Austrian and German Recipes/ Christmas/ Dinner/ Easter/ Side dish

Spätzle (German Egg Dumplings)

5 December 2022 By Aleksandra

Spätzle are German egg dumplings (you could also call it pasta). These tiny pieces of dough are delicious and perfect to serve with gravy or sauces. Try them with Rouladen or mushroom sauce!

Spätzle on a plate with red cabbage and Rouladen.

What are Spätzle?

Spätzle or Spaetzle are one of the most popular German side dishes (or a vegetarian main dish!). These tiny dumplings are made from easy 4-ingredient dough. You could call them dumplings or pasta – the recipe is similar but it´s less thick – it could not be rolled out. The Spätzle dough is pushed through a Spätzle maker or a colander directly into hot water.

Spätzle are perfect to serve with gravy or other sauces, such as mushroom sauce – they absorb them perfectly. They´re also good on their own, served with melted salted butter.

You could also make Käsespätzle, another popular German dish. They´re just Spätzle with cheese sauce and onions! Absolutely delicious.

Spätzle can be found not only in Germany (especially in the Swabia region), but also in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, and South Tyrol.

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.

Here´s what you need to make this easy recipe – you only need 4 basic ingredients:

  • flour – use regular all-purpose flour
  • eggs
  • milk – you can also use water but milk adds better flavor
  • salt – to season the dough so it doesn´t taste flat

What you can also season the dough with:

  • ground nutmeg and white pepper (so you don´t see black flecks of pepper) – this is what I´m using
  • chopped parsley
  • minced garlic
  • onion powder

Equipment needed to make Spätzle

Nowadays, the most popular piece of equipment used to make Spätzle is Spätzle press/maker. It’s the easiest way to make Spätzle but it also means that you need to purchase yet another thing for your kitchen. Unless you are absolutely sure you will be making Spätzle on a regular basis, I wouldn’t buy it.

How to make Spätzle without Spätzle maker:

  • In the old days, housewives were using just a wooden board that they would spread with Spätzle batter and then they will use a thin and long knife to push thin strands of batter into hot water.
  • A great alternative to Spätzle maker is a large-holed colander. You just spread the batter inside the colander and push the batter through the holes directly into the water.
  • I also like to use a slotted spoon! It needs to have large holes, just like a colander. It was more convenient for me than a colander. You can try out for yourself what you prefer.

Other method that I´ve read about but haven´t tried:

  • flat cheese grater (large holes)
  • thick plastic bag – make a couple of holes in a thick Ziplock bag, fill it with batter and push it through the bag into the water
  • a potato masher or potato ricer

How to make Spätzle step by step

All ingredients for Spätzle in a mixing bowl.

STEP 1+2+3: Make Spätzle dough:

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.

Stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined.

Spätzle dough in a bowl. Spätzle dough is being pushed with a spoon through a colander.

Continue beating the dough with the wooden spoon or with a mixer fitted with dough hook attachment (speed 2) for about 10-15 minutes. The dough should be well-combined, smooth, and you should see some bubbles forming. It will be very sticky so it’s not possible to knead it by hand (try to not add any more flour).

Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

STEP 4+5: Make 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 dough is being pushed with a spoon through a slotted spoon. Cooked Spätzle on a spider strainer.

STEP 6: Cook Spätzle:

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.

Enjoy!

Top Tips

  • The batter can’t be too thin – the Spätzle should have a bite to them, be nice and firm and not too mushy. It can’t also be too thick or it will be too difficult to push it through a colander.
  • Adjust the batter consistency to your liking and to a piece of equipment you’re using to make it (when using a Spätzle maker it’s easier to push a thicker batter than when using a colander). If you´re having a hard time pushing Spätzle through your equipment of choice, you can easily add slightly more milk to the batter to make it thinner.
  • Season the cooking water well with salt.

What to serve with Spätzle

How to use Spätzle

If you already have a batch of Spätzle, here´s how you can use it:

  • butter/garlic/parsley – melt butter in a pot, add minces garlic, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, add Spätzle and cook for 2-3 minutes, take off the heat and stir in chopped parsley
  • butter/garlic/parmesan/lemon zest/parsley – like above but add parmesan along with garlic, then take off the heat and finish with chopped parsley and lemon zest
  • Käsespätzle (German mac and cheese!) – Spätzle tossed with cheese sauce and caramelized or fried onions
  • onions/bacon/parsley – cook bacon until crispy, sautee onions in the bacon grease, add Spätzle, toss to coat, season with parsley and sprinkle with chopped crispy bacon

Storage

Spätzle reheat very well! You pan-fry them in butter until the edges and golden and crispy. They may be even better reheated!

Spaetzle can also be frozen. Freeze in a flat layer for up to 3-4 months, reheat and warm up in a pan.

Recipe FAQ´s

What is Spätzle made from?

Spätzle is made from flour, eggs, and milk/water.

How is Spätzle different from pasta?

The dough has a different consistency – is much thinner and can´t be rolled out. It also have a different shape.

What do Spätzle taste like?

Spätzle taste similar to egg noodles.

Why is it called Spätzle?

Before the use of mechanical devices, the pasta was shaped by hand/with a spoon/using a wooden board and a knife and the results resembled Spatzen. Spatzen is plural of Spatz, which means sparrows. Spätzle is the diminutive of Spatz, unchanged in plural.

Cooked Spätzle in a beige bowl with blue spoon on the side.

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!!

Spätzle (German Egg Dumplings)

Spätzle are German egg dumplings (you could also call it pasta). These tiny pieces of dough are delicious and perfect to serve with gravy or sauces. Try them with Rouladen or mushroom sauce!
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Spätzle served with Rouladen and braised red cabbage on a plate.
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RATE THE RECIPE

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 296kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined.
  • Continue beating the dough with the wooden spoon or with a mixer fitted with dough hook attachment (speed 2) for about 10-15 minutes. The dough should be well-combined, smooth, and you should see some bubbles forming. It will be very sticky so it’s not possible to knead it by hand (try to not add any more flour).
  • Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • 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, or a slotted spoon with large holes. 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.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • The batter can’t be too thin – the Spätzle should have a bite to them, be nice and firm and not too mushy. It can’t also be too thick or it will be too difficult to push it through a colander.
  • Adjust the batter consistency to your liking and to a piece of equipment you’re using to make it (when using a Spätzle maker it’s easier to push a thicker batter than when using a colander). If you´re having a hard time pushing Spätzle through your equipment of choice, you can easily add slightly more milk to the batter to make it thinner. If your dough/batter is too runny, add a little bit more flour.
  • Spätzle reheat very well! Pan-fry them in butter until the edges and golden and crispy. They may be even better reheated!
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine austrian, German
Diet Vegetarian
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