This Creamy Knoephla Soup has herbs added to the soft dumplings, which makes it so flavorful and delicious! This recipe is a twist on the classic German potato and dumpling soup recipe. It is easy to make and so incredibly tasty!
History of Knoephla Soup
This famous North Dakota dish is a hearty soup that consists of potatoes and soft dumplings floating in chicken broth and often includes celery, carrots, and onions. The tradition of making knoephla came to America with Germans who immigrated and settled in North and South Dakota. Back then, knoephla was famous because it could be made quickly with ingredients that were readily available to them.
You may see this soup spelled knöephla, knöpfla, knefla, and even nefla. They are all German variations of a word that means "little button" which refers to the soft dumplings that are in the soup.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Comforting: This soup is so comforting and perfect for a chilly day. It will warm you right up!
Easy: This recipe is easy to make and doesn't require any special equipment. Knead the dough by hand or using the dough hook of your electric mixer.
Flavorful: The herbs added to the dumplings make this soup extra special! They are soft little pillows of flavor!
For more comforting soup recipes, try my Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup, Lousiana Gumbo, Southern Homemade Chili, or Boston Clam Chowder!
Potatoes: Yukon Gold is a wonderful potato for knoephla soup because it is buttery in flavor and holds up well. You can also use Russet or red potatoes.
Chicken Broth: Use low-sodium chicken broth so that you have better control over the sodium content in your soup. Boxed broth or homemade both work well.
Bacon: I like to use bacon in this soup to add flavor and richness. It is also a nice texture sprinkled over the top of the soup. You can leave out the bacon and an additional 3 tablespoons of butter if desired.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream adds richness and body to the soup. For a dairy-free soup, leave out the cream.
Herbs: Fresh parsley, dill, and thyme are classic knoephla soup herbs, but you can experiment with other fragrant herbs. Oregano makes a great substitution!
Step One: Cook Bacon
If you are using bacon then cook it in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. I find it easiest to chop the bacon prior to cooking, but you can also cook the strips and then crumble the bacon after it has cooked.
If you are not using bacon then skip this step and simply melt butter in the pan.
Step Two: Saute Vegetables:
The next step is to create our base of flavor by sauteeing the onions, carrots, and celery in the bacon grease and butter. If you are fancy then you call this step "mirepoix."
Step Three: Add Flour
Flour is added to thicken the soup and continue building flavor. Stir the flour continuously so that it doesn't burn.
Step Four: Cook Potatoes
Add the chicken broth, diced potatoes, and bay leaves. Once the liquid is boiling you can turn it to low heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are soft.
Check the potatoes after 20 minutes. If you cook the potatoes for too long they will fall apart and the goal is to keep the cubes intact.
Step Five: Prepare Dumpling Dough
It may look intimidating, but homemade dumplings are really simple to make! Mix the herbs, flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and milk together.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the milk mixture. Fold until the liquid is mixed in and you are left with shaggy dough.
Step Six: Cut Dough
Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and sprinkle with flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. You can also use an electric mixer for this step, if you find that easier. This is not a stiff dough. It should feel soft but not sticky.
Sprinkle the top of the knoephla dough with more flour and use a rolling pin to roll it into a ½-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into ½-to-1-inch squares. They will expand some as they cook. I like to use a pizza cutter for this step but a sharp knife works as well.
If you'd rather, you can roll the dough into a log that is 1-inch in diameter, and cut your pieces from there, but I think cutting from a rectangle is easier.
Step Seven: Cook Dumplings
Once the potatoes are soft, drop the knoephla dumplings into the soup one at a time. They will bounce up to the surface of the soup when they are cooked through so you may need to stir the soup to open up new areas where you can drop the dough.
Step Eight: Add Cream
It wouldn't be creamy soup without the cream! The flavor of the soup is similar to pot pie. After adding the cream it just needs to be cooked for a few additional minutes to bring everything up to serving temperature.
Don't forget to top your potato and dumpling soup with some crispy bacon bits for a delightful texture!
Knoephla soup is a hearty meal on its own. Just serve it with a slice of freshly baked bread or dinner rolls. For a more filling meal, enjoy this soup with a side salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the soup over medium heat on the stove, or microwave until your desired temperature is reached.
Because of the cream in this soup, it is best to enjoy it immediately or within a couple of days of preparing. The cream will separate when it is frozen. It is still safe to eat, but will not be the same quality after freezing.
Like most soups, the flavors develop over time, so it can be made ahead and is delicious when served the next day.
Yes, you can use vegetable broth for Knoephla Soup. I do prefer chicken broth because it has a little more flavor than vegetable broth, but vegetable still works fine.
Knoephla soup is essentially potato AND dumpling soup. It includes dumplings that are made with flour, milk, baking powder, and an egg, and has potatoes added to the soup in cubes. Potato dumpling soup usually includes dumplings that are made with potatoes that have been cooked and mashed.
For more soup recipes, check out this collection of comforting soups for winter.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Creamy Knoephla Soup (Potato and Dumplings)Recipe by:
- 8 ounces bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onions 1 small
- 1 cup chopped carrots 2 medium
- ½ cup chopped celery 2 stalks
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (43 grams)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (2 quarts)
- 2 pounds potatoes cubed (about 3 large potatoes)
- 1 cup heavy cream (250 ml)
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 cup milk (250 ml)
- 1 egg
- Place bacon in an 6-quart stockpot or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the bacon is crispy use a slotted spoon or scoop to remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel.
- Discard about half of the bacon grease, leaving 3 tablespoons in the pan. Add butter to the 3 tablespoons of grease and melt on medium-low heat.
- Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and increase the temperature back to medium heat. Cook until the onions are soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds
- Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously., then add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and potatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a bowl, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
- While the soup simmers, prepare the Knoelpha. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs.
- Whisk the egg and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup. Then fold into the flour using a rubber spatula. The dough will be shaggy.
- Once combined, knead for 5 minutes by hand on a floured surface, or knead using the dough hook of your electric mixer on low speed.
- Roll dough ½" thick, then slice into ½" squares. Drop the dough one at a time into the soup, then cook for about 5 minutes, until the dumplings rise to the surface of the soup.
- Stir in heavy cream and cook until heated through. Remove the bay leaves then taste the soup and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Top with bacon to serve.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or over medium heat on the stove. Vegetarian:
To make this soup vegetarian, leave out the bacon and replace it with additional butter. Vegetable broth can be used in place of chicken broth.
I was really excited about this recipe but I had major problems with the dumplings. They simply would not cook. I boiled them for 30 minutes in the soup, taking one out and checking the middle every 5 minutes. I finally gave up when the soup started burning and removed all of the dumplings and boiled them by themselves in plain water for 15 more minutes but they were still all raw in the middle. The soup itself was good though. What did I do wrong?
Hi Justin! This can happen if your broth is not hot enough before adding the dumplings, or if you add too many dumplings at once (as it brings down the temperature of the broth). The broth needs to be hot enough that the dumplings cook quickly on the outside. If the broth is too cool then the dumplings absorb the moisture from the broth and do not set, even if they are technically cooked through.
My bf and I are both if German descent and had never heard of this soup. I made it and we both loved it! Making it again on this snowy night. Last time I made the dumplings a bit too big and didn’t use all the dough. Tonight I’ll make them smaller and I’m using all the dough! So good!
It's perfect for snowy weather, isn't it? Thank you, Jennifer, for letting me know that you love it!
This is on the top of my list to try this fall if GA ever gets cool weather. 😉
Yay! You'll have to let me know when you do!