German Bread Dumplings

german bread dumplings

These traditional German bread dumplings ("Semmelknödel") are great when you've got delicious gravy to sop up.

Traditional for the Bavarian region that is! I had never heard of these before I was asked if I had a recipe.

A recipe for dumplings, yes. But made out of bread?

You see, my Mutti came from Berlin.

Our dumplings were always made with potatoes and were stuffed with bread croutons. But, I like challenges, and here are the delicious results!

A further bit of experimentation and the recipe above is the result.

If, perchance, you end up with leftovers -- GREAT!

Slice them and fry them in a bit of butter.

Serve with fried eggs for breakfast or a light lunch. I sometimes make extra dumplings just for the leftovers! IMPORTANT: Check what Oma says below!

German Bread Dumplings ~ Bavarian


  • 10 -12 slices stale bread (about 8 rolls)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, lukewarm
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • breadcrumbs as needed


  • Cut bread or rolls, with crusts, into small pieces and put in bowl.
  • Add milk and salt. Let soak for about 1 hour.
  • Pour off excess milk.
  • Fry bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent. Add parsley.
  • Add bacon mixture to bread mixture. Stir.
  • Add eggs and mix in thoroughly.
  • If mixture is too soft to form into dumplings, add breadcrumbs - just a tablespoon at a time - until mixture can be formed into dumplings using moistened hands or two wet tablespoons.
  • Form a test dumpling and drop into boiling salted water and simmer. If it still holds together after 10 minutes, continue making the rest of the dumplings.
  • The dumplings need to simmer about 20 minutes.


  • Don't use a knife when cutting these dumplings apart - pull apart with your fork -- that's the Bavarian tradition!

After the first few times you make these, you'll get the feel of the right consistency of the batter and probably don't need to make a "test dumpling". You'll soon be a pro at making these great gravy soaker-uppers! Try them next time you make Sauerbraten.

The first hard lesson I learned: do NOT use regular packaged sliced sandwich bread that you can buy in Canada or the States. 

Use a good quality German, French, or Italian or homemade bread or hard rolls -- something with a bit of a bite!

Serve the German Bread Dumplings with ...

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