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Learn Your German Food Vocabulary

written by: allychevalier • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 3/2/2012

Knowing your way around food is one of the first steps to German fluency—and a good meal. This article provides an overview of German food vocabulary and related words, including a printable download of the vocabulary lists.

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    Before We Begin

    This article will be listing vocabulary in an English: German layout. No guide to German pronunciation is provided, athough there are many available online including the article Start Learning German - Pronunciation, Asking Directions and the Time if so desired. This article will also no be explaining the grammatical structures that underlay many of the German phrases.

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    Food: Das Essen

    Your first task is to learn the food that you'll be referring to. Here is a basic list of some of the victuals you might be wanting:

    • Food: das Essen

    • Meat: das Fleisch
    • Steak: das Steak
    • Chicken: das Hänchen
    • Ham: der Schinken
    • Sausage: die Wurst
    • Fish: das Fisch

    • Fruit: die Frucht
    • Apple: der Apfel
    • Orange: die Orange
    • Banana: die Banane
    • Strawberry: die Erdbeere
    • Raspberry: die Himbeere
    • Grape: die Traube

    • Vegetables: das Gemüse
    • Tomato: die Tomate
    • Potato: die Kartoffel
    • Carrot: die Karrotten
    • Peas: die Erbse
    • Beans: die Bohne
    • Onion: die Zwiebel

    • Nut: die Nuss
    • Flour: der Mehl
    • Rice: der Reis
    • Cheese: der Käse

    Want something a bit more prepared? Here are some common dishes you might encounter:

    • Pizza: die Pizza
    • Fries: die Pommes [frites]
    • Ice Cream: das Eis
    • Cake: der Kuchen
    • Bread: das Brot
    • Salad: der Salat
    • Soup: die Suppe

    Something to put on top? Here are some common condiments:

    • Condiment: das Gewürz
    • Salt: das Salz
    • Pepper: der Pfeffer
    • Sauce: die Soße
    • Butter: die Butter
    • Honey: der Honig
    • Cream: die Sahne
    • Sugar: der Zucker
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    Drinks: die Getränke

    A bit thirsty after all that? Can't blame you. Here are some common drinks:

    • Drink: Das Getränk
    • Water: das Wasser
    • Coffee: der kaffee
    • Tea: der Tee
    • [fruit] Juice: der [Obst]saft
    • Milk: die Milch
    • Lemonade: die Limonade
    • Wine: der Wein
    • Beer: das Bier
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    You also need to be able to describe food beyond its name, of course. Here are some basic adjectives that you might use:

    • Bitter: bitter
    • Salty: salzig
    • Sour: sauer
    • Spicy: scharf
    • Sweet: süß

    • Fresh: frisch
    • Rare [cooked]: blutig
    • Raw: roh
    • Tender: zart
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    Eating with your hands isn't always considered the politest thing to do. Here is some vocabulary describing some of the utensils that make your eating process slightly more civilized, depending on how you use them.

    • Mug: der Becher
    • Glass: das Glas
    • Cup: die Tasse

    • Fork: die Gabel
    • Spoon: der Löffel
    • Knife: der Messer

    • Plate: der Teller
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    Verbs & Phrases

    But what are you doing with all this food? Eating it, of course! But, in what manner, and what else are you doing? Here are some verbs that will help you describe what you are -ing with all that Essen.

    • To eat: essen
    • To drink: trinken

    To describe whatever particular meal you happen to be eating, just turn the name of the meal into a verb. For instance, “dinner" is “das Abendessen," so “to eat dinner" is “Abendessen," or “breakfast" is “das Frühstück," so “to eat breakfast" is “frühstücken." Not all that bad, eh?

    • To cook: kochen
    • To roast: braten
    • To bake: backen
    • To wash: spülen
    • To smell: riechen

    Now that you've got all that vocabulary on the forefront of your brain, it's time to put it to some use. Here are some phrases you can use in conjunction with all this food to make some mouth-watering sentences:

    • To have hunger: Hunger haben
    • To have thirst: Durst haben
    • To set the table: den Tisch decken
    • To be full: satt sein
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    Lesson Plan Idea: Make a Meal

    Want a fun and easy way to teach (or learn) all this German food vocabulary? Plan a meal using as many of these foods as appropriate and then eat it without speaking a word of English. Learning the words will come easier when the food is right in front of you and just asking to be eaten! Interacting with other people while preparing and, of course, devouring the dishes will help reinforce the vocabulary in the proper context.

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    For a printable download of the German food vocabulary used in this article, please see German Food Vocabulary Download.