Rouladen – Spend With Pennies

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.

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

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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

Author Holly Nilsson

Meat Tenderizer with white background
Dutch Oven with white background
  • 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.

*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. 

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

#Rouladen #Spend #Pennies

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