Knoephla Soup

4.86 from 7 votes

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Warm up with a big bowl of creamy knoephla soup, loaded with chewy, herby knoephla dumplings, chicken, and potatoes. It’s made in under an hour, and step-by-step photos are included!

Why you’ll love this knoephla soup recipe:

The hearty aroma of chicken and potato soup filling the house on a chilly day is one of my favorite smells! A rich and creamy stick-to-your-ribs soup, like knoephla soup, is even better!

Knoephla are chewy yet tender, herb-infused dumplings made with flour, eggs, and milk. They’re dropped into the simmering soup to cook alongside the chicken and vegetables, delivering irresistibly satisfying, pillowy bites!

  • Easy –  Don’t let the idea of making knoephla dumplings from scratch scare you off. They come together with ease using just a bowl and stand mixer. 
  • Big batch – My knoephla soup recipe makes a pretty generous portion and tastes even better the next day. You’ll be happy to have some leftovers!
  • Comforting – A classic North Dakota soup that has been warming my family on cold winter nights for years! 

The next time you’re craving a comforting meal, make a big pot of knoephla soup, and serve it with a chunk of homemade sourdough bread for good measure! 

What is knoephla soup?

Knoephla soup is a creamy dumpling and potato soup, similar to chicken and dumpling soup. It became popular in the midwestern United States thanks to German immigrants from Russia.

It remains popular among midwesterners today, particularly during the cold winter months. My husband introduced me to this hearty soup years ago, and it’s become one of my favorites ever since!

A bowl of knoephla soup next to a pot of soup.

Key Ingredient Notes:

For the knoephla:

  • All-purpose flour – Make sure you measure the flour correctly using a kitchen scale or the spoon and level method
  • Egg creates structure by holding the dumplings together.  
  • Milk adds moisture and richness. I prefer whole milk, but 2% or low-fat milk is also okay. 
  • Dried herbs – Parsley and dill weed infuse the dumplings with fresh, herby flavors. Herbs are totally optional.

For the soup:

  • Unsalted butter and bacon fat – These are the fat components of the roux, adding richness and savory flavor to the soup. 
  • All-purpose flour – The second part of the roux, used to thicken the soup. 
  • Garlic – Freshly pressed garlic cloves provide an irresistible aroma and robust flavor. 
  • Vegetables – Carrots, celery, and russet potatoes bulk up the soup, making it a more satisfying and complete meal. 
  • Chicken breast – Not all knoephla soup recipes include chicken, but I like adding it in for an extra boost of protein.
  • Unsalted chicken stock – I prefer to use unsalted stock to control the amount of added salt in the soup. Salted chicken stock is okay, too, but you might want to skip the added salt in the recipe if you’re using salted stock. 
  • Milk – Whole milk delivers the creamiest mouthfeel. Reduced-fat milk is okay if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the thick, creamy texture!  
Step-by-step photos showing how to make homemade knoephla soup.

How to make knoephla soup:

Before you get started, chop the chicken, celery, carrots, and potatoes into bite-sized pieces. 

  • Combine the dumpling ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Knead until an elastic dough forms. 
  • Cover the dough, and let it rest while you make the soup.
  • Make the roux:
    • Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. 
    • Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, or until golden, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. 
    • Transfer the roux mixture to a small bowl, and set it aside. 

Make the perfect roux

If you’ve never made a roux before, take a look at this complete guide to making a roux. You’ll learn all of my best tips and tricks so you can get it right every single time!

  • Cook the chicken and vegetables
    • Transfer the remaining bacon fat and pressed garlic to the soup pot, and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently. 
    • Add the chicken and ¼ teaspoon of salt, and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
    • Remove the chicken from the pot, and add the chopped vegetables.
    • Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the chicken stock, water, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. 
    • Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender. 
  • Roll and cut the knoephla
    • While the soup simmers, divide the dumpling dough into 2 equal parts. 
    • Roll each part into a long log about ½-inch thick. 
    • Cut the dough logs into small, bite-sized pieces. 
  • Assemble the knoephla soup
    • Add the roux and chicken back into the soup once the vegetables are fully cooked. 
    • Pour in the milk, and carefully drop each dumpling into the soup. 
    • Cook the knoephla soup for 10-15 minutes or until the dumplings float to the top of the pot and are cooked through. 
    • Serve immediately, and enjoy!
A spoon holding a bite of knoephla soup over a bowl.

Tips for Success:

  • Knead the knoephla dough until it’s elastic. This means it’ll have a smooth, lump-free texture and hold its shape when held in the air for a few seconds. You can also give it the poke test! If the dough bounces right back after you poke it with your finger, it’s all set. 
  • Cook the roux for at least 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor. Stir continuously during this process to create a silky smooth texture and prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
  • Aim for uniformly sized dumplings so they cook evenly. 
  • To prevent the dumplings from sticking together in one big clump, drop them into the soup a few at a time, instead of all at once. 
  • Don’t add ice-cold milk to the hot soup. This can cause the milk to curdle and separate into a lumpy, unappetizing texture. Instead, let your milk come to room temperature, warm it slightly in the microwave, or temper it by mixing a few tablespoons of the hot soup broth into the milk first. 

Make-Ahead Tips:

You can make the soup portion of this knoephla soup recipe 1-2 days in advance, saving the dumpling preparation for the day you plan on serving the soup. 

  • Make the soup as instructed, without the dumplings. Then, store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • When you’re ready to serve your knoephla soup, warm it gently on the stovetop over medium to low heat. While the soup is warming, prepare the dumplings.
  • Then, cook the dumplings in the soup as instructed.  

Storing Tips:

You can store leftover knoephla soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, warm it on the stovetop over medium to low heat until warmed through. If the soup has thickened too much, add a splash of water, milk, or broth to thin it back out. 

Knoephla FAQs:

Can you buy knoephla?

You won’t find knoephla in most grocery stores unless you’re in North Dakota or Minnesota. If you happen to be in the Midwest, you might just get lucky and find knoephla in the freezer aisle or even for sale at a local diner!

What is knoephla made of?

Every Midwest family puts their own unique twist on knoephla. However, knoephla is typically made using flour, milk, and eggs. Dried herbs, such as parsley, dill, and thyme, are added for flavor.    

What does knoephla translate to in English?

The literal translation of knoephla is “little button” and is derived from the German word “knöpfle,” which means “small buttons.” When Americans talk about knoephla, they’re referring to the small dumplings used in knoephla soup recipes.  

A ladle lifting a scoop of knoephla soup from a pot.
4.86 from 7 votes

Knoephla Soup Recipe

Warm up with a big bowl of creamy knoephla soup, loaded with chewy, herby knoephla dumplings, chicken, and potatoes. It’s made in under an hour, and step-by-step photos are included!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

For knoephla:

  • ¾ cup (95 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) milk Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley Note 2
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

For soup:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons bacon fat divided
  • ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2-3 medium carrots about 1 cup chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery about 1 cup chopped
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 chicken breast Note 3
  • 4 cups (1 L) unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 cups (480 ml) milk

Instructions 

To make the knoephla dumplings

  • In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients and kneed until elastic dough forms.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest while you make the soup.

To make the soup:

  • Chop chicken, celery, carrots and potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of bacon fat over medium high heat.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, or until aromatic and golden color, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. This is how you make the roux to thicken the soup. (TIP: Be sure to cook the flour until slightly nutty and toasted to prevent raw flour taste.)
  • Transfer the roux into a small dish.
  • Into the pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and pressed garlic. Cook until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  • Add the chicken and ¼ teaspoons of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, or until fully cooked, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken onto a plate.
  • Add the cubed vegetables into the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add chicken stock, water and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked
  • Meanwhile, divide the dumpling dough into 2 equal parts. Then roll each dough into long log, about ½-inch thick, and cut into small pieces.
  • Once the potatoes are fully cooked, add the roux, chicken, dumplings and milk.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the dumplings float up on top and fully cooked.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: Milk adds richness in the dumplings. For dumplings, you can use 2% or low fat milk. For the soup, I use and recommend whole milk for the creamiest mouthfeel. Reduced-fat milk is okay if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the thick, creamy texture!
Note 2: Dried herbs are totally optional. Traditional knoephla is made plain. However, I love how parsley and dill weed infuse the dumplings with fresh, herby flavors.
Note 3: Traditional knoephla soup doesn’t include chicken, but I like adding it in for an extra boost of protein.
Storing Tips:
– Refrigerate leftover knoephla soup in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
– To reheat, warm it on the stovetop over medium to low heat until warmed through. If the soup has thickened too much, add a splash of water, milk, or broth to thin it back out.
– I don’t recommend freezing knoephla soup.

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal
Carbohydrates: 34g
Protein: 15g
Fat: 18g
Sugar: 6g
Sodium: 995mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: german

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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30 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Loved loved loved the soup! But… my Grandma’s knoephla is never chewy or herbie.
    But I will continue to make the soup. Without the chicken….knoephla soup never has meat.

  2. Uhm “aka chicken and dumpling”????
    Thats a completely different soup, traditional knoephla never has meat in it.