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German Spaetzle Dumplings

German Spaetzle are tender, eggy dumplings that are fun and easy to make, even if you don’t have a spaetzle maker. They are the perfect side dish recipe for a hearty German meal.

German Spaetzle are tender, eggy dumplings that are fun and easy to make, even if you don't have a spaetzle maker. They are the perfect side dish recipe for a hearty German meal. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.comDISCLOSURE: This article contains Amazon affiliate links. These links are provided to help you find some of the more specialty products we mention in the recipe. If you make any purchase after clicking through one of our links, we receive a small commission from Amazon, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Curious Cuisiniere!

German Spaetzle: Little Dumplings

Although they are loved throughout Germany, Spätzle (or Spaetzle) is specialty of the South-Central (Swabian) region of the country.

The word Spaetzle (pronounced SHPAYT-zel) comes from the word Spatz, which means ‘little sparrows.’

It is thought that the dumplings got their name from the original method of making them using two spoons which created a small dumpling that looked like a sparrow.

German Spaetzle in a brown crock

How Is German Spaetzle Different From Pasta?

The dough for Spaetzle is quite basic, made from flour, eggs, water, and salt. (Although, you will find variations that call for different liquids: milk, sparkling water, and even beer.)

Compared to pasta dough, it is softer and more moist, the type of dough you can’t roll out into sheets.

Instead, it must be shaped by pressing or ‘cutting’.

German Spaetzle are tender, eggy dumplings that are fun and easy to make, even if you don't have a spaetzle maker. They are the perfect side dish recipe for a hearty German meal. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.com

What Tool Do You Use To Make Spaetzle?

There are a number of tools you can use to press spaetzle:

  • a press
  • a flat colander called a Sieb
  • a cheese-grater like slicer called a Hobel

But really, you can use any metal kitchen gadget that has holes roughly the diameter of a pencil.

When we started out making spaetzle, we didn’t have any special tools, so we used a slotted serving spoon. It made some beautiful Spaetzle!

Making our German Spaetzel recipe with Curious Cuisiniere

Since we enjoy spaetzle so much, we eventually purchased a potato ricer to make the process go a bit quicker. 

Making spaetzle with a potato ricer.

How To Make German Spaetzle Dumplings

Making spaetzle is actually quite straightforward and simple. 

  • Mix the dough
  • Rest the dough
  • Press 
  • Boil
  • Serve!

After mixing the dough, you press or cut it into boiling, lightly oiled, salt water.

The strips of dough boil just long enough for them to rise to the top of the pot.

Once done, it is best if spaetzle is served immediately.

German Spaetzle overhead on a blue and white background.

If you will be serving your spaetzle later, you can add a tablespoon of oil to the boiling cooking water. This will prevent the spaetzle from sticking together.

Our Easy Homemade Spaetzle Recipe

The recipe below makes a nice and tender, egg-y spaetzle.

For a denser, creamier Spaetzle, take a look at our recipe for Kaesespatzle (Cheese Spaetzle) which gives you a bit of a thicker dough and uses the “cutting” method.

German Spaetzle are tender, eggy dumplings that are fun and easy to make, even if you don't have a spaetzle maker. They are the perfect side dish recipe for a hearty German meal. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.com

 

German Spaetzle in a brown crock - small image.
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4.84 from 12 votes

German Spaetzle Dumplings

German Spaetzle are tender, eggy dumplings that make a great addition to a hearty meat main dish.
Yield: 4 c of spaetzle 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Keyword: pasta
Servings: 4 - 6 people
Calories: 155kcal
Author: Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

Ingredients

For the Spaetzle Dough

To Cook the Spaetzle

  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add eggs. Scramble the eggs slightly with a fork, mixing them with the flour mixture. Add the water, a little at a time, mixing until a soft dough forms. (Your dough should be somewhere between a drop biscuit dough and a stiff muffin batter. It should be spoon-able, but not pour-able.)
  • Cover the dough loosely with a tea towel and set it aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  • While dough is resting, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil with 2 tsp salt. (You can add 1 Tbsp of oil to your water if you would like, to keep the cooked Spaetzle from sticking together. If you will be sautéing your Spaetzle after boiling, this is not necessary.)
  • Scoop your rested batter into your Spaetzle pressing tool. (Any metal kitchen gadget with holes roughly the diameter of a pencil will work well. Don’t have anything? Grab a cutting board and a spatula and check out this recipe for making Spaetzle using the board cutting method.)
  • Press the Spaetzle dough through the press into the boiling water. Once the Spaetzle bobs to the top of the water, it is done. Remove it using a slotted spoon. (But, not the one you’re using to press the Spaetzle dough!)
  • Place the boiled Spaetzle into a bowl and continue with the rest of the dough.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe also works great with 2 c white wheat flour!
This recipe was updated in November 2018. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.1g | Protein: 7.2g | Fat: 2.2g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 215mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1.5g

 


We’ve updated our pictures since we first shared this recipe on Curious Cuisiniere, but we’ve left some originals here, in case you’ve found us in the past and are looking for that old, familiar image.

German Spaetzle, are tender, eggy dumplings that make a great addition to a hearty meat main dish. | Curious Cuisiniere

German Spaetzle, are tender, eggy dumplings that make a great addition to a hearty meat main dish. | Curious Cuisiniere

 

 

 

 

Recipe Rating




Kim

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

This was very delicious and pretty easy to make. Have you ever frozen the spaetzle?

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 9th of September 2021

Hi Kim. We have! I will cook it as directed and drain it in a colander. Then place as much as we would use for a meal in a freezer bag. Thawing works best if done overnight in the refrigerator. Then you can fry the thawed spaetzle in butter before serving.

Kristy

Sunday 6th of September 2020

This was delicious! I don’t have a spaetzle maker so it was a challenge. Ended up using the spoon method.

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 10th of September 2020

So glad you enjoyed the recipe Kristy!

kenneth knott

Tuesday 26th of November 2019

I love Spaetzle and often make it. Once it is made I drain it in a colander, gently toss with a little olive oil, then set the colander in a larger bowl in the fridge to drain and dry it a bit further. When it is a bit more firm, I saute' it is a large pan with butter and season with salt and pepper, gently turning it until some become slightly crispy. The combination of the doughy-ness and crisp is fantastic.

Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Great tips! Thanks Kenneth!

Beate guilliams

Saturday 16th of November 2019

Tasted really good, but the dough was too dry to ‘pour’ through a spätzel hobel. I added more water and it was ok. Next time I’ll add another egg.

Sarah Ozimek

Monday 18th of November 2019

Hi Beate. The batter should be the consistency of a drop biscuit dough or a thick muffin batter. It should be spoon-able, but not pour-able. And you should have to press it through the spatzel hobel. If you prefer working with a thinner batter, adding another egg would be a great idea.

Lori

Wednesday 30th of October 2019

Is it served without a topping or sauce

Kristina Mouton

Sunday 20th of June 2021

@Sarah Ozimek, growing up it was served with home canned cherries for a weekend breakfast.

Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 30th of October 2019

Hi Lori. Most often spaetzle is served without a topping or sauce. Kind of like a buttered noodles side dish. You could saute it in butter after cooking if you like. Or, you can make the cheese version: https://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/cheese-spatzle/. Enjoy!