How to Make Spaetzle – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make SpaetzleSpaetzle (spelled Spätzle in German) is a traditional side dish eaten throughout Germany. I didn’t know what it was until my first trip there and instantly loved it. Peasant food that dates back hundreds of years, spaetzle is an egg noodle, similar to dumplings, made of basic ingredients: flour, salt and eggs. There are many different ways to enjoy spaetzle. You can eat it freshly cooked with a thick saucy stew or lentils. I also like to saute my spaetzle with sliced onions and fresh herbs (see the main image).

The egg noodles are made by preparing a thick dough and dropping small noodle shapes into boiling water. It’s easiest if you have a hopper or spaetzle maker, but if you don’t (I own this sliding hopper), a large-holed sieve or potato ricer would work as well. Or you can handcut the dough (see this post on Serious Eats for more info). For the dough, I used about 50% whole wheat flour for some extra fiber, but feel free to adjust your ratio as desired.

Slowly stir the eggs and milk into the dry ingredients. Mix well until the dough becomes thick and sticky.

Place some of the dough into the hopper (spaetzle maker) above a large pot of simmering water.

Move the hopper back and forth to press the dough out.

Pieces of dough will fall into the simmering water.

Cook the noodles for about 2-3 minutes. They will rise to the top.

When the spaetzle noodles are finished cooking, lift with a slotted spoon and drain.

Serve the finished spaetzle freshly boiled with sauce or sauteed with onions and fresh herbs.

How to Make Spaetzle

  • 1 heaping cup of flour (I used half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk

Mix together flour, nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Add beaten eggs and milk to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer once you’re ready to cook the dough.

Press about a 1/2 cup of dough through a spaetzle maker or a large holed sieve above the simmering pot of water. Do this step in batches and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spaetzle rise to top and look cooked. Lift with a slotted spoon and drain well.

Serve with a stew or creamy mushroom sauce. Or prepare how I did: Saute sliced onions in butter or olive oil. Then add spaetzle and cook until golden brown. If desired, sprinkle Emmentaler cheese on top to make a Käsespätzle, or cheese spätzle.

Total Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
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13 Responses to “How to Make Spaetzle – A Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Lannie February 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    didn’t know it was so easy! this looks so delicious, the kick of nutmeg is a great idea.

    • Barb February 20, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Yes, it’s easier than you’d think. It can be a little labor intensive if you don’t have the spaetzle maker (hopper), but other than that it’s easy.

  2. Mindy February 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I’ve made spaetzle by cutting and using a sieve, but I think I’m going to have to invest in a hopper! And I’m totally trying the onions and herbs version! Thanks!

    • Barb February 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      I’d definitely recommend getting a cheap hopper. And trying different things with spaetzle is great, such a versatile dish. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Diana February 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    The spaetzle looks delicious! And you’re right; it does look easy. When I was in China I actually had a similar-looking pasta dish that they called “cat’s ears”, except it was made by a cook pinching off bits of dough by hand and throwing it into a big pot of boiling water. And all the noodle bits still came out uniform in size and shape!

    • Barb February 21, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks, Diana! Ooh, I’d like to try the Chinese version sometime. Maybe a new recipe on your blog? 😉

  4. Spencer February 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    This looks so tasty and quite easy to make. I’ll have to try it sometime!

    • Barb February 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks Spencer! Yeah agreed, it’s surprisingly easy to make.

  5. Jaed March 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    I learned how to make this long ago from my oma she is and was way better than me at making the delicious noodle

    • Barb March 15, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      I can imagine, my husband’s Oma’s spaetzle were always the best too. Thanks for stopping by Jaed!

  6. Judippy March 15, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Looks good cant wait to make it

  7. Ana Mondal April 4, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    Can the milk be replaced with almond or soy milk? Would there be a gluten free substitute for the flour as well? I have severely lactose and gluten intolerant friends. Thank you so much.

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