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!

german bread dumplings

IMPORTANT: Check what Oma says below!

Bavarian Bread Dumplings


  • 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!

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!

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!

Make these with ...


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Top of German Bread Dumplings

› Bread Dumplings


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Here's what some of my fans say:

Joy B: Our family always used white vinegar instead of lemon juice, and added paprika ... but I think I'd like this version better!   


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