Bavarian Bread Dumplings – Semmelknödel

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Delectable Bavarian Bread Dumplings Recipe: A Traditional German Comfort Food Delight

Semmelknödel, or bread dumplings, are a traditional  dish from Bavaria and Austria that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my family would often make these delicious dumplings for special occasions or as a comforting meal on a cold winter evening.

For me, semmelknödel hold a special place in my heart because they remind me of my childhood and the many happy times spent with my family around the dinner table. There is something comforting and familiar about their soft, fluffy texture and subtle flavor, which always makes me feel at home.

In recent years, I have also come to appreciate the cultural significance of semmelknödel. They are a beloved part of German cuisine and are often served at traditional events such as Oktoberfest and Christmas markets. As someone who is proud of my German heritage, eating semmelknödel feels like a way of connecting with my roots and honoring the culinary traditions of my ancestors.

One of the things I love about semmelknödel is their versatility. While they are traditionally served as a side dish with meat, they can also be enjoyed on their own as a vegetarian main course, perhaps with some sautéed mushrooms and a simple green salad on the side.


How to make Bavarian Bread Dumplings

The ingredients for semmelknödel are quite simple: stale bread, eggs, milk, butter, and bread crumbs. The bread is first diced into small cubes and then soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk. Once the bread has absorbed the liquid, bread crumbs is added to bind the mixture together, and the dumplings are formed by rolling them into balls.

The dumplings are then boiled in salted water until they float to the surface, indicating that they are cooked through. When cooked, the dumplings are airy and have a tender texture. They are then usually served alongside a hearty meat dish, such as roast pork or beef goulash.


Overall, semmelknödel are a simple yet delicious dish that I will always hold dear. Whether I am enjoying them with family or savoring them at a local Bavarian or Austrian restaurant, they always bring a sense of warmth and comfort to my heart and belly.

You will find many different styles of dumplings in Germany depending on the region you are visiting. Most the of the dumpling recipes include potatoes (Kartoffelknödel), but you can find liver dumplings (Leberknödel) or dumplings made with a yeast dough (Dampfnudel) as a dessert.

What Bread To Use for Bavarian Dumplings

Bavarian Bread Dumplings are made out of leftover German bread rolls or stale white crusty bread. Try not to use regular packaged squishy sliced sandwich bread which lacks flavor. Use a good quality German, French, or Italian or homemade bread or hard rolls, something with flavor.

Variations of Bavarian Bread Dumplings

You can create delicious variations of my Bavarian Bread Dumplings – Semmelknödel recipe by adding extra ingredients, e.g., cooked bacon (Speckknödel) or chopped parsley.

What to Do with Left Over Dumplings

You have two choices when it comes to leftover Bavarian Bread Dumplings. Once cold, slice them up in smaller pieces and heat up the butter over low to medium heat. Pan frying for a couple of minutes creates a delicious gold brown crust on the Bread Dumplings. Serve with fried eggs for breakfast or a light lunch.

Bavarian Bread Dumplings can be easily kept in your freezer for several months. Let them cool completely, place them spread apart on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then transfer them to a freezer bag or container. To reheat, let them thaw and reheat them covered (to create some steam) in the microwave.

Bavarian Bread Dumplings
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Bavarian Bread Dumplings - Semmelknödel

Traditional Bavarian Bread Dumpling Recipe
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Bavarian, German
Keyword: Bread Dumplings, Semmelknödel
Servings: 4
Calories: 240kcal


  • 4 German Bread Rolls slightly stale, alternative you can use 10 oz. of white crusty bread or unseasoned bread stuffing
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ¾ cup Milk hot
  • 2 Egg beat up just until roughly homogenous
  • Pepper
  • Bread Crumbs as needed


  • Cut the slightly stale bread in inch size cubes, transfer to a bowl and season with salt
    4 German Bread Rolls, 1 tsp Salt
  • Saute finely chopped onions and and finely chopped italian parsley in a pan with butter
    1 medium Yellow Onion, 2 tbsp Butter, 3 tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley
  • Heat up milk, but don't let it boil
    ¾ cup Milk
  • Add the onion parsley mix and the milk to the bowl with the bread. Mix together and let it rest for 10 minutes
  • Heat up a pot with salt water and bring to a simmer (not boil)
  • Beat the eggs with a fork until roughly homogenous and add them to the bread mix. Season lightly with salt and pepper
    2 Egg, Pepper
  • Knead the mixture together with your hands until very thoroughly combined, breaking up as many of the bread cubes as you can until it’s a soft and chunky-smooth consistency. If the dough is too wet, add breadcrumbs (not flour). Make sure the mixture is firm and a bit sticky.
  • Wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking and form dumplings about the size of a tennis ball. Press the dumpling between your palms to make sure they’re nice and compact.
  • Form a test dumpling and drop into gently simmering salted water and simmer. If it falls apart, the mixture is too dry. Add a bit more milk to the remaining dough.
  • If it still holds together after 10 minutes, continue making the rest of the dumplings. Or wait until cooked for a total of 20 minutes. Taste test dumpling and adjust seasoning for remaining dough if needed before making the rest. 
  • Carefully drop the dumplings in the water and let them lightly simmer for 15-20 minutes. Do not let the water boil or you risk your dumpling losing shape or falling apart.  Carefully lift them out with a slotted spoon.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 2mg

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