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Hamburg-style Labskaus with fried egg, gherkin, sliced beetroot, and rollmops

Labskaus (German: [ˈlapskaʊ̯s] ) is a culinary speciality from northern Germany and in particular from the cities of Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck. The main ingredients are salted meat or corned beef, potatoes, and onion. Some recipes put beetroot, pickled gherkin, or even herring into it, while others have these ingredients as side dishes.[1][2]


The origin of this word is uncertain. One possible source for the name could be Latvian labs kauss, meaning 'good bowl' or hotpot, or Lithuanian labas káušas, meaning the same.[1] The dish became common among sailors during the time of the great ships. Potatoes and salted meats were standard fare and labskaus would stretch the meat supply. Labskaus is now commonly served in restaurants only on Germany's northern coast, as well as in traditional Danish restaurants. Compare with scouse.[citation needed]


Labskaus with fried egg

The meal is traditionally prepared by boiling the beef in broth and then mincing it with the beetroot, onions, boiled potatoes and herring (some recipes use ham). Finally the base is fried in lard, condiments as nutmeg, pepper, coriander, or allspice are added.[3][4]

The dish is similar to the British hash.

Countless variations of the dish exist. For example, in Bremen, 95 kilometres (59 mi) away from Hamburg, Labskaus usually is a preparation of fried corned beef, onions and mashed potatoes with the beetroot and Rollmops being served as a side dish.[5]

Variations of the dish are also to be found in Scandinavia, generally without the use of herring. In Denmark, the dish is similar to the Bremen version, but without the herring and some times with added gravy. In Sweden, Lapskojs is a stew made with beef and mashed potatoes. In Norway, the word lapskaus more often refers to a variation of beef stew often made with gravy, or in some cases other types of stew,[6] more or less identical to the Liverpudlian scouse.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Labskaus in Hamburg (German)". SPIEGEL Online. Der Spiegel. August 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Dieck, Tom (2013). Pottkieker. 50 klassische norddeutsche Gerichte mit Geschichte [Pot Watcher: 50 classic North German Dishes with History] (in German). Hamburg: Koehler. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-3-7822-1079-9.
  3. ^ "Labskaus mit Rote-Bete-Salat, recipe". NDR.
  4. ^ Supp, Eckhard (2011). Duden: Worterbuch Kochkunst. Von Amuse-Bouche bis Zierschnee [Duden|Dictionary of culinary arts|From amuse-bouche to decorative snow]. Dudenverlag Mannheim. ISBN 978-3-411-70392-0.
  5. ^ "labskaus". German Culture. January 31, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  6. ^ "Lapskaus: a Hearty Norwegian Stew". Nordic Nibbler. November 8, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2022.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of Labskaus at Wiktionary