Handkäse mit Musik – Hand Cheese with music

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Marinating time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes

Hate it or love it?

This is very mysterious dish. When you see it on the menu and then you try to translate it there comes out probably “Hand cheese with music” which doesn’t make any sense. Not if you don’t know it!:-)

Handkäse is a regional sour milk cheese which gets its name from the traditional way of producing it. Handkäse is formed with hands. The tourists always ask about the “Musik”. The Frankfurters would say “Musik kommt später” – “Music comes later”. But what do they actually mean? They mean flatulence caused by onions:) This information shouldn’t keep you away from this amazing starter, because it isn’t true. Or, it is, but that is not the real reason why they call it Hand Cheese with Music. The real reason is that previously the onion sauce was served on the side and vinegar and oil was served in small jars that made music while being carried on a plate.

Traditional Handcheese with Music

I have first tried the Handkäse mit Musik in a very traditional restaurant in Sachsenhausen. There are different ways of marinating it, my favourite one says that the cheese should be marinated from the very beginning with onions. The marinade gives an amazing flavour not only the onions but also the Handkäse.

Handkäse mit Musik

The cheese has a lot of proteins and no carbs, therefore it’s a perfect choice in the restaurant when being on diet.

While preparing this recipe it is mandatory to take the good quality cheese. If you don’t have the possibility to get good Handkäse there is no way you will enjoy this dish. In this case, I would rather go to Frankfurt and try it/buy it there. Frankfurt is a nice city, so it might be worth the trip!

Traditional Handcheese with Music

Handkäse mit Musik

A great starter that goes extremely well with wine, apple wine or beer. High protein and low-fat content make it a popular lunch in Frankfurt and the greater Frankfurt area.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Marinating time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 5 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine German
Servings 1 person


  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 Handkäse or Harzer
  • 2 tbsp apple wine
  • 2 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 slice German Rye-Wheat Sourdough Bread for serving
  • 10 g butter for serving
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds for serving (optional)
  • 1 pinch paprika powder for serving (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives for serving (optional)


  • Chop the onion very finely.
    handkase mit musik 1
  • Take a small bowl and mix together chopped onion with sunflower oil.
    handkase mit musik 2
  • Place Handcheese or Harzer in the plastic container and pour the oil mixture all over it. Cover it with a lid and leave it in the fridge for at least 12 hours. During this time the cheese and the onion will soften a bit.
    handkase mit musik 3
  • Take the cheese out of the plastic container leaving the oil mixture in there. Add apple vinegar and apple wine to it and mix it. Cover the hand cheese with the mixture.
    handkase mit musik 4
  • Serve with caraway seeds, paprika powder or chives on the top and buttered slice of German Mischbrot (German Rye and Wheat Bread).
    Hand cheese with music



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Make sure you marinate the cheese overnight so it is nice and soft when serving!
If you don't have apple wine you can substitute it with apple vinegar or leave it out.
Other hand cheese recipes on my blog:
Hand Cheese Tatar with Onion and Butter
Hand Cheese Spread with Cranberries and Horseradish
Keyword frankfurt food, frankfurt recipe, german hand cheese, german handcheese, german handcheese with music, german handkäse mit musik, traditional frankfurt dish, traditional frankfurt food, traditional german appertizer, traditional german starter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Marta Kieser is a food guide and blogger who lives in Frankfurt with her husband and 1-year-old son. Apart from food guiding, she loves cooking, having guests over, swimming, hiking, and running. 



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