Austrian and German Recipes/ Dinner/ Side dish

German potato dumplings

9 December 2020 | Last Updated: 18 May 2021 By Aleksandra

These German / Austrian potato dumplings are fluffy balls made with mashed potatoes that make an amazing side dish that you can serve with any meat or gravy.

Potato dumplings on a brown plate with braised cabbage and roast goose breast.

What are potato dumplings?

Potato dumplings are fluffy dumplings made with cooked mashed potatoes that are very common in Germany and Austria. They are called Kartoffelklöße / Erdäpfelknödel / Kartoffelknödel in the German language, depending on the region (Klöße or Knödel means dumplings, Kartoffel or Erdäpfel means potatoes). They are served with stews, braises, and roasts where there’s lots of gravy and sauce. Second-day leftovers are also a treat when sliced and fried with butter.

There are many versions of potato dumplings, some are made with just boiled potatoes, some with just raw potatoes, and some with raw and boiled potatoes. This recipe calls just for boiled potatoes.

Similar versions of these dumplings are made in many European countries, they are similar to Italian gnocchi or Polish pyzy ziemniaczane or kopytka.

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need to make the best potato dumplings:

  • Potatoes – make sure to use starchy/mealy potatoes (like Russets, Idaho) – they are high in starch and low in moisture, they don’t hold their shape very well, but are great for mashing, baking, and boiling. You could also use other potato varieties, but since they have less starch in them, you need to add more starch to your dumplings, which will make them more dense. All-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold will also be very good. You can cook the potatoes right before preparing the dumplings or used leftover potatoes from the day before (I prefer these dumplings much more with freshly cooked, hot potatoes that are properly drained – more on that below).
  • 1 egg – you can use 2 egg yolks instead if you have some leftover on hand. I wouldn’t separate the eggs just for that purpose (unless you already have plans for those leftover egg whites!)
  • Butter – makes the dumplings more moist and delicious.
  • Potato starch – binds the dumplings together. This ingredient is traditionally used for these German potato dumplings. In some countries, corn starch is more available than potato starch and it can be used as a substitute (the same amount) but your dumplings won’t taste as good. Potato starch adds potato flavor to the dumplings. Dumplings made with corn starch taste floury and just less like potatoes. Please find potato starch! This ingredient makes a difference in taste, but not in texture.
  • Nutmeg – season your dumplings lightly with nutmeg, it goes well with potatoes. It can be omitted if you don’t like it.
  • Salt and pepper.

These potato dumplings are naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.

Recipe variations: sometimes these dumplings are stuffed with croutons browned in butter, meat or mushroom filling.

Labeled ingredients for potato dumplings.

How to make German potato dumplings from scratch:

Potatoes are being mashed through a potato ricer. Ingredients for potato dumplings in a bowl.

STEP 1: Cook the potatoes: Peel the potatoes, chop any larger ones so they’re all a similar size. Add the potatoes into a large pot, pour over cold water, salt the water. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender. Now drain the potatoes, put the pot back on the burner, and heat the potatoes for a minute or two, stirring, until excess moisture has evaporated.

How long to boil potatoes? I cut my potatoes into 1 1/2-inch (4cm) chunks and cook them for about 10 minutes. Check with a fork if they are ready – they should be soft enough to be pierced with a fork.

Mash the potatoes while they are still hot.

How to mash potatoes:

  • The best tool to mash potatoes for German potato dumplings is potato ricer (pictured above). It makes the fluffiest dumplings!
  • Alternatively, you can use a regular potato masher or an electric potato masher.

STEP 2: Add all the ingredients for the dumplings into a large bowl.

Potato dumplings batter in a blue bowl. Uncooked potato dumplings on a chopping board.

STEP 3: Make the dough: stir all the ingredients together until well combined (with a spoon or your hands, don’t mix for too long, but the dough should stick together). Don’t knead the dough, just stir everything together until is well combined.

Now, if you’ve weighed your ingredients you should get a perfect dough, but if you’ve used measuring cups, there’s always some room for error. If the dough is too dry, try to add some more melted butter, if it’s too wet, add a little more potato starch. Try not to add too much so that the dumplings are not too dense. You can try to test boil one dumpling to see if it holds or is falling apart.

STEP 4: Form the dumplings. Divide your dough into 8 parts and form from them round balls (you can weigh your dumplings, each should weigh about 3.5 oz (100g)). To keep the dumplings from sticking to your hands, you can wet your hands with water or dust them with flour.

Potato dumplings are being cooked in a pot.

STEP 5 and 6: Cook the dumplings:

If you’re making these dumplings for the first time, I recommend to test cook the first one to make sure it stays together, before you cook the rest. Add some more potato starch if the dough falls apart.

The temperature of the water is very important – add the dumplings to very hot, but not boiling salted water. They should only simmer. The best way to do that is to bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and wait until the water stops cooking. It is not enough to pour boiling water into a pot and add the dumplings, you need to wait until the water comes to the boil again and then stops boiling. Don’t overcrowd the pot, if you add too many dumplings at once, the water temperature will drop too much and the dumplings will start to fall apart.

The dumplings will sink at the bottom first, so after a couple of minutes stir them with a wooden spoon to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

How long does it take dumplings to cook? It takes them about 13 minutes – then they will float to the surface of the water.

Take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and serve.

Enjoy!

Important notes (why this recipe works):

  • warm up the drained potatoes in a pot so that the excess moisture can evaporate
  • mash your potatoes and mix them with the other ingredients while they are hot
  • don’t stir the dough for too long
  • test cook the first dumpling
  • stir the dumplings in the pot with a wooden spoon to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot
  • they are done when they float to the surface

FAQ/Troubleshooting:

Why do my potato dumplings fall apart?

Too little potato starch in the dough, too many dumplings added at once or the water was not hot enough.

How do you reheat potato dumplings?

They best way to reheat them is to cut them into thick slices, then brown in a pan with butter.

Do dumplings float when done?

Yes, when they float to the surface of the water, they are done. You can cut them in half to be sure if there is no uncooked dough in the middle.

Can you store the dough in the fridge and cook the dumpling the next day?

Theoretically yes but such dumplings are less fluffy and tasty. They taste best when prepared fresh.

Potato dumplings cut in half on a brown plate with braised cabbage and roast goose.

What to serve them with:

Use them for dishes where there is many gravy or sauce!

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

German potato dumplings

Amazing and easy German / Austrian potato dumplings make a great side dish that you can serve with any roast or gravy.
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Potato dumplings on a brown plate with braised cabbage and roast goose.
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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 8 dumplings
Calories 174kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900g) floury potatoes this is 660g mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted, 45g
  • 3/4 cup (120g) potato starch, or corn starch
  • 1 large egg or 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the potatoes: Peel the potatoes, chop any larger ones so they’re all a similar size. Add the potatoes into a large pot, pour over cold water, salt the water. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender, don't overcook them. Drain the potatoes, put the pot back on the burner, and heat the potatoes for a minute or two, stirring, until excess moisture has evaporated.
  • Mash the potatoes while they are still hot. The best is potato ricer but you can also use a potato masher.
  • Make the dough: Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir them together until well combined (with a spoon or your hands, don't mix for too long, but the dough should stick together, don't knead the dough, just stir everything together until combined). If the dough is too dry, try to add some more melted butter, if it's too wet, add a little more potato starch. Try not to add too much starch so that the dumplings are not too dense.
  • Form the dumplings: Divide your dough into 8 parts and form round balls (you can weigh your dumplings, each should weigh about 3.5 oz (100g)). To keep the dumplings from sticking to your hands, you can wet your hands with water or dust them with flour.
  • Cook the dumplings: If you're making these dumplings for the first time, I recommend to test cook the first one to make sure it stays together, before you cook the rest. Add some more potato starch if your dough falls apart. Add the dumplings to very hot, but not boiling salted water. They should only simmer. The best way to do that is to bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and wait until the water stops cooking. It is not enough to pour boiling water into a pot and add the dumplings, you need to wait until the water comes to the boil again and then stops boiling. Don't overcrowd the pot, if you add too many dumplings at once, the water temperature will drop too much and the dumplings will start to fall apart (cook them in batches). The dumplings will sink at the bottom first, so after a couple of minutes stir them with a wooden spoon to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. It takes about 13 minutes to cook the dumplings – after this time they will float to the surface of the water.
  • Take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and serve.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient notes:
    • Potatoes – make sure to use starchy/mealy potatoes (like Russets, Idaho) or all-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold. You can cook the potatoes right before preparing the dumplings or used leftover potatoes from the day before (I prefer these dumplings much more with freshly cooked, hot potatoes that are properly drained).
    • Egg – you can use 2 egg yolks instead if you have some leftover on hand. I wouldn’t separate the eggs just for that purpose (unless you already have plans for those leftover egg whites!).
    • Potato starch – if you can’t find it you can use corn starch as a substitute (the same amount) but your dumplings won’t taste as good. Potato starch adds potato flavor to the dumplings. Dumplings made with corn starch taste floury and just less like potatoes. Please find potato starch if you can! This ingredient makes a difference in taste, but not in texture.
  • Recipe variations: you can stuff your dumplings with croutons browned in butter, meat, or mushroom filling.
  • How to reheat: The best way to reheat them is to cut them into thick slices, then brown in a pan with butter.
  • How many dumplings per person: with rich, meat dishes 1-2 per person, with vegetarian lighter dishes 2-3 per person.
  • Calories = 1 dumpling (1/8 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine austrian, German
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Aleksandra
    17 March 2021 at 08:47

    5 stars
    Comment from a Pinterest user Char: Very good. Tastes like mom’s.

    • Reply
      Crystal
      30 June 2021 at 05:02

      Can you please tell me how to make the croutons that go in the middle of potato ball and do you have goulash recipe to go with potato balls?
      I would be forever grateful

      • Reply
        Aleksandra
        30 June 2021 at 20:32

        Hi Crystal! To make the croutons just cut white bread into small cubes then pan-fry them with butter in a pan until golden. Fill each potato ball with a couple of croutons.
        I don’t have right now any goulash recipe ready to publish but I could suggest you something if you could tell me more about what kind of goulash are you looking for? Pork, beef, Hungarian goulash (it’s very popular in German-speaking countries)?

        • Reply
          Crystal
          28 August 2021 at 10:03

          Thank you so much for getting back to me! I had lost the bookmark to this page, then I found it again today! I can’t remember the type of goulash, my mom and grandma (the only two with the recipe) passed on when I was little. My grandma grew up in Germany, near the border of France. I remember it was cooked in a brown gravy or sauce, and sort of cubed. I think she used some sort of beef, but not quite sure. My grandma would give me a small plate of her homeade croutons with the meal. I remember the potato balls being so big and fluffy, I could never replicate them (or even come close!). I just remember that potato ball and goulash night was my absolute favorite!!

          • Aleksandra
            31 August 2021 at 21:09

            Hi Crystal, unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for German goulasch ready to publish (I’m working on that!) but in a nutshell, German-style goulasch is made like this: cut beef stew meat into chunks then brown in a pot, transfer to a plate, sautee some onions and garlic, add paprika powder, thyme, and marjoram, add the beef back to the pot, then add a splash of red wine, cook until evaporated, add tomato paste, beef broth, lemon zest, then simmer for about 1.5-2 hours or until the meat is tender, season with salt and pepper. I hope this helps a bit!

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