German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklöße)

Craving German Potato Dumplings? We’ve Got A Great Recipe!

It’s only fitting that we have a recipe for German potato dumplings on a site about European recipes created by a German! This classic German dish can be tricky to master but when done right, potato dumplings are so tasty. They are usually served up with a meat-based dish and the gravy that goes with it.

If you are new to potato dumplings (you might also know them as German potato balls), it’s important to know that there are actually lots of different potato dumpling recipes in Germany. In some parts of Germany, Kartoffelklöße or Knödel – as potato dumplings are called in some regions – are not known at all!

german potato dumplings on plate with gravy and garnish
These German potato dumplings were delicious!

Lisa grew up in the northern part of Bavaria, so she is mainly used to Thuringian potato dumplings (which use lots of raw potatoes) and a style of Franconian potato dumplings (using more cooked potatoes than the Thuringian version).

For many years, potato dumplings were a staple of Sunday lunch with the (extended) family. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make a type of Franconian potato dumplings specific to the region of Coburg where Lisa is from.

Looking for more German potato recipes? Have a look at these:
Classic German Potato Pancakes
Easy (and Vegan) German Potato Salad
Fried Potato Recipe
Delicious German Potato Soup

While some German potato dumpling recipes include eggs, our recipe does not and is kept very simple. However, unfortunately, it is still easy to get something wrong – so it is very important to be patient when making this recipe and not be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time. Try again! And to give you the best chance for it turning out well, we’ll walk you through everything step-by-step (including photos!).

german potato dumplings with brown gravy on grey plate
Potato dumplings serve well with gravy and garnish!

Over the years, Lisa learned from her grandparents how to make these delicious potato dumplings. Eric became a fan of dumplings the first time he ever had them – they were served up with another classic meat dish called Roulade!

Step-By-Step Instructions for Making German Potato Dumplings

Since the process of making potato dumplings can be tricky to explain, here are the step-by-step instructions with photos so you can follow along and see if what you are doing is right! We are keen to add in a recipe video in the future!

fried bread croutons in a frying pan
The croutons are optional – but yummy!

Fry up some croutons (yes, like fried bread) to place in the middle of the dumplings. This is just old bread fried in oil and is completely optional but it’s a tasty addition! We’re a fan of the crouton addition, though.

washed and peeled potatoes in water in metallic sink
Potatoes getting a little peel and bath.
cut up peeled potatoes on a plate
Washed, peeled, cut, and cookedxxx????- check!

Wash and peel those potatoes – remember to save one half for shredding while cutting the other part into halves or quarters (depending on the size) before boiling them in hot saltwater for around 20 minutes until cooked.

mashed potatoes in shallow bowl
Mash the cooked potatoes and set them aside!

Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them with a potato masher or – if you have one – put them through a potato press to remove any potato lumps.

potato being grated on metal grater with hand
Use the small grating side of the grater!

Back to the raw potato: Grate the raw potatoes on the small side of the box grater into a bowl.

raw potatoes in cloth sack being squeezed over metal bowl
Squeeze out all that liquid!

Place all the raw grated potato into the “potato sack” – alternatively a cloth bag or kitchen towel – and squeeze out all the liquid. Alternatively, you could also use a juicer to do this. Just remember that you will need the juiced potato going forward! Set the still covered potato ball aside until you need it again.

metal bowl with potato water pouring out

Make sure you capture the squeezed out potato water and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then gently tip the bowl to drain the liquid. You will see the white starch settled in the bottom. You want that starch for later!

shredded potato in mixing bowl
The raw potato shredded and very dry!

Now, you are ready to combine all the ingredients. Dump the raw potato ball into a large mixing bowl and break it up a bit. It should be pretty dry at this point.

Add the cooked potato, the salt, a pinch of nutmeg (optional), and the potato starch (from the bowl of squeezed raw potato liquid). Begin mixing this together and add the required hot water as you go.

mixed raw and cooked potato in mixing bowl for dumplings
Potato dumpling mixture – raw and cooked potato – ready to form!

Mix all these ingredients vigorously for at least 5 minutes until they are completely combined in the bowl and looking like one smooth “batter”.

raw german potato dumpling formed into ball in hand
This is a perfect German potato dumpling ready to cook!

Form the potato dumplings into little balls with your hands. They should be just slightly smaller than your palm. Use a little cold water on your hands to keep them from sticking to your palms.

If you want to add croutons, take a 3-4 and use two fingers to push them into the middle of the potato ball. Then close the hole and reshape it. It’s important to make sure that there are no cracks/holes so water doesn’t enter the dumpling in the next step!

floating german potato dumplings in pot on stove
Potato dumpling in their warm stove bath!

Gently place the formed dumplings into the hot water – which is salty and just shy of boiling. It’s important that the water is not boiling! The dumplings should not break apart in the water (if this is the case, add some cornstarch to the “batter”).

They will sink to the bottom first but will rise after about 5 minutes. Leave them in the water for another 15 minutes before removing them. Serve them immediately. Voila – you are done making this style of German potato dumplings!

Potato Dumpling Need-To-Knows

If you’re not familiar with potato dumplings, you might have some questions. We’ll try to answer some common ones in this section, but feel free to leave a comment below if your question is not answered!

What do you eat with German Potato Dumplings?

Potato dumplings are eaten with all kinds of meats and meat dishes, for example Roulade, Sauerbraten, or even grilled chicken. You pretty much always eat them with some form of gravy, too. Sometimes, they are also served with a side of red cabbage.

Can I reheat Potato Dumplings?

Yes, you can – but they don’t taste that great at least in our opinion. A great way of eating leftover potato dumplings is to cut them into slices and then fry them in oil the next day. This is called Kartoffelpuffer – and it is very similar to our German potato pancake recipe. This used to be one of Lisa’s absolute favorite meals when she was a kid. Tastes great with apple sauce!

german potato dumplings with brown gravy on grey plate

German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklöße)

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

While there are many different kinds of German potato dumplings, these authentic Franconian-style potato dumplings are perfectly starchy and soft. They serve well with meat dishes like roulade - and don't forget the gravy!

Ingredients

The Dumplings

  • 2 lbs potatoes, starchy
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water (approx.)
  • a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

The Croutons (Optional)

  • old bun/slice of bread (hard)
  • 3 tbsp butter for frying

Instructions

  1. Optional: Cut the old bun/slices of bread into approx. 1/2 inch cubes. Then heat the butter in a pan, add the bread pieces, and fry them on medium heat until golden brown. Set them aside.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Take 1/2 of the potatoes, half or quarter them (depending on the size) and boil them in a large pot of saltwater for approx. 20 minutes until tender. You can remove the potatoes from the water with a straining spoon instead of draining them if you want to reuse the water later to boil the dumplings.
  3. While one part of the potatoes are boiling, take the remaining 1/2 of the potatoes and grate them on the fine side of a four-sided box grater. Put the grated potato pieces into a "potato sack" - or a nut milk bag or even a kitchen towel - and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Make sure to capture the liquid in a bowl. Once you have squeezed out as much liquid as possible, set the "potato ball" aside - it should still be covered with the kitchen towel (or what you used). Also set the liquid aside to allow the potato starch to settle at the bottom of the bowl. Once the starch has settled, carefully drain the liquid.
  4. Mash the cooked potatoes with a potato masher or press them through a potato press (basically a large garlic press). Make sure that there are no potato lumps left.
  5. Put the grated potato ball in a big bowl and break it apart into smaller pieces. It should be pretty dry. Then add the mashed potatoes, salt, the settled potato starch from the bowl you set aside earlier (not the liquid!), and mix everything really well with a wooden whisk beater while slowly adding the hot water. Depending on the potatoes you used, you might have to add a little more or less water - so add it in small amounts. Keep mixing for a good 5 minutes!
  6. Once everything is mixed together well, take a handful of dough and form a ball. If you want to add the bread pieces, take 3-4 pieces, and push them into the middle of the dumpling. Then reform the dumpling to make sure that it is round and that there are no cracks.
  7. Put the dumpling into a pot of very hot (just under boiling) saltwater. You can reuse the pot and the water from earlier, but you might have to add some more water to it. Start with one dumpling as a test - if it falls apart you might have to add some corn starch.
  8. The dumplings will rise to the top after about 5 minutes. Let them sit in the hot (not boiling!) water for another 15 minutes before removing them.
  9. Once you have removed the dumplings from the hot water, serve them immediately. In Germany, they are often served on Sunday with meat such as Rouladen or Sauerbraten and gravy.

Notes

  • Traditionally, these potato dumplings are made by capturing the potato starch from the potatoes you are using. However, sometimes this is not enough starch. In that case, feel free to use some potato flour or corn starch as a supplement.
  • Often potato dumplings are eaten with the bread pieces in the middle - but you can skip this step if you want. One of Lisa's grandmas always made her dumplings with bread pieces inside, the other one didn't. So it's really up to you.
  • When boiling the potatoes, make sure you use a large pot since you'll reuse the same pot for the potato dumplings later.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 607mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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