The meal is traditionally prepared by boiling the beef in broth and then mincing it with the beetroot, onions, boiled potatoes and herring (some recipes use ham). Finally the base is fried in lard, condiments as nutmeg, pepper, coriander, or allspice are added.
The dish is similar to the British hash.
Countless variations of the dish exist. For example, in Bremen, 95 km away from Hamburg, Labskaus usually is a preparation of fried corned beef, onions and mashed potatoes with the beetroot and a Rollmops being served as a side dish.
Variations of the dish are also to be found in Scandinavia, generally without the use of herring. In Denmark the dish is similar to the Bremen version, but without the herring and some times with added gravy. In Sweden, Lapskojs is a stew made with beef and mashed potatoes. In Norway, the word lapskaus more often refers to a variation of beef stew often made with gravy, or in some cases other types of stew, more or less identical to the Liverpudlian scouse.