Spätzle: A Staple of Swabian Cuisine

by Spicyrranny
Spätzle: A Staple of Swabian Cuisine


When it comes to the culinary delights of Germany, one cannot ignore the humble yet delicious dish known as Spätzle. As a proud Swabian, it holds a special place in my heart and my taste buds. This traditional German pasta has been a staple in Swabian cuisine for centuries, loved by locals and visitors alike.

The history of Spätzle

The origins of it can be traced back to the region of Swabia, located in southern Germany. It is believed that it was first created in the 18th century, making it a relatively young dish compared to other German culinary traditions. The word “Spätzle” is derived from the Swabian dialect and translates to “little sparrows,” referring to the shape of the pasta.

Ingredients and preparation

The simplicity of Spätzle is what makes it so special. The basic ingredients for it include flour, eggs, salt, and water. Some variations may incorporate milk or sparkling water for added fluffiness. The dough is traditionally made by hand, with the ingredients mixed together until a smooth and sticky consistency is achieved.

To cook it, a special tool called a Spätzle press or it maker is often used. The dough is placed on the press, and small pieces are squeezed out directly into boiling water. The pasta cooks quickly and is ready when it floats to the surface. It is then drained and can be served immediately or sautéed in butter for added flavor.

Traditional dishes with Spätzle

Spätzle is a versatile pasta that pairs well with a variety of dishes. One of the most popular traditional dishes featuring Spätzle is Käsespätzle. This hearty dish consists of it layered with grated cheese and onions, baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. It is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for cold winter nights.

Another beloved Swabian dish is Zwiebelrostbraten mit it, which translates to “onion roast beef with it.” This dish features tender slices of roast beef topped with caramelized onions and served alongside a generous portion of it. The flavors meld together beautifully, creating a mouthwatering combination.

Regional variations of Spätzle

While the basic recipe for it remains the same, each region in Swabia has its own unique twist on this beloved dish. In the Allgäu region, for example, it is often made with a mixture of regular flour and buckwheat flour, giving it a slightly nutty flavor. In the Hohenlohe region, it is sometimes served with a creamy mushroom sauce, adding an earthy richness to the dish.

Recipes from Swabian cuisine

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try making Spätzle from scratch, I’ve got you covered with a couple of classic Swabian recipes.

Classic Spätzle


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water, as needed


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  2. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  3. Gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs, adding water as needed to create a sticky dough.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  5. Using a Spätzle press or a colander with large holes, press small portions of dough into the boiling water.
  6. Cook the Spätzle until they float to the surface, then remove them with a slotted spoon and drain.



  • 2 cups Spätzle
  • 1 cup grated Emmental cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Cook the Spätzle according to the instructions in the previous recipe.
  3. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the sliced onion and cook until caramelized.
  5. In a baking dish, layer half of the cooked it, followed by half of the grated cheese and caramelized onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tips for making perfect Spätzle

Making it can be a bit tricky, especially for first-timers. Here are some tips to ensure your Spätzle turn out perfectly:

  • Use a Spätzle press or a colander with large holes to shape the pasta. This will help create the characteristic shape of Spätzle.
  • Make sure the dough is sticky enough. If it is too dry, the Spätzle will turn out tough. Add water as needed to achieve the right consistency.
  • Boil the Spätzle in salted water. This enhances the flavor and prevents the pasta from sticking together.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook the Spätzle in batches to prevent them from clumping together.
  • Sauté the cooked it in butter for added flavor. This step is optional but highly recommended.

Where to try Spätzle in Swabia

If you find yourself in Swabia and want to experience the true flavors of it, there are several restaurants and eateries that specialize in this regional delicacy. Some popular establishments include:

  1. Gasthof Zum Spätzleschwob – Located in Stuttgart, this cozy restaurant offers a wide variety of it dishes, from traditional to creative.
  2. Wirtshaus am Ochsen – Situated in Ulm, this historic tavern serves up generous portions of it alongside hearty Swabian cuisine.
  3. Spätzlehaus – Located in Tübingen, this charming eatery is dedicated to all things Spätzle. You’ll find an array of delicious Spätzle creations here.

Health benefits

While Spätzle may not be the healthiest dish in terms of calorie count, it does offer some nutritional benefits. The eggs used in the dough provide a good source of protein, while the flour adds a dose of carbohydrates for energy. Additionally, the simplicity of the ingredients means that it is free from artificial additives and preservatives.


Spätzle truly is a culinary gem of Swabian cuisine. From its humble origins to the wide array of delicious dishes it can be found in, it has become a beloved staple in southern Germany. Whether you try making it at home or indulge in a plate at a local restaurant, I hope you enjoy this delightful pasta as much as I do. Prost!


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