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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.

Top-down shot of a white bowl of spaetzle garnished with parsley on a grey dishtowel next to a wooden spoon.

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.

A white bowl of spaetzle garnished with parsley on a grey dishtowel next to a wooden spoon.

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!

Close-up of a white bowl of spaetzle garnished with parsley on a grey dishtowel.


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.

A cast-iron pan with cheese spaetzle. A slotted spatula is lifting out a portion.

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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4.95 from 174 votes

Easy German Spaetzle Recipe

Easy German Spaetzle are ready in only 15 minutes and make a great side for all dishes served with a sauce!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • ¾ 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. 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.


Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 940mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3.7mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

A white bowl of spaetzle garnished with parsley on a grey dishtowel next to a wooden spoon.

Here are a few more delicious German recipes:

About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe to go with some smoked short ribs my husband made. This spaetzle is right up there with my favorite German restaurant. I will definitely be making it again. I love leftovers and this amount is perfect. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    My husband is from Alsas, France and this is one of his favorite food.
    He loves your recipe so much! We can have it anytime we want now.
    Thank you so much.

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe was the best.
    Made it for a large crowd, set the serving size to 20 and it perfectly adjusted the ingredients. With my spaetzle (or kniefles as I call them), I add fried onions in shortening to add flavor and prevent sticking.
    Turned out perfect for a large crowd. 5 star recipe.

  4. we owned restaurants and I was the German cook. Hand made spaetzle of course topped with brown butter. get the best butter and be generous. I could bathe in it.
    Brigitta H.

  5. 5 stars
    I got rid of other recipes for spaetzle–this one is the best. I bought the little board with holes because I make it often enough. Now it’s really easy to make this and the yield is huge! I make the big batch and use it over time. We like it plain with butter, with pesto sauce, in noodle soups (doesn’t get mushy like some noodles), beef and chicken stews (instead of potato) and if there’s a small amount left that’s too small for anything else, I fry it until it’s a little crispy and put a fried egg on it–decadent breakfast. Thanks so much for the recipe and clear instructions.

  6. Yes, my partner makes this. We have a spatzelmaker
    Wonderful stuff.
    I recommend when you are in Revelstoke B.C., to try spatzel with curry, shrimp. It’s a couple who is German (Swiss) and East Indian.
    I loved the innovation. It was yummy.

  7. I’ve been at this for two hours now. The dough is too thick to even mix with a mixer. My mixer literally doesn’t go through it. It’s so sticky, I can’t push it through the colander. But you’re right. It is easier to clean with cold water.

    1. Sounds like you need to add more liquid, the batter should definitely not be so thick. Did you use large eggs and measure the flour correctly?

  8. Made this tonight.  So much better than store bought.  I made the recipe exactly as stated and it was so good not a drop left over. I need a spaetzle press though. Doing it in a colander was a pain!

  9. You indicate to serve this Spaetzle with sauce, but gave no ideas or recipes for it other than butter. What sauce?

    1. Any sauce you would serve with a roast works with spaetzle. A simple gravy goes very well with it!

      1. I never serve sauerkraut without making them and serving them after buttering them in the sauerkraut juice. Sauerkraut isn’t complete without them! My mother-in-law taught me to make them and always used just water- not milk? I will have to use milk the next time and see if I prefer them that way. But really, after seventy years of cooking them her way, why fix it if it works, right?

        1. Did you try this specific recipe with water, or do you have a different recipe you use? Haven’t found a recipe I’m happy with yet.
          Maybe this is the one?! Haven’t tried it yet. 🙂