Bavarian Meatloaf – Bayerischer Leberkäse

Bavarian Leberkäse, as the name suggests, is the Bavarian form of Leberkäse, a speciality Fleischkäse (meatloaf) from southern Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland. Despite its name, Bavarian Leberkäse (literally liver-cheese) contains no liver nor cheese, in contrast to other Leberkäse which need to contain at least 4% liver and can sometimes have cheese. In fact, according to German food laws, only Bavarian Leberkäse is allowed to contain no liver.

It is said that Fleischkäse was invented in 1776 by the cook of Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, although this story has been heavily contested. Despite its somewhat unclear origins, this dish has become a folk favourite.

Ingredients (for one loaf):

400 g (1 package) lean beef
400 g (1 package) pork
200 g (½ package) bacon; rind removed
250 ml (1 cup) iced water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon marjoram
Butter to grease


Cool meat thoroughly before preparation. Cut meat into chunks and mince on fine setting. Mix together both meats and add salt, pepper and iced water until smooth. Mince bacon on medium setting and mix with meat.

Peel and grate onion and add to mixture together with marjoram. Place in fridge to cool. Once thoroughly cooled, put mixture into greased loaf tin. Smooth surface and, using blade of knife, make diamond-shaped pattern across top (about 5 mm deep).

Bake for about one hour in centre of oven preheated to 180°C (356°f), or alternatively, 160°C (320°f) for fan oven or gas mark 2 to 2.5 for gas oven.

When done, take out of oven, let cool, and enjoy!

For main meals Leberkäse is served warm in thick slices with accompanying potato salad or Ochsenaugen (fried eggs) and sweet mustard. For a snack with bread, it is eaten as sausage; cold and thinly sliced, perhaps with a sour gherkin, and placed inside a bread roll.

Credit: Bavaria