These delicious German potato dumplings (Kartoffelkloesse) are amazing when served alongside rich gravy and in place of mashed potato with tons of dishes. This recipe uses just 4 ingredients and five steps to delicious dumplings every time. Plus, this recipe is gluten-free and vegan!
Comforting German Potato Dumplings
Right now, I’m completely and utterly in the mood for comfort food and good classics from my childhood. These German potato dumplings (also referred to as Kartoffelklöße, and/or Kartoffelknödel – though English speakers often refer to them as Knoedel or Kloesse) are extremely common in Germany.
They can be served alongside many dishes but are especially popular with Sunday roasts and at Christmas time, along with cooked red cabbage (Rotkraut) and meatloaf (Sauerbraten). Luckily, they’re no less delicious when served as part of a meat-free, vegan meal topped with tons of gravy!
However, even though this post is inspired by German-style potato dumplings, similar versions of this dish are made throughout Europe. This includes in Poland, where they’re called ‘Kopytka’ and are similar in shape to gnocchi, and Hungary.
In fact, my family is from the Czech Republic, where this dish is also popular and called “bramborové knedlíky.” There, we made them in a log shape, like a baguette, and then sliced.
Let me know in the comments if your own country has a similar dish that I haven’t mentioned.
What are Potato Dumplings?
All the above being said, if you’re not already aware of this popular side dish, you may be wondering what they are.
As stated, there are many versions of this dish across Germany (in fact, there are many types of dumplings, in general, in Germany!). Some are made up almost entirely of potato, whereas others include extras such as bread, flour, starch, and even eggs. There are also generally a few different versions of preparing the potatoes for these dumplings, including using 100% boiled potatoes, using raw potatoes, or using a 50/50 blend. I’ve used a 100% boiled potato version, combining potato, starch, salt, and nutmeg for a simple but delicious potato dumpling.
For this recipe, the potato dough is formed into balls and then cooked in salted water with results that are similar to, yet not precisely, like fresh potato gnocchi yet softer and fluffier.
You can also stuff the dumplings in various ways – though this isn’t as common. I like to stuff them with a mixture of mushrooms, onions, and garlic!
- Potatoes – The key to achieving the correct dumpling texture is using the right potatoes that won’t retain too much water when boiled and will hold their shape. It’s best to use all-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold, a starchy potato, like Russet. If using waxy potatoes, then you’ll need to use more starch.
- Starch – Potato starch is my go-to for this recipe, though you could also use tapioca flour/starch (they are the same ingredient, though named differently in different places) or cornstarch.
I’ve tested this potato dumplings recipe twice with tapioca flour, twice with potato starch, and twice with cornstarch. Potato starch works amazingly with tapioca starch being a close second. The first time I experimented with cornstarch, I boiled the potatoes once they’d been peeled, and the results were quite mushy. The second time, I use non-peeled potatoes when cooking as they turned out great!
- Nutmeg – Just a dash of nutmeg adds classic flavor to the potato balls.
- Salt – Don’t be stingy when salting the water or potatoes, for superior flavor.
The Step-By-Step instructions
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, then please read the recipe card below.
Step 1. Begin by cooking the potatoes whole with the skin on, in a large pot with boiling water until fork tender.
Step 2. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly and then peel the potatoes (I had 750g of potato, once cooked and peeled. Then mash the potatoes with a potato masher or ricer.
Step 3. Add the potato starch, salt, and nutmeg. Then use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle simmer (never allow it to boil).
Step 4. Wet your hands with a little water (this will stop the dough from sticking to your hands), then divide the dough into 6-8 portions and shape into potato balls. You can add a filling, but this step is optional! I only filled two and left the others unfilled.
Step 5. Reduce the heat of the pot – it needs to be hot but not boiling (this is very important!). Then carefully add the dumplings to the pot and allow them to cook for 15 minutes. They usually tend to sink initially and then rise to the surface when ready (though they can emerge before cooked through, so I always cook for 15 minutes).
Step 6. Once ready, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, serve, and enjoy!
How To Serve
As I mentioned above, there are tons of ways to add these German potato dumplings to your meals. Traditionally, they are served with lashings of gravy, meat, and often red cabbage or Sauerkraut.
However, you can also use these in place of mashed potato or roast potatoes in tons of meals.
How To Store
You can eat these dumplings immediately, while warm, or leave leftovers to chill in the fridge overnight and then slice and fry in vegan butter the following day, like gnocchi (then serve with more gravy!).
You can also freeze any extra cooked mashed potato dumplings for around 2 months by first cutting them in half, then placing them on a parchment paper-lined tray (not touching). Once frozen, you can transfer them to an airtight container.
You can then steam them from frozen or reheat either in a frying pan or microwave.
- Don’t allow the water to boil while cooking the dumplings. Otherwise, they will fall apart and get mushy, no matter which starch you use!
- You can prepare the potato the day before by cooking and mashing/ricing the potato, then allowing it to chill covered in the fridge until you’re ready to prepare the dough and dumplings.
- Some people recommend chilling the dumplings for an hour or so before boiling them, however, I made the experience that it’s better not doing that, as they tend to get stickier then.
- If you’re experimenting with new potato varieties or different starches, then you can avoid ruining an entire batch of dumplings by cooking a ‘test’ dumpling first. Simply boil one test dumpling first to make sure that it doesn’t fall apart. If it does, then add extra starch to the dough before rolling the remainder of the balls – just don’t add too much, or they can become a little rubbery rather than fluffy.
- It’ possible to stuff these mashed potato dumplings with a variety of fillings – such as a mushroom and onion filling. You could even simply place a bread crouton in the center of each dumpling. As well as adding a hidden surprise, this also helps to soak up some moisture of the dough and make sure the dumpling is cooked through.
Related German Recipes
- Creamy German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)
- German Schupfnudeln (Vegan Potato Noodles)
- Caramelized Onion Tart (German Zwiebelkuchen)
- Vegan Sausage (German Bratwurst)
- Vegan Hash Browns (Kartoffelpuffer)
And for dessert…
- Steamed Yeast Dumplings | German Dampfnudel
- Easy Apple Strudel | German Apfelstrudel
- Homemade German Marzipan
If you give this potato dumpling recipe a try, I’d love a comment and recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
German Potato Dumplings
- Cook potatoes with the peel in a large pot with boiling water until fork-tender, then drain the water.
- Let cool, then peel the potatoes (the weight of the cooked and peeled potatoes was 750 g). Mash them with a potato masher.
- Add potato starch, salt, and nutmeg. Use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Meanwhile, bring water and enough salt in a large pot to a simmer.
- Wet your hands, take a handful of dough, and shape it into a ball. The recipe makes 6-8 potato dumplings, depending on how large you make them. You can fill some of them or leave them all plain (check the notes below for my mushroom stuffing recipe).
- Reduce the heat of the pot. The water should be hot (about 80-85 degrees C resp. 176-185 degrees F) but it shouldn't boil or simmer. Carefully add the potato balls into the pot and let them cook in the water for 15 minutes, they will rise to the surface.
- Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Serve and enjoy!
- It's best to use all-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold or starchy potatoes like Russet. If you use waxy potatoes, you'll need to use more potato starch. If the mixture turns out too dry, simply add a little water.
- I tested the recipe twice with potato starch, twice with tapioca flour (tapioca starch is the same thing, just a different name), and also twice with cornstarch. The recipe works very well with potato starch and also great with tapioca flour. The first time I made them with cornstarch, they turned out a quite mushy (that time I peeled the potatoes before I cooked them) but the second time they turned out fine (I didn't peel the potatoes before cooking).
- The potato dumplings are a little sticky/gooey at first (especially the ones made with tapioca flour), but once they cool, they firm up nicely.
- It's VERY important that the water doesn't boil, otherwise, the dumplings might fall apart and get mushy, no matter which starch you use!
- Serve with this Vegan Meatloaf and this Mushroom Gravy.
- Check the step-by-step photos, storing instructions, and helpful tips in the above blog post.
- 200 grams fresh mushrooms
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- Onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt & pepper to taste
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo: