One of my favourite traditional German dishes, spaetzle are probably the easiest “noodle” recipe you can make at home. This German spaetzle recipe takes only twenty minutes to prepare and uses everyday ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.
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What Are Spaetzle?
Spaetzle noodles, are sometimes also called Knöpfle, or Chnöpfle, depending on which region of Germany or Switzerland you are in.
They are a soft egg noodle, (almost like a mini dumpling) that are traditionally found in the south-western region of Swabia (the Bavaria and Baden Wurtemburg region), in Germany and are considered a specialty there.
An Authentic German Spaetzle Recipe
There are generally three different ways to cook spaetzle noodles at home, each variation stemming from a different region where they were first made. I am going to focus on only one way to do them here, as it is the easiest to do at home even if you have never made noodles (of any kind) in your life.
One of the reasons that I love spaetzle, is that the noodles themselves are so versatile. They can be served on their own, simply pan fried in butter with a bit of fresh garlic, or turned into a mini casserole and baked in the oven with various ingredients.
A personal favourite of mine is the traditional Swiss spätzle pfanne. Caramelized onions mixed with the pan fried spaetzle noodles, topped with cheese and then baked. What’s not to like!?
How long do spaetzle keep?
Spaetzle store very well in the fridge in an airtight container for future use, and are ideal for meal prep when cooked in batches.
Spaetzle noodles will easily keep for 4-5 days if cooled properly after cooking and kept refrigerated.
Homemade Spaetzle Recipe
To make this German spaetzle recipe you will need:
- 250 grams of all purpose flour
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon of salt ( I used fresh ground sea salt)
- 60 ml of water
That’s it! Pretty simple eh!?
Measure out your ingredients while bringing a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop. This way you can multi-task and the water will be boiling by the time you finish mixing the dough.
As all chefs are taught to do, you should also salt the water, (though not to heavily!), since the spaetzle are fairly delicate and we don’t want them to turn out salty.
Mix all your ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and mix them very vigorously with a wooden spoon or spurdle.
If you find that the dough is too dry you can add another little splash of water. I’ve added roughly another 30ml of water to my dough.
Whether you will need to add more water or not can depend on the size of the eggs you used, and the measuring cup you used to measure the water,(not all measuring cups are created equal).
The dough is ready to use when it is smooth, and drops of the wooden spoon in large clumps. It is ok if the mix is a little thicker, this will simply result in a denser and less fluffy noodle. This is something you can adjust in future, depending on your preference.
How To Cook Traditional German Spaetzle
As I mentioned above there are three different methods to cook spaetzle. For two of them, you do not need a “spaetzle maker“(affiliate link)!
- One is putting the dough in a handheld pasta extruder, which will result in longer spaghetti-like noodles.
- You could also place some of the mix on a cutting board and with the help of a small wet-ed palate knife or spatula, push/cut small sections of the dough into the boiling water.
- And finally you can do it with a colander, (or perforated pan) that has large holes in it, and press the dough through the holes. Traditionally you would use a spätzlehobel(affiliate link) also known as a spaetzle-maker, but lacking that you can improvise as I have with the perforated pan.
This last method is by far the easiest!
Once the water is boiling, the spaetzle are pushed through the colander (or a spätzlehobel) right into the boiling water. It’s easiest to use a plastic bench scraper for this but a rubber spatula will work as well.
You will know the spaetzle are done when they float to the surface. At this point you want to take them out of the water either with a slotted spoon or a sieve so that they do not overcook. For this reason, it’s best to boil the noodles in smaller batches.
Once the noodles are cooked, you can serve them right away with whatever toppings you choose, or cool them down and save them for later. If you plan on pan-frying them, cooling the spaetzle first works well, because they absorb any excess water clinging to them and will not stick to the pan once you fry them.
If you liked this classic German dish, make sure to try this Caramelized Onion Tart recipe or my Hearty German Goulash! Let me know in the comments below how your spaetzle turned out and if you incorporated them into any other dishes!
Traditional German Spaetzle Recipe
- 250 grams of all purpose flour
- 3 whole whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon of salt I used fresh ground sea salt
- 60 ml of water
- Begin by measuring out all your ingredients, and putting a pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
- Sift the flour, and mix in the salt. Crack the eggs into the flour and then add all 60ml of water. Mix really well with a wooden spoon until the dough reaches a smooth, yet slightly runny consistency. If the dough is to dry add slightly more water until the dough reaches the desired consistency.
- Using a colander, perforated pan or spatzlehobel, push the dough into the boiling water, creating mini spaetzle noodles. The noodles are done when they float to the surface.