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German Bread Dumplings with cutlery
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5 from 7 votes

Classic Semmelknödel – (German Bread Dumplings)

Make these delicious semmelknödel, that go delicious with anything saucy .These german bread dumplings are easy to make from scratch and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Austrian, German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 349kcal
Author Marita


  • 1 large saucepan (at least 5 ltr)


  • 4 wheat bread rolls around 250g/9 oz total weight. Alternatively use white crusty rolls, baguette or rye bread.
  • 2 eggs medium size, at room temperature
  • 150 ml whole milk  (5 fl oz)
  • 1 large onion  (about 150 g- 5.2 oz)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (about 30 g/ 1 oz) 
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 50 g bacon

You might need additional ingridients to adjust the consistency

  • milk
  • bread crumbs


  • Chop the bread roll into small cubes about 1 cm. Make sure you chop them small, as larger chunks will take longer to soak. Mix it with 1 teaspoon salt. 
  • In a saucepan or microwave heat the milk. The milk should be hot but don’t bring it to boil. Pour it over the bread cubes. 
  • Peel and finely cube the onions. Cube the bacon (if using). Finely chop the parsley. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion (and bacon if using) until the onions are translucent. Add them with the parsley to the bread mix. 
  • Mix all the ingredients with a spoon and leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, you can heat up a large pot (at least 5 ltr) of water with 1 teaspoon of salt. 
  • Beat the eggs and add them to the bread mixture. Season the bread mixture with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Now it is time to roll up your sleeves. Make sure your hands are clean (if you want you can use gloves). Knead the mixture with your hands. If the dumpling dough is too soft, add some breadcrumbs. If you find it to dry add a little milk. 
  • Form your Knodel with wet hands to make 8-10 balls, depending on which size you prefer. My trick is to use an ice cream scoop to measure equal quantities. Press the balls with the palms of your hands so they are nice and compact. Try to shape a nice smooth ball, with no cracks and bulges as these might cause the Knodel to fall apart when cooking.
  • Once the water in your saucepan begins to boil, lower the heat. The dumplings are not supposed to be boiled, only simmer. If you place the Knodel into boiling water, they are more likely to lose shape and fall apart. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon. – if you are doing this recipe for the first time, I would recommend doing a test Knodel – to check the consistency of the bread balls.


I strongly advise checking out the step by step images in the main post. 

How to freeze

You can freeze uncooked or cooked. If you freeze them uncooked, you just add them to simmering salt water and cook them to defrost. This should increase the cooking time by 5 minutes.
I would recommend you double the recipe, and keep half of it for a later treat. 

How to reheat

I just reheat the leftovers in the microwave. Another method is to place them for a few minutes in simmering water to reheat. 
Another popular way to use up leftover semmelködel is to cut them up into about 1 cm thick slices. Fry them in oil or butter until crispy, with a side of bacon and egg. Similar to Bratkartoffeln (German fried Potatoes). This makes a completely new dish that everyone will love. 

Which bread to use for Semmelknödel?

Use baguette or stale crusty rolls (Brötchen) I advise against using soft white bread, such as soft burgers or hot dog buns or a loaf of sliced bread that normally would go into the toaster. These will not give the right consistency for the dumplings.
Germans also use other types of bread, such as rye bread or sourdough bread. Only the crust may take longer to soak. 
Use old, dry bread for this dish. You can also make it with fresh rolls. The difference is the time and liquid you need to soften the bread. This recipe uses 1 or 2-day old bread rolls. 

My Semmelknödel are falling apart?

There are three common reasons why your Semmelknödels could call apart. In time you will get a feeling for the right consistency. For this reason, it is advisable to cook a test dumpling first, although you may need more than one attempt to get them just right.
  1. Your dumpling mixture is too watery: it is difficult to give exact measurements for liquid, as it depends on how dry your bread is and which type of bread you are using. So if you find that dough is too watery, and your dumplings feel rather soggy when forming they will fall apart when being cooked. Add some breadcrumbs to the dough (no flour) until you achieve the right consistency. 
  2. You added your dumpling to boiling rather than simmering water. 
  3. Your dumplings are not compact enough. Try to form an even dumpling with no cracks and bulges so water cannot infiltrate the dumpling too rapidly and cause it to swell from the inside. This can cause the dumpling to fall apart. 


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 967mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 214IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg