Cheap Recipe: Quick Homemade Späetzle (German Dumplings)

27 Oct

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

These little dumplings are so yummy and easy to make!

So chewy and delicious!

Although I generally make these dumplings alongside other German dishes (like my Bavarian-style Sauerbraten), they really dress up any meal. You can serve them dropped into soups/stews or as a stand-alone side dish with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese. One bite and you’ll be hooked!

The ones pictured here are a little larger than traditional German späetzle, which literally translates as “tiny sparrow.” It’s a cute little name for an adorable little mini-dumpling, but unfortunately, while I was making this particular batch, I was also dealing with a toddler who was fascinated with the stovetop so I was trying to work at top speed before Jamie got too close to the boiling water.

The result was that my späetzle pieces were a bit bigger than usual, but they still tasted scrumptious!

Flour & Salt. (Easy breezy!)

There are only 4 ingredients (all of which you probably have already), and the prep is so quick and easy you’ll scratch your head in amazement that people actually purchase that yucky box-pasta version after you try this recipe.

Begin by bringing a large stock pot of water to a rolling boil. While water heats, sift 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour together with 1 teaspoon salt into a medium-sized bowl. (The original version calls for 2-1/4 cups flour, but I like to


A beaten egg. Still simple!

add that extra little bit, even if I sometimes can’t get it all worked in, because the dryer your dough is, the easier and faster it will be to separate into tiny pieces for boiling.)

Mix in egg and some warm water.

Beat one egg and pour into flour mixture; stir a little. Gradually add 1/2 to 3/4 cup lukewarm water, mixing constantly until most or all of the flour mixture has been kneaded in and dough is stiff.

If you do not own a späetzle hopper (an inexpensive gadget that resembles a long cheese grater with a sliding reservoir across the top of it–I bought mine about 8 years ago for


Plop your dough down on a breadboard and give it a satisfying "thwack!"

less than $5 on a clearance rack), transfer dough to a floured portable surface (like a cutting board or large plate) and flatten out dough to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.

Little baby dumplings...

Little baby dumplings. Awww...

Using a sharp, wet knife, score the flattened dough into very small pieces (like deformed lima beans) and blade-flick them into the boiling water as quickly as possible. (Alternative method: Flour a standard-holed colander and place ball of dough inside to be “strained” into pieces if you prefer, using a knife to cut them every inch and let drop into boiling water. I get spattered a lot using this method, so I don’t do it, but to each his own.)

The trick is to get as many pieces of späetzle into the boiling water in a short amount a time as possible so that the


A quick swim in some boiling water...

cook time is fairly standard within a batch. You only want one layer of dumplings at a time in the boiling water. Allow each round to cook between 5-8 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Appoint a tasty-looking sacrificial dumpling to check for doneness


Don't forget to butter them!

 after 4-5 minutes to gauge cook time. (Aren’t they yummy??)

This recipe can be doubled or tripled. I can get a batch the size of this recipe to all go in one round in my 8-quart stock pot, but if you need to do a couple of rounds or batches, that’s okay too. Just use a large, slotted spoon to remove cooked dumplings


I could seriously inhale all of these in about three seconds.

from the boiling water between rounds.

Spoon finished späetzle into serving dish and top immediately with melted butter. Be prepared for many compliments!


7 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Quick Homemade Späetzle (German Dumplings)”

  1. redforkhippie November 1, 2009 at 9:28 PM #

    In the past eight years, I have eaten literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of spaetzle at the Rock Cafe. Dawn serves it several different ways; my favorite is with shredded cheddar and Jack cheese melted on top. I refer to this as “what mac and cheese wants to be when it grows up.”

  2. Gracie November 2, 2009 at 12:11 PM #

    I even sneak pieces of it cold, not to mention pieces of the uncooked dough, too, before I boil it. I am an addict!!

  3. Yasmine November 12, 2009 at 11:26 PM #

    Thank you for the recipe, I absolutely loooove Spätzle ( and everything German, but this is another story). The only thing missing here would be the caramelized onions. The mixture of roasted caramelized onions and melting cheese over the hot plate of Spätzle is truly a pleasure and the addictive one! Here is how I prepare the onions:
    :: Heat 1 tbsp of oil with 1 tbsp of unsalted butter in a medium skillet. Add the onions sliced in not to thin rings and cook over high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle onions over the Spätzle, add cheese and enjoy!

    • Leslie June 1, 2010 at 1:36 PM #

      My grandmother used to carmelize onions & put them on top!!! Yummmmmm!! Never thought about the cheese but that would be delicious too! Great memories!

  4. Linda Buhman June 2, 2010 at 9:46 AM #

    Sign me up, Gracie! You had me at Spaetzle. Um … spaetzle …

    • Gracie June 2, 2010 at 9:54 AM #

      Thanks, Linda! Now I’m thinking about spaetzle today, too. Yum!


  1. Cheap Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten (German Beef Stew) « The Red Kitchen Project - November 2, 2009

    […] over Quick Homemade Spaetzle or egg noodles. Refrigerate any remaining stew; lefotvers make for great open-faced sandwiches […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: