A Cincinnati specialty, goetta is a tasty mixture of beef, pork sausage, oats, onions and spices--sizzled up in a pan. Here's my grandma's secret recipe.

Grandma K’s Goetta Recipe

A Cincinnati specialty, goetta is a tasty mixture of beef, pork sausage, oats, onions and spices--sizzled up in a pan. Here's my grandma's secret recipe.

In honor of Oktoberfest last weekend, Jay suggested we whip up a batch of Grandma’s goetta—”to celebrate your German heritage,” he said. Especially when such a celebration results in him getting to wolf down this tasty mixture of beef, pork sausage, oats, onions and spices—all sizzled up crispy in a pan and smothered in Heinz ketchup.

What the hell is goetta? our non-Cincinnati readers might be asking. Goetta is unique to the Nati, a delectable creation of the city’s German immigrant community in the late 1800s. My great-great-grandparents were part of that community, and handed down a recipe for goetta that my 93-year-old grandmother still makes to this day. (She’s pictured at right between my dad and me. See why we call her “Little Grandma”?)

And so I bestow upon you this Tasty Tuesday a family recipe that has brought much joy to our Sunday breakfasts (and dinners). I hope it will to yours, too.

Grandma’s Goetta


  • 3 large onions (finely chopped—don’t half-ass the chopping or you’ll be sorry. Might be worth hauling out the food processor.)
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 lb smoked ground pork sausage
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic (again, no half-assing the chopping, people)
  • 1 18-oz package of quick oats
  • 1/2 lb crispy cooked bacon (chopped)

Here’s how you cook it up, Grandma-style:

  1. Saute the onions in a big ol’ pot.
  2. Add the beef and pork sausage. Stir and cook until meat is cooked.
  3. Add the water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and cloves. Stir and cook for 1/2 hour.
  4. Remove bay leaves.
  5. Add the oats and cook until done.
  6. Add the bacon. Stir it up like Bob Marley. Not like that. You know what I mean.
  7. Get some loaf-shaped pans (or plastic containers, whatever ya got) and line them with aluminum foil. Spoon the goetta goop into them.
  8. Freeze or refrigerate the containers so the loaves set up.
  9. When you’re ready to eat, slice a loaf into 1/2-inch thick pieces and fry ’em up in a pan.
  10. Cook on low (4-5) just like you would sausage patties.

I prefer to eat my goetta with ketchup, but you can certainly enjoy it without condiments. It’s good with eggs and biscuits, or all by itself. Goetta is pretty much good anytime. Pull out those frozen loaves whenever you feel like a little German-Cincinnati comfort food.

A Cincinnati specialty, goetta is a tasty mixture of beef, pork sausage, oats, onions and spices—sizzled up in a pan. Here's my grandma's secret recipe.

13 thoughts on “Grandma K’s Goetta Recipe

  1. just4ofus says:

    I hope it turned out to be like your Grandma’s!
    I am not a goetta fan, being that I am not German nor a Cincinnati native, but Jason is both German and a Cincinnati native and would love to try this..

  2. Mommy Bits aka ShannanB says:

    You are Marty should hang out. He loves Goetta. I’ve lived here now since 1992 and I still can’t eat it – and I’m German.

    Your recipe sounds delicious though.

  3. Laptop Television says:

    I am a German-Iowan who transplanted to the Silicon Valley ~13 years ago. I now eat sushi and tofu… but will break out the bratwurst and sauerkraut every now and then. BUT, I have to pass on the Goetta. I will take plenty of German beer in honor of Oktoberfest though!


  4. Elizabeth says:

    Gotta getta goetta. It’s good.

    *ditty courtesy of the Barenaked Ladies in their Cincinnati concert last fall.

    We even inadvertently went by the Goetta plant.

  5. I just discovered goetta over the weekend and would like to try your recipe, since I live way over in Wisconsin. How much quick oats do you use? I’m not sure what you mean by one regular sized package.

    1. Welcome to the wonderful world of goetta, AJ! Good question. I’m sure my grandma wrote “regular sized package” when she transcribed the recipe, and I just did the same 🙂 I think a typical 18-ounce container of oats would be about right. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  6. How many servings does this recipe yield? It sounds enormous! Now, meeting a lover of Cinci Gotta, I’m OK with a large yield; but having too much on hand might lead me to eating more than I should. Maybe I should half the recipe?

  7. Bill Schiff says:

    This sounds great. The smoked ground pork sausage is what I’m wondering about. Is there a name brand that you prefer?

  8. They are pin oats or steel cut oats. Not the oats like for breakfast oat meal.
    Just to clarify

  9. You never use quick oats in Goetta! It is made with pin head pad (if you can find them) or steel cut oats. I am from Cincinnati and my mother was from a German heritage. Steel cut oat containers here have a true Goetta recipe printed on the can.

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