Semmelknödel - The Unstuffing

So what does one do with a drying-out baguette or leftover bag of stuffing you were sure you were going to need? Here in Southern Germany we make Semmelknödel, those mysterious non-soggy bread balls which have been simmered in salted water for 20 minutes. Serve them with roasted meat (and plenty of gravy!) or even with a simple mushroom ragout. The following recipe is from Alfred Biolek’s collection Meine Rezepte. It was my first German cookbook and still one of the very best.

This recipe makes 8-10 Semmelknödel and that’s enough for a side dish for 4-5 people.


Quantity Ingredient
200 g. dried bread cubes (from a Baguette or the like)
375 ml. Milk
100 g. Bacon
1 onion (medium)
4 eggs
25 g. butter
  Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 bunch Parsley (finely chopped)

Ready? Let’s get started!

Tip: Use the checkboxes as placeholders while you work your way through the recipe. Reload the page to clear them.

Ok. Now, you should have a dough that is crumbly but not dry.

Simmer your Knödel in batches for about 20 min per batch.

Remove to a plate or casserole form and keep ‘em in a warm oven until you are ready to serve.

What could go wrong?

Not really much but

  1. If you are new to Knödel-making, I really recommend you take the time to do a test Knödel. Make one and simmer it through. Taste it and adjust your seasoning if you need to. After you have a good handle on the correct consistency of the dough and you’ve made your personal adjustments to the recipe you won’t need to do that any more.
  2. If your water is at a rolling boil and your Knödel are not tightly packed, they could fall apart. This will break your heart but it will probably only happen once. Solution: Pack your Knödel tightly and keep your water at a simmer.
  3. If you use too much whole wheat bread your Knödel could be heavy and thick instead of sauce-sucking and light. I’ve done this recently and next time would stick to not more than 50% whole wheat bread. Maybe less. I’ll get back to you on that.

Going the Extra Mile for Someone Special?

  • Simmer those yummy Knoedel in stock instead of water, why don’tcha?2

Got Leftovers?

  • Slice those Knödel and brown them in butter. Accompany those crunchy rounds of scrumptousness with scrambled or fried egg and grated cheese. Sure, the addition of a good salsa can be a happy one too.
  • Slice and warm them in a bit of olive oil. Toss with vinaigrette and serve atop baby leaf lettuce, sprinkled freely with chives
  • Semmelknödel freeze really well in case you don’t have quite enough for a leftovers meal.
  • Thanksgiving 2022: My sister was here and we sliced some leftover Knödel into the bottom of a roasting pan before placing a big ole turkey thigh on top. Roasted as usual and the Knödel sucked up all the turkey juice. That was some darn good Unstuffing!


  1. Do keep in mind that your SemmelKnödel will increase some in volume during the simmering. Be careful not to crowd the pot. If you do, your Semmelknedel may not really get done or they might stick to the bottom and sides of your pot This too will break your heart. 

  2. Whether you are using water or stock, be sure your liquid is salted in approximately equal proportion to your dough. The intent behind this is to protect the wonderful taste of your Semmelknödel from dissipating into your cooking liquid.