Here’s Our German Spaetzle Recipe For Perfect Little Egg Noodles!
If you are looking for a sure-fire German spaetzle recipe, you’re definitely in the right place!
Made from eggs, flour, salt, and water, homemade German egg noodles are versatile little dumplings that are also pretty easy to make.
The best part about German spaetzle noodles is that they go great with so many tasty German or Hungarian dishes… or you can just enjoy them pan-fried in butter (and cheese)!
What is Spaetzle?
Spätzle – or Spaetzle written without the umlaut – is the German name for a tiny egg noodle. It’s technically an egg dumpling since it’s cooked in boiling water. It cooks quickly, is very soft, and can be extremely filling if you eat a lot of them!
The concept of a tiny egg dumpling is popular in Central and Eastern Europe. With German roots (explained below), it’s also enjoyed in Austria and Switzerland.
Aside from being a side dish to meat dishes like Rouladen or German goulash, cheese can be added to spaetzle to create the incredibly delicious variation known as Kaesespaetzle!
It’s also very well-known in Hungarian as Nokedli. Here, egg dumplings can be made a little larger – but are usually small like spaetzle.
They are often served with chicken paprikash, Marhapörkölt (beef stew), and even sometimes goulash. Eric grew up eating Nokedli without yet realizing it was the same as spaetzle.
These days, you can eat spaetzle all over the place. We’ve eaten spaetzle in Berlin and in the south of Germany – but we’ve also enjoyed it in Budapest (as Nokedli) and made it at home in Canada many times!
The Origin of Spaetzle
The backstory of Spaetzle includes the continent of Asia (where dumplings are very popular). The concept was brought to Europe around two thousand years ago.
In this day and age, spaetzle is known to come from the cultural/historical area of Swabia.
This is a region of Europe that is now parts of south-western Germany (part of the state of Baden-Württemberg and parts of the state of Bavaria), and a little bit of current day Switzerland.
Lisa grew up in the south of Germany and has family in Swabia so spaetzle are a food she has enjoyed since she was a child.
Buying/Using a Spaetzle Maker
If you want to make homemade Spaetzle, the best way to do so is with a proper Spaetzle maker.
There are other ways to make Spaetzle without one, but – trust us – it’s much easier if you have one.
We read a whole bunch of online reviews and ended up buying this Spätzle Maker and love it. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and doesn’t take up much storage room.
What we like about our Spätzle maker is that it doesn’t cover the whole pot like some other (mainly steel) spaetzle makers do.
This makes it easier for the steam to escape and makes it much less likely for the batter to cook/harden before it falls into the pot. As a result, the batter gets a chance to fall into the water perfectly each time.
Of course that’s just our personal preference and there are people who swear by their stainless steel Spaetzle makers. You have to decide for yourself what works best for you.
If you don’t have a Spaetzle maker, you can always try to push the batter through a colander with larger holes. You can also try the “Spoon Drop Method”. This is where you take a larger spoon and load it up with batter.
Then, using a smaller spoon, you drop smaller batter droplets from the big spoon into the steaming/boiling pot of water bit by bit.
Eric’s mom made her Hungarian Nokedli this way for years and – to be honest – it’s so tedious. Also, you end up with dumplings that are all different sizes since the batter amount is kind of hard to control.
Honestly, just buy a Spaetzle maker, you won’t regret it!
How to Make Homemade German Spaetzle – Step by Step
If you are keen to make homemade spaetzle, you can follow the spaetzle recipe card at the bottom of this post.
And if you want to see how we make spaetzle, you can check out the recipe process photos below.
This way, you can compare your spaetzle batter and final egg noodle size to see if you’re on the right track at home!
Start by adding the flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Make a little well in the middle for the egg (and try to do a better job than we did in the photo above, haha).
Then add the eggs and the salt to the flour and mix everything together with a wooden spoon or your electric mixer.
(FYI: If you were making spinach spaetzle, this is about where you’d be adding the fresh spinach).
Now add a little bit of water at a time while mixing vigorously. Keep going until the dough has a lump-free, elastic consistency.
When you are done mixing, you should be able to see air bubbles when moving your spoon in the batter. This is a way of telling that the dough has the right consistency.
Another way to test this is to lift your wooden spoon with batter in the air. If the batter drips off the spoon very slowly but evenly you know that it has a good consistency.
Now bring a large pot with salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat once boiling so that the water is just lightly simmering.
Spoon portions of the batter onto your spaetzle maker and scrape the batter through into the boiling water.
This works best if your scraping movements back and forth are quick but evenly paced. You’ll develop a feel for it rather quickly.
Just make sure to not add to much batter at once so it doesn’t drip off the sides. Most spaetzle makers will easily attach to or fit different pots so you don’t have to worry about it falling into the hot water.
Also make sure to not use too much batter at once and give the dumplings in the pot enough space to float to the top when done.
After 2-3 minutes in the lightly boiling water, the spaetzle will float to the top. When they do that, you know that they are done.
If your batter is too thin, to begin with, the spaetzle might become runny and very soft in the boiling water.
That’s why we’d recommend that you follow our recipe as is and only modify the amount of salt used (if desired).
Remove the fully cooked little dumplings with a straining spoon and place them into a different bowl.
Then get another portion of batter to scrape through the spaetzle maker and repeat the steps until you have used up all of the batter.
You can also shock the cooked Spaetzle noodles in cold water after you remove them from the pot and then reheat them in a frying pan with a bit of butter.
This way they don’t stick together, keep their shape better, and stop cooking further after you remove them from the boiling water. We usually don’t do this since we are kind of lazy and eat the spaetzle right away anyway.
Also, if you know that you want to make cheese spaetzle (Kaesespaetzle) out of your cooked egg noodles, you can sprinkle some grated Emmental cheese onto each batch of spaetzle once you have taken them out of the boiling water.
This way the cheese will melt nicely on the hot dumplings.
If you have any leftover spaetzle, you can store them in an airtight container with a lid in the fridge for a few days.
Before consumption, you can either reheat them with some butter in a frying pan or drop them into hot water for a couple of minutes before straining them.
Alternatively, you can also freeze egg noodles in a freezer container. For this make sure that you shocked your boiled spaetzle in cold water first (if they are still hot).
To reheat from frozen, drop the frozen spaetzle into a pot of boiling, lightly salted water, or reheat them with some butter in a frying pan. If the egg noodles got stuck together in the freezer, we’d recommend the boiling method.
Homemade German Spaetzle
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 medium-sized eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- Add the flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl and make a little well (or a mini volcano) in the middle.
- Add the eggs and the salt to the flour and give everything a stir with a wooden spoon or your electric mixer. Now slowly pour in the water while mixing vigorously until the dough has a lump-free, elastic consistency. When you roll the wooden spoon in the batter, you should be able to create air bubbles as a result of the sticky yet smooth consistency. Another way to tell that the batter has the right consistency is when it drips off the spoon very slowly.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat so that the water is simmering.
- Now, spoon portions of the Spaetzle batter onto your spaetzle grater/maker and scrape the batter through into the boiling water. The spaetzle will float to the top when they are done. This takes around 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the little dumplings with a large straining spoon and place them into a different bowl. Repeat the steps until you have used up all the batter. Enjoy!
- This recipe makes approximately 4 1/2 – 5 cups of egg noodles.
- You can also shock the Spaetzle noodles in cold water after you remove them from the pot and then reheat them in a frying pan with a bit of butter later if you don’t plan on eating them right away.
- If you know that you want to make cheese spaetzle (Kasespaetzle), you can sprinkle some grated Emmental cheese onto each batch of spaetzle after you take them out of the boiling water.
- We’d highly recommend using a proper spaetzle grater/maker but you can also make spaetzle by dropping bits of batter off a spoon into the boiling water using another spoon or knife. It’s tedious but it can work.
- As mentioned, Spaetzle taste great as cheese spätzle with a salad on the side, or as a side to meat dishes like goulash or rouladen.
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.
12 thoughts on “Homemade German Spaetzle Recipe”
My grandmother used to make spaetlze from a cutting board. I’m not that confident but I used a strainer and this came out perfectly! Sauteed it in brown butter and it was very similar to my grandmother’s . thank you!
Thanks for your comment, Mary! Making Spaetzle with a Spätzlebrett feels like an art sometimes, haha. I’m so glad to hear that you liked the recipe! /Lisa
Hello Lisa and Eric,
Thanks for you spaetzle recipe.
I tried it twice. I made mine with pesto. We all loved. It seasoned the four mixture before I added the eggs and water. It was a bit spicy. That is how I like it.
I so glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! I’ve made the spaetzle with spinach many times but I’ve never tried making them with pesto – that sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing! /Lisa
my hungariancompanion of 26yrs has cooked all kinds of good food from hungary i have his reciepesand now that he passed last yr i miss his cooking i will never be the cook yhat miklos was ty i will try this one
I’ve made these noodles before, we love them.Mein Vater war geboren in Deutschland, in Bavaria. He taught mein mutter to make these, baked with Swiss cheese with caramelized onions.Mein mutters’ mutter war geboren in Switzerland, so she knew some German recipes already. Thx for your recipe, I will compare it with mine. I have a metal spaetzle maker.
Thanks for sharing Gretchen! I find that the south of Germany and Switzerland often have some overlap in recipes due to the proximity.
Just like my Oma’s recipe-no milk only water. Thanks for sharing. I had most of the steps down, but needed help remembering the ingredient portions.
Thank you so much for your recipe and tips. I hadn’t made spatzel from scratch in over 25yrs and and had forgotten what the batter consistency was. Made a batch of goulash today and haven’t been able to locate the package spatzel so decided to make it and my mind went blank. Ran to Pinterest typed in homemade spatzel your recipe was the first to pop up read it and then I seen your spatzel grater so I had my son made me one out of a small cutting board. I showed him the picture and with an old plastic cutting board and a 5/16 drill bit he was able to create one. I made sure all plastic bits were cleaned off and after a quick wash and dry I was ready. I made only a half batch since there are only two of us. It came out PERFECT. So excited to be able to make it once again. Thank you thank you thank you
That sounds awesome, Karla! We’re so happy that you found our recipe and enjoyed it. Also kudos to your son for making you a spaetzle maker! /Lisa
We love our spaetzle with carmelized onions & grated cheese!! Baked in oven just enough to melt the cheese~
You can also get a spaetzle maker that looks a bit like a potato ricer only the holes are further apart. It makes longer spaetzle but still delicious. Or you can also use a spaetzle board and scraper then scrape the dough into the boiling water. This old school way takes some practice but again delicious spaetzle.
Just a note you can’t use a potato ricer in place of the above mentioned spaetzle maker because the holes are to close together.