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Obatzda (Bavarian Beer and Cheese Dip)

Obaztda is a delicious Bavarian Beer and Cheese Spread, perfect for picnics, the beer garden, or for lining your stomach before you start on that litre of beer - and it is super easy to make at home!

If you’ve ever visited Bavaria you’ll have come across this delicious and simple dish in every traditional restaurant and beer garden. 

The famous Bavarian cheese spread, Obatzda (sometimes spelt Obatzter or Obatzder) is a tasty mixture of cheeses, butter, paprika, and onions rounded off with a splash of beer.

Topped with red onion and chives, it’s served as a light meal with some fresh Brezn (soft pretzels) or as part of a larger platter – a Brotzeit.

A brotzeitteller with pretzels, meats, cheeses and Obatzda.

Washed down with some fresh Bavarian beer, this easy German recipe should be a fixture at any Oktoberfest party.

What does Obatzda mean?

Obatzda is similar to the Bavarian word for ‘smashed’ or ‘pressed’, and describes the method in which the spread is made. Obatzda is made by mashing the ingredients together with a fork, rather than blending, which gives it a distinctive texture.

This Bavarian classic is generally said to have been made famous by the restaurateur Katharina Eisenreich of the Weihenstephaner Bräustüberl in Freising, near Munich in the 1920s.

(side note: if you are ever in Munich, DEFINITELY visit both Freising and Weihenstephaner, they are both beautiful and it’s a terrific day trip).

Ingredients

To make your own Obatzda, you’ll need the following simple ingredients:

  • Camembert or Brie cheese: This Bavarian classic is made from soft cheese. Use Camembert for a more mild taste or Brie if you want it a bit stronger. This is also a brilliant way to use up leftover cheeses after a party!
  • Cream cheese: This lightens the whole thing and makes for a perfectly creamy spread. In Germany, we call this Frischkäse or fresh cheese. Fancy making your own? Grab my recipe for Homemade Cream Cheese here!
  • Onions: A little onion goes a long way. If you are making this recipe in advance, only add the onion just before serving.
  • Paprika powder: Possibly the most important ingredient! Sweet paprika powder (not smoked) is what gives Obatzda the distinctive orange colour. Add more or less to taste until you like the colour of the finished dip.
  • Wheat beer: A splash of wheat beer adds a hint of fruity flavour and smooths everything out. It’d be a shame to waste the rest of the bottle, so I suggest that it should be enjoyed by the cook!

Full ingredient list and instructions in the recipe card.

What to serve with Obatzda?

Obatzda is often served simply with bread or pretzels, but if you want to go the whole hog you can make up a tasty platter. Below are some ideas to get you started!

  • A hard cheese – here I’ve used a local mountain cheese (Bergkäse) but Cheddar or Gouda would be good too
  • Radishes
  • Gherkins
  • Nuts
  • Ham, prosciutto or salami
  • Sliced apple or pear
  • Dried fruit or raisins
  • Some dark rye bread or other fresh bread.

Experiment and see what you like, but when it comes to grazing platters I always think more is always more.

Obatzda on a brotzeitteller.

🍻Oktoberfest!🎡

It’s that time of year again, Munich is buzzing, the tourists are flooding into town, and the Wiesn is covered in beer tents and roller coasters.

That must mean that the mother of all celebrations, Oktoberfest is nearly upon us. Love it or hate it, the Oktoberfest is an absolute phenomenon.

A fixture of the Munich calendar since the marriage of the future King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810.

Every year the Oktoberfest seems to get bigger, brighter and more famous with over 6 million visitors drinking nearly 8 million litres of beer, and eating over 450,000 chickens and 79,000 pork knuckles in 2017 alone.

The beer keg has been tapped! To a peaceful Oktoberfest!’

O’zapft is! Auf eine friedliche Wiesn!’

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I serve Obatzda?

Good question! It’s a dip, so you need something to scoop it up. Obviously, Homemade Soft Pretzels are perfect! As you’ll see in the pictures it goes well with a big platter too. It’s often served with a big bunch of radishes to cut the richness of the dip. Of course, you’ll need a nice cold beer too!

How long does Obatzda keep in the fridge?

Obatzda keeps 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge, though the taste of onion will get stronger over time. If you are planning on making it in advance, leave the onion out and stir it through at the last minute.

Can I freeze Obatzda?

Technically, yes, though the texture will be affected. You’ll need to drain off any liquid after defrosting, and maybe beat through a little cream cheese to return the texture to normal.

Do I have to use beer in the Obatzda?

Not at all, the little bit of beer add a hint of flavour. Either use a splash of non-alcoholic beer or just leave it out.

Looking for the perfect pretzel to serve with your Obazda? Why not make your own?

Obatzda on a brotzeitteller.

Obatzda (Bavarian Cheese Spread)

Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Obaztda is a delicious Bavarian Beer and Cheese Spread, perfect for picnics, the beer garden, or for lining your stomach before you start on that litre of beer - and it is super easy to make at home!

Ingredients

  • 125 g (¼ lb.) ripe Brie or Camembert cheese
  • 25 g (1 Tbsp) butter, room temperature
  • 125 g (¼ lb.) cream cheese
  • ½ a small onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp German wheat beer
  • sea salt & pepper

to serve:

  • fresh chives, chopped
  • red onions, sliced in rings
  • caraway seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. CUT CHEESE: Cut the Camembert or Brie into cubes. Scrape them into a large bowl, then use a fork to roughly crush and mash the large chunks together.
  2. STIR TOGETHER: Add the butter, cream cheese, diced onion, paprika and a few grinds of salt and pepper to the bowl, and continue to mash using a fork. The mixture shouldn’t be perfectly smooth, leave the texture rustic and a bit chunky.
  3. SEASON: Add the beer to the mixture, and stir until combined. This will lighten the mixture and make it a bit smoother. Check the flavour and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. CHILL: Refrigerate until needed, and serve garnished with chopped fresh chives, red onion rings and caraway seeds, if using.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 503mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 288

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