Spaetzle

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My make-ahead Spaetzle noodles can be formed and boiled up to 3 days ahead. Try my Spaetzle-making trick using a colander if you don’t have (or want to invest in) special equipment to make this classic German side dish recipe.

A platter of spaetzle.

If you’ve never had homemade Spaetzle, you’re in for a real treat. These tiny, eggy noodles are extraordinary plain, with a bit of butter and salt, and they can also be elevated with all sorts of fun toppings. Spaetzle mac and cheese? Yes please!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for spaetzle.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • Spaetzle tools: We tried 3 different tools to see what was easiest for making Spatezle. Our favorite was this lid and scraper set because it was simple to use and easy to clean. We also tried a spaetzle press (it was expensive, heavy, and required a lot of strength) and a spaetzle maker (similar concept to the lid and scraper but more difficult to use). You could also try a colander or potato ricer.
  • All-purpose flour: When a modern recipe calls for sifted flour, it usually means that the recipe requires fluffier, aerated flour, or flour without any lumps. As it is packaged, shipped, and stored, flour settles in the bag. Sifting lightens it up again. Cakes become fluffier, pancakes lighter; you get the idea. To sift flour, over a sheet of parchment paper, foil, or a bowl, add flour (or any dry ingredients) to a fine-mesh strainer and tap the side with one hand. Anything left in the bottom can be pushed through with a spoon.
  • Nutmeg: Freshly-ground nutmeg is warm and nutty, and once heated, lends a lovely clove-like flavor. Find whole nutmeg in most supermarkets or on Amazon.

Step by step instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs until light and frothy. Add flour, a little at a time, into eggs, then add salt and nutmeg. 
Spaetzle dough in a mixer.
  1. Pour milk into the mixture, a little at a time and beat on medium speed until well blended, about 8 to 10 minutes. 
Spaetzle dough in a mixer.
  1. Place the spaetzle maker or metal colander over the hot water and scoop some dough into it. Press the spaetzle maker down to squeeze the noodles out into the simmering water. Repeat in batches as necessary.
Pushing spaetzle dough through a metal lid with holes to make the dumplings.
  1. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the noodles float to the top.  
Spaetzle boiling in water.
  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spaetzle to a colander and then plunge them in a bowl of very cold water. This firms them up to the desired consistency. Toss with olive oil or melted butter to keep from sticking. At this point, spaetzle will keep in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days until ready to serve.
Draining boiled spaetzle in a colander.
  1.  To finish the dish, in a skillet, melt butter on medium high heat until brown. Add cooked spaetzle noodles and toss in skillet until coated.
Sauteing spaetzle in a pan.
  1. Season with salt and serve immediately. 
A platter of spaetzle.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Spaetzle recipe makes six hearty side dish servings of about 1 cup each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Complete steps 1 through 7 up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container until you’re ready to proceed with step 8.
  • Freezer: Cool the boiled spaetzle, then package in freezer-safe containers. Label, date, and store for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the instructions to sauté until golden brown.
  • Make it a meal: Try my homemade Spaetzle recipe with Chicken Schnitzel, Pork Schnitzel, Rouladen, or Swedish Meatballs.
  • Oktoberfest: Plan your own German fall fest with my full Oktoberfest Menu. Start with Pork Schnitzel or Chicken Schnitzel, a cripsy, crumb-coated, pan-fried cutlet. Serve with Braised Red Cabbage, German Potato Salad, and Soft Pretzels and homemade Mustard. Finish the meal with Lebkuchen or a Black Forest Cake, plenty of German beer, and some Lemon Spezis for the kids.
Plates with spaetzle, schnitzel, and red cabbage.
Pork Schnitzel with Braised Red Cabbage and Spaetzle.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between spaetzle and pasta?

They are made with similar ingredients, but pasta requires a resting period for gluten development. Spaetzle is ready to boil immediately after mixing the dough together.

Do you pronounce “spaetzle”?

Most people pronounce it as “shpeh-tzuhl.” However, it should be pronounced as “shpeh-tzluh.”

More German recipes

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A platter of spaetzle.

Spaetzle

My make-ahead Spaetzle noodles can be formed and boiled up to 3 days ahead. Try my Spaetzle-making trick using a colander if you don't have (or want to invest in) special equipment to make this classic German side dish recipe.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 6 servings (1 cup each)
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine German
Calories 393

Equipment

  • Spaetzle maker (see note 1)

Ingredients 

Instructions 

To make the spaetzle dough:

  • Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs until light and frothy. Add flour, a little at a time, into eggs, then add salt and nutmeg. 
  • Pour milk into the mixture, a little at a time and beat on medium speed until well blended, about 8-10 minutes. 

To boil the spaetzle:

  • If using a spaetzle maker: place the tool over the hot water and scoop some dough into it. Press the spaetzle maker down to squeeze the noodles out into the simmering water. Repeat in batches as necessary. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the noodles float to the top.  
  • If using a colander or steamer with large holes (not mesh): place the colander over the hot water and scoop some dough into it. Press the flat side of a sturdy wooden spoon across the colander to push the noodles out into the simmering water. Repeat in batches as necessary. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the noodles float to the top.
  • Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spaetzle to a colander and then plunge them in a bowl of very cold water. This firms them up to the desired consistency.
  • Toss with olive oil or melted butter to keep from sticking. At this point, spaetzle will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days until ready to serve. 

To finish the spaetzle:

  • In a skillet, melt butter on medium high heat until brown. Add cooked spaetzle noodles and toss in skillet until coated. Season with salt and serve immediately. 

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Spaetzle tools: We tried 3 different tools to see what was easiest for making Spatezle. Our favorite was this lid and scraper set because it was simple to use and easy to clean. We also tried a spaetzle press (it was expensive, heavy, and required a lot of strength) and a spaetzle maker (similar concept to the lid and scraper but more difficult to use). You could also try a colander or potato ricer. (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through these links.)
  2. All-purpose flour: When a modern recipe calls for sifted flour, it usually means that the recipe requires fluffier, aerated flour, or flour without any lumps. As it is packaged, shipped, and stored, flour settles in the bag. Sifting lightens it up again. It also creates space for the other components in the recipe to get in between the flour particles and do their work. Cakes become fluffier, pancakes lighter; you get the idea. To sift flour, over a sheet of parchment paper, foil, or a bowl, add flour (or any dry ingredients) to a fine-mesh strainer and tap the side with one hand. Anything left in the bottom can be pushed through with a spoon.
  3. Nutmeg: Freshly-ground nutmeg is warm and nutty, and once heated, lends a lovely clove-like flavor. Find whole nutmeg in most supermarkets or on Amazon.
  4. Yield: This Spaetzle recipe makes six hearty side dish servings of about 1 cup each.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: Complete steps 1 through 7 up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container until you’re ready to proceed with step 8.
  7. Freezer: Cool the boiled spaetzle, then package in freezer-safe containers. Label, date, and store for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the instructions to sauté until golden brown.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 12gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 197mgPotassium: 164mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 360IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 4mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Can you mix the dough with regular beaters? I do not have a pastry hook on my beater. I also have a food processor. Can that be used?

    1. Hi Debbie, we just used the regular paddle attachment, no hook needed! Hope this helps. – Meggan

    2. I should have asked if I can use my mixer with the basic mixing tools. I don’t have a paddle or a hook attachment. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for breaking the process into manageable steps. We were stationed in Germany with the military, and this recipe looks the most authentic in the USA. I’m eager to attempt this, and will order the lid/scraper. Do you have a sauce recipe to go with this? What about cheese? Thank you again!5 stars

    1. Hi Diane, I prefer it with butter, but you can definitely serve it with cheese, or a sauce like gravy or mushrooms. Enjoy! – Meggan