Learn how to host your own Oktoberfest from home, with authentic and festive foods, decorations, and more.
Oktoberfest: a celebration of fall, often accompanied by beer and good friends. The tradition, which is celebrated in September and early October, hails from Germany but is beloved by people worldwide.
While some in-person events and festivals might be on hold this year, you can still celebrate this smile-inspiring fall tradition by celebrating at home! We've got festive tips and tricks for hosting your own Oktoberfest, so you can keep the fun times flowing.
With Oktoberfest, one of the first "ingredients" for success is the food. Oktoberfest is famous for delicious German dishes that make these celebrations unique in their own right.
No classic Oktoberfest meal is complete without sausage. While bratwurst is certainly the most traditional, you can also pick up hot dogs or other types of sausage, depending on your guests. To get that authentic German taste, sautee some onions in a pan, add beer and brats and steam them for a few minutes. Then pop them on the grill to crisp them up. Serve with the braised onions, sauerkraut, or even some red cabbage. And if you like mustard, be sure to grab a whole-grain style to keep it authentic.
If you've ever attended an Oktoberfest, you might also have seen chicken roasted on a spit right before you. Don't have a chicken rotisserie lying around? The good news is, rotisserie chickens from the supermarket are affordable and easy for large crowds. Bring them home and warm them in the oven. Opt for a lemongrass and butter mixture to really crisp up the skin and add some flavor.
You might be surprised to find that some of your favorite breweries actually make an Oktoberfest batch. Many mainstream and craft breweries make seasonal brews. The key is to look for lagers, which are the staple of this German festival. They're rich, malty, and reminiscent of bread. But you can also sample lighter German beers, from pilsner to Hefeweizen.
Pretzels. The tastiest Oktoberfest celebrations serve 'em up warm and soft. Have fun making your own if you want! Whether store-bought or homemade, pretzels are the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer. Serve with different dipping mustards or deliciously gooey beer cheese.
If you're looking for a side dish to go with your 'brats and chicken, you can't go wrong with dumplings. While technically originating in Hungary, potato or bread dumplings are a staple of German dishes. While you're unlikely to find these at a supermarket, they're simple to make from home!
If you gravitate toward cakes, German chocolate cake is a showstopper, with rich caramel and coconut. If you prefer a deeper flavor, try black forest cake, which blends chocolate with cherries.
Fruit pies are also quite popular in Germany (think mixed berry or peach). Pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Or keep it simple with a platter of danishes or strudel to satisfy different taste buds.
Most Oktoberfest parties have a blue and white theme, with accents like gold, green or red. Blue and white streamers, gold tablecloths, and garlands set the mood. To save money, check your local dollar store or your grocery party section.
Want extra credit? To make your Oktoberfest party complete, try one (or all!) of these ideas: