30-Minute Dinner/ Austrian and German Recipes/ Cuisine/ Dinner/ Side dish/ vegetarian dinner

Käsespätzle (German Cheese Noodles)

9 June 2024 By Aleksandra

Käsespätzle, also known as cheese Spätzle are German cheese noodles topped with crispy onions. Easy to make and so comforting!

Käsespätzle on in a frying pan and on a fork topped with crispy onions.

Spaetzle are a very popular in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland side dish, perfect for serving with any kind of sauce or gravy. Kaesespaetzle is a variation of the dish and for many people the best way to serve Spaetzle. This cheesy delight is frequently found at Alpine ski resorts. In this version, Spätzle are mixed with cheese, which melts beautifully, and then topped with chives and crispy onions. You could call it a German mac and cheese!

Ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

You can use store-bought Spätzle for this recipe or make your own! As always, homemade is better. So, for homemade easy Spätzle, you will need:

Labeled ingredients for Spätzle.

To make Käsespätzle, you will also need:

Labeled additional ingredients needed to make Käsespätzle.
  • Cheese – Emmentaler cheese or Bergkäse are most commonly used. Bergkäse means mountain cheese and is a firm cheese variety popular in Austria, southern Germany, and Switzerland. It has a very pronounced flavor. Emmentaler cheese is more mild. I like to use a mix of both of these cheeses for the best flavor. If you can’t find these cheeses where you live, use Swiss cheese instead of Emmentaler and Gruyere or Appenzeller instead of Bergkäse.
  • Crispy onions – you will need 1 small/medium onion, 1-2 Tbsp of flour, and frying oil to make them. Some people don’t use flour but it’s the key for crispy onions. You can decide for yourself how much oil you want to use, but the more oil – the crispier the onions and more uniformly browned. Instead of frying oil, you can use clarified butter, which provides much better taste – you can buy it or make your own (very easy!). Sometimes this dish is served with caramelized onions and not crispy onions. In my book, crispy always wins! If you want to make caramelized onions, simply cook sliced onions in oil or clarified butter for 20-30 minutes until very soft and golden brown. To take this one step further, you could make battered fried crispy onions, like in this recipe for green bean casserole from scratch.
  • Chives – add a pop of color and freshness to the dish. You can use parsley instead.
  • Nutmeg – optional but I like to add a pinch for a better flavor.

A version with heavy cream – sometimes Käsespätzle are made with a creamy cheese sauce with the addition of heavy cream and then are baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and crispy.

How to make it step-by-step

Making Spaetzle from scratch is optional, you can also use store-bought Spätzle. Cook them according to the packet instructions then proceed with the recipe.

Milk is being added to Spätzle ingredients in a bowl. Ingredients are being mixed with a spoon.

Make Spätzle dough:

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.

Stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined.

Spätzle batter in a bowl. Spätzle batter is being pushed through a colander into boiling water.

Continue beating the dough with the wooden spoon or with a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (speed 2) for about 7-10 minutes. The dough should be well-combined and smooth. It will be very sticky so it’s not possible to knead it by hand (try to not add any more flour).

Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.

Cook Spätzle:

While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Working in batches, press the dough through a ‘Spätzle press/maker’, a large-holed colander (photo 4), or a slotted spoon with large holes (photo 5). Push the batter with the back of a metal spoon directly into boiling water.

Spätzle batter is being pushed through a slotted spoon into boiling water in a pot. Cooked Spätzle on a spider strainer.

Cook Spaetzle in batches so they won’t stay in the water for too long.

When the Spätzle come to the water surface they’re done – remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter.

While you’re adding Spaetzle to the bowl, stir them to coat them in butter – it will prevent them from sticking to each other.

Crispy fried onions on a plate. Shredded cheese is being added to Spätzle in a pan.

Make crispy onions (I usually do this while the batter is resting):

Cut onions into thin slices, toss with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan or a medium pot and add the onions (I like to use a medium pot and fry the onions in batches – the layer of oil is thicker so the onions are frying rather than just pan-frying). Fry, stirring often, until light golden brown in color. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with salt.

Make Käsespätzle:

Add Spätzle to a large bowl or frying pan and add the cheese and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is melted (if the cheese is not melting, maybe because the Spätzle are too cold, heat them over low heat until the cheese is melted). Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to plates and sprinkle with chives and crispy onions.

Enjoy!

A close-up photo of Käsespätzle in a frying pan.

Serving Suggestions

This is rather a hearty dish so I would recommend serving it with a crispy fresh green salad.

Another good option would be this creamy cucumber salad or vinegar-based cucumber salad.

Storage Tips

This dish stores very well. Simply reheat it in a pan the next day. You can add a splash of cream to make it easier. Keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep the onions separate, reheat the onions in a dry pan or in the oven.

A close up photo of cheese pull and Käsespätzle on a spoon being grabbed from the frying pan.

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!!

Käsespätzle (German Cheese Noodles)

Käsespätzle, also known as cheese Spätzle are German cheese noodles topped with crispy onions. Easy to make and so comforting!
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Käsespätzle on a spoon and in a frying pan.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the Spätzle (or use store-bought):

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled, not scooped
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of nutmeg optional
  • pinch of white pepper optional
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons butter

for the Käsespätzle:

  • Spätzle from the recipe above or store-bought
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup frying oil or clarified butter or less
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) shredded cheese I used half Emmentaler (or Swiss cheese) and half Bergkäse (or Gruyere)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • chives to serve
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Making Spaetzle from scratch is optional, you can also use store-bought Spätzle. Cook them according to the packet instructions then proceed with the recipe.
  • Make Spätzle dough:
  • Add all ingredients except the butter to a mixing bowl.
    2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of white pepper, 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined.
  • Continue beating the dough with the wooden spoon or with a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (speed 2) for about 7-10 minutes. The dough should be well-combined and smooth. It will be very sticky so it’s not possible to knead it by hand (try to not add any more flour).
  • Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Cook Spätzle:
  • While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Working in batches, press the dough through a ‘Spätzle press/maker’, a large-holed colander (photo 4), or a slotted spoon with large holes (photo 5). Push the batter with the back of a metal spoon directly into boiling water.
  • Cook Spaetzle in batches so they won’t stay in the water for too long.
  • When the Spätzle come to the water surface they’re done – remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • While you’re adding Spaetzle to the bowl, stir them to coat them in butter – it will prevent them from sticking to each other.
    2 tablespoons butter
  • Make crispy onions: cut onions into thin slices, toss with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan or a medium pot and add the onions (I like to use a medium pot and fry the onions in batches – the layer of oil is thicker so the onions are frying rather than just pan-frying). Fry, stirring often, until light golden brown in color. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with salt.
    1 medium onion, 2 tablespoons flour, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup frying oil or clarified butter
  • Make Käsespätzle: Add Spätzle to a large bowl or frying pan and add the cheese and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is melted (if the cheese is not melting, maybe because the Spätzle are too cold, heat them over low heat until the cheese is melted). Season with salt and pepper.
    1 1/2 cups (150g) shredded cheese, pinch of nutmeg
  • Transfer to plates and sprinkle with chives and crispy onions.
  • Enjoy!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine austrian, German, Swiss
Diet
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