beef rouladen on a white plate with mashed potatoes and gravy
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Beef Rouladen

This classic German dish is made with thinly sliced beef covered with mustard, bacon, onions, and rolled around a dill pickle! 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Holly Nilsson
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Ingredients  

  • 6 slices beef round or thinly sliced flank steak*, ¼-inch
  • 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 6 slices bacon uncooked
  • 1 white or yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 6 dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups beef broth reduced sodium
  • ¼ cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 can mushrooms with juice (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch more as needed
  • mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Place the beef slices on a cutting board and gently pound with a meat tenderizer to ¼-inch thickness.
  • Spread a thin layer of mustard over each slice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a slice of bacon to each piece of beef and top with onions and a dill pickle.
  • Roll each rouladen jelly-roll style and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the beef rolls and brown on each side.
  • Add the beef broth to the Dutch oven, scraping up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the canned mushrooms with juices if using and ¼ cup pickle juice (and extra onions if desired). Cover and roast 90-120 minutes or until fork-tender.

To Make Gravy

  • Transfer the rouladen to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm, leaving the juices in the Dutch oven.
  • Heat juices over medium-high heat until boiling, making sure to scrape up any brown bits. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling broth while whisking to reach the desired thickness. You may not need all of the cornstarch mixture.
  • Serve Rouladen over mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni with gravy.

Notes

*Beef should be about 8-10 inches long, 4.5-inches wide and ¼-inch thick. If the beef strips aren’t long enough, it’s okay to overlap two shorter pieces a bit.
I prefer to roast cook beef rouladen in the oven but it can be covered and gently simmered on the stove for about 45-55 minutes or until tender.
Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave until heated through. 
5 from 56 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 153 | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1112mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine German
beef rouladen on a plate with gravy and writing
beef rouladen in a dutch oven with gravy and a title
beef rouladen with gravy and mushrooms on top of mashed potatoes and writing
beef rouladen cut in half and with gravy on a bed of mashed potatoes with a title

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. oh my goodness. I love this recipe. Many years ago I got this recipe from a German restaurant. Was so excited when I found yours. I will be making this again. thankyou This is a recipe you will make to serve all your loved ones5 stars

  2. First time trying this beef recipe and we both ‘Loved’ this. Will definitely try this again. I oued add a little more liquid to make more gravy. Delicious with mashed potatoes. Thanks,
    Carmen

  3. Made according to the recipe except braised in crockpot. My aunt used to make this – spot on recipe. I do have to say, I used an eye of round, which I pounded, but had smaller pieces than the pics, as I cut across the grain. So- used sandwich sliced dill pickle- cut in half, a half slice of bacon, and a sprinkle of onion. So yum!!! If you like Cubano sandwiches, you’ll love this.5 stars

  4. There are many variations of this dish which have evolved due to the likes or dislikes of ones particular family. Dill pickles imbedded in meat would not go over well in my family so my mom substituted a half-slice, cut in half again, of toasted bread and sautéed onions into the middle; I’ve also dined in German restaurants who rolled cooked carrot and onions into the middle. Complimentary substitutions have led to some “better than the original” dishes so don’t be afraid to experiment a little.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Donald, but If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  5. my omi used to make this. God rest her sweet soul. he added seasoned hamburger to hers with the mustard and the pickle. it’s do good.5 stars

  6. My family loves this recipe. We grew up having this. My parents are German. We make it for special occasions like Christmas Eve. Thank you for sharing so others can enjoy it as well. ❤️5 stars

  7. Being of German descent, I learnt from my Mother how to make these. Adding the mushrooms may appeal to some but we never added them or the pickles. Someone told me about adding dill pickles so I tried it but I didn’t feel it added any taste difference and omit this in my Rouladen.

    1. The family memories and traditions that come with food and how each family makes it are so special!

  8. Sounds really good but would it taste just as delicious if finished off in the slow cooker instead of oven or stove top?

    1. Hi Joy, this can absolutely be cooked in the slow cooker. I cook it in a slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours. Enjoy!

  9. My Austrian mother in law made this and now I do. The only thing different you do is add canned mushrooms. I will add this. Sounds nice. Cannot always get your finished size. This depends on size and cut of meat available at time. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  10. Hi, I have a question about freezing.
    Do you brown the rouladen then freeze?
    Or freeze after the roll is made up but not browned yet? I’d like to slow cook the rouladen at my friends house but do all the preparations at mine.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ingrid, when freezing we do so once it’s prepared (but not browned) and then let fully defrost and brown and cook when ready to enjoy. Hope that helps!

  11. A few breadcrumbs added before rolling to absorb bacon fat,then add a few crushed ginger snaps to gravy,my german friends recipe…Yum5 stars

  12. That’s how I make my Rouladen same way my mom did I’m going to try flanksteak next we have a German butcher and he has Rouladen already cut or stuffed anyway thank you for that great recipe5 stars

      1. I’ve had some Roladen stuffed with carrot which I imagine would have to be precooked before rolling. Our family struggled our Roladen with a sautéed onion & mushroom mixture along with 2 or 3 toasted bread strips. Mom skipped the mustard as well. After browning, place in baking dish. Pour 2 cups of beef broth into browning pan to warm and capture all the bits. Pour enriched broth over Rouladen and bake for 45 minutes. Thicken enriched broth to make a luscious gravy.

        Note: Toast bread and cut each slice into 4 or 5 strips.

  13. For special occasions (since it is a bit of work) I like to serve them with Croquettes – breaded rolls (about thumb size) of mashed potatoes which are given a stir fry. Delicious.

  14. I haven’t made these since leaving Germany but now might be the right time to make them again. Your recipe served as a memory refresher for me. Can’t wait to make these again.

  15. Yum, this reminds me of my mom and grandma also! My mom adds celery leaves if she has on hand to her rouladen. Thanks for sharing, I have to make this now.