German onion pie (called Zwiebelkuchen in Germany) is what I need to make at least once every fall! I have perfected this popular onion cake recipe over the last 7 years for you, so you don't have to think twice about making it.
Follow my easy steps to make a simple yeast dough, then add in the addictive onion filling made with cream and eggs. Top your onion pie with smoky bacon before baking.
In Germany, we eat it as a main course with a side salad and a glass of Federweisser (a young German wine). In America, I love making it for any occasion (but also Thanksgiving) and love it with a glass of good Riesling.
Onion pie uses mostly staple ingredients, which makes it easy to whip up when you get the craving!
- Onions. I use yellow onions for my onion pie. Sweet onions or white onions will work, too.
- Butter. It goes into the filling and into the dough.
- Flour. I use all-purpose wheat flour in my recipe. You'll use it to make the dough and a little thicken the filling.
- Eggs. A couple of whole eggs go into the filling to help it set up.
- Heavy cream. It makes the filling super creamy and delicious! No regrets.
- Bacon. I use thick-cut bacon that I cut into small dice or little lardons (long, little pieces).
- Yeast. In Germany, you will use fresh yeast (sold refrigerated in cubes). If using it, you will need half as much in weight as the dry yeast. Active-dry yeast is what I use for all of my yeast doughs in America. I keep it in an airtight container in the fridge when I don't use it and it stays good for about a year.
- Milk. I use whichever kind of cow's milk I have on hand. Currently, my kids drink 2% milk, so that's what I use. I haven't experimented with plant-based milk, but I am sure it would work just fine.
- Sugar. I use just a little bit of sugar to help wake up the yeast. However, if you want to skip it, you can (the lactose in the milk also helps feed the yeast).
- Caraway Seeds (optional) My Oma Sieghilde used to add some whole caraway seed (one tablespoon or so) into the filling to help with digestion. I am not a big fan of caraway, but you can add some if you would like. It would also be pretty to brush the edges of the crust with egg wash before baking and to top those with caraway.
How to make authentic German onion pie
You may find it surprising that German onion pie is easy to make.
First, you will prepare a simple, buttery yeast dough. While the dough rises, you'll cook the onions until translucent.
Then mix up the egg-cream mixture for the filling and cut up your bacon. Press the dough into the bottom of a pie or tart pan, with the sides going up about one inch (two centimeters). You could also use a square brownie pan or double the recipe for a half-sheet pan.
You will not need to pre-bake your dough before filling.
Fill with the cooked onions first, then add the custard and press the onions down into it. This is to make sure none of the top pieces sticking out will burn. Top the mixture with the cut-up, uncooked bacon. The bacon gets nice and crispy during bacon and the crust will have a nice golden color.
I know you will LOVE making, smelling, eating, and sharing this German onion pie recipe with your family and friends to celebrate the fall season. I have to make it at least once every fall.
Drink pairing for onion pie
Traditionally in Germany, onion pie is served with Federweisser. Federweisser is a young, sweet wine that can usually be picked up seasonally from local wineries in Germany.
You can make homemade Federweisser, but I haven't tried it yet. However, once I do, I will put the recipe up. Another wine pairing that would work well with Zwiebelkuchen is a young Riesling. A semi-dry or dry Riesling would be lovely, which is my favorite!
More German onion recipes
Zwiebelkuchen has to be at the top for my favorite onion-forward German recipes. But if you're looking for more, check out my German onion meatloaf (Zwiebelhackbraten), Oma's Klößchen with onions and, rye sourdough bread with onions and Käsespätzle (German cheese noodles).
Watch me make German onion pie in this short video.
German Onion Pie (Zwiebelkuchen)
- 500 grams yellow onions about 4 medium-sized onions
- 55 grams butter to cook the onion in, plus some more for greasing the pan
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 100 milliliters heavy cream
- 2 slices bacon I use thick-cut bacon and cut into little strips or cubes
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds optional. I do not use them, but my Oma Sieghilde added some (see notes below)
- Dissolve the dried yeast and sugar in some of the luke warm milk and allow to sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes.1 teaspoon sugar, 155 milliliters milk, 4 grams active-dry yeast
- Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.In the meantime, rub your baking dish with soft butter.250 grams all-purpose flour, 55 grams butter, 1 teaspoon salt
- While the dough rises, trim and peel the onions and cut them up into rings or half rings.500 grams yellow onions
- Over medium heat and in a large skillet, cook the onion with the butter until they are clear and soft. You don't want to brown them. This can take 10 minutes or longer. Add the flour and let the mixture cool down. Season with a good amount of salt.55 grams butter, 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Whisk together the eggs and cream. Add caraway if desired (you can also sprinkle it on top instead).2 large eggs, 100 milliliters heavy cream, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Press down the dough evenly in the baking pan using your hands and fingers, going up about one inch or two centimeters on the sides. No tools needed!Note: My quiche pan has a 9.5-inch diameter, but if yours is larger, your Zwiebelkuchen just won't be quite as tall.
- Add the cooked onions to the baking dish and top with the egg-cream mixture. Sprinkle the caraway seed on top (or add to the filling). Evenly distribute the cut-up bacon on top.2 slices bacon
- Bake on the middle rack at 390° F (200° C) for 35 to 45 minutes. Gentle wiggle your baking dish. The middle should not shake when it's fully baked and the crust should be nice and golden in color.
- Allow cooling for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with Federweißer (a young German wine) or some good Riesling and a green salad on the side. Guten Appetit!