How to Make Spaetzle | German Egg Noodles
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A favorite in Germany, as well as in German restaurants around the world, spaetzle are egg noodles.
They are surprisingly simple to make and, depending on the preparation once the noodles are done, can be served as a side dish or as a hearty main course.
Among the various preparations, they can be heaped high on a platter, crispy after having been fried in butter and sprinkled with chopped parsley, or they can be baked into a rich, cheesy casserole that, served with a side salad, is the ultimate comfort food.
For me, these noodles bring back memories of summer visits to my grandparents in Germany. We'd head off on a sunny afternoon to a local restaurant in the beautiful German countryside and, no matter what I ordered, I'd ask for the side to be spaetzle. For me, there are few dishes that compare.
You can buy prepared spaetzle on grocery store shelves, but they aren't cheap and they aren't nearly as good as freshly made ones. Give these noodles a try the next time you want to make a new side dish or add a little European flair to your dinner.
Basic Spaetzle Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
Spaetzle is delicious when served...
Pan fried with butter and parsley
Baked with cheese
Plain, as a side dish to a meal
With a brown butter sauce
Pan fried with bacon bits and drippings
Pan fried with mushrooms and sauce
- Mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Add water and beaten eggs.
- Mix together until well blended, about the consistency of thick pancake batter. Don't overmix.
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. I use about 2 teaspoons of salt for a gallon of water.
- Using the spaetzle making tool of your choice (see descriptions near end of article) add batter to the boiling water a little at a time. Use care not put too many noodles in the water at once or they'll clump together and won't turn out.
- The noodles are done after about 2 - 3 minutes. They will float to the top of the boiling water quickly. Don't let them cook too long or they will get too soft.
- Place cooked noodles in a sieve and run them quickly under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and continue process until all noodles are cooked.
- Serve as desired (see the chart of serving suggestions provided above).
Step by step photo instructions:
Prepare the batter
Cook the noodles
Types of Spaetzle Makers
The three common spaetzle makers available in the market today are:
- Lid style - Fits on top of a pot and the batter gets pushed through into the boiling water below.
- Grater style - Acts like a cheese grater with an attached scraper.
- Ricer style - Just like a ricer except that there are only holes on the bottom of the cup. The batter goes into the cup and is pushed through with the top part of the gadget. This is the type I have and it works quite well.
If you don't have a spaetzle maker, there's no need to worry. As you can see by the photo (above right), there are many tools you can use instead. They all work differently, with some working better than others.
- Colander and spatula - Use a colander with larger holes and a spatula or pastry scraper to push the batter through the holes. This method gets messy and the colander can get really hot.
- Ricer - I don't see many ricers anymore, but they work for spaetzle making. They are messy since the batter comes out of the side as well as the bottom.
- Cheese grater - Tough to use, and a little dangerous because of the sharp edges, the grater works, but isn't the best method. Use a spatula to press the batter through the holes.
- Plastic bag - Just poke a few holes in one corner and squeeze the batter through. It works fairly well, but a lot of batter gets wasted in the bag.
Important suggestion: No matter what method you use, don't wait long to clean up. Once the batter has dried it is very difficult to clean off.
Here's just one way to prepare cooked spaetzle:
Spaetzle fried with butter and parsley
Not many noodle dishes can beat this simple, yet delicious preparation:
- 3 cups of cooked spaetzle
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Melt the butter in a hot frying pan.
- Add the noodles and fry until desired texture is reached.
- Add the parsley and mix through.
- Serve as a side or main dish.
Pan Fried Spaetzle
© 2014 Claudia Mitchell