Day-Old Bread Gets New Life in German Bread Dumplings

German bread dumpling semmelknoedel
German bread dumplings, or semmelknodel is a Bavarian specialty


Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
378 Calories
10g Fat
57g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 517mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 14g
Calcium 128mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bread dumplings, or "semmelknodel," a Bavarian specialty, are surprisingly simple to make. They are made with bread torn into small pieces, egg, and milk and are related to other savory bread puddings such as stuffing. In fact, they are often served at Christmastime with goose. They are also excellent in vegetarian entrees, such as creamed chanterelles, or with any meat dish that has gravy. Traditional German dumplings are tasty paired with all gravies, cream sauces, and soups.

Make more than you need so you can enjoy them the next day. Sauté the leftovers in butter for a delicious side dish.


  • 6 ounces day-old bread or about 3 rolls
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup milk 
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup onion (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (minced or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated or ground)
  • about 2 quarts water

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut or tear the rolls into small bits.

  2. Pour 1/3 cup milk over the bread, and let it sit for 5 minutes. The bread should be softened but not dripping wet; test to see if it needs more milk to achieve this consistency.

  3. Melt the butter in a skillet, and sauté the onion, parsley, and marjoram.

  4. Stir the egg and nutmeg into the bread then add the sauteed onions and seasonings. Mix well.

  5. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes then mix again briefly, taste, and add more spices if necessary. The dough should be firm, with pieces of the bread crust still visible.

  6. With wet hands, form 4 round dumplings, and cook 15 to 20 minutes in simmering water. Do not let the water boil.


  • You can make dumplings any size; just adjust the cooking time accordingly, with longer cooking times for larger dumplings and shorter for smaller ones.
  • The amount of milk you need depends on how dry the bread or rolls are and how big they are. Normal-size rolls weigh about 2 ounces.
  • If the dough is too wet to hold together, add some breadcrumbs, either store-bought or more day-old bread torn into small bits.

Recipe Variation

  • "Serviettenknodel" are long, sausage-shaped bread dumplings cooked in hot water and then sliced. They are traditionally rolled into a log shape on clean kitchen linen, which is tied at both ends and then submerged. You can also roll them in plastic wrap and boil them. You can use this recipe to make them, but sausage-shaped dumplings usually have whipped egg whites folded into them.