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German onion tart (Zwiebelkuchen) recipe

German onion tart (Zwiebelkuchen) recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Pies and tarts
  • Savoury pies and tarts
  • Vegetable pies and tarts
  • Onion pies and tarts

This onion tart is similar, yet quite different, to the classic French quiche. It has a garlic pastry and is packed with loads of caramelised onions, fresh thyme, prosciutto and caraway seeds.

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • For the garlic pastry
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • For the filling
  • 900g onions, finely sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 60g prosciutto, cut in strips
  • 50g soured cream
  • 50g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 50g grated Cheddar cheese
  • caraway seeds (optional)

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr15min

  1. Combine all ingredients for the garlic pastry in a mixing bowl and knead into a stiff dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and place into the fridge.
  2. For the filling, melt butter in a large frying pan and gently cook onions and thyme over a low heat for about 30 minutes, until soft. Stir occasionally and don't let the onions get too brown. Add salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the thyme sprigs; transfer onions to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Grease a round tart tin.
  5. On a floured worktop, roll out dough; line the tart tin with the pastry, trimming the edges. Prick the pastry several times with a fork.
  6. Stir the prosciutto into the onion mixture; spoon on top of the pastry case.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together soured cream, cream cheese, grated cheese and egg; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream mixture on top of the onions. Sprinkle caraway seeds on top, if you like.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until set and golden brown on top.

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The answer is simple, Simplicity, Foolproof, Straightforward, and Tested. Yes, all recipes have been tested before posting including this Onion Tart (zwiebelkuchen).

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1/2 c Plus 1 tb butter 4 md Onions
1 3/4 c All purpose flour 4 Bacon slices, diced
1 Egg 1/2 c Whipping cream (be generous)
4 tb Half and half (milk & cream) 2 Eggs
Salt Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F (250C). Lightly grease an 11 inch quiche pan set
aside. Using a pastry blender or fork, work butter into flour. Stir
in 1 egg, half and half and salt to make dough. Let stand in a cool
place for a few minutes. Thinly slice onions. Fry bacon in a small
skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Add onion rings saute 2
to 3 minutes. Drain off excess fat. In a medium bowl, beat together
whipping cream, 2 eggs, salt and pepper. On a lightly floured surface
roll out pastry. Line greased pan with pastry. Prick pastry surface
with a fork. Spread cooked bacon and onions over pastry. Pour in
cream mixture. Cover with foil. Bake 20 mins. Remove foil bake 10 to
15 mins longer or until set. Cut in squares or wedges. Serve warm.
When cooking for large numbers, double the quantites given. Bake on a
large baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. Puff pastry or pizza dough can
be substituted for pie pastry. If serving this tart for dinner or
supper, a chilled white German wine will make the perfect match.

8 servings


In Germany onion pie is enjoyed year round, but it reaches the peak of its popularity during the fall harvest each year. It is the main gastronomic focus of the wine festivals of Germany’s wine regions (Baden, Rhine, Palatinate, Franconia, etc) as well as the Weimer onion market. It is also a popular offering during Oktoberfest and on beer garden menus in Bavaria.

Zwiebelkuchen has many regional variations. They involve both the ingredients used and the method of preparation.

For example in Southern Germany the crust is typically thinner than in other areas because the onions and bacon are added pre-cooked to the filling. In Saxony, the opposite is true.

In some areas people use a more pie like crust made with cold butter, in others a yeasty dough.

Zwiebelkuchen: German Onion Cake An Old World Treat

Zweilbelkuchen, German Onion Cake, is a biscuit-like bread with caramelized onions on top.

This recipe may be different than your Oma’s recipe. A quick internet search trying to find the German name for the recipe showed me a few dozen variations of the same basic dish.

I based this one on a recipe in Cooking from Quilt Country a companion cookbook for the late 1980’s PBS cooking series about Amish and Mennonite cooking.

But, I didn’t have the 10 inch round pan she used so it became 9吉. And I decided to add a little bacon because… BACON!

It is easy and so flavorful. It would be a great appetizer or side dish.

All About Onions

This week we are celebrating onions! Check out these delicious recipes featuring the humble but pungent bulb.

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you’re at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

German Onion Pie (Zwiebelkuchen)

Looking for a delicious and easy German onion pie recipe? This deep dish onion pie (also sometimes called a German onion tart or “Zwiebelkuchen”) is rich, creamy, and yet really filling!

Packed with onion and pancetta bacon, the onion pie has a delicious crust that is crispy and bready.

When you make this onion pie, one of the biggest things to remember is to use yeast that hasn’t expired yet. Otherwise your dough might not rise enough.

We made a few modifications to this onion pie recipe. Traditionally, Zwiebelkuchen is made with “Schinkenspeck” – a type of bacon found in German grocery stores.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find that in stores in North America. That’s why we used pancetta (Italian bacon). You could also use small pieces of ham or regular bacon if you can’t find any of the other options.

We also like to eat this onion pie warm but it can be enjoyed cold. For storage, keep the onion pie in a container in the fridge since it has a creamy element to it and should be refrigerated.

To reheat, just place the leftover pie in the oven or place slices in the microwave until it is warm again. It lasts in the fridge for around two days.

German Onion Cake Recipe

This German Onion Cake Recipe is easy to prepare. The Onion Cake may be served as an appetizer and also as a main dish. The Onion Cake is traditionally served with freshly made wine (fermenting new wine) in Germany.

Ingredients for German Onion Cake Recipe:

  • 500 g (1.1 lb) of flour, all-purpose
  • 1 pouch of dry yeast, rapid rise
  • 300 ml (10.2 oz) of milk, lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon of salt for dough
  • 1 teaspoon of salt for filling
  • 50 g (1.8 oz or 3 tablespoons) of butter, melted
  • 1000 g – 1200 g (2.2 lb – 2.64 lb) of sweet onions, cut in strips
  • 200 g – 250 g (7.05 oz – 8.81 oz) of smoked bacon, cut or diced
  • 3 eggs, XL
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • 1 cup of sour cream

Preparation of the Cake:

Mix the sifted flour with the yeast, salt, milk, and melted butter to a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry carefully add some more milk. If necessary, work the dough with your hands. Cover and let it rise for about 2 hours.

Fry the bacon in a frying pan until the bacon is almost fully cooked. Do not remove the fat. Add the onions and fry them until they look transparent. Remove the frying pan from the stove and let the bacon and onions cool. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper (I used a sheet of 11″ x 17″). Roll the dough on the table until you have a dough the size of your baking sheet. This yeast dough is very dry, almost like a pizza dough. Place the rolled dough on the baking sheet and let it rise for about 20 more minutes.

In the meantime mix the eggs with the sour cream, salt and caraway seeds in a bowl. Add the bacon and onions and mix thoroughly. Spread this topping evenly on top of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 180°C – 200°C (356°F – 392°F). Place the onion tart on one rack below the top rack in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve the Onion Cake warm with the Boston Lettuce Salad Recipe made with Oma Mutti Dressing. To try the Iceberg Lettuce Salad recipe prepared with apples and Gorgonzola click here.

Onion Tart (Zwiebelkuchen)

I first came across the Zwiebelkuchen when as a young boy I travelled to the Palatinate Wine growing region with my parents.

The onion tart is commonly a fall/autumn dish, traditionally served with most of white wine in the uncompleted fermentation stage (known as Federweißer in Germany).

It may be hard to get Federweißer outside of Germany and when not in season (which is usually the month of September) so a fresh, dry, fruity white wine will also work just fine.

The onion tart is commonly made with a short crust pastry dough or yeast dough (there is ongoing discussion which is the better alternative) in a 28 cm (11 inch) deep dish pie pan and topped with sautéed onions and bacon and a spiced egg / sour crème mixture. Caraway seeds give additional flavor and help in the digestion of the otherwise quite explosive onion / wine combination.

I add a bottom layer of ground beef to give it even more substance. I appreciate that this is not the way to prepare a traditional Zwiebelkuchen, however, it tastes even better this way.

Despite my changes, it remains a very simply dish, but perfect in the fall season and very tasty indeed.

Here is my variation of the recipe:

Serves: 4 – 6 Difficulty: Medium Preparation time: 90 mins.


  • 250g (9 oz) white or whole wheat flour
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper, Nutmeg, Caraway seeds
  • 7 medium sized eggs
  • 2 TSP ice cold water
  • 125 g (5 oz) of butter
  • 2 TBS of pork lard or butter
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) Onions, chopped
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) red Onions, cut into fine rings or strips
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) Leek, chopped
  • 250 g (8.5 oz) ground meat (pork and beef/veal mixed)
  • 1 medium to large clove of gralic
  • 200 g (7 oz.) of smoked bacon bits
  • 400 g (14 oz) of solid sour crème of crème fraiche
  • 1 TBS of chopped fresh parsley
  • Butter and flour for the pie pan
  • 1 small bag of dried legumes (peas, beans, lentils, etc.)

Preparing the dough:

Combine 250g (9 oz) white whole wheat flour, 125 g (5 oz) of butter in small chunks, 1 egg, and 2 TBS of ice water. Blend well to an even dough using your hand mixer with dough hooks or your hands. You should achieve a non sticky, solid dough. If it is too crumbly, add some butter, water or milk. If it is too soft, add more flour.

Form dough into a ball and wrap in foil and chill in fridge for 45 mins.

The onion filling:

Peel and chop 300 g (10.5 oz) Onions, (if you don’t cut the root, the event will be less teary). Finely slice the 300 g (10.5 oz) red onions into rings or strips finely chop 300 g (10.5 oz) of leek.

The bacon bits should be small. If they come too large, cut them into smaller bits. Place the bacon in a cold, large cooking pot and crank up the heat. Melt the bacon for a few minutes until they bacon is crunchy. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Add 2 TBS of pork lard or butter and let melt. As soon as the grease has melted add the onion mixture and while constantly stirring on medium heat glaze until all is soft but not brown. Return half of the bacon, stir, and let onion mixture cool off.

Glaze on garlic clove in fying pan with a little bit of butter or oil, add ground meat and fry until cumbly, season with salt, pepper and one TS of Mustard.

Putting the dough into the baking dish:

Butter the baking dish and cover the entire baking dish with a thin layer of flour. Shake off any excess flour.

Preheat the oven on upper and bottom heat setting to 175°C or 350° F (Gas: Setting 2). Evenly roll out the dough to a circle with a 32 cm or 12.5 inches diameter. Place in baking dish and press the edges up at the sides to a 2 cm (roughly 1 inch) crust. Cut off any excess dough. Place a sheet of baking paper over the dough and place legumes on the baking paper and onto the dough. Bake for ten minutes in oven. Remove from oven. Remove baking sheet and legumes. Place dough and pan in oven again and bake another 8-10 minutes

Remove from oven and set aside.

Adding the filling:

Mix the remaining 6 medium eggs with 400g (14 oz) crème fraiche and beat until you have an even mass. Strongly season mixture with freshly ground salt, pepper, nutmeg, and caraway seeds.

First evenly spread ground meat over the dough. Add and spread the onion, bacon mixture over the meat. Sprinkle the remaining bacon over mixture. Add and evenly spread the egg / sour crème mixture and sprinky a dash of caraway seeds on top.

Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool off slightly, but serve warm with above described wine selection.

Zwiebelkuchen (German Onion Pie)

Note: You can use pie crust instead of yeast dough (homemade or store-bought if you prefer.)
For the Yeast Dough Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm (not hot) milk
1 package yeast
For the filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 ¼ lbs yellow onions ,finely diced
5 slices thick cut bacon ,finely diced
1 ½ cups full fat sour cream
4 large eggs ,or 3 extra large
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Freshly ground black pepper


To make the Dough:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the flour and salt in a food processor and make a well in the center. Add the butter and pour the milk mixture over. Using a dough hook, knead the dough on the “bread” setting for about 6 minutes. Add more milk or flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball, spray the same bowl with oil oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. (I usually turn the oven on 350 degrees F for about 1 minute just until it’s a warm, turn it off, and let the dough rise in the oven).
To make the Onion/Bacon Mixture:
Fry up the bacon. When the bacon is done add the onions to it along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Reduce the heat and let the onions slowly caramelize to a nice golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
To make the Filling:
In a bowl, combine 1 ½ cups full fat sour cream, eggs, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and some freshly ground pepper. Add the onion/bacon mixture to it and thoroughly combine everything.
If using refrigerated pie crust, grease the springform and gently press the crust into the pan, leaving about 1/2 inch or so margin along the top. If making the dough yourself, once the yeast dough has risen, butter a medium-sized springform (9 inches or so) and spread out the yeast dough on the bottom and up the sides (leaving about ½ inch from the top). The dough will keep retracting, just work fairly quickly and then immediately pour the onion mixture into it (it will hold the dough in place), sprinkle a few caraway seeds on top, and put it in the oven.
Place the Zwiebelkuchen on the middle shelf in the oven preheated to 400 degrees F and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is light brown and the center of the pie feels fairly firm to the touch. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Can be eaten lukewarm or cold.

German Onion Pie

German Onion Pie (or Zwiebelkuchen, if you’re being totally traditional) is a simple and savory pie filled with bacon, caramelized onions, and cream. It’s rich and creamy – think quiche with a creamier base – and it’s the type of thing you might enjoy for any meal of the day… or as a quick savory side if you happen to be attending Germany’s autumnal wine festivals.

For how savory and delicious this pie is, it’s amazing that it really just relies on a handful of ingredients. It usually starts with bacon – though not always – which you’ll want to brown up in a skillet before removing it and adding plenty of chopped onions to the drippings.

The onions you’ll want to cook until they’re soft and sweet, but not browned, so it’s not a thirty minute undertaking like true caramelized onions. Once they’ve cooled a bit, you spread the bacon and the onions in a pie shell…

… and then top them with a mixture of eggs, cream, a touch of flour, and a few caraway seeds.

The filling sets into an almost custardy base in the oven, while some of the onions rise to the top. Every bite is rich, thanks to the cream, bacon, and fragrant onions, but it’s all accented with that signature flavor of caraway which keeps the richness from being too much. It’s simple, sure, but its unique and savory flavor is one you won’t soon forget.

How to make the Onion Cake

The preparation of the German Zwiebelkuchen is not difficult at all. Everything starts with the dough: Put flour in a bowl and quickly knead in small pieces of cold butter with egg, ice water and salt. Form the dough into a ball and put it in cling film to cool for about 30 minutes.

Now it comes to the heart of the dish: the onions. Finely slice or chop them and heat some butter in a pan. Sauté the onions at medium heat for about 10 minutes until they become translucent. Then add bacon and fry the mixture for another 5 minutes. Put the onion mix aside to cool down.

For the next step, preheat the oven to 360°F / 180°C. Roll out the dough to the size of a 11* 12 inches / 28*30 cm quiche, tart or springform pan (plus edge) place it in the pan and raise one edge.

Whisk the eggs with the sour cream. Fold the slightly cooled onion mixture into the egg cream and season everything with nutmeg, salt, pepper and caraway seeds, if necessary.
Pour the mixture onto the dough, smooth it down and bake the onion cake for about 40 minutes. Cover it after 30 minutes, if necessary, so that it does not get too dark.


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