15 Hard to Find American Foods in Germany

In 1825 Frenchman Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Looking at myself through this lens, I see an American desperately searching for familiar snacks and flavors. Unfortunately for me, many of my favorite goodies from the US are not widely available in rural Germany. While I can always count on a care package from home, gifts from visitors, or the incredibly expensive American food specialty stores, I am always on the hunt for these 15 hard to find American foods!

1. Cheddar Goldfish Crackers / Cheez-its

Before moving to Germany, these perfect foods made up probably 25% of my diet. I’ve tried every snack cracker I’ve come across here, but as far as I can tell, there is nothing like them in Germany. I’m not proud of this, but while I was pregnant I spent €60 on a box of 45 Cheez-It snack bags. Ridiculous, but I’ll probably do it again.

Not a joke

2. Powdered Ranch Dressing Packets

I rarely used ranch dressing at home, but I used a packet of ranch flavoring for something every week. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I definitely make sure to stock up when I’ve visiting the states. From beer cheese dip to tasty pinwheels, I just can’t go without it!

3. Green Chilis

A can of diced green chilis has always been a pantry staple for me. I played it fast and loose and threw some chilis in to almost everything. Now I really have to really consider if the person I’m sharing a meal with will appreciate them enough for me to open a can. I have to say, very few Germans make the cut.

4. Instant Oatmeal

Not much to say here, but it reminds me of being a kid. It doesn’t happen often but when I get a craving for a packet of some Quaker Oats, nothing else will do.

5. Molasses

A crucial ingredient in so many of my favorite recipes, molasses is basically non-existent here. That is, unless you’re willing to pay €8/jar PLUS SHIPPING??!?!

6. Graham Crackers

Plain in the best way, graham crackers definitely seem like something that should be available in Germany. Sadly, they are not and neither are the smaller, cuter Teddy Grahams. Easy pie crusts have to be made with the far more delicious (but wrong) biscoff cookies.

7. Starlight Peppermints / Peppermint Candy Canes

Did you know that Germany doesn’t really use peppermint as a Christmas flavor?! Like, what?! After buying out the entire stock of an American candy store in London, I am hoarding peppermints as if they were precious gems. Yes, I really do mean the little plastic wrapped candies everywhere in the US gives away for free. Living here changes a person.

8. Buffalo Sauce

It is SO frustrating to search for recipes for homemade buffalo sauce. They all call for Frank’s Red Hot in the recipe! If I could get Frank’s here, I wouldn’t be searching for a recipe! UGH. This is surprisingly a very sensitive subject for me, but maybe you feel the same.

9. Baking Powder

Not exactly a food item, but since you buy it at the grocery store it deserves a spot on this list of hard to find American foods. The Germans have Backpulver, which you would think would be the same, but it somehow isn’t.

10. Girl Scout Cookies

My mom spent over $200 on cookies and shipping just to send me a few packs of Thin Mints and Samoas. If that isn’t love…

The only surviving photo before they were devoured

11. PBR

It sounds silly to complain about the beer in Germany, but boy do I miss cheap, easy drinking American beers. We order PBR from Americanfood4u.de, but only for special occasions and holidays. They even send little Pfand stickers so we can return our cans!

12. Rootbeer

This summer, I found drinking a rootbeer float on our patio to be the absolute most luxurious experience. Was it because the soda cost over €2 per can? Was it because the Germans don’t believe in air conditioning? Both? Who can say. All I know is that it was heavenly.

13. Rice Krispies Cereal

A freshly made Rice Crispy treat is incomparable. I’ve tried a few substitutions for the cereal here, but nothing even comes close to the Kellogg’s original. I’ll only spring for a box of the good stuff once or twice a year, but I can certainly say I appreciate every. single. bite.

14. A1 Steak Sauce

Before, we believed a good steak doesn’t need any sauce. Now we ONLY bring out the A1 for a decent steak. It is that precious.

High Value Order

15. Velveeta Cheese

I am not down with Velveeta mac and cheese, but I live for queso dip. I’ve made a passable queso in our Thermomix, but nothing compares to the ease of throwing Velveeta and a can of Rotel tomatoes (and green chilis!) in a pan.

While none of these are essential items, many of them feel like they should be! I have to give a special shout out to all the treats pictured, but not mentioned in the post. Redvines, fruit snacks, Reese Puffs and Kraft are all splurge items. I think these are 15 hard to find American foods in Germany, but what about you? Do you live abroad and miss any foods? Are these snacks on the shelves of your grocery stores? Let me know in the comments!