Zweibelkuchen (Pennsylvania Dutch Onion Pie)

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Zweibelkuchen translates to “onion cake”/”tart” in German, but it’s also known in Pa. Dutch kitchens as “Onion Pie”.  Zwiebelkuchen is related to the Black Forest region of Germany. It is tradition that it is prepared at the beginning of fall, after the bountiful summer crop of onions come in and is usually served as a lunch dish. 

This traditional German dish ranges in size and shape depending on the cook (and, in Germany, the area in which it is served); some are flat and cut into squares with a thinner layer of the topping (like this version), others are thicker and deeper and often made in a spring-form pan. No matter the size, shape, or depth,  the rich and buttery caramelized onions and savory bacon filling is consistent.

The German immigrants who became known as “Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch” in German) enjoyed this dish in the motherland and re-created it in their new homes in America.  Zweibelkuchen is at its best when served lukewarm. Use good quality bacon if you can get it to make zweibelkuchen.

Zweibelkuchen ( Pa. Dutch Onion Pie)

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, EntreesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, GermanDifficulty: Intermediate


  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast

  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 onion

  • 1/3 cup chopped bacon (optional)


  • Add the yeast and sugar to a mixing bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a microwaveable measuring cup and add the milk to warm up. Add the milk mixture to the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. The yeast should become frothy.
  • Add the salt and flour a little at a time while mixing (with paddle attachment if in stand mixer or by hand with wooden spoon).  Once all the flour is added, dough should be elastic, but not too sticky. Add more flour as needed to get the right consistency.
  • Cover the dough with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise, about 1 hour.
  • In the meantime, prepare the filling by whisking together the sour cream, egg, salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Thinly slice the onion and place into the skillet, then turn to low. Cook the onions on low heat for about 10 minutes (also add the bacon if using), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once the dough is ready (doubled in size), roll out on a floured cutting board and place into a 9 x 13-inch pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Spread the cream filling over the dough using a spatula, then top with the onions and extra pepper.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until onions start to brown on the top and the crust is crispy and golden brown.