How to Make Spaetzle

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

Learn how to make Spaetzle, the ultimate German comfort food side dish. These easy homemade flour and egg noodles are delicious with stews, in soups, and alongside roasted meats with gravy.

Disclosure: This post is part of a partnership with Life’s Simple Ingredient. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Spaetzle are delicious fresh out of the pan, and they freeze nicely too. Make them ahead of time to serve with quick weeknight Instant Pot Chicken Paprikash or to add to soups and stews.

My family also loves eating them with other German comfort foods such as Beef Rouladen (Rinderrouladen) and Braised Red Cabbage. It’s so good and the amazing aromas bring everyone to the table extra hungry.

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

Homemade Spaetzle

Is there anything more comforting than homemade noodles? The simple pleasure of combining flour with egg and salt is pure magic. No matter where you live, noodles are beloved.

As a kid, I remember being in awe when my grandpa made homemade spaetzle noodles off a wooden board. He took great care to get the batter just right. If the batter was too runny, it wouldn’t cut and roll off the board…too thick and the noodles would be stodgy and dense.

Though I’ve never learned to cut my noodles off a board, I still am very careful to get the batter consistency just so. Once you master this one step, you will be well on your way to learning how to make spaetzle.

Spilled flour with the word 'spaetzle' written into it. Eggs, salt, and water nearby.

A great spaetzle noodle should be slightly chewy, but not too dense or firm. The mild, slightly salty flavour is meant to support a flavourful main dish rather than steal the show. However, there’s just something about spaetzle that takes an ordinary soup or stew to the extraordinary.

What is Spaeztle?

Spaetzle (shpetz-le) is the most popular homemade pasta in southern Germany. It is a simple noodle that consists of flour, salt, eggs and milk (or water). Early versions were made with a high protein coarse ground flour such as spelt, reducing the need for (expensive) eggs.

These simple egg noodles were originally hand formed, resulting in a shaped dumpling that resembled sparrows or ‘spatzen’. As ‘spaetzle’ is the diminutive form of ‘spatzen’, the name literally means ‘little sparrows’ in German.

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

German spaetzle is mostly served as part of a savoury meal; with stews, mixed with sauerkraut or cheese, or with lentils and sausages. Kaesespaetzle, a version of grated Emmental cheese, golden fried onions and egg noodles is a favourite comfort food not to be missed!

Sweet variations exist, too. These sweet versions are served in either late summer (with cherries) or the fall (with apples). In both dishes, the spaetzle is dressed with clarified, browned butter, sugar, and cinnamon then served with the seasonal fruit for dinner.

This beloved egg noodle also exists in Austria, Switzerland (Spätzli), Hungary (Nokedli), Slovenia (Vaseršpacli), and the Alsace region of France. The batter can sometimes include mixed pork liver, spinach, or finely grated cheese.

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

What is Spaetzle Made Of?

Originally spaetzle was made of two simple (and economical) ingredients; coarse protein rich flour and water. However, these days it’s more common to make them with all purpose flour, eggs, salt, and either water or milk.

These high protein noodles feature simple ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. For a great flavour twist, you can also add a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs such as dill, parsley, or chives.

How to Make Spaetzle

In a mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined. The batter should be of medium viscosity, not too thick nor too thin. It should have a fair amount of elasticity and a few bubbles.

Allow the flour mixture to sit for 20 minutes before boiling. To cook the spaetzle, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Position the spaetzle maker over the pot of boiling water and allow it to get steamy for a minute or two. This will reduce sticking and allow for easier clean up.

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

Reduce heat to a simmer. Next, working in batches, pour one third of the batter into the hopper. Immediately begin to slide the hopper back and forth over the boiling water.

Allow the spaetzle to boil a minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. It is done cooking as soon as it starts to float in the boiling water. Place spaetzle in a warm buttered dish and toss with butter. Repeat with remaining batter until it is all gone.

Serve immediately or, if you like prefer spaetzle with crispy golden edges (I know you do!), sauté it in butter for a few minutes before serving.

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

Other Methods

I use a spaetzle maker, however if you don’t have one you can still learn how to make spaetzle! Some cooks use a potato ricer, which is kind of like a press most commonly used when making mashed potatoes.

Just dip the potato ricer into the hot water (this prevents the dough from sticking), fill it halfway with batter and press slightly over a large pot of simmering water. Use a knife or scraper to cut the noodles off. Proceed with the recipe as outlined above.

You can also use a simple colander, cheese grater, or any large holed kitchen tool. I don’t recommend using a box grater as the result can be a huge frustrating mess. Anything with larger holes and something to push the batter through will work.

To make noodles with the traditional board and knife (or scraper) wet the board then pour a small amount of batter on one end. Hold the board and flatten the batter out with a wet knife.

Next, slice small amounts of batter and push it off the board into the boiling water. Wet the knife in between as needed so the batter doesn’t stick.

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A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley in front of a roasted pork knuckle.

How to Serve Spaetzle

Spaetzle is quick to make and is a great replacement for most carb-based side dishes, particularly mashed potatoes. It is delicious on its own or under thick meaty stews (like goulash) or in hearty soups.

For a real comfort food treat, make a pan of Kaesespaetzle or German Mac n Cheese. Fry the spaetzle in melted butter until golden, then mix it with cream, Emmental cheese, and fresh herbs. Broil it for a few minutes then top with caramelized onions or crispy fried onions.

When I make spaetzle, I always double or even triple this recipe because it is so good. It can be kept in the fridge and reheated for up to three days and it freezes really well. The best way to reheat it to sauté it in a pan of melted butter.

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Pinterest image feature homemade spaetzle noodles.

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Yield: 4 servings

How to Make Spaetzle

A low white bowl filled with homemade spaetzle noodles garnished with parsley.

Learn how to make Spaetzle, the ultimate German comfort food side dish. These easy egg and flour noodles are delicious with stews, in soups, and alongside roasted meats with gravy.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Whisk ingredients together in a large bowl until they are thoroughly combined. The batter should be medium viscosity, not too thick nor too thin. It should have a fair amount of elasticity.
  2. Allow the batter to sit for 20 minutes before boiling.
  3. Set a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
  4. Position the spaetzle maker* over the pot of boiling water. Allow it to get steamy (this will reduce sticking) for a minute or two. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Working in batches, pour a portion of batter (about 1/3) in the hopper.
  6. Immediately begin to slide the hopper back and forth over the boiling water.
  7. Allow the spatzle to boil a minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. It is done as soon as it starts to float in the boiling water.
  8. Place spaetzle in a warm buttered dish and top with more butter.
  9. Repeat with remaining batter until it is all gone.
  10. If you like it with crispy golden edges, sauté in butter until golden.

Notes

*alternatively you can use a potato ricer, colander or clean cutting board to make the spaetzle.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 325Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 234mgSodium: 626mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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36 comments

  1. Nicole

    Now I’m craving spaetzle big time! We love eating it with rouladen the best. It is love it just with some butter, too!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Have you ever made it with herbs in the batter? I’m giving that a try with my next batch…before they all freeze!

      Reply

  2. Cookhomey

    Hey there. I love Spätzle! That’s probably because I live in South Germany, where it’s basically “national” food. I think they deserve more recognition. Maybe a bit like some Italian kinds of pasta 🙂 I like your recipe a lot. I don’t add milk though, but I will definitely try it!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Cool! Yes, I know milk is sometimes a contentious ingredient. Some add it, some don’t.

      Reply

  3. Gloria

    I love noodles. Perfect side dish for lots of meals. I know my family will devour these in no time.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I think they will too. No one can resist homemade noodles.

      Reply

  4. Chef Dennis

    Yum! I am so excited to make this. I haven’t tried Spaetzle before and this dish looks absolutely mouthwatering.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh excellent! Give it a try…you’ll be hooked in no time.

      Reply

  5. Sabrina

    So delicious! I didn’t realize how easy they were to make. Will definitely make again, thanks!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      They really are so easy to make…and they freeze too. Very hand to have on hand.

      Reply

  6. Amanda Dixon

    I love spaetzle, and this came out perfectly! These little dumplings were perfectly soft and tender and super fun to make. Highly recommend!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear. Such a wonderful treat.

      Reply

  7. Marta

    Your dished helped us remember our time in Germany. So many fond memories!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s so nice to hear. Germany is a bucket list destination for us….someday!

      Reply

  8. Kayla DiMaggio

    Yum! I have only ever had spaetzle in restaurants because I thought it so daunting. However this was so easy and turned out great!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh, I’m sure restaurant spaetzle is amazing! But yes, it’s super easy to make, though maybe a bit messy. So worth it!

      Reply

  9. nancy

    i never knew how easy Spaetzle were to make! These tiny noodles looks delish!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yup. Pretty darn easy. I hope you give them a try Nancy.

      Reply

  10. Lauren Michael Harris

    I made spaetzle once in an online cooking demo and it was so fun and delicious! Glad I came across this recipe – I really need to make this again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That would have been so much fun! What did you serve it with lauren?

      Reply

  11. Sadia Malik

    So easy to make and a good side dish

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes, spaetzle is quite versatile. It goes with pretty much any main dish.

      Reply

  12. Linda

    I love homemade pasta and now I want this one – looks so good and comforting!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      This dish is all about the comfort. Thanks for stopping by Linda.

      Reply

  13. Elaine

    I’ve got to admit – I’ve never tried it. Which makes it really exciting to take this recipe to the kitchen and give it a try! 😉

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m excited for you Elaine, let me know how it works out!

      Reply

  14. Liz

    Love homemade noodles! Will be trying this soon!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I bet they would be amazing in leftover turkey soup…just saying!

      Reply

  15. Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer

    I haven’t had spaetzle since living in Pittsburgh and we’d visit a German restaurant. This was so easy and delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’d love to visit there…I hear there’s a huge German population and lots of tasty food!

      Reply

  16. Veronika

    Wow! This recipe looks so interesting! Just saved it to try next week! Love trying new recipes.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent! I would love to hear how it goes.

      Reply

  17. Chandice

    Wow this is such a great dish for my German dad! Super authentic, versatile and some thing everyone can enjoy together. Thank you so much!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope he loves it and it brings back some great memories for him.

      Reply

  18. Terri

    I remember having this at a friend’s house as a kid. Can’t wait to make it myself – thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Ah I have food memories like that too. Our neighbour was Norwegian so I still remember having fresh off the griddle lefse.

      Reply

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