German Farmer’s Breakfast

One of my mother’s favorite breakfasts to prepare for our family has always been German Farmer’s Breakfast, also known as Bauernfruhstuck. I remember eating this several times a month as a kid. It’s sort of like a large breakfast hash of potatoes and ham or bacon, with onions and bell pepper and some egg mixed in. It’s a hearty meal, and I imagine just the sort of breakfast that a German farmer might eat. Our last name being Bauer, no wonder we like foods like this. I love mine with a lot of ketchup. A great use of leftover ham.

German Farmer’s Breakfast Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 3 large potatoes, skinned and quartered lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped green and white onions (include the greens from the green onions)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped bell peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cups chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 eggs, whisked

Method

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1 Boil the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes until just cooked (test for doneness). Drain, rinse with cold water to cool. Cut into 1-inch squares. Set aside.

2 Heat 2 Tbsp bacon fat (or olive oil) in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers. Increase the heat to high. Brown the onions and bell peppers, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.

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3 Push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the potatoes and another Tbsp of bacon fat (or olive oil) to the pan. Brown the potatoes for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle on salt to taste as you cook. Add the ham to the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently until the ham is heated through, 1-2 minutes.

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4 Mix all of the vegetables, potato and ham together and mix in the parsley. Add the eggs, stirring to distribute the eggs among the vegetables and ham. As soon as eggs begin to firm up, remove from heat.

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Serve immediately. Great with ketchup on top.

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43 Comments

  1. Brenda

    Hmmm looks delicious!! My husband will love that!! Thank you!!

  2. Kalyn

    My own mother used to make something very similar to this, and my father always called it “eggs and everything else in the fridge.” My mom made two pans of it at a time, since we had so many kids. Everyone in my family loved it. Great photos of the process!

  3. Jancd

    I make something like this on weekends, and had it at a Mexican resturant once where they sprinkled crushed tortilla chlps in at the end with grated cheese and served it with flour tortillas and salsa. Nice.

  4. Renee

    We make something very similar to this and eat it with tortillas – when mum says “eggs for breakfast” we just assume this dish and grab tortillas for the meal.

  5. Jeremy

    It’s my weekend ritual, only missing one thing… Cheese!

  6. Joanne

    MHMHM this looks good. I might make this for tomorrow breakfast!!

  7. Kathy

    Yum! I always had this with some shredded cheddar cheese melted over the top. So hearty and filling.

  8. modi

    Mmmm. This reads like the breakfasts I make except it’s all prepared in one skillet. I whip up breakfast on the weekends and I think I’ll give this a go this Sunday.

    BTW, I love reading your blog!

  9. Gwen in Texas

    We do the same thing in Texas, but use chorizo instead of ham. Very yummy rolled up in a tortilla with a hot cuppa joe.

    There are a few things in cuisine that seem to be universal. “Kitchen Sink” breakfasts first among them. :-)

  10. eljae

    As Rachel Ray would say, “YUMMO!” This looks fantastic. I think my 2 1/2 year old would love this for breakfast or lunch. Thanks for the idea.

  11. Yvo

    Ooh, this looks fantastic. I will definitely be making this sometime soon… yummmmmm! It reminds me of something I had in Spain as well that I loved but didn’t think to imitate. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  12. Pamela

    I really love Bauern Früstück my hubby eats it almost every Sunday morning for breakfast. I like the idea of adding spring onions, nice twist!

  13. Gira

    *smiles*

    My mother made this when I was growing up, (sans peppers and with added chopped garlic) and I still make it occasionally. As other commenters have said, we always use cheddar cheese on the top and serve with salsa or ketchup.

    The other difference is that we frequently use kielbasa or good sausage as our family wasn’t too hot on ham. I’ve also made it with thick sliced pepper bacon which makes the whole dish divine.

  14. Linda

    We frequently make Raclette and use minced ham, pepperoni, hard salami, mushrooms, green onions, bacon bits, and mince peppers. With the leftover potatoes, we fix a Bauernfruhstuck also…….with all of these items, it is wonderful and we top with grated cheese also.

  15. TikiPundit

    That looks really tasty. I like the green onion addition.

    In Southwest Germany, we got used to something similar. It was called Roesti, which I think is Swiss and in Switzerland that means something else, but in our area (Stuttgart) it consisted of Speck (another kind of bacon), diced potatoes, chopped onions, scrambled eggs, pepper, and very little salt (the Speck took care of that). That’s pretty plain but no one ever said the Schwabs were culinary elitists.

    You’re right… it’s a very hearty breakfast fit for a farmer, easy to make on a cold, dark German morning and will heat your innards up until it’s time for a “Fruehschoppe” a few hours later!

  16. essie k

    Sounds very tasty. I also like the “meatless” version. Crisp-fried potatoes with veggies, fresh from the garden chives, and egg over all. My absolute favorite quick meal, any time of day.

  17. Nicky

    Ahhh, one of our favorite Sunday breakfast dishes ever! Everybody has their own version of a Bauernfrühstück, we usually don’t use bell peppers, but sometimes chilis to spice things up. If you serve it for lunch, the potatoes can be substituted with roasted dumplings and pieces of pork roast leftovers, then it’s called Gröschtl.

  18. Caroline Lubbers

    Wow, this looks hearty and delicious. I always need a good breakfast to start my day!

  19. mac

    That looks wunderbar. My ham should be finshied curing this weekend. I know what I am making on Sunday. To the four wisked eggs I maybe add 2TB of milch (milk) so that they fluff up a bit.

    Prosit!

  20. Dee Denton

    Oh my!! I thought I was the only American kid who grew up with Bauernfrühstück, my mom would make it the morning after Easter with the left over ham, potatos and peas…

    She’d also put a lil’ bit more egg and then cook it in the pan in the oven so it was like a crustless quiche-frühstück hybrid.

    This is a GREAT one for working moms with little kids, maximum taste in one pan effort!!

  21. Lizzz

    I’m a little confused about what potatoes that are just cooked look like. Can you put a knife easily through them? Are they soft on the outside but still hard on the inside? Please advise.

  22. Elise

    Hi Lizz – The way you know that the potatoes are just done is that you should be able to poke the potatoes easily with a knife or the tines of a fork.

  23. Brigitte Paine

    German farmers did not grow green peppers until after WWII, prior to that they were not popular. Also, they went out to do hard labor after such a breakfast, we sit in a car and at a desk. Recipe is delicious; I make something similar for supper, but add carrots and chunks of sweet potato to it.

  24. Freddie

    Great blog Elise!

    We had this type of breakfast often growing up. Was always great! I love your recipe, and will try it soon. Also like the Mexican and Spanish ideas in some of the readers comments.

    Hope you do some more German/Bavarian stuff soon. Always a favorite!

  25. Christy

    How does one get bacon fat?

  26. Carolyn

    Made this last night for dinner (breakfast food is great at dinner time) and we loved it. I did add a little cheese, but other than that, followed the receipe. Always like a reason to use ketchup!

  27. Mitzie

    I grew up on these. Only we called them garbage omelets….partly because you took whatever leftovers you had and threw them in the omelet and scrambled it all together….and partly because it generally looks like the leftover omelet that was scraped off the plate and into the garbage. At any rate, they were always delicious….my favorite ones were when I was really little and my dad used cut up hot dogs instead of the bacon or ham….which coincidentally go great with the ketchup (if you used it) on the eggs!

  28. Janet

    I bet this would be good with the left over corned beef from yesterday!

  29. Andrea

    I am german myself and love Bauernfruehstueck as we called it. A little hint just before serving
    add a large kosher dill pickle that has been diced not to finely to it.
    It makes it perfect. My boyfriend declined to the pickle the first time I made it for him. So I left some for me in the pan and added pickle to it.
    He tried it and I had to put his back into the pan and add pickle. He now will not eat it any other way. Enjoy

  30. Myra

    My mother, a Chinese-Indonesian who studied university in Germany, would serve a good Bauern omelet for dinner with jasmine rice! If I was lucky, we’d have leftovers and I could have a piece of the omelet for lunch between two pieces of white bread, like the Spanish do with their tortillas.

  31. Erica Burgan

    I didn’t know it had a name or was German, but we eat this alot! And I am definitely German – my maiden name is Niehaus. Thanks for the info and recipe!

  32. mom, again

    My mom used to make this. One year my dad gave her a german cookbook, and it had this recipe, which it named Hoppel Poppel. (really, isn’t that a great name!).

    Well, she made it, because her mom made it, but she always thought grandma made it because she didn’t like cooking much, and it’s a pretty fast way to feed a big family with NO arguing about who got how much of what. So, she called Grandma to ask if she rememered her own mother making it? Great Grandma had died when Grandma was pretty young.

    Grandma’s reply? She didn’t remember her mother making it, but her teenaged sisters had made it. Grandma always figured her older sisters just wanted to get something on the table for her, the baby of the family, and get out of the house to do teenager things. This was a quick, lazy breakfast (and in this case, supper), that can even stand sitting on a plate in the oven for a bit. So, she callled her older sister to ask if their mother had made the dish?

    Great Aunts response? Of course she did! don’t you remember? It’s a german dish!

    (and, by the way, Great Grandma was a Bauer as well. In Indiana.)

  33. wilma

    The way to get bacon fat is to bake it in the oven a few mins before cooking it on the stove top. Or as you cook it on the stove top drain off the grease from the frying pan as you cook it and save the grease. Do the same thing with it after you take it out of the oven as you would with it from the frying pan. It is your bacon fat that you get from the frying or baking of it that you drain off of the pans that you use as you cook it. You can keep it along time before it goes bad. You can refrigerate it or leave it on the counter top. Either way it is still good to use for along time before it goes bad.

    Hello Wilma, Indeed! We have a whole post on How to Render Bacon Fat. It’s so easy to do, and a little fat goes a long way. ~Elise

  34. Lasse

    I’m from Germany (spent some time in the US, but I’m now back in Hamburg), and I have to say that I really enjoy your blog. Thank you!

    Ironically, these days “Bauernfrühstück” is very rarely served for breakfast here in Germany. It’s more like a simple snack you would make for a quick lunch. I’ve actually never seen it with green peppers here (at least not under the label “Bauernfrühstück”), but I think it’s a great addition, though not the traditional way of making it. Here it’s usually prepared with just potatoes, eggs, onions, bacon, salt and pepper, and some pickled gherkins on the side.

    But of course, I could imagine all sorts of interesting add-ons…

  35. B. Swetnam

    This story is too good not to share. My niece and her son (Jack is 8) spent the week end last week and I’m going to try my new recipe German Farmer’s Breakfast. The only thing I change is I had left over portobellos from the night before, in they go. We are ready to eat when Jack announces he hates eggs, news to everyone. He wants pizza for breakfast, great.
    I find one of those prepackaged pizza crust that the expiration date is still good, brush it with a little olive oil and bake it about 10 minutes on 450 (I’m in a hurry). Top the crust with Farmer’s Breakast and a couple of handfuls of cheese, any kind you like, back in the oven to melt the cheese (5 minute). Instant Pizza.
    He ate 3 big pieces. He calls it Farmer’s Pizza. When I do it again I think I will put a couple of tablespoons of pizza sauce on the crust, or not. You may not want to make pizza but this is a great dish for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. Yes, he did put ketchup on the pizza.

    Great story! So he can deal with eggs on pizza? Love it. ~Elise

  36. Wolfgang von Mulert, Germany

    I am also from Germany and “Bauernfrühstück” like yours is good for lunch, but to heavy for breakfast.

    Try this one, this is a receipe from the North Coast of Germany:

    butter, scrambled eggs, so much you can eat, salt and pepper, a little bit paprika as you like, but not too much, some sliced tomates, belly of pork and now the best…prawns (North Sea prawns, the smallest you can obtain)
    All the ingredients in the pan and at last the prawns.
    Bon appetit.
    Wolfgang

  37. Ron Nebeker

    I just wanted to tell you that my mother would make this for me too. This brings back good memorys thank you Ron

  38. Monchie Libunao

    I tried this recipe and simply loved it. Thank you.

  39. Sally

    I’ve made this for years with slightly different ingredients (white or yellow onion instead of green onions) and whatever meat is on hand and slightly different method — but still essentially the same meal. It’s great with fruit for breakfast and a green salad for brunch/lunch or dinner.

  40. Sally

    Oh! You’re right — this is great with ketchup.

  41. Angel Arnold

    My daughter and I made this this morning, it was very good. I don’t think we cooked it high enough or long enough we want it browner. Also I think next time I will sprinkle cheese on it at the end, only because I LOVE cheese!

  42. James

    We call this “bubble and squeak” in our home. Name comes from my mother. Never found out what it meant? Could be ryming slag of some kind?

  43. IGnatius T Foobar

    When I make Bauernfrühstück I just finely dice the potatoes and throw them into the pan *first* so they don’t need to be boiled. As long as you cook it long enough they will soften and brown nicely.

    Ketchup is good for the kids but I like mine with hot sauce. :)

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