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.
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
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 8 large eggs
- 1/3 cup milk or water
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, and salt. Stir until the batter is well combined and develops bubbles. The batter shouldn't be too thin but it also shouldn't be too heavy or it will be difficult to form the spaetzle with your spaetzle maker. If your batter is too dry add 1 or 2 tbsp milk.
- Put a colander into a bowl (to drain them once cooked) and bring a large pot of salted water over high heat to a boil.
- Place your spaetzle maker over the top, then pour batter into the hopper of the device or directly onto the board if you use a scraper. Quickly slide the cup or the scraper back and forth to allow the batter to drop through.
- If it gets to crowded in the pot, stop and cook them for about 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spaetzle to the colander.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up. Serve the spaetzle immediately or add a little bit of butter to prevent them from sticking together and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To heat, melt some butter in a large skillet and toss them in it to heat through.
Here are a few more delicious German recipes: