from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spaetzle with browned breadcrumbs as a side dish to an onion roast
Planed buttons

Spätzle [ ˈʃpɛtslə ], Spätzla [ ˈʃpɛtslʌ ], Spatzen , Spätzli (in Swiss High German ) or Spätzlich (in Hohenlohe ) are Swabian or Alemannic pasta in elongated form, which are served as a side dish or with other ingredients as a separate dish. Similar pasta in a more round shape is also called Knöpfle in Baden-Württemberg and Bavarian Swabia and Chnöpfli in Switzerland .

Spaetzle are egg pasta made from fresh eggs with an irregular shape and a rough, porous surface, in which the tough dough is poured directly into boiling water / steam - whereby its shape varies between thin and thick, oblong and short. They are the only pasta products that are cooked during production. In the classic method of production, a spaetzle board is used and the moist dough is scraped into the cooking water. In mass production, the dough is either pressed through perforated sheets or it drips through these sheets into the cooking bath.


Spaetzle is the Swabian diminutive of sparrow and may mean " sparrow " or "lump, lump". Spaetzle is a plural word as used here. The dish is documented as a water sparrow in the 18th century. In the Hohenlohe area they are called with the Franconian diminutive syllable -lich Spätzlich , in Switzerland and in the Markgräflerland Spätzli or Chnöpfli and in the Lower Alemannic area Knepfli . In Hungary ( nokedli and also galuska  - both names are naturalized foreign words there) and Slovakia an equivalent dish is common ( galuska or halušky ). In northern Austria, spaetzle are known as dumplings ( e.g. when they are prepared as egg dumplings ); in Carinthia and Tyrol , dumplings are also known as nocken .

The name probably refers to the shape of the spaetzle in the 18th century, which was compared to sparrows. Some linguists reject the name and the word chunk of for (dough) lumps.

Depending on the shape, a distinction is made in some regions between Spätzle (the length exceeds the diameter by more than four times) and Knöpfle (the ratio of length to diameter is less than two). Bad, lumpy or sticky spaetzle are also called ravens , storks , black horses , nightingales , grandfathers or eagles .

History and meaning

Spätzle and Knöpfle have a centuries-long tradition of production in the Swabian region and are of great importance for Swabian cuisine . Swabian literature is rich in poems related to the “favorite dish of the Swabians”, such as the poem “Das Lob der Schwabenknöpfle” published in 1838 in the Black Forest Bote , the poem “Schwäbische Leibspeisa” or the “Spätzles Lied”.

The tradition of making spaetzle in Swabia can be traced back to the 18th century. In 1725, the Württemberg councilor and personal physician Rosinus Lentilius summarized “Knöpflein” and “Spazen” as “everything that is prepared from flour”. At that time, spelled was widespread in the Swabian-Alemannic region; it is an undemanding grain that also thrives on poor soils. Spelled flour contains a lot of gluten ; the dough works well without adding eggs.

Spaetzle scraper
Spaetzle board

Traditionally spaetzle be scraped by hand handgeschabte spaetzle from the board - even board spaetzle called - are still regarded as a special cachet. For economic reasons, the machine processing of spaetzle "with a homemade character" came in at the beginning of the 20th century. H. as if scraped by hand. With the onset of industrialization and increasing prosperity, the spaetzle advanced from everyday food to a culinary specialty on festive days. In the description of a Swabian farming village from 1937, spaetzle are mentioned as a festival dish. A year earlier, the local poet Sebastian Blau (pseudonym of Josef Eberle ) elevated spaetzle to the symbol of regional identity of the Swabians: "... the spaetzle are the foundation of our cuisine, the fame of our country, ... the nuts and bolts of the Swabian menu ...".

Swabian spaetzle or knöpfle are now in the range of almost all pasta manufacturers and restaurateurs in Swabia and have been successfully exported since the 1980s. They are mentioned in numerous Swabian festivals and customs and are also marketed for tourists in the form of specialty weeks or courses, seminars and competitions for scraping spaetzle. There are numerous cooking competitions and several world records in spaetzle scraping.

Several exhibitions document the traditional knowledge of production in the Swabian region from the beginning to the present. The great importance of the spaetzle for the Swabian cuisine proves u. a. the novel "The Story of the Seven Swabians", first published in 1827, according to which there is a custom in Swabia, "that you eat five times a day, namely five times soup, and twice with Knöpfle or Spätzle". Elise Henle explains in 1892 that it is fitting for a woman in Swabia to master the production of spaetzle: "s isch koi right Schwobe-Mädla, the net spaetzla kocha ka". For the modern era, the Swabian author Siegfried Ruoß lists over 50 different spaetzle recipes for the Swabian region in the cookbook “Schwäbische Spätzleküche”. There has been a spaetzle museum in Bad Waldsee in Upper Swabia since 2013.

The earliest recipes for spaetzle can be found since 1783 in the so-called Göppingen cookbook (see literature ), written by Rosina Dorothea Knör, widowed Schmidlin, née. Dertinger (1733–1809).

Dough ingredients and preparation of the spaetzle


The spaetzle dough is made from flour , eggs , lukewarm water , and in some places with milk, and salt , although the quantities given may vary. Commercially offered spaetzle flour is usually coarse-grained ( double grip ) wheat flour type 405, some with spelled flour or fine semolina mixed. It is less lumpy than plain flour.


Production of hand-scraped spaetzle
Production with a spaetzle press

In contrast to kneaded pasta dough, spaetzle dough is stirred and is therefore softer and more humid. There are different ways of further preparation:

  • Scraped: In the classic preparation of the fresh dough on a damp, ideally forward tapered, Spaetzle scraped directly into boiling salted water and smeared with spaetzle scraper or a knife into thin strips. This traditional form is laborious and requires practice.
  • Pressed: With the spaetzle press , the dough is pressed vertically in threads into the water. This creates even spaetzle for a long time.
  • Planed: The Spaetzle are available in two different versions:
    • the slicer with round, smooth holes produces short, thick spaetzle ( Knöpfle )
    • the slicer with the downward-pointing noses at the holes creates long spaetzle.
  • A newer way is to use a spaetzle strainer .
  • Alternatively, a mill can be used.

The spaetzle are cooked within a minute, rise to the top and are removed with a slotted spoon . They should not be quenched, but rather served while they are still hot. The spaetzle are often kept warm in hot, but no longer boiling water or spaetzle broth until they are served. The Spätzle are classically served with smeared breadcrumbs. The spaetzle broth was often not thrown away, especially with liver, sausage or sausage spaetzle, but processed into a soup.

Spaetzle are also available in stores as dried or chilled finished products .

Spaetzle dishes

Spaetzle with lentils and string sausages
Hazelnut spaetzle
  • Apple spaetzle are a sweet variant that can be found in the Allgäu and Lake Constance . Steamed apple slices or apple compote are added to roasted spaetzle and then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Backspätzle are baked golden yellow and are pure soup.
  • Roast spaetzle soup
  • Spelled spaetzle are made from spelled flour.
  • Ice spaetzle : The spaetzle are tossed in a pan with butter and mixed with beaten eggs.
  • Fiery spaetzle pot: minced meat, onions and cabbage or chicory are boiled and mixed with spaetzle.
  • Gaisburger Marsch is a classic Swabian stew with spaetzle.
  • Hazelnut spaetzle : roasted and with ground hazelnuts.
  • Potato spaetzle: grated boiled potatoes are added to the spaetzle dough.
  • Kässpätzle are probably the best-known spaetzle dish. It has a special tradition in Swabia , the Allgäu and Vorarlberg as Käsknöpfle . What the many variants have in common is that spaetzle, peeled onions and different types of cheese are layered. Typical cheeses are Emmentaler and mountain cheese , but also Limburg cheese, Weißlacker cheese or Vorarlberg mountain cheese . Side dishes are usually leaf salads or potato salad. In the Vorarlberger Oberland and Liechtenstein, apple sauce is also common with Kässpätzle. Remnants of the Kässpätzle can be fried in a pan with butter.
  • Herbal spaetzle : Various small chopped herbs such as parsley, lovage, tarragon or sorrel are added to the spaetzle dough.
  • Krautspätzle are heated together with sauerkraut and bacon in the pan until the cabbage is partially roasted.
  • Liver spaetzle consists of a batter that also contains pureed, raw liver . They are served with fried onions or used as a soup.
  • Lentils with spaetzle and string sausages is a typical Swabian spaetzle dish.
  • Milchspätzle : Spätzle serve together with boiled milk and eggs as the basis of a dessert with applesauce or boiled dried fruit.
  • Poppy seed spaetzle : The spaetzle are roasted in a pan with ground poppy seeds and sugar.
  • Pinzgauer Kasnockn are a Salzburg variant of Kässpätzle with Pinzgauer beer cheese , a piquant and strongly smelling specialty.
  • Schinkenrahmspätzle are mixed with a sauce made from boiled ham and cream .
  • Spaetzle with dried plums is a dessert with layers of spaetzle or knöpfle as well as dried plums, which are peeled off with melted butter and provided with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Spaetzle casserole : The spaetzle are mixed with ham with boiled cabbage and baked with cheese.
  • Spaetzle stew : The spaetzle are added to a meat and vegetable soup.
  • Spaetzle omlett : Eggs and ham are fried together with the spaetzle.
  • Spaetzle pancakes: Spätzle or Knöpfle are fried like potato pancakes.
  • Spinach spaetzle consist of a batter to which finely chopped spinach , recently also wild garlic , is added. They are served with diced bacon or creamy ham sauce.
  • Troffi consist of a dough that is also mixed with pesto . This variant is native to northern Italy.
  • Onion spaetzle : grated onions are added to the dough.

Protected designation of origin

Since March 2012, Swabian Spätzle and Swabian Knöpfle have been allowed to carry the EU seal of quality for “Protected Geographical Indications (PGI)” and are protected as a regional specialty throughout Europe. In order to be allowed to bear this mark, one of the production stages of the product (production, processing or manufacture) must have taken place in the respective defined area of ​​origin. The whole of Baden-Württemberg and the Bavarian administrative district of Swabia are permitted as regions of origin for Swabian Spätzle and Swabian Knöpfle .


  • Siegfried Ruoss: Swabian spaetzle cuisine . Konrad Theiss, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1603-7 .
  • Roswitha Liebenstein: Everything about Allgäu spaetzle. AVA Verlag Allgäu, Kempten / Allgäu 2003, ISBN 3-936208-46-8 .
  • Rosina Dorothea Knör, widowed Schmidlin, b. Dertinger: Collection of many regulations of all kinds of cooking and baking for young women, from a friend of the culinary arts . 1st edition. [Göppingen] 1783. ( Göppinger Kochbuch , 1.) Contains a recipe for spaetzle, possibly the earliest known.
  • [Rosina Dorothea Knör, widowed Schmidlin, b. Dertinger]: Göppinger Kochbuch Zweyter Theil or new collection of fasting dishes and all kinds of cookery and pastries for young women from a friend of the culinary arts in Göppingen. Stuttgart, bey [Carl Christoph] Erhard and [Franz Christian] Löflund, 1790 . ( Göppingen cookbook , 2.)
  • [Rosina Dorothea Knör, widowed Schmidlin, b. Dertinger]: New Göppingen cookbook [excerpt]. Recipes from the 200-year-old collection of many regulations from all kinds of cooking and baking for young women from a friend of the culinary arts in Göppingen . Selected and revised by Lilly Link and Ute Stumpp [...] and [with] a cultural-historical contribution about the “Göppinger Kochbuch” and its author by Karl-Heinz Rueß. Göppingen (1998) ( Publications of the Göppingen City Archives , Vol. 37). - 2nd edition Göppingen 2000.

Web links

Commons : Spaetzle  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Cookbook / Spaetzle  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Spätzle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g Application for registration . In: Official Journal of the European Union . C, No. 191, July 1, 2011, pp. 20-23.
  2. Entry in Duden: Pluralwort , on, accessed on October 1, 2015.
  3. Gabriele Kiunke: A search for traces . Border experiences in Hohenlohe. In: Stuttgarter Nachrichten , November 22, 2015, accessed on November 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Ewald Plachutta, Christoph Wagner: The good kitchen - the best from the Austrian cookbook of the century , Heyne, Munich, 13th edition, ISBN 978-3-453-11537-8
  5. Wolfgang Pfeifer (Ed.): Etymological Dictionary of German. 8th edition. dtv , Munich 2005, p. 1317.
  6. Boris D Paraškevov: Words and names of the same origin and structure. Lexicon of etymological duplicates in German. De Gruyter, Berlin 2004, p. 331 (at Google Books ).
  7. Eckhard Supp : Duden. Dictionary culinary arts. From amuse-bouche to decorative snow . Dudenverlag, Mannheim a. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-411-70392-0 , Chapter: Regional dishes in German-speaking countries , p. 87 .
  8. See "Spätzle and Knöpfle - history (s) about the favorite dish of the Swabians", Blickfang: Alte Zeiten, Ofterdingen; “Spaetzle - scraping, pressing, planing”, Beuren open-air museum
  10. Cf. Reinhard Breymayer : Between Princess Antonia of Württemberg and Kleist's Käthchen von Heilbronn. News on the magnetic and tension fields of Prelate Friedrich Christoph Oetinger . Heck, Dußlingen (2010), ISBN 978-3-924249-51-9 , pp. 5, 24, 28, 31, 47, 50, 54–56, 62–64, 66, 84, 226 and 4th cover page; here especially p. 24, 63 f: She was born by her mother, Christina Dorothea Dertinger, geb. Oetinger (1714–1789), a niece of the prelate Friedrich Christoph Oetinger. Her first husband was pastor Johann Lorenz Schmidlin IV (1722–1761), her second the Göppingen town clerk Carl Friedrich Knör (1736–1807). The statement of responsibility “R. Christine Knör (in) ”or“ Christine Knör ”is incorrect. One of the recipes from the first edition of the Göppingen cookery book from 1783 reads: "Gute Wasserspäzlen": Flour is taken as desired, a few eyers and a spoon of sour cream are made with good milk, like a thin stick of Späzlenstaig, in boiling water laid, wobey not forgetting the salt; then made hot butter in a shallow bowl, put the Späzlen from the pan in with the slotted spoon so that there is still a little broth on it, covered, and let a pod boil at the bottom: that's how they're done. [...]
  11. Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 186/2012 of the Commission of March 7, 2012 for the entry of a name in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications (Schwäbische Spätzle / Schwäbische Knöpfle (PGI)) . In: Official Journal of the European Union . L, No. 69, March 7, 2012, pp. 3-4.