This 18th century egg noodle, pasta, dumpling, or Knöpfle, originates from southwest Germany. Spaetzle means “little sparrow” and was originally made by hand or spoon before mechanical devices. It is typically served as a side with a meat dish and some type of gravy.
This recipe is so versatile and can be made with numerous alterations from herbs that are used to being sauteed in butter, served with gravy, and more.
Ingredients needed for spaetzle
Spaetzle is basically an egg noodle and just like most noodles only requires a few ingredients to make:
Salt/pepper (to taste)
herbs (thyme today) I actually prefer mine with a pinch of nutmeg as well but not today.
Steps to make Spaetzle
Making spaetzle is quick and easy so I start by filling a pot with salted water and placing it on the stovetop on high to get it to a boil while I prepare the noodles. When it reaches a boil, I turn it down to medium to maintain a low boil.
Gather all of your ingredients
2. To prepare the spaetzle I start by whipping the eggs into the milk.
3. Then I add in all the dry ingredients: flour, salt, pepper, and herb of your choice. Today I am using Thyme.
4. Mix until its the consistency of a pancake batter. Add a little more milk or flour as needed to reach this consistency.
5. Let it rest a couple minutes and prepare your equipment. I set a bowl with 2 T of butter sliced in the bottom to the side along with my spider straining ladle. Then I place my spaetzle maker on top of my pot of boiling water and begin.
6. Make this in small batches because it only takes 1-3 minutes for the noodles to cook. I use a 1/2 a cup to a cup at a time of the batter.
Scoop into the spaetzle maker and slide the top back and forth to get all the mixture in to the water. See the video below.
(Notice the thief trying to steal noodles as they are made. They are seriously delicious on their own).
7. Then use your straining ladle to remove the noodles from the water and place in your bowl with the butter. Continue until all done. Lightly toss the noodles in the butter.
This can now be sauteed in a pan with butter if that is what you choose to do. You can also set it aside or put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it and prepare your meat and/or gravy.
Sometimes I like to make this a meatless meal and just serve it with gravy and veggies.
PRO TIPS Alternatives to using a spaetzle maker: *If you don't want to buy a spaetzle maker you can try using other tools. If you use a colander you will not want a wire one but one with larger round or square holes. *Some people have even had success using a paddle grater. Obviously use the larger holes to make the noodles. *Another option is a splatter screen/guard/shield. I have one that is plastic with larger holes in it and it rests easily on the pot. *Lastly you could try using a potato ricer. Fill it approximately 2/3 full and squeeze to push the mixture into the boiling water. *They are also available for purchase as dried noodles.
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Looking for some more recipes? Here are a few other German dishes you may enjoy. Spaetzle with mushroom sauce & porkchops Donauwellen Cake Mandarin Roll
- 1 spaetzle maker *if you don't have a spaetzle maker you may be able to use one of these with large holes: colander, box grater, ricer, spatter shield
- 1 medium size pot
- 1 strainer ladle
- 1 medium size mixing bowl
- 4 large eggs
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- ½ c milk could be a little more or less you want to make the consistency like a pancake batter.
- 1 tsp salt (I like the pink Himalayan salt)
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 T fresh herb of your choice I used Thyme today
- Butter Use 2T to coat the finished noodles or 4T if you want to sautee them
- Before you start mixing your ingredients go ahead and put your pot of salted water on high heat to bring to a boil while you prepare the spaetzle. Once it reaches a boil reduce down to maintain a low boil.
- In your medium mixing bowl whisk together your milk & eggs.
- Then add in the dry ingredients: flour, salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Mix well adding more milk or flour to reach the desired pancake like consistency.
- Let it rest a couple minutes.
- Place your spaetzle maker over your boiling pot and add in the mixture in increments making several batches. slide the top piece back and forth dropping the mixture into the boiling water.
- It only takes a couple minutes and when it's all floating on top the noodles are finished. Approx. 2-3 minutes.
- Use the strainer ladle to remove them from the water. I put them into a bowl with a couple T of butter and toss gently when they are all made.