Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy

by Julie Cohn
Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy7

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Growing up, I had one set of German grandparents and one set of Polish grandparents.  My German grandmother did not cook much, but she did introduce me to her German cuisine, including one of my favorite dishes, sauerbraten, a German-style pot roast.  When I went to Germany last year, I had sauerbraten in a pub and it tasted exactly like the sauerbraten I had growing up!  This Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy is a unique twist on the traditional German recipe –tangy and tender, and surprisingly easy to make in the slow cooker…the ultimate comfort food!

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Something to note: This recipe is about eight years in the making.  I’ve tried over and over to make sauerbraten in the slow cooker but did not marinade it enough in advance or I attempted to make the gingersnap gravy in the slow cooker along with the beef, and the whole thing came out like glue.  Last year, I finally perfected the recipe. Roasting the beef in the crockpot, then making the gingersnap gravy on the stovetop is the key to the perfect slow cooker sauerbraten.  This slow cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy will become one of your favorite slow cooker recipes, a great meal for Oktoberfest or any time!


Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy

Sauerbraten is one of the most popular dishes in Germany, and popular in the United States during Oktoberfest, but makes a great meal any time of year.  The beef is marinated in a sweetened red wine vinegar marinade for three days, then roasted in the crockpot.  The marinade makes the beef extra tender, so it pulls apart easily with a fork. The sweet and sour gingersnap gravy, made with leftover marinade and crushed gingersnap cookies, is generously drizzled over the finished sauerbraten and served with red cabbage and mashed potatoes. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you could make homemade spaetzle or potato dumplings to go along with the Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy.


  • 2-3 lb. Tri-Tip or Bottom Round Roast
  • 1 c. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 c. Apple Cider
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. Pickling Spice
  • 1 tsp. Whole Cloves
  • 1 c. Carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

Gingersnap Gravy

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 10 Gingersnaps, finely crushed
  • 1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 c. Roast Marinade
  • 1 c. Apple Cider (or apple juice)

Wash and trim excess fat off the beef roast.  I used the tri-tip roast for my sauerbraten because it is a more tender cut, and will slice more easily after slow cooking, but a bottom round roast works well too.  Place the beef in a large (2-3 quart) plastic storage container (with lid). Chop the onion and sprinkle around the roast.  In a separate bowl, mix together the red wine vinegar, apple cider, sugar, bay leaves, pickling spices, and whole clove.  Pour over the roast.  Add the carrot.  Seal the container and place it in the refrigerator.  Store for three days, turning the container over each day to completely coat the roast.

Slow Cooker Sauerbraten + Gingersnap Gravy2

After three days, take the roast out of the marinade and place in a slow cooker.  (I use slow cooker liners for easy cleanup.)  Pour the remaining marinade through a strainer to strain out the pickling spices.  Scoop out the onion and carrot and place it in the slow cooker with the roast.  Pour the strained marinade over the roast and cook on high for four hours, then reduce to low for another two hours.  When the roast is finished, strain the remaining marinade to use for the gravy.  Slice the roast and serve with roasted carrots. 

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When the roast is almost done, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Crush the ginger snap cookies and add to the butter, forming a roux. (I put the cookies in a baggie and crush with a rolling pin.)  Stir in the apple cider vinegar and apple cider and heat to boiling.  Stir in the remaining marinade from the roast, lower the heat to medium and simmer the gravy until thickened, then serve immediately.

Want to make this healthier?  

  • Use honey instead of sugar in the marinade
  • Have the grocery butcher trim the fat from your cut of beef

Looking for more crockpot recipes?  

  • Melt in Your Mouth Crockpot Ribs
  • Apple Cider BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Stuffing 
  • Crockpot Rice Pudding 

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Robbie 06/30/2023 at 12:44 pm

I am making your slow cooker version as I write this! The aroma is absolutely causing the household fits, waiting for dinner later tonight.
My mom is full blooded German and she will be pleased , I hope.
I’ll post results.

Julie Cohn 06/30/2023 at 1:56 pm

Wonderful! Be sure to serve it with red cabbage and spaetzle! Yum!


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