German Spaetzle

German Spaetzle

Quick, Easy, and Comforting

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 15 mins

Rest Time: 15 mins

Total: 35 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

With a firm, chewy texture that falls somewhere between pasta and dumpling, spaetzle is one of the most versatile side dishes in the world.

Spaetzle—also spelled spätzle—originates from Swabia, a region of southwest Germany, and served with hearty dishes like schnitzel and goulash. You’ll find spaetzle and spaetzle-type dumplings in the cuisines of southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Alsace, Moselle, and South Tyrol.

How to Make Spaetzle

Making homemade spaetzle is surprisingly faster and easier than making store-bought dried spaetzle. All you have to do is mix a simple batter of flour, eggs, milk, and salt and use the spaetzle utensil of your choice to drop the batter into boiling water. Another great thing about spaetzle is that it cooks in about 2 minutes. Once you see how fast and easy spaetzle is to prepare and cook, you'll make it all the time.

What’s the Difference Between Gnocchi and Spaetzle

Gnocchi are soft Italian-style dumplings made with a dough that traditionally contains potato and flour and may or may not include eggs. Spaetzle are German-style dumplings made with a batter that contains eggs, flour, and milk or water.

Finding a Spaetzle Maker: Get Creative!

There are several kinds of spaetzle makers and presses on the market, but if you'd prefer to avoid more kitchen equipment, there are plenty of everyday utensils you can use to put out these perfect little dumplings. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Colander: Use the round or square holes in your colander (not mesh) to make your dumplings. Hold the colander over the boiling water and press the batter through with a large spoon.
  • Box grater: Hold the box grater horizontally over the boiling water, spoon some batter into the inside of the grater over the large holes, and press it through the holes with a spoon. Alternatively, use a paddle grater with large holes.
  • Silicone splatter screen: Hold the splatter screen over the boiling water and press batter through the small holes. The small holes make little orzo-sized dumplings.
  • Slotted spoon or skimmer: Use a spoon to press the batter through the holes—this works well but can only accommodate a small amount of batter at a time, so you might have to make several small batches.
  • Potato ricer: Fill the potato ricer about two-thirds full and squeeze to press the batter into the boiling water.

Or you might want to try the more rustic manual method: Spread the thick batter on a small cutting board and use a scraper to scrape thin lines of the spaetzle batter into the boiling water.

Spaetzle Tips

  • The thickness of the batter is the key to perfect, tender spaetzle. It should be like a thick pancake batter, but thin enough to pass through the holes of your utensil with a bit of help from a scraper or spoon.
  • Be sure to let the batter rest. Bubbly holes will form and it'll ooze from the spoon, which is a sign that it's ready.

What to Serve With Spaetzle

Serve spaetzle with classic German dishes or be a little non-traditional. You can simply top with caramelized onions or a creamy mushroom sauce or mushroom gravy. Or make it a heartier meal with these recipes:

  • German-style Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
  • Veal wiener schnitzel or Jaegerschnitzel with Mushroom Sauce
  • Hungarian Chicken Paprikash and Hungarian Goulash
  • Zurich Ragout
  • Sausage and Sauerkraut
  • Sautéed mushrooms with garlic sauce.
  • Swedish meatballs, German meatballs, or Polish meatballs

“This batter yields rich, eggy spaetzle that goes with anything. We enjoyed some freshly boiled and some sautéed in butter, and even the simple, boiled version was delicious. I used a spaetzle maker to drop the dough into boiling water, and the batter was the perfect consistency.”—Danielle Centoni

German Spaetzle

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Spaetzle:

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, or to taste

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup milk

  • 2 teaspoons butter, or more for serving

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, or other fresh herbs

For Sautéed Spaetzle (optional):

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

Make the Spaetzle

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    German Spaetzle

  2. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil.

    German Spaetzle

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spaetzle batter. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt; stir to blend.

    German Spaetzle

  4. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of milk with the eggs.

    German Spaetzle

  5. Add the milk and eggs to the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon or whisk until the batter is smooth and elastic. It will have a consistency similar to pancake batter. When you lift the spoon, it shouldn't flow; it should drip from it slowly. If too thick, add some milk, and if too thin, add more flour. Let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

    German Spaetzle

  6. Place your spaetzle maker or another slotted utensil over the simmering water; add some of the spaetzle batter, and press it through the holes and into the gently boiling water. The spaetzle cook quickly, so it's best to cook them in two or more batches depending on the method you use.

    German Spaetzle

  7. The spaetzle will take from 1 to 3 minutes to cook, depending on their size. The dumplings will float to the top when done.

    German Spaetzle

  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove the spaetzle to a bowl and toss with a teaspoon or two of butter. Repeat with the remaining batter.

    German Spaetzle

  9. At this point, you may sauté the cooked spaetzle (see below) or refrigerate until it's time to sauté and serve.

    If you're skipping the sauté step and are serving them immediately, taste and add more salt and butter, as needed, along with the freshly ground black pepper and herbs. Toss and serve hot.

    German Spaetzle

Sauté the Spaetzle

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until lightly browned.

    German Spaetzle

  2. Add the spaetzle to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté the spaetzle, stirring frequently, for about 3 to 7 minutes, or browned as desired. Taste the sauteéd spaetzle and add salt, as needed, along with freshly ground black pepper and fresh herbs. Toss and serve hot.

    German Spaetzle

How to Store Spaetzle

  • Refrigerate spaetzle in a covered container for up to 4 days. To reheat leftover spaetzle, melt a tablespoon or more of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cold spaetzle and cook, stirring, until hot. Add a little water if the spaetzle sticks together.
  • To freeze fresh spaetzle, let it drain thoroughly and transfer it to zip-close freezer bags. Remove as much air from the bags as possible. Label bags with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 424mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 137mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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