How to make Spaetzle

I remember the first time I saw my mom make spaetzle … I wasn’t quite a teenager … and I wondered what I had done to deserve such punishment! Spaetzle wasn’t something I was overly fond of as a kid, I much preferred spaghetti and meatballs as my pasta of choice. I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the German squiggly pasta or the tradition it represented in my family.

Both of my parents have strong German roots … ancestors from both sides came to the USA by way of the southwestern part of German.

My mother’s side (Jacob Mueller) arrived in the early 1800s, landing in New Orleans and walking the length of the Mississippi River to what is now known as St. Clair County in Illinois. Can you imagine walking all that way? I can’t.

Incidentally, Chili’s family also settled in St. Clair County; I tease him all the time about being his “cousin”. I haven’t made the connection yet, but you’ll know when I do … the shriek will be heard around the world.

Charles Daniel Essler

Charles Daniel Essler, my 2nd great grandfather, 1848-1914

My dad’s side (Essler) also arrived in the early 1800s. While I haven’t pinned down the exact year or location, I do know they traveled north through Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

I’ve always been fascinated by migration patterns of America’s early settlers … my family traveled opposite routes upon arrival, but we still all ended up here in southern Illinois … thankfully, or I wouldn’t exist!

Although it’s popular throughout Germany today, spaetzle is thought to have originated in the southwestern part of the country. It’s no wonder why it was popular among my family’s early arrivals!


How to make spaetzle


Ingredients – make 4 servings

  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup milk



First, place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the mixture. How to make spaetzle

 Whisk together egg and 1/3 cup of milk then pour into the dry ingredients.

IMG_3175The mixture should be wet enough that you can easily mix it with a fork. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk to loosen it.  If it’s too dry, it won’t go through a spaetzle maker … everything gets clogged up!

How to make spaetzleThis is a spaetzle maker.  Mine is older … from Austria … I picked it up at a junk store about 2 years ago.  It fits on top of your pan and the hopper (that think that looks like a metal cup) slides back and forth to force the spaetzle through the holes.

How to make spaetzleMake sure your water is at a rolling boil. Fill the hopper with your flour mixture.

How to make spaetzleSlide the hopper back and forth and watch the spaetzle fall into the water!

How to make spaetzleIt doesn’t take long for them to cook. When they float, they’re done!How to make spaetzle

You should be able to get through all of your mixture in this recipe before removing the cooked spaetzle. You’ll need to work in batches for larger amounts.

Immediately remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Nothing is worse than rubbery spaetzle!

How to make spaetzleThen drain in a colander and you have enough spaetzle for dinner!

How to make spaetzleThis is a versatile pasta, although it’s usually fixed with venison or beef … it takes the place of our potato. An easy final touch is to toss these with some melted butter and butterkaese (German butter cheese)! Check out my onion and mushroom sauce concoction, too!






3 Replies to "How to make Spaetzle"

  • comment-avatar
    Venessa January 30, 2014 (2:29 pm)

    I bet it tastes a lot better than the pasta we are use to here in the USA!

  • comment-avatar
    Venessa January 30, 2014 (2:29 pm)

    BTW – this is amazing to see the process. Keep traditions going!

    • comment-avatar
      Niki Davis January 30, 2014 (2:31 pm)

      Thanks! I love it all dressed up with cheese and nothing else … and it’s really pretty easy to make.

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