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If you’re looking to bring plenty of European sweetness, richness, and decadence into your kitchen, these popular Austrian dessert recipes have so much to get excited about.
Some of Europe’s most iconic desserts originate from the Austro-Hungarian era and are still loved and enjoyed in restaurants, bakeries, and households across Europe to this day.
So let’s dive into a world of sweet and savory delights and explore 13 of Austria’s most beautiful, beloved, and delicious desserts.
Austrian Dessert Recipes
When it comes to Austrian desserts, Sachertorte is one of the country’s darling culinary delights. Popular throughout the country, you simply have to try this dish in its birthplace of Vienna.
Created by the famous Austrian chef Franz Sacher, Sachertorte is a rich, indulgent chocolate tort. It is assembled in two circular halves, held together with a sweet, thin layer of apricot jam.
Once the sponge cake halves are assembled, the entirety of the top and sides are smothered in a thick, deep coating of chocolate icing. The coating is smooth and glistens against the light.
A cake of pure indulgence, the density of the chocolate, texture of the base, and sweet injections of the jam will have your eyes rolling back into your head with every bite.
This is one of the most iconic desserts to come from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You simply cannot talk about Austrian desserts without mentioning the Viennese apple strudel, or Apfelstrudel.
Strudel pastry is renowned for its flaky texture, comprising of many thin layers. Kneaded by smacking the dough against a hard surface, assembling strudel pastry is one of the most technically difficult dishes to master.
But with great challenge comes great reward. Once the pastry is ready, it is filled with a tart, aromatic filling of apples, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, and sugar.
The combination of the flaky, buttery pastry with the sharpness of the apples and the sweetness of the filling makes the Viennese apple strudel one of the most mouthwatering desserts.
A staple at Viennese cafes, strudel is best enjoyed with a dollop of whipped cream or soaking in custard, along with a piping hot tea or coffee.
An Austrian dessert as decadent as it is delicious, Linzer torte is a fruit pastry dessert hailing from the beautiful city of Linz.
Contrary to traditional tort making, Linzer torte comprises of a pie-like single layer short pastry, as buttery as it is crumbly.
The pastry, filled with ground and chopped nuts, has hints of lemon and cinnamon, and in the center sits a sharp, fruity filling of jam, often redcurrant or apricot. It is topped with a beautiful lattice or decorative pastry design.
Traditionally a festive dessert made for holidays and Christmas, you can also find Linzer tort in smaller tart or cookie forms. It is an Austrian dessert full of flavor and delight.
Austrian apricot cake, or Marillenkuchen, is the perfect choice at any Austrian bakery if you’re looking for a dessert that’s a little lighter but still packed with flavor.
This sponge cake has a light, lemon-infused base, which provides the perfect balance to the tartness of the glazed apricots that adorn the top of the cake.
Marillenkuchen is the perfect grab-and-go dessert from any Austrian bakery. It’s simple to make at home and great to eat with your afternoon tea or coffee.
Named after the cake pan in which it is baked, the bundt pan is what gives Bundt cake, or Gugelhupf, wildly popular across Central and Eastern Europe, its tall, beautiful donut-like shape.
Simple and super fun to make, baking the dough in the pan gives the cake its mesmerizing ridged pattern, depending on the type of bundt pan you use.
It is a fluffy cake, with undertones of lemon and vanilla, and traditionally filled with raisins. Topped with a dusting of icing sugar, Gugelhupf is a glorious reminder of how often ‘less is more’ when it comes to baking.
Named after former Emperor Franz Joseph I, an avid lover of this dessert, Kaiserscharrn is a delicately sweet and light scrambled pancake made from a simple and sweet batter that’s split when frying in the pan.
Traditionally, rum-soaked raisins were added to the batter to add depth and tartness to the pancakes. Today, however, the recipe has evolved to include a range of ingredients, including plums, apples, caramelized raisins, and nuts, among others.
Dusted with sugar before serving, Kaiserschmarrn gives you the beloved lightness and texture of crepes or pancakes, with a deeper, mature sweetness, courtesy of the rum, raisins, and nuts.
Commonly served with a fruit compote or apple sauce, scrambled pancakes are ideal as both a dessert or a light lunch. They pair perfectly with hot tea or coffee.
Crepes are one of Europe’s most beloved desserts, and Austria prides itself on its versatile, fluffy, and delicious crepes.
Palatschinken are very similar to French crepes, but a little thicker. They are super simple to make and can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Austrians love their palatschinken with jams, apple cinnamon, and plenty of other sweet fillings, topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Palatschinken also make for a great savory snack. You can enjoy these crepes with spinach, meat, and many different cheeses. Austrians even enjoy them with soup.
If you prefer your desserts to have more mature, savory flavor, you should look to whip up a batch of Topfenknodel, or Austrian curd dumplings, in your humble home kitchen.
Topfenknodel have a soft texture and rich flavor. Once cooked, the dumplings are rolled in toasted breadcrumbs and topped with a generous dusting of icing sugar.
With a similar taste and texture to a doughnut, topfen dumplings are commonly served with jams, sour cream, and various fruits. They are wholesome, packed with texture, and utterly delicious.
Austrian Krapfen are donuts defined by their curved top, with no hole through the middle. Made from fried dough, these sugar-coated delights come in all shapes and flavors.
Traditionally, a jam filling, commonly apricot in Austria, is nestled between the delicious doughy walls of this beloved dessert.
However, many variations of the Austrian doughnut exist. You can find savory versions in bakeries throughout the country and even eye-catching flavors such as mocha or champagne.
Whether you make them at home or pick up a warm bag of them at an Austrian bakery, there are bundles of joy and flavor in every bite.
A firm favorite in Viennese coffee shops, vanilla crescent cookies, or Vanillekipferl, are rich and buttery shortbread cookies with a fascinating history.
First prepared as a symbol of the victory against the Ottoman Empire several centuries ago, today Vanillekipferl can be found across Austria and many other European countries.
Made without egg, the soft, buttery pastry is so delicate, it practically melts in the mouth. Various nuts are added to the cookies, and the crescents are finished with a powdering of sugar.
Made in the same way as Linzer cake, mentioned above, Linzer cookies are mini versions of this delicious tort, cut and shaped into an array of beautiful designs.
Linzer cookies came about as something as an afterthought. The first cookies were made using the crusts of Linzer cake, as bakers wanted a smaller, more decadent version of the beloved cake to put in their shop fronts to entice people in.
Linzer cookies are defined by their cut-outs, known as linzer eyes. From stars to hearts, you can find linzer cookies in a whole mannor of fun shapes and sizes.
Buchteln are one of Austria’s sweetest and most-loved desserts. These rolls are aptly named, as they’re made of dough so soft, you can literally pull apart the fluffy rolls from each other.
Traditionally, Buchteln are filled with a sweet fruit plum jam, known as Powidl. But cast eagle eyes over many Austrian bakeries, and you’ll find pull-apart rolls with jam fillings, poppy seeds, and many other fillings.
Buchteln are very filling, and are sometimes eaten as a meal in Austria. They are incredibly fun to bake, and best served warm, dusted with sugar or vanilla.
Pull-apart rolls are an ideal sharing dessert for gatherings, dinner parties, and celebratory occasions.
During apricot season in Austria, you won’t have to search far to find Marillenknodel. These dainty, fluffy dumplings are one of the most delicious ways to enjoy the country’s fresh apricots, in all their glory.
Apricot dumplings are made from a quark or potato dough, providing the ideal savory balance against the sharp, tart taste of the apricot.
A perfect grab-and-go food, Marillenknodel are often eaten as a snack or lunch, not just a sweet dessert after a hearty meal.
Topped with breadcrumbs, each dumpling entices you in with its crumbly outer layer and fluffy texture, before exploding with the tartness and sweetness of apricot.
Austrian apricot dumplings are one of the country’s most popular desserts. They are easy to make at home and great to serve for all occasions.
Austrian Dessert Recipes Summary
From dense, wholesome cakes, to fluffy, fruity pastries, there’s a world of splendor, aroma, and flavor when it comes to Austrian desserts.
And, as these amazing recipes show, Austrian desserts are largely not complex or highly specialized.
With some fresh ingredients, a little practice, and plenty of love, you can make an array of these beloved desserts in your home kitchen, for you, friends, and family to enjoy, all year round.
As they say in Austria: ‘gut essen’; eat well!
You Might Also Like to Read:
- Popular Hungarian Desserts
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- Most Popular and Traditional Lithuanian Desserts
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Author: Dale Johnson is a content writer, designer, and a passionate foodie traveler who has lived in and visited over 30 countries to date.