What to Serve with Spaetzle: A Plethora of Ideas to Bring Your Dumplings Alive
Call it a chewy and bumpy egg noodle, call it a short little dumpling, or call it a rustic Germanic gnocchi.
Call it what you will. But, if spaetzle’s on the menu, just don’t call us late for dinner.
Spaetzle is truly a thing of beauty that doesn’t get nearly the love it deserves. With its handmade, short, slightly twisted and beautifully tender shapes, it’s a pasta that lives in its own category.
And it teaches all other comfort foods how to be just a little more comforting.
With roots that reach deep back into the histories of northern European countries from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, to northern France, Slovenia, and Hungary, this simple and rustic dumpling noodle makes a perfect foundation for rich and comforting flavors of all sorts.
Bathe it in a simple butter sauce or drench it in a heavy cream, paprika, and dill concoction, sauce it up with a generous meaty braising liquid, put it center stage in a cheesy casserole, or fry it up to add a little color and snappy texture.
Whatever route you choose, spaetzle soaks up flavors like they’re old friends and makes a super fun party in your mouth.
That versatility also means there is a world of dishes and accompaniments that bring out the best in spaetzle. So, what to serve with spaetzle doesn’t have to be a daunting question.
But where to start when you’re itching to get dinner on the table? We’re here to help.
Whether you’re craving traditional German, Austrian, or Alsatian combinations or you’re looking to explore some new twists, we have plenty of ideas for you.
How to Serve Spaetzle: Our List of Exciting Combinations
So, let’s get that water boiling, break out a colander or potato ricer – or for the spaetzle nerds among us, your spaetzle press – and let’s get cooking.
1. Swedish Meatballs
When it comes to dumpling love, Swedish meatballs and spaetzle metaphorically run to each other in slow motion down a beach with outstretched arms.
Yes, they love each other. They long to be together.
And who are we to deny them their love?
The hearty meatballs loaded with savory flavor and coated in a tangy sour cream sauce pair amazingly with spaetzle. Feel the bliss.
We like Nichole’s recipe at Cookaholic Wife. Grab the link and indulge!
2. Portobello Paprikash
Don’t let meat have all the fun when it comes to spaetzle.
Grab some meaty portobello mushrooms, toss them with paprika, wine, and tomatoes to create a lip-smackingly delicious meal that will leave everyone raving.
We mean raving.
Because who doesn’t love a colorful vegetarian dish that’s thickened with sour cream. It’s kind of the perfect midweek meal.
We love Sonali’s recipe at The Foodie Physician for all the creamy mushroom goodness.
3. Duck Confit
Duck, duck, duck, confit!
We love the flavorful wine and demi-glace-infused dish that elevates a weeknight meal into a 4-star event.
We also enjoy mixing up our spaetzle routine by using different flours – so why not try rye instead of white flour or semolina?
Mmmm. The extra savory notes pair perfectly with the rich duck. You can even make the dumplings ahead and just reheat them toward the end of the cooking time.
“Harried Tuesday Night” You will sincerely appreciate “Relaxed Cooking Ahead on a Sunday for Later in the Week” You.
Check out Hank’s recipe for both the duck confit and the spaetzle at Honest Food.
Without traveling to Germany, one may not be familiar with sauerbraten. The word can evoke a cartoonishly plump hot dog nearly bursting at the seams dancing in a bun with some sauerkraut.
But, it’s not remotely something you’d eat in a baseball stadium.
However, it is a little sour.
And that’s because Sauerbraten is actually an insanely delicious beef (or venison or lamb) roast that’s slowly brined in vinegar and pickling spices that makes it tangy and succulent. Hence the “sauer” in the “braten.”
Take your Sunday supper to a whole new level with this dish.
And bring on the spaetzle to serve it with.
You know you want to. Because if you’ve ever wondered what goes with spaetzle, you now have your answer: sauerbraten.
We like Jennifer’s recipe at The Lemon Apron. Grab the recipe here for all of the puckery protein goodness.
5. Cheese Spaetzle
When we first heard of this spaetzle dish, our collective jaws hit the floor. There also may have been some tears of joy that slowly worked their way down our faces.
Nothing could be this appetizing. Nothing.
And because the cheese is melted onto the little dumplings, there’s a world of flavor profiles to play with to make the meal different with every style.
Nutty gruyere makes it doubly savory.
Hops and gouda melting beer cheese brings a subtle tanginess.
Sharp cheddar makes it hearty, or a mellow Alpine cheese will meld perfectly with the buttery onions.
So many options to try. So much joy to be had.
Helene at Masalaherb will walk you through the flavorful options.
6. Chicken Spaetzle Soup
We love to combine spaetzle and soup.
Soup and spaetzle.
Spaetzle and soup.
The words just roll off the tongue, and land on the taste buds.
Pillowy, billowy, puffs of dough combined with a rich and hearty chicken soup makes the perfect bowl of filling and delicious comforting goodness.
We don’t even just combine the two in the kitchen, we’ve also been known to put a bowl of spaetzle in the middle of the table so people can add the amount that makes them the happiest.
Which tends to be – a lot.
We like this recipe from Erin at The Speckled Palate.
7. Sausage and Spaetzle
There’s just something magical about spaetzle and sausage. Maybe it’s because they both would be right at home at a fabulous Octoberfest celebration that makes the combination so festive.
Or it could be old fashioned practicality.
Sausage and spaetzle can just be tossed with spaghetti sauce and they’ll make a delicious dinner.
Or, they could be tossed in barbecue sauce and be stellar.
Or – and who’s kidding who here – they’re amazing in a decadent creamy parmesan sauce.
So, whatever you have on hand in the pantry, fridge, or in your farmers market basket, can be thrown together with sausage and spaetzle and it will make a midweek meal magical.
If you’re asking yourself what do you put on spaetzle, then sausage is a traditional – and magical – place to start.
8. Spaetzle and Butter
Don’t just take our words for it, boil some spaetzle and toss it with butter. And then add some fresh herbs to the pan.
Salt and pepper.
A bowl of buttery dumplings with herbs warms the belly – and the hands holding the bowl. It’s the epitome of cheerful peasant food.
And if you’re feeling a little fancy you can always top it with some parmesan or mozzarella. But that’s up to you.
But, no matter how you slice it, a simple butter sauce with simple additions is one of our favorite answers to the question of how to serve spaetzle.
9. Goulash with Spaetzle
If one is inclined to have the kitchen filled with fragrant paprika and caraway, think goulash. Slow braised beef with onions always, always, always wins the evening.
And nothing soaks up all those amazing flavors – or ups the comfort level – like our best friend, spaetzle.
Toss the beef and onions (and spices!) into a Dutch oven and let time do the work for you. Or, you could cheat and use an instant pot.
But c’mon. Really. Wouldn’t you want the aroma to linger for hours rather than minutes? Mmmm. Delicious, delicious, aroma hangtime.
10. Schnitzel and Spaetzle
And for a food combination that may leave you humming The Laverne and Shirley theme song, try schnitzel and spaetzle.
The combination of thin, crispy, breaded meat – chicken, pork, turkey, and veal all work wonderfully – with spaetzle is traditional, but funky. Like a Waterford crystal beer mug, or the original painting of dogs playing poker.
It’s got a certain je-ne-sais-quoi wow factor.
Schnitzel is always high on our list of what to serve with spaetzle. We think you’ll agree.
Bonus: Schnitzel and spaetzle come together in the blink of an eye for an amazing midweek meal. Which only ups the cool factor of this dish.
11. Roulades and Spaetzle
Traditionally roulades are made with beef wrapped around bacon and onion. And so, we love traditional roulades.
Beef, bacon, and onion? Hello, gorgeous!
But you can have roulades of any type of thinly pounded out meat that’s wrapped around delightful fillings.
Spaetzle welcomes all comers. And we do too.
We’re not adverse to poultry that’s thinly coated with pesto and rolled onto itself and pan fried.
Or, poultry rolled up with ham and herbs.
Nestle any of these – or other combinations that you dream up – amongst a bed of chewy spaetzle and let joy wash over you.
It all just makes us want to practice our rolling and filling skills. Because, roulades rule.
What to Serve with Spaetzle: Bring Your Meal to a Perfect Head
So, we’ve looked closely at some amazing dishes and combinations to bring spaetzle to the forefront, but what about drink pairings?
Of course, there’s no reason not to pop open a crisp, cold bottle of German beer to go with your spaetzle-centric meal. German food loves to be paired with the perfect beer.
But what beer to choose? Well, of course it depends on exactly what your spaetzle dish is.
If you’re cooking on the lighter side try a German wheat for its slightly fruity, fresh notes.
If your dish includes richer elements and stronger flavors like sausages and sauerkraut, try turning to the darker, malty, higher alcohol content of a bock beer or a full-bodied, malty helles lager.
A dark lager such as an Oktoberfest or a Vienna lager can hold up nicely to the bold flavors as well.
And for that matter, how about considering including spaetzle when you’re laying out a spread for your next Oktoberfest party.
Fresh pretzels, sauerkraut, sausages, a round of crisp, cold beer, and our new best friend – spaetzle. Sounds like a party we’d like to attend.
When Savory Meets Sweet
But what about other parts of the meal? How about a touch of sweetness?
What better way to finish off a hearty meal featuring spaetzle than with a hot cup of coffee and a rich, delicious dessert.
Why not a slice of German cake, indulging in our love of layers and contrasting textures and flavors?
Let’s start with the well-known favorite, the utterly delectable black forest cake. The layers of spongey chocolate, whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate shavings are an unspeakably decadent way to finish off a comforting spaetzle meal.
Lesser known, but no less perfect for finishing off your dinner, would be a slice of bee sting cake, also known as bienenstich.
This underappreciated dessert brings stunning layers of contrasting textures. The spongy layers of cake play off of a sumptuous vanilla cream middle and crunchy nutty almond top.
Or how about a little dish of the amazing hot and cold contrasts of rote grutz, a warm berry “pudding” finished with cool fresh cream or ice cream.
Lighter, but still delectably decadent, this simple dessert will round out your meal perfectly.
Spaetzle, the Day After
Spaetzle has many superpowers. But chief among them is the ability to even more flexible and delicious the next day.
Waking up hungry but not sure what to fill your belly with? If there’s spaetzle in your refrigerator, the answer is just a frying pan away.
Fry your leftover spaetzle up in a pan and finish it up with a fried egg and a few links of sausage and you have a great, and hearty breakfast. That crispy spaetzle will put diner hash browns to shame.
And because spaetzle is great the next, it always makes sense to make a large batch when you’re making it from scratch.
Throw it into a soup. Warm it up to be a bed under your favorite vegetable or meat main dish. Or throw it into a rich and filling casserole. Or throw it into any of the combinations we listed above.
Leftover spaetzle won’t lead you wrong.
So, don’t be afraid to play with your food.
And we hope we’ve given you some fresh ideas about what to serve with spaetzle, because the possibilities are wide open, and you won’t be disappointed.