spaetzle recipe

Spaetzle Recipe Without a Spaetzle Maker

OK, two confessions. The first is that this spaetzle recipe is nearly identical to Tyler Florence’s spaetzle recipe. Also, his version claims it’s six servings. I suppose that’s as a side dish. Or maybe it’s a typo. My second confession is that it was soooo good I ate the whole thing. All at once.

First of all, it was delicious! But that alone wouldn’t make it something I’d normally share, especially since I made so few changes. The important thing about this recipe isn’t that I adapted it or altered it. What I did do was figure out a way to make it without any special equipment.

I hate single use gadgets and while the recipe is really good, I wasn’t going to go out and buy a special spaetzle maker. Besides my dislike of one-use gadgets, there’s just no place to keep the thing. Tyler’s recipe, as well as many others, suggest using a slotted spoon or a cheese grater instead of the spaetzle machine. I tried both of those. They just didn’t work very well.

Then I had a brainstorm. The potato masher! It worked perfectly! Just hold it in one hand, scoop up some batter with a spoon in the other hand, and scrape the spoon back and forth over the masher (like you were grating cheese). Ta da!!!

You want the flat-bottomed sort of masher, with lots of holes, not the squiggly kind that looks like a bicycle rack.

There’s no brand name on the one I have, so I don’t know exactly what it is, but the masher on the left is the closest I could find. The holes on mine are rectangular, not round, but I think that will be OK, since real spaetzle maker holes are round. The key is that there’s a flat surface, with lots of holes in it.

I included the image below so you could see what it should look like.  That design will work fine.  The one on the right will mash potatoes, but will be useless for spaetzle.

Flat potato masher
Squiggly potato masher

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Category: lunch

Cuisine: German


spaetzle recipe

A super-easy way to get your noodle fix. And, with my method you don't need any special tools either.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Get two bowls, one large, and one medium. Put the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in the larger bowl, and mix them together.
  2. Now get the smaller bowl and whisk together the milk and eggs.
  3. Make a depression in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk-egg mixture into it.
  4. Push the flour in from the sides toward the milk-egg mixture and then gradually mix everything together to form a dough.
  5. It should be fairly smooth and thick. Let the mixture rest for at least 10-15 minutes.
  6. While the dough is resting, fill a 3 quart saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer.
  7. Now, grasp your potato masher by the handle with one hand, holding it with the flat mashing side down. Pour a spoonful of batter over the mashing head. Then scrape it back and forth with the spoon (like you were grating cheese). This will make your spaetzle.
  8. Do it in batches, so the pot doesn't get too full. Cook the spaezle for three minutes or so, until they start to float to the top. Stir every once in a while so they don't stick. Then remove them with a slotted spoon, drain, and set aside while you make the next batch.
  9. Once the spaetzle are cooked, heat the butter in a large skillet. Or be lazy and reuse the saucepan. Add the spaetzle, and turn and toss them so they are coated with the butter. Cook for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Spaetzle Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Serve with grated cheese, like Emmenthaler or Gruyère
  • Cook some onions until caramelized, add them to the spaetzle (with or without cheese)
  • Cut off small pieces of dough and flick them into a pot of simmering chicken soup or broth (like mini dumplings!)

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