Kinder Approved Käsespätzle Recipe
Written by LeAnna Brown of the blog, Wander in Germany:
I often get asked if traveling to Germany with kids is a good idea. I get questions all the time like, “Will my kids like Germany?” (Of course!) or “Are Germans kid friendly?” (Yes! Just mind the noise levels and be respectful.)
But then comes the question every parent of a picky eater dreads when traveling, “What German foods will my kids actually like!?”
And boy do I usually have a surprise for them!
Even if your kiddo just survives on hotdogs and mac and cheese at home, I’ve got great news; those are basically the two most beloved foods in Germany! Well, Wursts and Käsespätzle that is!!
Käsespätzle (literally, cheese noodles) is THE ultimate German comfort food. You can find it absolutely everywhere and it is always a hit with the young and old alike! While it’s going to be similarly made no matter where you are in Germany, more or less, each restaurant typically has just a slightly different recipe. Therefore, it’s always fun to do some taste comparisons at each restaurant because no two Käsespätzle is ever the same!
And while Käsespätzle will be found in every corner of Deutschland, I absolutely LOVE fresh Käsespätzle in the Allgäu, which is a Bavarian region in the Alps (think close to Neuschwanstein Castle) The Allgäuer cheese, typically from the cows hanging out in the mountains all summer long, just takes the dish next level.
Long after your travels in Germany (or during your day dreaming phase of planning a trip!), you’ll long for the warm, creamy, delicious dish! For example, when we held our first At Home Oktoberfest, I knew it just HAD to be on the menu, after all, it is one of the most popular foods at Oktoberfest in Munich! But I was a little intimidated by the idea of making it myself. But, after asking my German friends for their recipes (not surprisingly, they EACH gave me a slightly different variation!), I was shocked at just how simple it was going to be to whip up at home!
To make at home, there are two main components of this German recipe.
1. The Spätzle: This is a German-style egg noodle. You can either make this with a little bit of creativity (but not difficulty) at home (instructions for this below) or if you want to do a “halfway homemade” version, just go find a thick “Egg Noodle” at the store. This definitely won’t be the same, but will cut down on a lot of time and effort! Alternatively, look at stores like Aldi, which originated in Germany and often carries German items!
Pro Tip: If you love Käsespätzle as much as my family does, you can get really affordable Spätzle makers on Amazon to help speed up the process of making this dish
2. The Cheese: You’ll then mix in a creamy mixture of cheeses (I promise, even if you don’t like Swiss cheese, you WILL like this recipe!). Then, top it off with some caramelized onions, and voila! Delicious Deutschland Food!
So, how EXACTLY do you make homemade Käsespätzle? Well, I’ve employed the help of my two family members who consume the most Käsespätzle in my house (yes, that would be my sons!) and we are going to show you how to make a Kinder Approved Käsespätzle at Home!
As you can see, if you’ve got little ones, this is the perfect meal to get them to help out in the kitchen! If you are planning an upcoming family trip to Germany, it’s also a fantastic way to get them excited and a part of the trip-planning experience!
Don’t have kids? Then that just means more yummy Käsespätzle for you!!!!
For the Spätzle
- 4.5 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 6 Eggs
- 1.5 Cups Milk
- 2 Teaspoon Thyme
- 2 Teaspoon Parsley
For the Sauce
- ⅓ Cup of heavy cream
- 1.5 Cups Swiss Cheese (If you can find Emmentaler, GREAT!!! If not, ask for their most mild Swiss Cheese)
- 1.5 Cups Gruyere Cheese (If you can’t find this, then all Emmentaler and/or Swiss is also totally acceptable! It is a very forgiving cheese sauce, so don’t hesitate to play around with amounts and types)
- Note: If you can get it shredded, that makes things move a bit faster. If not, just chop it up into smaller chunks at home
- Salt and (white) pepper to taste
For the Topping
- 6 Tablespoons Butter
- 6 Large Onions (or Frenchies fried onions if you are feeling lazy…hey, I won’t judge!)
First Step: Put on your Rare Dirndl. Just kidding! Although, it definitely made things more fun and “authentic” feeling! (Sweat pants are just as acceptable.)
- Making the Spätzle is best done with a stand-up mixer. Using the dough hook, combine all of the flour, salt, nutmeg, and parsley together, and then form a well in the middle
- Beat the eggs separately and combine the eggs with the milk
- Slowly pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry components and slowly turn the mixer up to medium, letting it work for about 15 minutes or until the dough begins to “pull” at the sides. While the dough is mixing, start boiling a large pot of heavily salted water.
- When the dough is still quite sticky, start watching for air bubbles, which may take another 5 minutes or so. Once you see the bubbles, you know the dough is ready.
- If you have a Spätzle maker, this is where you’ll begin using it. However, if you don’t have one, a great kitchen hack is to just use a colander! It works just as great!
- If using the colander, work in small batches where you spoon a little bit of the dough out into the colander and begin to press the dough through the small holes straight into the boiling water.
- It only takes a few minutes for the Spätzle to begin to float, which signals that it is done. Scoop out the noodles and drain while you continue to work in batches until all the dough is “noodled.”
Making the Cheese Sauce
1. At any point in the process, you can chop up the onions, melt the butter and begin carmelizing the onions so they are ready to go later on
2. This is where things get super easy. If you need to shred any of the cheeses yourself, do that while the noodles are boiling or while the dough is mixing. If you were able to get your hands on a block of Gruyere, then you can shred or chop this up now as well
Having your kids help prepare the meal always makes them more willing to try new things!
3. Next, pour all the noodles into an oven-safe dish
4. Drizzle the cream over all the noodles
5. Add most of the cheese, leaving a handful or two separate. (Whether you are 3 or 33, this is a good time to do some cheese taste testing, of course!)
6. Add salt and pepper to taste
7. Combine everything well
8. Top with a bit of extra cheese so it gets nice and bubbly and golden when cooking!
Finishing the Käsespätzle
- Place the whole dish into a pre-heated 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes, turn the oven to broil for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly on top!
- Add the caramelized or crispy fried onions just before serving!
- If you’ve got particularly picky eaters, do as we do and place the onions on only half of the dish.
Kinder (and kids at heart) Approved!!!!
Serve with a fresh garden salad and if you are feeling particularly German, grab a beer to wash it all down! I’m always impartial to a good, Dunkles (dark) beer, especially if you are able to get your hands on some Emmentaler, which has good, nutty undertones which typically go well with darker beers. If you are in the mood for wine, of course, a German Riesling would go well, or even a Pinot Noir!
Have you tried Käsespätzle before? If you’ve had it in Germany, where was your favorite Käsespätzle at?**This post was written by the talented LeAnna Brown author of the blog WanderInGermany**