Spaetzle, or German style noodles, is one of my favorite German side dishes. Perhaps my adoration of this noodle is something more akin to addiction or obsession, which was formed while I was living in Germany. Whether they are covered in sauce or cheese, baked in a casserole, or the base for one of the greatest Bavarian dishes, krautschupfnudeln, you really can’t go wrong with spaetzle.
However, like most noodles in this world, spaetzle is best when freshly made and can be rather lackluster when store bought. What I have always found most egregious in America is that rarely can one find decent spaetzle in German restaurants here, even when the restaurant is still family owned and Oma (Grandma) is cooking in the back. Those who have experience real spaetzle in Germany know what I am talking about. So after countless times of living in Germany and returning to America only to be disappointed by the spaetzle found in the States, I took it upon myself to recreate the perfect homemade spaetzle. Naturally, this didn’t happen overnight, and after a year or so of experimenting (there are only so many noodles one can eat in a week or month) I finally reached a state of spaetzle zen and, in my opinion, the ultimate spaetzle recipe.
This spaetzle recipe will produce tender firm long noodles of goodness (not the heavy tear drop rubbery noodles common in American German restaurants). The spaetzle is suitable for dressing with butter, sauces, etc. or acting as the perfect compliment to a dish or meal.
And for those of you who might be wondering what the heck krautschupfnudeln is, check out my recipe for this delicious combination of spaetzle, sauerkraut, and bacon.
The ingredients for the spaetzle are simple, but as with making other types of noodles, the key to this recipe is technique and mixing the dough to the correct consistency (which I hope to accurately describe to you).
I prefer to use a potato ricer. I bought my ricer in Germany, but it looks almost identical to the one I linked to on Amazon. The ricer (use the insert with medium to large holes) makes a longer noodle shape instead of the shorter nubby spaetzle. You could also try using a strainer, the cutting board and knife method, or another style of spaetzle maker, but I cannot guarantee this batter/dough will work well with other types. Using another type of spaetzle maker will result in a different noodle shape.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup of milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 stick of butter (melted)
- Fill a large cooking pot half way with cold water, add a tbsp or so of salt, place on the stove, cover, and set burner to high
- Throw the flour in a medium bowl and top it off with the salt
- Stir the flour and salt together.
- In a separately bowl (or measuring cup in this case) combine the milk and the eggs, mixing together until the eggs are thoroughly beaten.
- Pour the egg/milk mixture into the flour bowl
- With a large wood spoon, stir in the egg/milk mixture with the flour. Gradually, begin making a half circular motion while stirring. At the end of the half circle, lift the spoon up and fold the batter across to the other side of the bowl. Repeat the motion until the dough is free of lumps and appears to be well combined.
- At this point the batter will be quite thick. While continuing the stirring motion, gradually add around a tbsp of melted butter and tbsp of water. The batter should begin to slightly loosen and the end product should have a slight amount of give and remain sticky, but you want to avoid the dough becoming runny.
- If you are familiar with bread doughs, the gluten in the flour will have started to develop in the batter providing some structure, though it is still stirable and sticky.
- Bring your bowl of batter over to the stove, along with the magical potato ricer and start filling the ricer up with the batter.
- Fill the ricer about 3/4 of the way up. If you fill it to the top it’s going to be a mess when you use the masher with batter leaking all over the place.
- The salt water should be boiling by now and it is time to make some the best noodles you’ll ever have.
- Remove the cover of the pot and bring the ricer full of doughy goodness over the top of the pot. Squeeze the ricer half way and then gently lift up, allowing the batter to string itself to separation.
- Squeeze the remaining dough out of the ricer, slightly lifting up as well.
- Set the ricer aside and immediately grab a spatula. Gently brush the bottom of the pot to save any wayward noodles which have stuck to the bottom of the boiling caldron.
- The noodles will begin floating to the top and you should toss that spatula aside.
- Grab a strainer and begin the process of removing the noodles from the boiling water (cooking time is quick and the spaetzle shouldn’t remain in the water beyond 30-45 seconds).
- Place the spaetzle in a casserole dish to cool. Repeat process until you run out of batter.
- At this point the spaetzle is ready to eat, but I do recommend (and prefer) to add the remaining melted butter to the spaetzle and gently stir in with a spatula. This keeps the noodles from sticking together and adds another layer of buttery goodness.
- So there ya go. German spaetzle made easy…or at least done right.
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