Small German Butter Dumplings

Soup with dumplings

Maryna Kovalchuk / Getty Images 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
360 Calories
33g Fat
11g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 360
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 18g 92%
Cholesterol 210mg 70%
Sodium 292mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 6g
Calcium 61mg 5%
*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.)

Central and Eastern Europe are famous for producing some of the most delicious and belly-warming soups around. Filled with rich flavors, spices, and smartly repurposed cuts of meat, these soups tend to be hearty and are meant to nourish body and soul during the cold winter months. Originally made with whatever was available to feed many with very little, these recipes have transformed over the centuries, becoming central parts of these varied cultures. Germans are no strangers to fantastic soups, served with dense loaves of bread and butter, or sometimes with the ultimate bite: a small buttery and fluffy dumpling. Our recipe for butternocken, makes three dozen small dumplings that you can cook and freeze for last-minute use in soups and stews, or simply to keep at hand when the dumpling craving hits. Great in any clear vegetable, chicken, or beef broth, these dumplings are also delicious with meaty preparations like stewed mutton or beef. Try them with your favorite non-German soups—butternocken chicken soup anyone? The possibilities are endless because there's no bad soup if these dumplings are in it.

In general, purist cooks keep the proportions for the dumplings as one part butter, one part eggs—by weight—and one part flour, but many other versions exist. We use the classic recipe to bring to your table these perfectly pillowy bites. Use them in your favorite soups, and add them to other saucy preparations to add contrast in texture and a great vehicle to gather the last bits of sauce on your plate. Add them to an Irish lamb chop stew, to spicy tomato seafood, or to a vegetarian corn soup. Serve them with juicy braised meats like oxtail, fatty short ribs, or a brisket casserole.

Use all-purpose flour for the dumplings to make them chewy and pillowy, and don't overwork the dough as allowing too much gluten production can make them tough. If you're making this dumpling with the intention of freezing them, place the cooked, cooled dumplings on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place the dumplings in a plastic freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. When ready to use, thaw the number of dumplings you need for your recipe on the kitchen counter for 10 to 20 minutes and then add to the boiling soup, giving them a few minutes in the hot liquid to ensure even cooking.

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons / 7 ounces butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Steps to Make It

  1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the dry ingredients. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour.

  2. Bring a large pot of water just to boil. Using two spoons, form triangular-shaped dumplings and drop them into the boiling water.

  3. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes each and remove from water to drain. 

Tips

  • To help the dumplings drain, place a small plate upside down in a bowl and put the dumplings on it; the water will collect in the bottom of the bowl.