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Schupfnudeln Around

As fun to make as they are to say, these versatile, highly customizable finger-shape potato dumplings from southern Germany and Austria will be your new favorite side for Sunday supper.

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It’s hard to resist dumplings, let alone potato dumplings, and even more so when their very name is so phonetically fun it makes you smile just saying it. But that’s only half the charm of schupfnudeln.

A centuries-old favorite from Austria and southern Germany, these simple hand-shaped dumplings made with cooked potatoes, flour, and eggs are very forgiving and imminently customizable—ideal for cooks like me who enjoy the hands-on fun of playing with dough but don’t want to get a Ph.D. in baking science to do it.

The name schupfnudel (schupfnudeln is plural) comes from the technique of rolling or pushing the dough between your palms to form its distinctive long, tapered shape. The Bavarian nickname— fingernudeln—is even more descriptive as they do look a bit like fingers (but not in a creepy way). Briefly boiled then sautéed in butter until golden, these hearty dumplings beg to be devoured, especially alongside saucy braises.

If you’ve ever made gnocchi, schupfnudeln will feel like familiar territory. The dough is nearly identical. With gnocchi, the goal is to add as little flour as possible to maintain a light, pillowy texture. For schupfnudeln however, more flour contributes to heft and chew, so they can stand up to being sautéed and served as an accompaniment to hearty meats. In fact, the original version of schupfnudeln had no potatoes at all. They’re said to have been developed by soldiers during the Thirty Years’ War and were made with just rations of flour and water.

But all-purpose flour is just the beginning. I love using different combinations of flavorful flours and chopped fresh herbs or ground spices that complement or echo the flavors in the main dish. You can even add sugar to the dough and drizzle in jam or fruit compote after sautéeing for a new take on dessert.

No matter how you mix them up and roll them out, schupfnudeln can make any meal feel exceptionally homemade and special.


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