Käsespätzle (German Cheese Spaetzle) is that comfort meal that waits for you at the end of the Alpine ski slopes (along with a cold beer of course). These iconic, cheesy noodles topped with crisp, caramelized onions are addictive (and nothing like mac and cheese). Originally from Germany’s southwestern Swabia region, Käsespätzle is now popular all across Germany. I can’t wait for you to try my easy Käsespätzle recipe!
How to make Käsespätzle
Lucky for you, Käsespätzle is super easy to make! Especially if you're not making your own Spätzle. Although I would highly recommend you make your own because they taste so much better!
But when you're in a hurry, and that cheesy spätzle craving hits with that delicious crispy, caramelized onions on top (drooling again), I can understand that finding a shortcut by using prepackaged spätzle noodles can be the saving grace.
To make Käsespätzle, simply cook your Spätzle noodles according to package instructions (or make a quick batch of homemade spätzle like I always do). Then layer your hot noodles with shredded cheeses like Emmentaler, Gruyère, and even Gouda (see note with the ingredient list below).
Finally, top everything off with some finely chopped chives AND a pile of crispy, caramelized onions that you cook in the pan while the noodles are boiling. The onion topping is a must and similar to French-fried onions (Röstzwiebeln in German), but so much better made from scratch (and so easy!).
And that's it! Enjoy this German version of mac and cheese with a green salad or on its own. Then imagine yourself on some Alpine slopes, eating this at an après ski cabin while drinking a cold beer. Kids and adults love this simple cheese spaetzle recipe!
It only takes 6 ingredients to get you from no Käsespätzle to a bowl full of this delicious, cheesy German noodle dish. So what are you waiting for?
- Spätzle. Here's the thing. You can of course buy them prepackaged, but once you've had homemade Spaetzle noodles, you'll quickly realize just how much better they are. The packaged option is a valid shortcut though and your Käsespätzle will still taste cheesy-gooey amazing!
- Cheese. Traditionally, Emmentaler (a nutty, mild Swiss cheese) and Bergkäse (a strong-tasting, aged Swiss cheese) are used to make Käsespätzle. However, I also love using a combination of young and aged Gouda cheeses (not the smoked kind), especially when serving this meal to kids who can be pickier when it comes to strong-tasting cheeses. I use about half and half young and aged Gouda. Gruyère (an aged Swiss cheese) is also a great option. Feel free to use any of the above.
- Butter. I mix in a little with my freshly cooked Spätzle and you'll need more for cooking your caramelized onions.
- Onions. I use one large yellow onion for my recipe (use 2 if yours are smaller), cut into rings or half rings.
- Flour. You'll need just a bit of all-purpose flour to coat your sliced onions. This is the secret to getting them nice and crispy when cooking them in the butter.
- Chives. This is my choice of garnish to go on top. Feel free to use parsley instead.
What is Käsespätzle
Käsespätzle is a German-style mac and cheese from Germany's Swabia region, which sits in the southwest of Germany. While it was invented there, it's now popular all across Germany, especially in Bavaria and even the alpine regions of Switzerland.
One of the best places to eat Käsespätzle is at an alpine ski cabin after a round of skiing or after some hiking in the alpine mountains. I grew up eating Käsespätzle mainly made from a package, which is why I like to refer to it as the German-style mac and cheese.
Käsespätzle is nothing like American macaroni and cheese starting with the German-style egg noodles called Spätzle that are mixed with white European cheeses and ending with the crisp-fried onions that just add that perfect crunch and finishing touch. I hope you try my Käsespätzle recipe and make it over and over again!
Confused about how Käsespätzle comes together? Watch this quick video and see just how easy it is to make German cheese spaetzle at home.
Easy Käsespätzle (German Cheese Spätzle)
- 200 grams Spätzle noodles (uncooked) or one batch of homemade Spätzle - so worth it!
- 30 grams butter for coating your cooked Spätzle in
- 150 grams cheese shredded, use a mixture of Emmentaler and Bergkäse (Swiss mountain cheese) or Gruyère. I also like using a mixture of young and aged Gouda (about half and half), especially when making this meal for kids.
- 1 large yellow onion cut into thin rings or half rings
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour for coating the sliced onion
- 45 grams butter to cook your onion slices in
- chives finely chopped, as garnish
- Heat up some salted water in a large pot to cook your Spätzle in, then cook your noodles according to package instructions (or make a homemade batch - so worth the flavor upgrade).200 grams Spätzle noodles (uncooked)
- In the meantime, cut your onion(s) into thin rings or half rings, when coat in the flour.1 large yellow onion, 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Heat 45 grams of butter (3 Tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add the flour-coated onion rings and cook until caramelized and crispy, about 5 to 10 minutes.45 grams butter
- Drain your Spätzle and immediately toss in 2 Tablespoons of butter (30 grams).30 grams butter
- In a serving bowl, layer the noodles while still hot with the shredded cheese, finishing with noodles. Then top with the crisp-fried, caramelized onions and chopped chives.150 grams cheese, chives
- Serve with a green salad, on its own, or as a side.