Simple Spaetzle from Scratch

12/12/2011 08:50 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2012

I've been meaning to try making spaetzle for years. It's one of those yummy foods that seem really hard and you can't often find on a regular basis, so if you want it, you have to figure out how to make it. I even bought a spaetzle maker two years ago in the hopes that one day soon I would find the inspiration and time to try it. And just last week, a recipe in my local newspaper reminded me of my mission, and so I made it.

What is spaetzle? It's a little egg-based noodle or dumpling made in boiling water and basically, the basis for any sort of gravy, butter, or sauce. It's of German origin--apparently spaetzle means "little sparrow," but a true modern spaetzle looks more like "boogies." I'm sorry, that doesn't sound appetizing, but it really is what they look like and how I described them to my 5-year-old: boogie noodles. Only, they taste much better! They taste like an egg noodle and go with almost anything.

Lo and behold, spaetzle, like most ethnic comfort foods, isn't really hard to make at all. And like most basic side dishes, it consists of very simple ingredients. In fact, one day I'm going to write a blog titled "500 Things To Do with Eggs, Flour, Milk or Water, and Salt." AND I even used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Organic Flour so it's not just a white food anymore; it's kinda healthy!

I made mine using an official spaetzle maker like this one. But legend has it you can use a regular colander and just pour the batter in and push it through with a spoon or spatula.



  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups flour (white whole wheat!)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Butter for on top
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl (except the butter) with a whisk. Apparently, it helps to let the mixture sit for a half hour or so, so do this before you put the cooking water on to boil.
  2. Put a big pot of water on to boil (add some salt if you are feeling particular).
  3. When the water is boiling, start pouring the mixture into the spaetzle maker and push it through. When the spaetzle rises to the top, skim it off with a skimmer and put it in a strainer to let the water drain. This takes from 1 to 3 minutes--NOT LONG! Cooking a whole batch of spaetzle using this recipe will take you 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. When you are done, put the spaetzle in a dish, melt the butter, and pour over the top. Brown butter is good. But so is plain melted butter. Chop some herbs or, better yet, serve it with chicken and gravy. Or sausage and gravy. Or meat and gravy. Well, anything with any kind of gravy is awesome.

There you have it. Speatzle made simple, made from scratch! It's good left over, too.

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