Easily make authentic German spaetzle at home—a versatile dish that’s perfect as a main or side to complement your favorite meats.
I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, right in the heart of Swabia. Therefore, it is not surprising that I also grew up eating German Spätzle (or spaetzle) on a regular basis.
These tiny dumplings or egg noodles are German comfort food at its best! While I always love making my own, I will often order a serving at a German restaurant whenever we visit.
In this blog post, I want to share a very easy and simple version of these German spaetzle that you can make right in your own home!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure.
Why you’ll love this dish
- Simple ingredients: With only 3 everyday ingredients, you can probably make this tonight
- Easy recipe: While some steps may look unfamiliar, German spaetzle are actually simple to make
- Delicious: You can eat these German dumplings as they are, dress them up with lots of good cheese or your favorite sauces, or serve them as a side for your meat dishes
- Authentic: If you have been wanting to make some classic German dish, look no further than this ultimate German comfort food
What are Spätzle?
The German word “Spätzle” means “little sparrows” in German (actually Swabian dialect). It refers to the tiny spaetzle dumplings that come in different sizes. Sometimes they are like little “buttons” (Knöpfle) but sometimes longer strings, more like an Italian type of pasta.
What are the ingredients
You probably have everything you need to make this German pasta:
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour with great results
- Eggs: I mean they are called “German egg noodles” for a reason, right?
- Salt: The spaetzle dough would taste very bland without it and I love using high-quality sea salt
- Water: Well, maybe it’s not really an ingredient but I am still listing it here
- Optional: a little butter and freshly grated nutmeg
Useful tools and equipment
This is where it gets a bit more interesting. My favorite equipment is this:
- Large mixing bowl: I love using a big bowl so that I have room to mix the batter
- Electric handheld mixer: While you can (and previous generations have) mix this by hand, an electric mixer makes this so much easier
- Spaetzle maker: Using a dedicated Spätzle maker is my favorite way but I’ll talk about some other options in the next paragraph
- Large skillet: A 12″ cast-iron skillet is what I love to use but any large skillet will work
Substitutions and variations
There are many ways you can vary this basic recipe:
- Flour: In Germany, you can actually purchase “Spätzle-Mehl” (spaetzle flour) which contains all-purpose flour and semolina flour. However any flour works: whole wheat (you may have to add a bit more water), spelt flour, rye flour, or a combination of them
- Add-ins: You can add steamed and pureed spinach or nettles for example, or even tomatoes, cabbage, onions, quark (German fresh cheese), or ground nuts (such as hazelnuts).
- Stand-mixer: You can absolutely use your stand mixer such as Kitchenaid with the dough hook attachment but I prefer using a handheld mixer.
Here are other ways how to make these German spaetzle noodles:
- Wooden cutting board: This may be the most traditional method and involves spreading the spaetzle dough on a wooden cutting board with the back of a wooden spoon. You then take a knife and gently scrape the batter in long strips right into the boiling water.
- Spaetzle press: You can use a dedicated spaetzle press or a potato ricer.
- Colander: If you have a colander with large holes you can even use that to make your Spätzle.
How to serve
You can serve Spätzle or spaetzle either as a side or as a main dish.
If you’re serving them on their own, the classic way is to add grated cheese right into the hot spaetzle and top them with caramelized onions. Or you can serve them with a mushroom sauce. With a green salad on the side, this is a complete meal.
This versatile little dumpling is the perfect side dish for all your German meats such as Schnitzel, Rouladen, pork chops, Goulasch, or even meatballs.
Make ahead of time?
Yes, you can make spaetzle ahead of time:
- You can pre-make the batter. Since it contains raw eggs, I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for no more than 48 hours before using.
- Or you keep the cooked spaetzle in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Just make sure to cover them tightly.
- If you’d like to keep your German noodles for even longer, I recommend transferring them to an airtight container and freezing them. They will last 3-6 months in your freezer.
Other authentic German recipes you might like
Shop this post:
Even though homemade spaetzle are so much better, you can purchase them online:
How to make these authentic German spaetzle
You will love this easy German spaetzle recipe:
1. Make the Spaetzle batter
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and eggs. Slowly add the water to the flour mixture. With your handheld mixer, mix the dough on high speed until it comes together. It should have the consistency of thick pancake batter. Continue mixing for another 5-10 mins. The batter needs to have little bubbles.
2. Let the batter rest:
Cover the bowl and place the spaetzle dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer.
3. Bring the water to a boil:
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the cooking water to a boil. Add some salt. Turn the heat down.
4. Cook the spaetzle:
Remove the spaetzle dough from the refrigerator. Now turn your burner to low. The water should be very hot but not boiling. Spoon some spaetzle dough into your spaetzle maker and let the batter drop into the simmering water. Cook the noodles al dente – that should only take a few minutes. Continue cooking the spaetzle in batches until all the batter is used up.
5. Finish the spaetzle:
Either use a slotted spoon or drain the egg noodles through a strainer. I like to put the egg noodles into a skillet with some melted butter.
If you are making spaetzle for the first time, I recommend making a small batch. You might then add a little more water or flour to get the best consistency. This will also depend on the type of spaetzle maker you are using.
That is a matter of preference. I like to use a slotted spoon to drain the water from them and transfer them right to a large skillet with lots of melted butter.
This helps the dough hydrate and the spaetzle cook better.
Yes, you can use gluten-free flour to make spaetzle.
You can even make spaetzle without eggs and with gluten-free flour. Just be sure to let the dough rest long enough for the flour to come together (at least 20 minutes).
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Pin For Later:
German Egg Noodles | Spätzle
- 2 ½ cups AP flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 cup water
- freshly grate nutmeg (optional)
- 3 TBSP butter, melted (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and eggs. Slowly add the water to the flour mixture. With a handheld mixer, mix the dough on high speed until it comes together. It should have the consistency of thick pancake batter. Continue mixing for another 5-10 mins. The batter needs to have little bubbles.
- Cover the bowl and place the spaetzle dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer.
- In a large pot, bring the cooking water to a boil. Add some salt. Turn the heat down.
- Remove the spaetzle dough from the refrigerator. Turn your burner to low. The water should be very hot but not boiling. Spoon some spaetzle dough into your spaetzle maker and let the batter drop into the simmering water. Cook the noodles al dente – that should only take a few minutes. Continue cooking the spaetzle in batches until all the batter is used up.
- Either use a slotted spoon or drain the egg noodles through a strainer. I like to put the egg noodles into a skillet with some melted butter.
- you can either use a spaetzle maker, a spaetzle press, or a spaetzle plane
- serve this as a side dish for all your favorite meats or with a cup of grated cheese and topped with golden brown, fried onions and a green salad as a main dish