Flannels & Pearls

Knoephla Soup

I wish I could introduce this knoephla soup recipe with a sentimental story about one of my German grandmas (you’ll hear me chat about them quite a bit here…they are my heroes), because I think it deserves that! Sadly, I have no memories of my grandmas making this soup. I know they did, I have their recipes. I just wasn’t around when they whipped up a batch. Bummer! Perhaps I was too busy eating their caramel rolls or kuchen or cookies to notice soup. Every kid who has grown up in North Dakota, has eaten a version of knoephla soup at some time, likely multiple times, in his or her lifetime. My elementary school and high school even served a brothy version. However, my sophomore year in college (I lived with my sister and her husband that year – thanks again Andrea for the free rent), my sister introduced me to creamy knoephla soup. And I was never the same…

If you didn’t know, knoephla are German dumplings (knoephla means “buttons”). If you decide to use the word knoephla in your vocabulary, then you need to practice spitting a little when you produce the “ph” part, it’s actually a quick movement from a “p” to an “f” (I’m a speech-language pathologist, remember?). You totally just tried that, didn’t you? My Grandma Bartz’s pronunciation was spot on.

Ok, back to the soup…this makes THE perfect winter/storm day meal. It has comfort written all over it. It is a warm, creamy, rib sticking soup. I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t request seconds. Wait…I have kids. They don’t appreciate this YET. But I swear, some day they will embrace their German heritage. If they don’t, then clearly my babies were switched at birth. Without further adieu, here’s how it’s made.

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Knoephla Soup

Servings 12


  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. celery chopped
  • 1 medium or large onion chopped
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 5-6 c. water
  • 4-5 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
  • 6-8 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 c. cream
  • 1/2-1 pound bacon diced and cooked until crispy
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • milk
  • pinch or 2 salt


  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion. Cook until fairly tender. STir in flour. Stir in milk, bring to a simmer. When thickened, remove from heat. *(If you do not want to make a roux, you can omit all of the aforementioned and simply add a can of cream of celery soup and a chopped onion right into your stock pot. I’ve made it that way many times and it does not change the overall flavor)*
  • In a large stock pot, add water, bouillon, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in flour mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let soup simmer on low to medium until potatoes are soft. Bacon can be added now, or wait with it until serving. I add the bacon once the potatoes are soft, so that bacon flavor is infused in every bite.
  • Before adding the cream, which is the last step here, make and add the knoephla. At this point, turn your heat down to low and cover.


  • I always double this, but we like knoephla. If you double, you will notice the following day(s), all the starch from the added knoephla will turn your soup to a solid. You can always add milk to it when you re-heat it, to thin it. If this is your first time making knoephla soup, I would advise you to make just a single batch of knoephla and see how you like it. My parents prefer a brothy, thin soup, you may too. Cutting back on the cream will also help create a thinner soup.
  • See my knoephla hotdish recipe for knoephla dough pictures. In a large bowl, mix togeter the dry ingredients. Add in eggs. Start adding milk until stiff dough forms. This takes some practice and more flour can be added if the dough is too wet. Cut or tear off a tennis ball piece. Flour it and roll it into a rope (same technique as when you make snakes with play-doh. Remove the cover from your soup and bring to a boil. With a scissors, snip 1/2 inch pieces from your rope into soup. Once one rope is done, continue this process until all the dough is gone. You can make your ropes longer, but I prefer to keep mine pretty short. I think it’s easier to work with, especially over a pot of boiling soup. Once all the knoephla are added, turn the heat down to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and give it a stir or 2. Optional – add parsley. It is ready to serve.
  • Again, you can eat your soup just like this, or you can top with shredded cheddar, parsley, and/or bacon pieces. And I apologize in advance for the 3 pounds you’re about to gain from eating several bowls. Just put your sweats or yoga pants on first. You won’t even notice.