German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklösse) – The Daring Gourmet

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An authentic German Potato Dumplings recipe (Kartoffelklösse Rezept), just the way my Mutti and Oma always made them!  Pillowy soft and tender, they are the perfect accompaniment to your sauce-based dishes and do a magnificent job of mopping up all that delicious gravy!

german potato dumplings recipe kartoffelkösse rezept authentic traditional knödel

What Are Potato Dumplings?

Potato dumplings can be found in various forms throughout the world, everything from Gnocchi in Italy and Kluski Śląskie in Poland, to Bramborové Knedlíky in the Czech Republic and Cepelinai in Lithuania.  But however they may different from one country to the next, most potato dumplings are meant to be served with a sauce as the primary starch in a meal.  With their tender texture and capacity for mopping up juices, they are so perfectly suited for this role.  Today I’m sharing Germany’s famous potato dumpling recipe with you, called Kartoffelklösse or Kartoffelknödel (depending on the region), made the way my Mutti and Oma made them.  Made from cooked riced potatoes, eggs, potato flour, and salt and formed into balls that are gently boiled, these dumplings are soft and tender and make the perfect accompaniment to your meat-and-gravy dishes or vegetarian sauce-based dishes.

There are different variations of Kartoffelklösse within Germany as well.  For example, in Franken half of the potato content is raw shredded potato that’s mixed in with the cooked riced potato (known as “halb und halb”, or half and half).   In Thüringen the ratio of raw potato is even higher.  The more raw potato content, the firmer/denser the finished dumpling is; the more cooked potato content, the softer and fluffier the dumpling is.  Which variation you choose is simply a matter of personal preference.  My mom prefers the Thüringer Kartoffelklösse (she also spent part of her childhood in Thüringen before moving to Stuttgart); I love both but slightly prefer the all-cooked potato version that I’m sharing with you today.

german potato dumplings recipe authentic traditional kartoffelklösse rezept kartoffelknödel

Important Tips for Making Kartoffelklösse

German potato dumplings are not hard to make, but there are a few things that will either make or break their outcome.  If you follow these tips, you’re virtually guaranteed success:

  1. Choose potatoes that are high in starch and low in moisture.  These will produce those wonderfully pillow-soft and tender dumplings.  Russet potatoes are best.  (In Germany look for “mehlig kochende” varieties).  Waxy, higher moisture potatoes like Yukon Golds will produce a denser, heavier texture.
  2. You MUST use a potato ricer.  It makes ALL the difference in the texture.  If you try using mashed potatoes you’ll end up with dense, stodgy potato dumplings.
  3. Use potato starch/flour, not wheat flour.  Regular flour will give them a dense and stodgy texture.
  4. Do not let the water boil too vigorously at any point once the potato dumplings are in the water; keep it to a low boil/simmer.
  5. Be sure to let them cook in the simmering water for the full 20 minutes.

If you make your own Spaetzle and already have this type of Spaetzle maker, that will double as a potato ricer and there’s no need to buy a different one.  You can also use a food mill if you have already have one.  If you need to buy a potato ricer there are both stainless steel and hard plastic options.  I have and use the RSVP potato ricer.  It’s very sturdily built, comfortable to press with your hands, performs the job well, and is dishwasher safe.  It also comes with two interchangeable medium and coarse plates.

If you’re a bargain hunter like me, food mills and potato ricers are both things you can often find at your local thrift stores and charity shops.

potato ricer

Can You Freeze German Potato Dumplings?

Yes, you can freeze cooked potato dumplings.  Freeze them on a baking tray and then transfer them to a freezer container where they will keep for up to one month.  Simply reheat the Kartoffelkloesse in a covered container in the microwave.  If you want to make potato dumplings in advance but don’t want to freeze them, they will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What to Serve With German Potato Dumplings

Let’s get started!

Note on the Croutons:  Some regions of Germany like to include bread croutons in the center of their potato dumplings.  I’d say most do not.  But including them does “lighten” the overall texture.  I’m including instructions for it to give you the option.

To prepare the croutons (this filling is optional, you can skip this step if desired):  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and melt the butter in it.  Add the bread cubes and fry until golden brown on all sides.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

frying bread for croutons

Boil the potatoes whole, skins on, in lightly salted water until tender.

Drain and let sit until they’re cool enough to handle but still warm and then peel them.

boiling and peeling potatoes

Run the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer (two options include stainless steel or dishwasher safe hard plastic) into a large bowl. (Ricing the potatoes is imperative for achieving the right texture as mashing them will produce dense, stodgy gnocchi.)

pressing potatoes through a ricer

Add the potato flour, salt, egg and nutmeg to the riced potatoes.

placing all the ingredients in a bowl

Use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth, soft dough, being careful not to over-mix.

The dough should nice and soft but not sticky. If it is, add a little more potato starch.

kneading the dough with hands

Form the mixture into twelve 2 1/2 inch diameter balls.

I like to weigh them to get them uniform in size.  They should each weight roughly 90 grams.  

forming the dough into balls

Optional crouton filling:

You can fill your potato dumplings with croutons or skip this step and go straight to cooking them.

If you’re adding the croutons, use your thumb to press a deep indentation into each ball. Depending on the size of your croutons, place 2-3 croutons in each indentation and then close them up and roll them back into balls.

pressing divots in center and adding croutons

Bring lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot (all twelve dumplings fit perfectly without overcrowding in my 11 inch diameter pot).

Reduce the heat. Gently lower the dumplings on a spoon into the water, holding them for a few seconds before releasing them (this will prevent them from sticking to the bottom).

simmering the dumplings

Adjust the heat so that the water stays at a gentle simmer. Let the Kartoffelklösse simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Within a few minutes the dumplings will all rise to the top; let them continue to simmer for the full 20 minutes.

potato dumplings recipe kartoffelkösse rezept authentic traditional German knödel

Once they’re done, turn off the heat. They can be kept warm in the water for up to 15 minutes while you’re finishing up dinner. If you need more time they can be kept in the drained warm pot or transferred to a warm bowl and covered to keep the warmth in.

potato dumplings recipe kartoffelkösse rezept authentic traditional German knödel

Arrange the German potato dumplings on a warm serving plate garnished with some chopped parsley.

potato dumplings recipe kartoffelkösse rezept authentic traditional knödel

See blog post above for serving recommendations (“What to Serve with German Potato Dumplings”).


german potato dumplings recipe authentic traditional kartoffelklösse rezept kartoffelknödel

For more dumpling recipes be sure to also try our traditional:

german potato dumplings recipe authentic traditional kartoffelklösse rezept kartoffelknödel

German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklösse)

Kimberly Killebrew

Authentic German Potato Dumplings (Kartoffelklösse), just the way my Mutti and Oma always made them. Pillowy soft and tender, they are the perfect accompaniment to your sauce-based dishes.

Prep Time 25 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Course Side Dish

Cuisine German

Servings 6

Calories 287 kcal



  • 2 1/4 pounds Russet potatoes , high starch/low moisture potatoes will produce the most tender results (in Germany look for “mehlig kochende” varieties),
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup potato starch (aka potato flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For the Croutons (optional):
  • 1 large slice sourdough bread , cut into very small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • chopped fresh parsley for serving



Serving: 2potato dumplings | Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 667mg | Potassium: 994mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg

Keyword German Potato Dumplings, Kartoffelklösse, Kartoffelknödel

#German #Potato #Dumplings #Kartoffelklösse #Daring #Gourmet

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