Spätzle, with butter and bread crumbs

Family Spätzle

Spätzle, with butter and bread crumbs

I carefully reviewed the instructions…

“…stir until fairly smooth – consistency similar to puppy poop…”

Puppy poop? Sadly, I tried to envision what that could mean, having never closely examined it before. I asked J if puppy poop was like how people refer to baby poop.

This was going to be an interesting recipe.

I grew up eating spätzle, prepared by my Oma and Opa and by my dad. I never really thought about it, I knew it was a German dish and just accepted that it was what it was. It wasn’t until I started thinking about recipes that I thought to look up spätzle, and I found that there are many regional variations on the dish. The way my family makes it seems to be the less popular version, but it always reminds me of my childhood.

Every time I’ve gotten spätzle at a restaurant, it looked very different to the version I was used to. It was more of a squiggly chubby noodle shape, instead of the near-dumpling shape I always enjoyed. This page on the German Food Guide offers some insight to the dish, some of the different ways people shape it, some different recipes, and other neat facts about how it’s made. There’s even a way to make it with beer! (I might need to try that next)

We usually had it topped with a simple butter and breadcrumb sauce, but my dad would sometimes experiment with other kinds of sauces or other ingredients in the batter. I vaguely remember having carrot spätzle at least once…

Spätzle batter
Spätzle batter - checking consistency

Back to the puppy poop (just when you got it out of your head)… I wanted to post a family recipe, rather than finding inspiration on other sites or in cookbooks. I emailed my dad for the recipe, knowing that he didn’t have it written down. He wrote it the way he thinks, and as I read it I could picture him mixing together the ingredients the way he’s done since I was a kid. And I laughed out loud at the comparison of the batter consistency to puppy poop.

It was perfect.

Spätzle, inside
This style of Spätzle can be pretty dense inside, almost like a dumpling.

Recipe after the jump!

I may have ruined the effect by putting some structure to it, but I thought it might be easier to follow with some measurements and instructions.


4 servings


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • up to 1 tablespoon of herbs and spices (optional – I added some cayenne and herbes de provence)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour (approximately)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional – I added this for colour mostly)
  • butter and breadcrumb sauce


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and any herbs and spices that you want to incorporate into the spätzle.
  2. Incorporate the flour in small batches, each time mixing until the flour is completely integrated. Keep adding flour until the dough becomes elastic, smooth and very hard to stir.
  3. Boil a large pot of water. Dip a table spoon into the boiling water to wet it. To form the spätzle, fill the tablespoon about half way with dough, and release into the boiling water.
  4. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Drain the water from the spätzle. Because it’s full of fun craters where water can hide, you will need to drain it especially well. Toss with the chopped parsley.
  6. Plate, and dab a bit of the sauce on each spätzle. Don’t add too much – it’s really more of a light dressing than a sauce. Serve alongside some crunchy veggies.

Butter & Breadcrumb Sauce

I modified this a little bit, because I wanted to substitute oil for some of the butter.


  • 4 Tablespoons butter (I use salted, if you use unsalted add more salt)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Melt the butter… this can be done in the microwave, or on the stove.
  2. Mix in the breadcrumbs. If needed, gently heat further (especially if you store breadcrumbs in the fridge or freezer).
  3. Season as needed.