What is Leberkäse?
This southern German speciality is a rich, compact meatloaf made from finely ground corned beef, pork, bacon and onions and baked till it forms a dark brown crust. Traditionally served warm or cold in finger-thick slices (with the crusty brown ends being the most prized chunks), Leberkäse translates literally as “liver cheese”.
In Bavaria, however, where Leberkäse arguably originated and has been produced for over 200 years, it contains neither liver nor cheese. This becomes less confusing when you learn that the word comes not from “Leber” but “Laib”, or loaf, referring to its shape and form, and “Käse” because of its dense, cheese-like consistency (source). This liver-free Bavarian meatloaf is known either as Bayrisches Leberkäse (Bavarian Leberkäse) or Fleischkäse (“meat cheese”), and throughout the rest of Germany, where it does contain very strictly controlled amounts of liver, it’s known as Leberkäse.
Variations on the Leberkäse theme include Pferdleberkäse, made from horsemeat, Käseleberkäse, which contains small cubes of cheese, and Pizzaleberkäse, which involves cheese, chopped red peppers and pickles and small chunks of salami.
How to eat Leberkäse
There are plenty of ways to serve a slice of Leberkäse, but it’s most popular:
✭ in a crusty white bread roll with a dollop of sweet mustard
✭ warmed through in a pan, topped with a fried egg and served with potato salad or a soft pretzel
✭ as a falsches Cordon Bleu (“fake Cordon Bleu”), for which you sandwich slices of ham and cheese between two slabs of Leberkäse, dip it in egg and breadcrumbs and fry it in oil. Probably best to have an ambulance on standby for that one.
Have you tried Leberkäse? Pizzaleberkäse? Fancy a falsches Cordon Bleu?
This is what I miss most about Germany – a slice of Leberkäse in a roll, with mustard. We call them ‘LKW’, which really means ‘truck’ but in this context stands for LeberKäsWeckle, or Leberkäse roll. Mhhhhm.
That’s brilliant! I’m going to start calling them that from now on 😉 If I could send you a slice over, I would 🙁
I love the last photograph, it nearly made me want to eat it, although I am not a big fan generally… Give me a big bowl of steaming (decent) weisswurst and a weissbier over leberkase though and I am happy. 😀
I’m going to be honest… it made me want a bite too, and so I had one, and actually, it wasn’t bad at all. Couldn’t eat a whole slice though: still a bit too spammish for me 😉
I love Leberkäse! My English husband won’t eat it because he does not understand how there can be meat in cheese! Same reason he won’t go near “Fleischsalat” 😉
Hahaha the poor chap!
I gotta admit I love the Pizzafleischkäse. It’s just so good!
I’m yet to try one… I have to admit I’m not that tempted to, though 😉
Just returned from my first visit to Austria. My husband is from the area and reminisces about the leberkase. We had leberkase everyday for lunch. Delicious!
I’m not sure I could manage it every day for lunch! I am glad you had such a lovely time though 🙂
I lived in Austria and Germany for 7 years before returning to Northern Ireland. Several years later, I still miss so many German foods that I can hardly believe it. To my delight, this week in the UK, Lidl has introduced a number of German foods for a short period. These include some of my favourites: Kaesekrainer sausages and Leberkaese. I’ve always bought Leberkaese hot from the butchers’ in Austria and Germany, but this Lidl product is six slices of Leberkaese in typical plastic vacuum-packaging, stored in the fridge. Could anyone advise me on how best to reheat Leberkaese, before I pop it into a bread bap? Thanks in advance.
As an aside: I’ve just discovered this site – a wonderful resource for German food, and even for feasting the eyes and imagination!
Hi Nigel, thank you so much for such lovely feedback on my site! I’m always very happy to hear from people who are as excited about German food as I am 🙂 You can warm up your Leberkäse slices very easily: brown them gently on each side in a little oil (olive is fine, but any oil without a strong flavour will do) in a medium hot frying pan; just make sure they’re heated all the way through before you eat them. Depending on the thickness of the slice, I’d say it should only take two to three minutes on each side. Guten Appetit!
I was started on German Wurst since I was a child. Now 60 some odd years later , Liebercasse is still my favorite. My kids were brought up on it and now we are passing it down to our Grandchildren. We have found one of the Best is made at Veteran Pork Store in Veteran NY , between Woodstock NY and Saugerties NY .. they also make their own Weisswurst, Knockwurst and Bratwurst.
In 2000/2001 I was based in Munich on secondment to a German company. At least once a week the lunchtime meal in the staff restaurant was “Leberkase mit Spiegeleier und Kartoffelsalat”. It was always my favourite.
What a great memory! I’m not sure I’d manage that once a week – it would probably take me the whole week to recover from it! 😉
Leberkäse used to be on offer at the German market in Edinburgh at Christmas time. Sadly no longer. I hope they bring it back
While living in Germany my boss always brought us lunch from home. One of my faves was Leberkase. We only had a microwave at work, she brought thick slices of Leberkase that we topped with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of oregano then heated in microwave until cheese melted. Yum, with crusty roll.
Wow! I don’t think I’d have gone any more work done after that – I’d have had to sleep it off all afternoon ?
This evening I was in a busy queue, and didn’t want to play the dumb tourist by getting things explained in English, so I listened to what others were asking for, and went for Leberkassemel. Yum. Good choice it turned out. Now I know what it was. Thanks
Ha! Brilliant – you’re very welcome, and I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful time wherever you are 🙂
We received a homemade Leberkase made from wild meat from a hunter friend of ours and he vacuum packed/sealed it so we can keep it longer but any idea how long we can keep it?
Hi Sandy, I’m afraid I wouldn’t feel confident giving guidance on that from afar – I suppose perhaps a couple of weeks? But I think the best thing would be probably to ask the hunter friend you got it from. It might be also possible to freeze it if you want to keep it much longer. Enjoy!
I’ve grown up as a half German child with family from Munich. When I see the Leberkäse in Lidl I can’t help but rich it back home and have if with a fired egg or scrambled eggs and softened onions. Great treat!
Oh I bet! So good with a fried egg – though it takes me the rest of the day to digest 😉
The German food is the main reason why I really, really miss Germany (I’m German but have lived in the UK for quite some time now). I am currently pregnant and am craving Leberkäse so badly!
Oh no I’m so sorry! (Also for the very delayed response to this comment, for some reason I didn’t get a notification.) If I could send you some over, I would! Hello to the UK 🙂
Came here looking for info on how to reheat Leberkase (just got some from Lidl, it’s Austrian week this week). For any German/Austrian folk in the UK who are missing their native foods, there is a German Deli place in London that does nationwide delivery to the mainland – http://www.germandeli.co.uk. We have used them several times and they are very reliable.
The German Deli is excellent, isn’t it – we ordered pretzels from there for our wedding! Thank you for sharing that here for others 🙂 And hurrah for Austrian week at Lidl!
I just enjoyed some Leberkäse with 2 over easy eggs for breakfast today. Yummy!!