Homemade Spaetzle with Butter & Herbs

IMG_6654 - CopyCAN YOU VISIT ME TODAY? Good. Because I’d like to serve you a plate of Spaetzel with Butter and Herbs. Spaetzel are little dumplings with a delicious, gnocchi-like texture. They are really, really fun to make:

Note: To make spaetzle, you let bits of batter drip into a pot of boiling, salted water.  In a pinch, a colander with 1/4-inch holes will make a suitable dripping-device. Otherwise, use a proper spaetzle-making gadget. I purchased my spaetzle-maker for about $10 from Amazon. It works like a charm.

Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook
Ingredients for about 6 cups of dumplings
7 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk

To start, crack 7 eggs into a blue bowl…

And violently beat them with a wire whisk.

Add flour…

And a splash of milk…

And then beat them all together. The batter, as you can see, will be very thick. So thick, in fact, that it cracked my wire whisk.

Tip: If your wire whisk is a cheaply-made one like mine,  use it only to beat the eggs. Use a stout wooden spoon to mix in the flour and milk.

There — in only three minutes, our batter is made!  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or overnight. This will give the flour particles time to absorb the eggs and milk.

Now bring a pot of salted water to a boil…

And prepare an ice-bath.

Lay the spaetzle-maker atop the pot of boiling water, and then ladle some batter into the box-shaped receptacle.

As you slowly slide the receptacle back and forth, droplets of batter will fall through the holes of the gadget, and into the boiling water. Nifty, huh?

Let the dumplings boil for 2 minutes…

And then transfer them, via a slotted spoon, to the ice-bath. The ice-bath will keep the noodles from sticking together.

I managed to produced hundreds and hundreds of dumplings in about 10 minutes.

Here’s a closeup of a dumpling. What it resembles, I haven’t a clue. But according to Wikipedia, “spaetzle” or Spätzle  literally translates to “little sparrow.”

Drain the chilled spaetzle in a colander. If you are not going to use the dumplings right away, pour them into a bowl, toss them with olive oil, and then cover and refrigerate for up to two days.

Spaetzle makes a fine substitute for potatoes or noodles. You can turn them into Spaetzle au Gratin. Or Spaetzle Bolognese. Or anything else that pops into your head.

Spaetzle with Butter & Herbs popped into my head, and consequently this is what I’m serving you for lunch.

Along with goblets of Sauvignon blanc.

First, heat some butter and olive oil in a skillet.

Then, when the butter begins to brown, add a few handfuls (about 2 cups) of spaetzle. Let the dumplings sit quietly until they start to color — about 2 minutes.

Then flip them over, and brown the other side — about 1 minute.

Stir in a big pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Now chop up some parsley…

And some sage…

And some Parmesan cheese.

Yes, Lily, I said “cheese.”

Pour the spaetzle onto a pretty platter, and sprinkle on the cheese…

And the herbs.

For such a simple dish, homemade spaetzle with butter and herbs is profoundly delicious.

Ready for a taste?

Here’s the copy-and-paste version of the above deliciousness:

Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook
Ingredients for about 6 cups of dumplings
7 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk

Special equipment – A spaetzle-making gadget; a big pot of boiling water, to which 2 tablespoons of salt has been added; a big bowl of ice-water

The spaetzle batter – In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the flour and milk. The mixture will be very thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

Forming the spaetzle – Lay the spaetzle-maker over the pot of boiling water. Working in batches, ladle 1/2 cup or so of batter into the gadget’s box-shaped receptacle. Slide the receptacle back and forth. The batter will drip into the boiling water, forming little dumplings. Boil the dumplings for 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to the bowl of ice-water. When thoroughly cooled, drain the spaetzle in a colander.

Ahead of time note: Toss the spaetzle with olive oil; cover, and refrigerate for up to two days.

Spaetzle with Herbs & Butter
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House
Ingredients for 4 as a side-dish, or 2 as a main-course
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups homemade spaetzle
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons finely-minced herbs, such as parsley and sage

In a skillet set over a medium flame, heat the oil and butter. When the butter begins to brown, toss in the spaetzle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the spaetzle sit undisturbed until its underside begins to brown slightly — about 2 minutes. Then flip the dumplings over, and let the bottom side brown for about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter, top with the cheese and herbs, and serve while hot. A fruity white wine such as Sauvignon blanc will go perfectly well with this dish.

Did you enjoy today’s lunch? Then by all means drop me a line in the comments field below.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.

Related Posts:
Potato Croquettes
Baked Shrimp Salad
Cranberry-Orange Bars


  1. Brenda Johnson says:

    A taste of spring on a chilly windy day! These tender tasty little morsels came to me lightly crisped and browned with butter and a liberal sprinkling of freshly chopped herbs. Topped with some freshly grated cheese that melded beautifully with the other flavors….this was a delicious lunch! The fresh herbs added such a nice vibrant note to this dish…a promise of the green to come! Thanks for sharing Kevin!

  2. Brenda – Thanks for taste-testing this dish. So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Oh, yummy! I despair sometimes, though, because my hubby is on a low cholesterol diet so butter and eggs are on the no-no list. hmpf! It sure looks very tasty though!

  4. Allison K says:

    I LOVE spaetzle (I’m half German, so it’s mandatory)! I resisted buying a spaetzle maker for many years since it is pretty much a single-purpose item, but eventually gave in–only then did I realize how much simpler and faster it makes things. I’m interested to try your basic spaetzle recipe; my go-to recipe uses more milk and only a couple of eggs. I also have never found a need for the ice water bath. I love to eat plain spaetzle with gravy, or make chicken-spaetzle soup, or browned in just a little butter and garlic. YUM!! I might have to make some tonight…

  5. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I have heard of Spaetzle before but for some reason I thought they were cookies !?!

    That nifty gadget is the BOMB! Once my perennial sage leafs out, I will be trying this and in the meantime I’ll be scouting for a spaetzle-maker.

  6. Christina Giordano says:

    This sounds delicious and easy. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe Kevin. By the way, this is a terrific site – thanks for all the time and hard work you put into it. The end result is informative and beautiful!

  7. Joni Davis says:

    I’ve always wanted to try making spaetzle – after reading this, it’s definitely on my to do list!!!

  8. Pat Gilbert says:

    This looks so simple that I think it’s on the menu for tonight! I do so appreciate the step by step pictures (being a visual sort of learner). I never realized that making these was so simple.

    Oh, the possibilities! (y)

  9. Dear Kevin, I wish I could get into a plane and pop in for lunch today! I LOVE your receipes and, better yet, the way you make everything sound fun and easy, like life should be and sometimes is… Thanks for sharing bits and pieces of your knowledge, I never miss your emails. Wishing you the best Spring ever!!! And I will totally buy the Spaetzle maker…. =]

  10. Anna Lapping says:

    I use the steamer insert from my largest saucepan. The holes are the perfect size, and I use a wide silicone spatula to help push the dough through. Love them, but they’re not exactly “diet” friendly so it’s only a once or twice a year thing.

  11. I was raised by my German Grand-parents so spaetzles were a frequently served dish – usually with buttered green beans. Grandma rarely used or wrote down recipes so there was no record of how she made them. Recipes from different sources (and there were many) never quite measured up to Grandma’s dish. This recipe sounds like it just might be what I’ve been looking for all these years. Heartfelt thanks, Kevin. Love the way your tell a story with your instructions whether a recipe, gardening hints, household hints or whatever. Your Sunday visits are sooo welcome here.

  12. Thank you so much for this! Tried making spaetzle several years ago. Turned out great and the family really liked but the method I was using to get it in the pot was super messy, ha! Definetly looking into that nifty spaetzle maker!

  13. This will make a nice change from the scalloped potatoes the family usually expects with the ham on Easter. Thanks so much for reminding me of spaetzles!

  14. I agree with Carlotta… ” I wish I could get into a plane and pop in for lunch today! I LOVE your receipes and, better yet, the way you make everything sound fun and easy, like life should be and sometimes is…”

    I’ve seen those spaetzle makers on clearance tables in our area but had no clue what they were for. I just might have to pick the next one up and give this a try. I personally dont eat wheat (or rarely due to a sensitivity issue) but I know M’honey would love them if they were made correctly, as it looks like you probably are.

    With my attitude towards flour, I’d just see them as lumps of flour & water (ugh-sorry lol) but you bring finesse and love to the process, and I think I can mimic that to make a wonderful dish.
    Its funny how our attitude is totally captured in the cooking or creation process.. If you’re loving what you’re making, it has a completely different outcome than if you dont.

    Thanks for sharing the love!

  15. Susan Ramirez says:

    Just ordered my spaetzle-maker! Thank you sweet man! Your page coming in my mail means everything to me! <3

  16. Hi Kevin,
    I learned spaetzle at my grandmother’s side 60 years ago. She would load a big spoon with the dough and then with a knife she would cut little pieces off into the boiling water. Alternately you could put the dough on a board or plate and cut small pieces off with a knife. I have a spaetzle maker that looks like a food mill but yours looks easier. She didn’t refrigerate.
    Also, “Ama” would put the spaetzle, batch by batch, into a casserole, drizzle a little melted butter and toasted bread crumbs, and then add another layer. You are right. So many ways to use these wonderful little dumplings. Ours was always with pork roast, gravy, sour kraut, marshed potatoes and applesauce. Thanks for the yummy trip down memory lane.

  17. Jane Howe says:

    Uh-oh, I only have a red bowl. 🙂

  18. Lovely post – so well phtographed!! they are delicious and so easy to make, especially if you have someone to do the washing up :-). Glad to see the spaetzle maker sold in the US, I usually make lots and freeze the excess (if there is any). They are also great layered with fried onions and grated chees and tiny bit of caraway in a deep gratin dish, the last layer finished wiht cheese and baked. bit like maccaroni but without the cheese sauce!

  19. Barri Blix says:

    1967 Joy of Cooking shows the Spaetzle maker – like one you show – and a recipe! However your approach to making them seems clearer.

  20. Make sure you keep a plate for me….I’m coming to taste this delicious dish.


  21. I’m on my way… Kate

  22. Kevin,

    Another wonderful recipe….I would have never thought to make this. On the menu for tomorrow night!

    Thanks so much. Sunday mornings in Southern California, coffee and reading all the goodness on your “A Garden For The House” site certainly go together.

    Happy Sunday!

  23. Jane Howe says:

    Just ordered the spaetzle maker from Amazon! Grpwing up in a Polish household, I remember my Mom and my relatives making kluski. They used two spoons to drop blobs of batter into boiling water. This is going to be fun! Thanks.

  24. Robert Meehan says:

    An old friend used to make spaetzle with venison each winter. It is very easy and VERY delicious!!

  25. I am of German descent and my mother always made spaetzels ( “spechlas”) when I was growing up. When I make them for my kids they fight over the last one. We did not use a spaetzel maker but dropped the batter by half teaspoonfuls into boiling salted water. They came out a little bigger, more like a dumpling. I know what you mean about the whisk. The batter should be elastic like melted mozzarella, not as thin as cake batter, not as thick as bread dough. Also the batter had less eggs, more milk and flour, and a pinch of nutmeg. I may try adding more egg to mine, they probably make them taste richer. Yours look yummy and the brown butter is something people rarely do nowadays. My mom used to brown butter and cracker crumbs together in a pan before tossing in the spaetzels. I am so glad you posted a recipe for these, so many people do not know what they are.

  26. mary martinez says:

    i just want to say i love your blog . you are like a ray of sunshine i love what your doing with your home

  27. OH my gosh. I saw the picture and liked it on FB, but just got a chance to sit down and look at the whole recipe etc. YUM!! I’m going to give these a shot next week. Thanks for the recipe and the great pictures.

  28. Thank you Kevin! I have the same spatzle gadget and it works great! I will try your recipe with the butter and herbs!
    Thank you for inviting all of us to taste your dish!!
    I enjoy your blog !

  29. Jeanne Collins says:

    Oh Kevin, you make it look so easy! My son and I attempted spaetzle once and it was such a huge messy disaster, I’ve limited my spaetzle consumption to having it at my favorite German restaurant, Kaiserhof in San Diego. With the help of your photos, I now see what was wrong! Our dough was way too thick, there was no dripping through the spaetzle maker, we were more pressing it through with all our might! 8 years later, I still have that spaetzle maker in the back of my large gadget drawer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get brave enough to try again!

  30. Hi Kevin–This recipe sounds absolutely delicious! As I was looking down through your photos I actually found myself laughing out loud when I got to the photo that had the caption, “Along with goblets of Sauvignon blanc.” Goblets!!!! That’s the spirit! You are most most definitely my kind of cook.

  31. John A Root says:

    I’ve been making spaetzle for years. You version sounds wonderful, and I shall try it this week. mmmmm

  32. Susan in MI says:

    Love your posts!! Thanks very much for this one. I *love* spaetzle with green beans and thought I I grew enough of the organic bush beans last year to have frozen for the rest of the fall/winter season.. Sadly mistaken I was! Have to double up on that planting. Even was thinking of growing my own non-Gmo corn and whatever of that isn’t roasted and eaten during the summer, will be cut off the cob and frozen as well.

  33. If you were closer I’d be knocking on your door right now. My mother and grandmothers used to make spaetzle. Served with pot roast or light tomato sauce. My mother made farina spaetzle to put into chicken soup. It absorbed the chicken fat and tasted buttery. Wonder why we all need diets! Will be on Amazon later for a spaetzle maker. They all used a teaspoon for a larger spaetzle.

  34. Spaetzle was one of my favorite things to eat when I lived at home. Mom made platters and topped with browned buttered breadcrumbs. My parents were from Germany, but Mom didn’t like me in the kitchen when she was cooking and never wrote down a recipe, so am eager to try these. Wish I knew how to make her potato dumplings and a doughnut that she used to make for Easter called “moisien”, the spelling is wrong, but the pronunciation is right on.

  35. I too love spaetzle, however I confess that I buy mine, usually 6 bags at a time whenever I can find it and give some to my kids. With all those eggs yours is probably better though, so I’ll keep my eye out for that neat gadget and make them with my kids when they come home for weekend. Love your site, you give me so much enjoyment 🙂

  36. Norma Murchie says:

    what is all purpose flour and where do I get it

  37. Kevin,
    This looks and sounds delicious!
    I just love your website, your newsletters, your recipes and ideas, all with a touch of humor and whimsy.
    I feel as if I could show up at your place tonight and you would indeed serve me Spaetzel and that glass of wine.
    P.S. I’m going shopping today for a Spaetzel maker and a blue bowl.

  38. Yummmmmmm…..~!

  39. Norma Murchie – American “all-purpose” flour is “plain” flour in the UK and Australia.

  40. I’ve attempted making spaetzle… never thought to refrigerate the batter before boiling! Great tip! And my attempt with a slotted spoon to drip them in the water didn’t yield the nice sized dumplings like I wanted… hahaha, lesson learned. Colander is it!

    And your cut over to Lily made me smile. I really really needed that this morning. 😀

  41. My favorite part of the recipe is “yes Lily, i said cheese” I know an adorable dog named Lily that looks much like this one and get that same look on her face at the sound of the work cheese.

  42. I use them a bit differently. I drop them by fork stringing them out into … potato soup! My sister married into a very large Polish-German family where I was always delighted in spending some Sunday’s dinnertime. I don’t know if the M-I-L used them otherwise but this use and method was adopted by my (much older) sister for her children and therefore, I mine. I’ve never used them for anything else. I assume that this was just a way of stretching the soup for the large family. PS: we make our pot soup on the thin side so therefore the spaetzle is low boiled in the soup to cook the spaetzle.

  43. Carolyn A says:

    Nothing to do with spaetzle, although I’ve made them before (your device looks much easier than mine, which looks like an enormous, heavy potato ricer.

    No, just wanted to say how much we’ve enjoyed your Thyme and Gruyere Gougeres, which I’ve now made several times. They always get rave reviews, and it’s wonderful to have them uncooked in the freezer and then just bake them as I need them.

    Also made the Charlotte Almondine which was delicious – am going to try lining the whole Charlotte mold with clingfilm though, and see if I can pull it out rather than having to run a knife around the edge – even ensuring that the flat sides were against the wall of the mold, they still ended up looking a bit scruffy. But totally delicious, and again, rave reviews!

    I enjoy your newsletters, Kevin – many thanks!

  44. Wow, 7 eggs ! I live in Alsace and have enjoyed Spätzle for ages – and have found them in Central Europe under the names of “galuska” or “nokedli” in Hungary, and “halusky” in Slovakia, and the Czeh Republic.
    Here in Alsace, Spätzle mean sparrows, but there is another informal meaning : willy ! (Sorry if it’s not politically correct…)
    Our version is made with 500 gr flour, 2 small eggs, add water till you get the desired consistency. Make your spätzle and throw them immediately in a skillet with butter.
    In Hungary I used to make a version with 1 egg for 100 gr of flour, which made for a softer version. At all rate : bon appétit (or A güeter in the dialect)

  45. badger gardener says:

    Kevin, what great timing. I was honestly just dreaming of spaetzel yesterday. Now I don’t have to go searching for a recipe.

  46. Made this Spaetzel this past Monday evening……Delicious!! I used all fresh stuff from the garden…Oregano, Garlic chives, Kale and Swiss Chard. Easy and fun to make too!!

    Thanks Kevin!

  47. Mona Tammaro says:

    I absolutely LOVE your website and look so forward to your new recipes and gardening ideas.
    Thanks for always making my day!

  48. Naomi Shelton says:

    Yumm-eee. I have never eaten or prepared spaetzel, but it looks like fun. I might even have to buy a, ah….one of those spaetzel makers. I wonder how they would come out using a gluten-free flour mix. Perhaps I will try it and report back. I am doing a lot of gluten-free these days as I and my family feel better without modern wheat in our diet. Any other members doing the same? Let’s compare notes.

  49. Brenda Johnson says:

    Success!!! I served these last night for our “Monday meal” (making the spaetzel using the holes in a large metal spatula!) I served these little beauties as a side for chicken with a mushroom marsala sauce- delicious!!!

  50. Can you use a mixer instead of the whisk?
    I found (online) a spaetzel maker for 6.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond, going to go pick one up tomorrow! Thank-you for your wonderful pictures, always so helpful.

  51. Antoniette says:

    Oh Kevin, you have warmed my heart! I have such fond memories as a child of my best friend’s Oma making these. They were from Germany and spaetzel were a regular part of their meal repertoire (I’d eat at her house for German food and she would eat at mine for Italian!). I wish I had learned from Oma how to make these as I loved them. Your directions and photos make it seem so simple! I think I’ll give these a go!

  52. With all of the international interest in this delightful food I wanted to add my ‘2 cents’. In the Bernese Oberland, where my family originated (and still lives in their 400+ year old house), these were called ‘Knoepfli’ or ‘little buttons.’ They were made using the edge of a wooden cutting board (as one of your readers related) and were sliced off with a sharp knife. Whatever the method and whatever they are called the are DELICIOUS. We have them in our family every year over the Christmas holiday with venison bourguignon and with a broad range of home-made savory pickles, such as garlic buds, kimche, jerusalem articholks, as well as okra and string beans. Our family is dedicated to delicious FOOD.

    Am enjoying the recipes, the tips and the reactions from your readers. THANKS!

  53. I’m buying a spaetzle maker now! This looks easy and very, very good! We prefer simple dishes.

  54. ayla dumont says:

    OK, i loooove spaetzle . growing up in germany that was always my special treat. beeing born during the war, we had no butter, so margarine was our go to. ive had a spaetzle maker for eons but never made them. now its gone and i will have to make do. i just gained a pound talling about this……………………………….

  55. Linda A. says:

    My mother used to make these but without the fancy gadget.
    I think she just clipped the dough with a scissors, added some salt and pepper,
    maybe some herbs and browned them.
    Thank you for the trip back to my childhood!

  56. Oh these look so good! I make Spaetzle the old fashioned way…a blob of the batter on a board (Spaetzlebrett) and cut little chunks into the simmering water! I love your idea of butter and herbs. I think I will be making this for our Thanksgiving dinner this year.

  57. I just recently found your blog and love your sense of humor – love your home and garden and of course, your recipes. Have you published a cookbook yet? Looking forward to a tour of your garden in the summer of 2016 Wishing you and your significant other a very Happy and Healthy New Year.


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