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Pressure-Cooker Sauerbraten

One of my all-time favorite German dishes is sauerbraten, but I don't love that it normally takes five to 10 days to make. Using an electric pressure cooker, I think I've captured that same distinctive flavor in less than two hours. —James Schend, Deputy Editor, Taste of Home
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + standing Cook: 20 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash ground ginger
  • 1 pound boneless beef top round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crushed gingersnaps
  • Hot cooked egg noodles
  • Optional: Chopped fresh parsley and coarsely ground pepper


  • Place cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag. In a large bowl, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and ginger. Add beef and spice bag; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer all to a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Add carrots, celery and onion. Lock the lid and close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 10 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Select saute setting and adjust for medium heat; bring liquid to a boil. Discard the spice bag. Stir in gingersnaps; cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with egg noodles. If desired, top with parsley and pepper.

  • Freeze option: Freeze cooled sauerbraten in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add a little broth or water if necessary.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Sauerbraten is one of the best-known German dishes and is often seen as the national dish of Germany. In traditional preparations the meat is marinated in a vinegar and herb mixture for many days, creating its iconic tang.
  • More often than not, this hearty dish is served on noodles and a side dish of braised red cabbage.
  • In some regions of Germany and throughout the US, you'll often find crispy potato pancakes served on the side as well.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup: 228 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 436mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable.


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    Average Rating:
    • Denise
      Mar 2, 2021

      Yum! I just got a new Instant Pot and was a bit nervous to use it. This recipe made it easy. I learned I could saute in the pot. It was absolutely amazing how the cookies thickened up the sauce. I used apple cider vinegar and it was delicious! It's a keeper recipe for me!

    • Jenny
      Aug 25, 2020

      Traditionally it's served with dumpling and red cabbage

    • gremaux
      Jul 7, 2020

      VERY GOOD, but not really special

    • Dennis
      Apr 26, 2020

      This is a great recipe but it would be helpful if you specified about how many people this should serve or how many servings to expect. Also, roughly how many pounds of noodles to put in the pot as well. I was making it for two people so I had to guess as to how many noodles to cook. Thank you for another great recipe.

    • Jessica
      Oct 31, 2018

      I made the original recipe as written a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly delicious...however, the color wasn't a deep, dark brown as traditional sauerbraten. I had enough ingredients left that I froze the chopped vegetables in a Ziplock, the cubed beef in another Ziplock, and the crushed cookies in another! I put all three bags in a freezer bag for a quick weeknight meal. Tonight, I noticed the prior review and used apple cider vinegar and the red wine. It was perfect! Since I'm new with the Instant Pot, I cooked for 15 minutes as the meat was still frozen. I will keep the recipe as adjusted in our regular rotation.

    • annrms
      Oct 8, 2018

      We're big fans of sauerbraten, and when I saw this quick method, I just had to try it. I used my stovetop pressure cooker with no problems...cooked it under pressure the same amount of time. It's a great recipe, and it has as much flavor as the one that takes days to make! Instead of water, I used red wine, and I substituted apple cider vinegar for the white. I added mustard seed and juniper berries to the spice bundle. A keeper...!