There is hardly anything that Germans like more than their beloved potatoes.
They are part of both traditional and modern recipes, sweet and savory dishes, served as a side or as a main course. They get roasted, baked, grilled, boiled, riced, diced, grated, deep-fried or formed into different shapes, like these special dumplings.
The Swabians – who are also the originators of spaetzle as well as Maultaschen Ravioli “Pockets”– first made schupfnudeln popular. The Swabian region has had a huge impact on Germany’s food traditions.
As is quite often the case in Germany, the dish is known by different (and often funny) names in different areas, schopperla or buwespitzle for example.
But the most popular name – schupfnudeln – combines the cooking technique with their appearance. Schupf means something like “rolling,” while the term nudel is a form of knoedel and comes, from acommon stem of old German words that describes foods with a bulbous shape.
Traditionally, they are formed by hand. The dumplings are quick to prepare, and a nice side dish for savory meals. As the dumplings themselves have quite a neutral flavor, you can actually combine them with almost anything you like, unlike the classic German dumpling recipe.
That could be any kind of vegetable, meat or fish, but also applesauce, custard or stewed fruit. For the savory variety, it’s best when you roast or toss them in a pan in which you already prepared a part of your meal, so that they can sop up the flavor.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any dumpling recipes geared towards the saccharine: such as the sweet treat southern German Dampfnudel dumpling!
The dumplings are a fancy-looking alternative to pasta, rice or regular potatoes. There is no universal recipe for the dish, as there are many different local versions of how to prepare the dough.
When the potato first came to Europe and Germany in the 17th century, people started developing the recipe with the use of riced potatoes for the dumplings, and it became a popular alternative instead of wheat or rye flour.
They are somewhat akin to the Italian gnocchi potato dumplings, although we like to claim that they were (of course) developed in Germany first.
Because few ingredients are required, it is easy to prepare them from scratch. Try to find starchy potatoes, as they are the best choice for this recipe. Due to their high amount of starch, they can be processed easily with a potato ricer, and hold together perfectly when formed into dumplings.
The following recipe is a wonderful variety, made with sage and butter. It is a great side dish for serving with meat or chicken.
Make it a main meal by roasting the dumplings together with some vegetables, and mix with them with homemade tomato sauce to enjoy a healthy pasta-style stir fry.
This recipe calls for freshly ground nutmeg. If you’re having trouble sourcing the fresh variety, then check out Foodal’s article on the subject.
- 1 lb starchy potatoes
- 1 egg*
- 2/3 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- knob of butter
- handful of sage leaves
- Wash the potatoes, and cook in simmering water until they are soft. Peel them while they're still warm and press through a potato ricer. Spread onto a baking sheet and set aside to allow the water to evaporate.
- Once cooled, knead the egg and flour into the potatoes. Season with salt and nutmeg, and form into a long, thin roll.
- Cut into one-inch pieces and use your hands to form bite-sized, finger shaped dumplings by rolling them with your palms.
- Cook them in lightly boiling salted water until they come to the top. Take out with a skimmer, and leave to cool a bit.
- Melt the butter in a pan. Add some sage leaves and wait for them to become crispy.
- Add the dumplings and sauté for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve immediately, garnished with some fresh sage leaves.
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Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.
39 thoughts on “German “Schupfnudeln” – Potato Dumplings For Every Occasion”
Mmm, I’d love to try these in your pasta-style stir fry idea. I love marinara sauce and veggies together, but I’ve never tried them with anything potato-based. The sweet dumplings idea is quite intriguing as well. Thanks for the recipe and the tips!
This looks wonderful! I always say that I will eat a potato anyway I can get one, even raw! One way that we eat them in the south is by making potato pancakes. We also enjoy potato kanishes. The potato is extremely versatile. I can’t wait to try this variation on my favorite veggie.
You’re so right. One can do lots of great things with potatoes whether savory or sweet. Pancakes sound great. Here in Germany there is a pancake-like dish made of mashed potatoes and quark cheese, mixed with raisins. Also really yummy!
I hope you have fun at preparing the dumplings!
I do eat gnocchi and these are nice way to make them and who knows if it was the Germans or Italians who made them first? Maybe the Italians!
I haven’t tried roasting before, but I like the idea as I usually add a sauce or use it in soup, but pan-fried is another method and also they won’t go soggy as they can do as I discovered when trying to reheat them.
That is really a tricky question but I also think the Italians might have been the original “inventors”. When it comes to other German pasta-like dishes like “Spaetzle” or “Swabian Pockets” there are nice stories of who had the idea first and how it developed. But I think we should be lucky that at least someone created them for us to enjoy today 🙂
These look and sound really tasty. My husband would love these. I bet some of his family can make them, and they probably have some stories to tell about them as well.
This dish would go well with so many things. Well, now there’s another item to add to my list. I’ve been hoping to break out of my rut of cooking the same things all the time, and this will definitely help (as this site so often does).
My house never feels complete without potatoes. Obviously I’m going to have to buy a potato ricer, because I need to try this recipe. For some reason, I love the look of these, and will try making them once I get a ricer. I am somewhat traditional, so I think I will try pan frying them and serving with meat or fish, which sounds delicious.
You don’t have to buy a potato ricer, just make your regular mashed potatoes, just not as creamy, let cool completely and add the other ingredients. This is the way my father taught me to make them and they come out perfect every time!!! What I usually do, is anytime I make mashed potatoes, I make more than I know my family will eat…put what is left over in the refrigerator and they will hold up to four days and I use them to make the potato dumplings, no extra work and they are great…I have found the colder the potato the better the dumplings!!! Hope this helps!!!
You just have the COOLEST RECIPES! I have never heard of schupfnudeln and now my mouth is absolutely watering over the pictures. As a vegetarian, I’m really excited about the gigantic number of meatless recipes on this site, and these potato dumplings WILL be made this week!
My family love potatoes, but I have never heard this recipe before. I don’t have any German relatives or friends or I probably would have. I am already planning to make these for dinner this weekend. I know my family will be really happy to eat them. Thanks for this recipe, we are going to enjoy it!
I really hope your family liked them! The last time I prepared them, I combined the dumplings with some fruits and vanilla sauce. I haven’t had the sweet version in quite a while, it was delicious. So, if you want to share your experience or what you served them with, you’re welcome. 🙂
I’ve had the chance of eating many types of dumplings from around the world, but I’ve never had the chance to eat any as cute as these. They look scrumptious! I would specially like to try the sweet version. I will certainly be trying this recipe!
Indeed, they are some cute goodies – and so versatile to combine with. If you like, share your experience about preparing them how everything worked out. Enjoy the meal!
Thank you Nina-Kristin. I gave the recipe a try and it was a success. It was a little hard for me at first to get the potato-flour dough into the same shape as the dumplings in the photo, but that was becaused sometimes I’m “kitchen challenged”. LOL But worry not, I kept on trying and it worked. I accompanied the dish with a salmon recipe that I found in the site last week and it was awesome.
Thank you for sharing! I’m so happy that you were successful.
The very first time I prepared them, I had some difficulties getting them “into shape”, too. Nowadays, it works out quite fine, so I’m glad it worked for you, too. I can imagine salmon is a tasty addition. I like that you can almost add anything you want because the dumplings can adapt to so many flavors.
This recipe is a great finger-food at parties! I initially thought they were little bread sticks made of potatoes. I think they make great alternative for french fries (NOT THAT french fries need this kind of preparation). I wonder what the texture of this food. Since the dumplings were boiled, then roasted, do they come out crispy? Just curious.
Fantastic serving idea, I’m sure they’ll work great as finger foood!
Exactly, after boiling and roasting, the outside will be crispy while the inside stays soft (just like the perfect french fries 😉 ) If you give them a shape that’s a bit longer than a thumb, you can serve some dips or salsa with them, I think that will be delicious!
This recipe looks so easy and yummy! Hubby and the kids just absolutely adore potatoes in literally any form, shape, and size! I’ve run out of ideas concerning this. So tonight, this will definitely be on the menu. I have one question, though, my little girl is a little fussy these days, and I really have to be creative when it comes to cooking, so shapes make a fun meal and gets her to eat more than 2 bites. Will I be able to use a cookie cutter to make different shapes with the dough instead of just making the tubes? And then just follow the rest of the recipe?
Thanks, you’re welcome to let us know how it turned out. I really like the idea of using a cookie cutter. I haven’t tried this yet and I hope they keep their shape during boiling, but I can imagine that it works. I think you have to be a bit of a pioneer here 😉 (maybe roll out the dough on some flour instead of forming a role, with a proper thickness to cut shapes out). But the other steps would stay the same. With some roasting in the end, they’ll become wonderfully crisp outside. I hope your daughter will enjoy the little potato-bites 🙂
I tried them last night…but I think they flopped…ha ha ha. They were still nice, though. It’s either my potatoes weren’t starchy enough, or I don’t know what I did wrong. The mix ended up being too mushy, and I added some more flour to get the consistency of dough…it kind of worked, but not doughy enough to use a cookie cutter on it without it sticking to the table surface (even after I used flour to roll it out on). So in the end, you couldn’t really taste the potatoes, but hubs and bubs liked it nonetheless. Said I should definitely make it again. So next time I will try to find better potatoes or something. (It could be that I used too much potato as well, I don’t have a kitchen scale)
Oh no, what a pity! However, it’s nice that your family liked them, but I really hope that it’ll work out better next time. Maybe you can weigh the potatoes directly when you buy them if you don’t have a scale? Or we have to think about an alternative for the cookie cutters. You could try to make small balls (by rolling the dough in your hands) instead of those finger-shaped dumplings or other shapes. It could look nice, too.
What I want to add is that the potatoes might be the reason for it, too, like you suggested. Although I use the same recipe, the outcome always also depends on the basic product. I hope that you’ll be more successful and find the perfect potato for a new batch of dumplings.
These are very yummy! I tried them for the first time last year in Bavaria and I couldn’t get enough of them! I haven’t tried to make them myself but I might give it a go as I’ve had major withdrawal symptoms.
Then you must have had some authentic experience with Schupfnudeln. They are so delicious and great to combine. I’ll encourage you to try it out. It might need some patience and practice, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂
Oh yes, they were absolutely awesome. Sadly, we were only there two nights before we moved on, so I really didn’t fulfil my food cravings as much as I would have liked.
They look so good! I think that they will be perfect for a snack, maybe, instead of regular fried potatoes or chips, these potatoes will do the same job but in a healthier way.
I will be honest with you, when I first read the title I thought that I was going to need special potatoes for this recipe and that it will be a difficult one, but it actually looks really simple and practical!
Thanks for sharing :).
Thanks! Indeed, they are a great alternative to chips or other usual potato-based side dishes. I hope you will have success making them and enjoy the mix of their soft inside and crispy outside 🙂
Well leave it to the Germans to have some funny sounding names for their food, and then have it turn out to be delicious. This certainly looks like another one of those, which is a good thing of course. I really have not had dumplings as much as I should throughout my life, so maybe this will be a nice pace to really catch up in that department. Look great for the winter months, so I will keep this on hand. Thanks for sharing.
I think you’re right, there are immediately coming some other names to my mind that sound rather amusing 🙂 For winter, these dumplings are great. They go well with meat or hearty oven dishes. You can just put them in the oven for gratins or things like that. Therefore, have fun trying them out some time and let us know how it turned out or what you comined them with. Enjoy!
My grandmother made these dumplings when I was a child. We called them “bullets”. Before frying them she would role them in breadcrumbs. I have been searching for this recipe for a long time. Thanks so much. ????
My grandmother also made a crispy baked thin bread type of dish she called ( pronounced) Schmoints Stetz. Do you know what this might be?
Hi Dick Stern, nice to hear that you were happy to find a recipe like this. I hope it will work out and you have fun making it!
Hm, I thought about the bread type you talk about, but I’m just not sure what it could be exactly. It might be a local type of bread with a special name that is not too popular. If I find anything that comes close to it, I will let you know 🙂
Thanks Nina. I am making chicken paprikash (adding these small dumplings) for the family this Thanksgiving, for a change. A trial run making the dumplings worked out well.
My stepdad’s mother was German. She used to make a recipe that (I thought) were called strudels. I randomly came across this on google and am now convinced that this is what she made! She always made them with beef tips and gravy and it was amazing. Can you tell me if this is a common way to eat this recipe? I’ve been searching for a recipe for years.
My mother also made these. She browned breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon in butter then tossed cooked noodles in. We called them spitzbuwe.
Love the recipes.. Can’t wait to try each one.
just made this tonight. maybe my ricer’s holes were too big but the dough wasn’t as smooth but we loved it. That was a lot of work though but I feel accomplished. Schupfnudeln frisch vom Lidl sind auch viel billiger 😉
… I marked a bunch of recipes to try in the next few weeks. Greetings from a German living in MN.
Lol… viel billiger, aber schmeckst nicht so lecker? (Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut!)
Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Mimi!
I loved the recipe, my family’s favorite recipe.
My grandmother (Albrecht) and mother made these often with leftover mashed potatoes. We called them ladyfingers. I found this site while searching for the German name for them. We usually had them with a roast and gravy. I always liked them dipped in ketchup more like a French fry. My father liked them fried crispy.