Spaetzle are a traditional German pasta based on flour, eggs and milk and seasoned with nutmeg. Our authentic homemade Spaetzle are easy to make and the perfect accompaniment to other German meat and side dishes!

A serving bowl filled with homemade Spaetzle.

My dad lived in Germany as a young adult and brought a love of German culture and German food back with him to the states (and later to his family). Some of our good German friends taught my eager to learn mother how to make the German classics, and she passed that knowledge on to me.

Spaetzle means “little sparrows.” Isn’t that adorable? They are originally from Swabia in southern Germany but are now THE most recognizable German starch to serve with an authentic German meal! The kids love helping me make them because they are fun in a messy, play-doughy kind of way. Spaetzle taste similar to egg noodles, with the chewiness of a dumpling. We love to serve them with Rouladen and Red Cabbage.

The ingredients for making spaetzle are very basic and chances are you already have them at home; flour, salt, nutmeg, eggs, and milk.

How to make German Spaetzle:

  • Mix dry ingredients: flour, salt and nutmeg.
  • Mix wet ingredients: whisk the eggs until they are well beaten, add milk to eggs and blend together. 
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients: Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into it. Mix until a soft dough/paste forms.
  • Allow dough to rest for 10 min covered with a hand towel.
Three process photos for making Spaetzle dough in a bowl.
  • Boil water: 2-3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil.  
  • Form and boil the Spaetzle: Scoop about half the batter into a Spaetzle maker, or use a spatula to push the batter through the large holes of a grater or colander straight into the boiling water. They will look like little dumplings.
Spaetzle dough being pushed through the holes in a grater, into a pot of boiling water.
  • Scoop out once they float to the top (2-3 minutes) using a slotted spoon. Drain in a colander and put in a bowl. Repeat with other half of dough.
Spaetzle noodles cooking in a pot of boiling water.
  • Toss with butter and serve warm, OR for a final authentic step, sauté in a hot large fry pan with melted butter, flipping once, until crisp on both sides. Sprinkle with chopped parsley as a garnish.

Fun and delicious variations:

Bacon and onions: Spaetzle are great fried up with finely diced bacon and onions. Give the bacon and onions a couple minutes head start before tossing in the Spaetzle.

Kaesespaetzle (German Mac & Cheese): Layer the still warm Spaetzle in a baking dish with shredded Swiss cheese between each layer, and then bacon and sauteed onions sprinkled on the top layer. Preheat oven and bake at 375 degree for about 12 minutes.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: Cooked Spaetzle reheat very well and will keep for several days, stored in a container in the refrigerator.

To Freeze: Spaetzle freeze well for 3 or 4 months. Drain thoroughly, divide into portions you intend to consume and put in freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rewarming. 

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Recipe

A serving bowl filled with homemade Spaetzle.
Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 30 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions
 

  • In a medium to large bowl mix together flour, salt and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the room temperature eggs, one at a time until they are well beaten together. Add the milk to the eggs and blend together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour egg mixture into it.
    Egg and milk mixture poured over flour and salt in a mixing bowl, to make spaetzle batter.
  • Mix until a soft dough forms. The dough should be just thicker than batter; spoon-able but not runny/pourable. Cover bowl with a hand towel and allow dough to rest for about 10 min.
  • Bring 2-3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Scoop about half of the batter into a Spatezle tool, or use the large holes of a grater, colander or steamer basket and use a spatula to push the batter through the holes, into the boiling water.
    Spaetzle dough being pushed through the holes in a grater, into a pot of boiling water.
  • Give the dumplings a gentle stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they float to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to transfer dumplings into a colander to drain and then transfer them to a bowl. Repeat process with remainder of dough. This recipe will cook in two batches.
    Spaetzle noodles cooking in a pot of boiling water.
  • Toss with butter and serve warm, OR for a final authentic step, sauté the cooked little dumplings on the stove top in a hot large fry pan with melted butter, flipping just once, until crisp on both sides.
  • Cooked Spaetzle reheat very well and will keep for several days, stored in a container in the refrigerator.

Notes

Variations:
  • Bacon and onion: Spaetzle are great fried up with finely diced bacon and onions. Give the bacon and onions a couple minutes head start before tossing in the Spaetzle.
  • Kaesespaetzle (German Mac & Cheese): Layer the still warm Spaetzle in a baking dish with shredded Swiss cheese between each layer, and then bacon and sautéed onions sprinkled on the top layer. Preheat oven and bake at 375 degree for about 12 minutes.
Make Ahead Instructions: Cooked Spaetzle reheat very well and will keep for several days, stored in a container in the refrigerator. Rewarm briefly in boiling water, or in the microwave with a small splash of water and butter.
Freezing Instructions: Spaetzle freeze well for 3 or 4 months. Drain thoroughly, divide into portions you intend to consume and put in freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rewarming. 

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 10gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 246mgPotassium: 214mgFiber: 4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 182IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the same recipe I’ve used for over 30 years and it works great. If you are short on eggs, substitute 3tbs of liquid for each egg short. Also, check out a dollar store for a small oven steaming sheet and metal bench scraper if you want something a bit easier to clean than a colander or grater. A side benefit is that the tray will likely be big enough to sit across the top of your pot of boiling water without you having to hold it.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband has German heritage and especially loves German Spaetzle. Since COVID, we haven’t been able to go to some of our favorite spots so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Accordingly to my husband, this was the best he’s had (with the exception of what his grandmother used to make, which is a huge compliment)! He has already requested I make I make it again. 🙂