The smell of Beef Rouladen cooking in my Grandma Mary’s kitchen is one of my fondest childhood memories.
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.
What is Rouladen?
Just one of the finest comfort foods of all time! If you come from a German heritage, you probably grew up with beef Rouladen. My Polish grandmother and my mom made these beef rolls frequently and they’re definitely a favorite.
In this beef rouladen recipe, thin slices of beef are brushed with mustard and then wrapped with bacon, onion and dill pickle before slow cooking. It’s served with a rich brown gravy.
Ingredients for Rouladen
Beef: Some grocery stores in my area sell beef labeled as “Rouladen”. You will want slices of beef that are about 8″ to 10″ long x 4.5″ wide and 1/4-inch thick. Either ask the butcher or use thinly sliced top round steak or even flank steak. If using thin round steaks you may need to layer two to get a 10″ length.
Fillings: My grandma always used yellow mustard although Dijon mustard is great too. Thin slices of bacon, onion and dill or sweet pickle (I definitely prefer dill) are wrapped in the beef.
Broth: 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
- Place the beef slices and gently pound them with a meat tenderizer until they are all uniformly thin (per the recipe below).
- Top with mustard, bacon, onions, and roll around a whole dill pickle, secure with a toothpick or tie with cooking twine.
- 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.
- Thicken the juices with flour or a cornstarch slurry to make gravy.
Rouladen can also cook in a slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.
To Make the Gravy
- When done, remove from the pan and pour the juices into a stockpot on medium heat.
- Make a Slurry by whisking cornstarch with an equal amount of water or beef broth until it is fully dissolved. When the pan juices are boiling, whisk in the slurry a bit at a time and cook until the desired gravy thickness is reached.
- I always add a can of mushrooms with juices to my rouladen gravy just the way my mom made it.
My absolute favorite way to enjoy rouladen is on top of elbow macaroni with lots of gravy spooned over top. Of course, it’s great over mashed potatoes, spätzle, egg noodles, or potato dumplings, or even baby potatoes. It’s great with a side of braised red cabbage to round out the meal.
To Freeze Rouladen
This easy dish 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.
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
- 6 slices beef round or thinly sliced flank steak*, ¼-inch
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 6 slices uncooked bacon
- 1 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
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch more as needed
- mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Lay out beef slices and gently pound to ¼-inch thickness using a meat tenderizer.
- Spread a thin layer of mustard over each slice and season with salt and pepper.
- Lay bacon over each beef slice and top with onions and a dill pickle.
- Roll each rouladen jelly-roll style and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine.
- Heat butter in a dutch oven over medium heat and brown the beef rolls on each side. Add the beef broth, 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
- Remove Rouladen from the juices, set on a plate and cover.
- Heat juices over medium-high heat until boiling, making sure to scrape up any brown bits. Combine cornstarch with an equal amount of water. Add cornstarch mixture to the boiling broth while whisking until it reaches the desired thickness. You may not need all of the cornstarch mixture.
- Serve Rouladen over mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni with gravy.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Can this be cooked in an instant pot ?
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!
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.
So different fro my mom’s but interesting! Can’t wait to try. I LOVE your recipes!
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. ❤️
I love hearing your special family traditions, this was such a special recipe in my family too!
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.
The family memories and traditions that come with food and how each family makes it are so special!
Sounds really good but would it taste just as delicious if finished off in the slow cooker instead of oven or stove top?
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!
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.
Mushrooms would be a delicious addition, Liz! Great suggestion.
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.
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!
A few breadcrumbs added before rolling to absorb bacon fat,then add a few crushed ginger snaps to gravy,my german friends recipe…Yum
Oh boy, that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing.
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 recipe
What else can I stuff it with,hate dill pickles
You can skip the pickles or use another type of pickled veggie (beans or carrots).
Use sticks of carrots or celery.
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.
Never heard of pickle mustard thing…my mom put stuffing in the middle…i just use stove top…its great…
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.
Sounds delicious, I love that idea!
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.
Can’t wait for you to make them again Carolyn!
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.
That sounds like a delicious addition Shauna! Thanks for sharing.
I’ve never heard of this……but it sounds wonderful!
Oh my gosh Deb! It is so wonderful! I can’t wait for you to try it.