Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Helene Dsouza

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (1)Helene Dsouza

Semmelknödel are dumplings made with stale bread. These are commonly served with meats such as pork sausages and Sauerkraut in Germany.

Total Time: 35 minutes minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Resting Time: 15 minutes minutes

6 dumplings

4.8 from 5 votes


Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (2)

Semmelknödel are round bread dumplings from Southern Germany.

I show you how we make them from scratch at home with stale bread in this recipe.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (3)

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (4)

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I talked about Semmelknödel years ago, where I showed you how to cook homemade fermented Sauerkraut.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients
  • How to make it?
  • 📖 Recipe
  • Tips
  • Serving
  • What are Semmelknödel?
  • Other local dumpling varieties
  • 💬 Comments


The ingredients for the homemade authentic bread dumplings are straightforward.

For the dumplings mass:

  • Butter or Lard
  • Onion — white or yellow is traditionally used, but you can try using purple or red onions because they give a nice color to the dumplings (which I think looks great).
  • Stale Bread — cut into diced sized pieces. The dryer, the better!
  • Milk
  • Egg — the smaller, the better.
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Parsley — freshly chopped, Italian or curly parsley. We predominantly use curly parsley.

For the boiling:

  • Water
  • Salt

Stale Bread

Either purchase stale diced bread or make your own and go all zero-waste.

For homemade stale “Knödel” bread, as we call it, get white bread rolls and leave them out to get hard. After 2 days they should be dry and hard. Cut them into dices.

"Wet" bread or fresh bread will make your dumplings soggy, and they won't hold. You really need stone hard dry white bread rolls to succeed! Dry bread takes in flavors.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (5)

Binding ingredients

So that the dumplings hold together, you will need an egg, milk and some white flour.

Eggs keep the dumplings together, and so does the white flour. A small quantity of milk activates the binding ingredients and allows for flavors to disperse evenly.

Seasoning & flavor giving ingredients

Onions are an important ingredient in the Semmeknoedel.

The onion slices are first sautéed in some butter to bring out the sharp flavors.

The dumplings are further enhanced with the addition of salt, black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and freshly chopped parsley.

How to make it?

To prepare the Semmelknödel from scratch, you will need to follow these simple steps.

Step 1

Chop onions small and sauté until soft with some butter.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (6)

Step 2

Add all ingredients, including cooked onions, to a large bowl.

Mix it all together with your hand.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (7)
Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (8)

Step 3

Bring a pot of water with salt to boil.

The dumplings are shaped into balls and dropped into the boiling water.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (9)

Step 4

The Knödel dumplings cook in the boiling water and are taken out once they swim on the surface.

Drip off excess water and serve with various local meals.

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (10)
Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (11)

📖 Recipe

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (12)

Semmelknödel Recipe

Semmelknödel are dumplings made with stale bread. These are commonly served with meats such as pork sausages and Sauerkraut in Germany.

4.80 from 5 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Austrian, German

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Resting Time: 15 minutes minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes minutes

Servings: 6 dumplings

Calories: 137kcal

Recipe by: Helene Dsouza


For the dumpling mass

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 4.4 ounces Stale Bread into diced sized pieces
  • cup Milk
  • 1 Egg small
  • 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper Ground
  • pinch Nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley Fresh chopped

To cook dumplings

  • Water
  • Salt

US - Metric


  • Heat up a pan with the butter and cook the chopped onion until translucent and soft.

    1 Tablespoon Butter, 1 medium Onion

  • Grab a large mixing bowl and add in the sautéed chopped onion, bread pieces, milk, egg, all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and parsley.

    4.4 ounces Stale Bread, ⅔ cup Milk, 1 Egg, 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour, ½ Teaspoon Salt, ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper Ground, pinch Nutmeg, 1 Tablespoon Parsley Fresh

  • Mix everything together and mash together with your hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.

  • Leave the bread dumpling mass to rest for about 15 minutes.

  • Prepare a large pot with water and salt and bring to a boil.

    Water, Salt

  • Shape your dumplings into equal sized balls.

  • Drop the Semmelknödel dumplings into the cooking water. Reduce the heat of the water so that the water won't boil up too much or else the movement can open up the dumplings. The water should be cooking but not vigorously.

  • Cook the dumplings for about 8–10 minutes. They will swim on top.

  • Take out the Knödel from the cooking water and strain.

  • Serve still hot as a side dish with other local meals.


You will want to serve 2-3 dumplings per person.

The base recipe makes about 5-6 dumplings.


Nutrition Facts

Semmelknödel Recipe

Amount Per Serving (110 g)

Calories 137Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Fat 5g8%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Cholesterol 42mg14%

Sodium 412mg17%

Potassium 138mg4%

Carbohydrates 17g6%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 5g10%

Vitamin A 245IU5%

Vitamin C 2.7mg3%

Calcium 86mg9%

Iron 1.2mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


You need to keep an eye on a few tell-tale signs to succeed with the preparation of these dumplings.

I watched my French mother struggle in the past because of a few pain points when prepping German dumplings from scratch.

  • Not all stale bread is equally dry. Some require more milk than others. A larger egg might make it more soggy too.
  • Your mass cannot be too wet, it's more dry. You should be able to shape your Knödel mass into balls. If it sticks a bit it's ok, but if it's all over the place, it's simply too wet.
  • To fix a wet mass, add all-purpose flour or some dried bread cubes to it to fix the consistency.
  • The perfect consistency of your Knödel mass is achieved if you can roll a dumpling between the palm of your hands, without it falling apart. The dumplings should remain round, even if you place it on a surface.
  • Your onions MUST be chopped small and sautéed well so that they are soft. Do not increase the butter quantity or else your onions will be too oily. The butter and onions are added to the dumpling mass and if they are too large or too oily, the dumplings won't hold.
  • Shape all dumplings equally large. A tennis ball size is too big, a golf ball too small. Shaping your Knödel like an American Billiard ball works the best (2.2 inches/5.7 cm diameter). You can go a little smaller too if this is your first time making dumplings.
  • You need boiling salt water because the salt water will get the dumplings to float upwards when they are done.
  • Wait for the water to come to a rolling boil. Then reduce the heat and only drop your shaped dumplings into the water when the water is NOT rolling anymore. A heavy boil can open up your dumplings, especially if the mass was too wet in the first place.
Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (13)
Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (14)


Semmelknödel are versatile dumplings. They are rather plain in flavor but work really well as a side dish with various meats and other side dishes.

They are never served by themselves!

Instead, we love these round bread dumplings with Sauerkraut and sausage. I mean, there is no better combo here in my opinion and I call this my comfort food.

My mum likes to roast or grill ribs and add that to the Sauerkraut and Semmelknödel combination, or we enjoy them with our Dutch oven pork roast and Sauerkraut dish.

But don't limit yourself because we also serve braised red spiced cabbage, chanterelle mushrooms and venison with these Knödel dumplings in fall.

I also think you should try adding the Semmelknödel to other sauce or gravy-based dishes, such as a classic Jägerschnitzel or a beef goulash.

Contrary to related dumplings, such as the Tiroler Speckknödel, these are not commonly served in a clear broth soup.

What are Semmelknödel?

Semmelknödel are dumplings prepared with diced stale bread rolls.

They are originally from Southern Germany, Bavaria, but due to the entangled history they are commonly made in Austria as well, especially western Austria.

Authentic Semmelknödel are made with Semmel or so-called Kaisersemmel, which are bread rolls from Austria. The Bavarians picked up the art of making Semmels in the last centuries.

However, Semmelknödel can be prepared with any other white bread roll too, as long as the bread is dried stale.

The stale bread pieces are then mixed with egg, sautéed onion, and seasonings before they are shaped into equal sized round dumplings.

These are then boiled and served as a side dish with pork meat and cabbage or other local specialties such as wild game and red cabbage. (see Serving further below)

Other local dumpling varieties

  • Serviettenknödel (similar to Semmelknödel but shaped into a log)
  • Bratknödel (with beef)
  • Tyrolean Speckknödel (with cured Tyrolean Speck bacon)
  • Pressknödel (cheesy Tyrolean press dumplings)
  • German Potato dumplings
  • Biskuitschöberl - Diamond-shaped herb biscuit dumplings
  • Marillenknödel (sweet dessert apricot dumplings)

Semmelknödel Recipe (Bread Dumplings) (15)

Global Food Recipes

with Spices and Herbs

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