Easy German Spaetzle Recipe – ready in only 15 minutes and a great German side dish for all kinds of recipes! It’s super easy to make from scratch and downright delicious.
Spätzle is a special kind of egg noodle that is often enjoyed as a side dish with gravies or sauces but also the main ingredient in other dishes like the famous Käsespätzle. Toss them with a little bit of melted butter and you have an easy but so delicious side dish that the whole family enjoys! They taste like chewy egg noodles and can be made savory but also sweet.
Have you tried spaetzle before? No? Then prepare yourself for an amazing treat. This easy homemade spaetzle recipe is the only one you ever need and a great alternative to rice, noodles, or potatoes. It can be made in advance which makes preparing a meal for the whole family less stressful.
Germany has great cakes like my German Apple Streusel Sheet Cake and my Plum Cake with Streusel but there’re also many delicious savory dishes like Schnitzel, pork roast, and dumplings.
Spaetzle are one of my favorite dishes! They make a great side for everything that comes with a sauce or gravy like goulash or beef stroganoff but are also a delicious main dish with melted cheese and crispy fried onions or with a simple mushroom gravy.
The word Spätzle literally means “little sparrows” in English but they are also called Knöpfle in Germany because they look like little buttons. You can get them in many different sizes and shapes in Germany.
My mother-in-law always makes a bigger version that is called Spatzen (“sparrows“). They taste like the little ones but are sized like small potatoes and you don’t need special equipment to make them.
A few years ago we always bought pre-made spätzle because we thought making them at home from scratch was too difficult and time-consuming. But after making the first batch, we can’t eat the pre-made ones anymore. It’s so easy to make them at home and they taste so much better! Spaetzle are made with flour, eggs, and milk (or water) – you could say they are German egg noodles.
The easiest way to make them at home is by using a spaetzle maker. There are many different ones but the one we use is a board with holes in it which comes with a scraper (like this one). It’s super easy to use even if you’ve never done it before!
But you can also make spaetzle without a press and use a colander or steamer with large holes instead. You probably have one of these at home anyway!
HOW TO MAKE SPAETZLE FROM SCRATCH
You put a few spoons of dough on the board and slide the scraper back and forth, the batter drops through the holes into the simmering water and after a minute or so the spaetzle are done. You need to use a big pot because they will rise to the surface when they’re done.
After you used about half of the batter you probably need to drain the first batch to make room in your pot for the other half otherwise they will stick together and don’t cook completely. If you don’t use them immediately add a little butter while they’re hot and store them in an airtight container.
To reheat, melt some butter in a pan and toss them in it to warm through. They’ll get a bit crispy which makes them even more delicious in my opinion. And if you have leftover spaetzle you need to try my easy Kaesespaetzle recipe.
The batter for this easy German side dish is mainly made of eggs and flour. In Germany, you can buy special Spätzle flour which is a little bit coarser than all-purpose flour but normal all-purpose flour will do the job just fine. But please don’t use self-rising flour for this recipe or you’ll end up with a big mess.
You could make them only with eggs but it’s easier to add a little bit of water or milk. There seems to be a big discussion if water or milk is better (or more traditional) but I like to make mine with milk because they taste better in my opinion but if you’re allergic to milk you can easily substitute the milk in my recipe for water.
You could also add some more spices to the batter but traditionally spaetzle don’t have much taste of their own because they are supposed to be eaten with flavorful foods like gravy or cheese. One way to spice things up a bit is to add herbs like parsley, chives, or basil to the batter.
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Easy German Spaetzle Recipe
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, and salt. Stir until the batter is well combined and develops bubbles. You can also use a mixer. The batter should neither be too thin nor too thick or it will be difficult to make the spaetzle with your spaetzle maker. Let the batter sit for 5-10 min.
- Put a colander into a bowl to drain the Spaetzle once cooked and bring a large pot of water over high heat to a boil, add about 1 Tbsp of salt to the water, and reduce temperature to a simmer.
- Press batter through a spaetzle maker, a large holed sieve or colander into the simmering water.
- Work in batches, after using about 1/3 of the batter stop adding new spaetzle and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the top. Stir occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spaetzle to the colander so that excess water can drip off.
- Serve the spaetzle immediately or saute them in butter to crisp them up a little. If you don't serve or saute them right away, add 1 or 2 Tbsp of butter to the hot spaetzle to prevent them from sticking together.
- This makes a big batch of Spaetzle that is perfect for a big family dinner. You can also half the recipe by adjusting the servings below the image in the recipe card.
- You can use milk or water to make Spaetzle. Using water is more traditional but they taste richer with milk which I prefer. You can also use a combination of water and milk.
- Clean used equipment with cold water, the dough is very sticky and gets stickier when using hot water.
- Leftover Spaetzle can be stored, tossed with some melted butter or oil, in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, saute them in some butter.
- Instead of a spaetzle maker, you can also use a colander with large holes and a silicone spatula or scraper.
- UPDATE 10/23/19: The recipe has been re-tested because of reader feedback and the amount of milk has been increased from 1/3 cup+2 Tbsp to 3/4 cup of milk.
Here are a few more delicious German recipes:
You can also use a dinner plate to put the batter into the water just pour slowly and cut the batter with a butter knife or slim spatula.
Alex L says
The recipe is adaptable to different types of spaetzle strainers by adjusting the viscosity of the dough. Specifying metric units would make that easier.
Julia Foerster says
Alex, you can switch to metric measurements in the recipe card. There is a button just above the ingredients.
Sue cushman says
Wonderful and easy. I live alone and 1/4 of the recipe was perfect for a meal for 2 days. I had a recipe for French Onion Pasta and it all went together seamlessly,,,from the boiling water to the buttery frying pan and into the well cooked onions, deglazed with port and a cup of chix broth and 2 oz of grated Gruyère
I’ve made Spaetzle for 18 years after being taught by my students mom, and she gifted me a “Spaetzleboub” – I misplaced her recipe, and keep trying new ones. This is the best one I’ve found and tastes just like her original. Thank you and will make again!
great recipe but two possible additions.
1) a tsp of nutmeg adds a nice flavor and
2) Parmesan cheese is also nice.
Any concerns over 1tbs of salt? That seems like a lot!
Julia Foerster says
No, the amount of salt is perfect for the amount of spaetzle this recipe makes.
She doesn’t say tbs of salt. She says teaspoon.
Linda Motz says
Tastes great! Could I substitute almond flour? Wonder what to taste difference would be?
Rose A says
Just like my mom used to make! So delicious plain or with any kind of gravy. Fast and easy.
Linda R Hyams says
Made this yesterday! Easy and delicious. Who knew this was so simple?
Wonderful easy recipe, I only had medium eggs so I had to adjust the milk to maintain the desired consistency. Everyone loved them!