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German Bread Dumplings

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White bowl of bread dumplings served along side some red cabbage

These traditional German bread dumplings, aka Semmelknödel, are great when you've got delicious gravy to soak 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 these bread dumplings are the delicious results! As well, they are a great way to use up leftover bread.

German Bread Dumplings ~ Bavarian


  • 10 -12 slices stale bread (about 8 rolls) 
  • 1½ 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!

How Bread Dumplings are made ...

Collage showing the steop of how to make Bavarian Bread DumplingsSee that lonely little dumpling swimming in the water ... that's my test dumpling!

Leftover Bread Dumplings?

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! 

Dumpling Hints ...

After the first few times you make these, you'll get the feel of the right consistency of the batter. Then, you probably don't need to make a "test dumpling" if you're in a hurry. 

I usually play it safe and always make one. Takes just a few more minutes, but you'll be assured your dumplings will hold together.

The color of your dumplings will reflect the type of bread you use. Darker for a whole wheat bread, lighter for a white bread. Here are some made with white bread.

You'll soon be a pro at making these great gravy soaker-uppers! Try them next time you make Sauerbraten.

White plate showing the inside of German bread dumplings along with red cabbage and roast pork along with gravy.

Oma says,

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!

More Dumpling Recipes

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