Let's celebrate Oktoberfest with classic German comfort food. This spaetzle with bratwurst, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions is baked to perfection with melted Gruyere and havarti and topped with fresh sage for a cozy dish that's full of fall flavors. Now all that's left is to grab a good German beer, and you have yourself the ultimate Oktoberfest meal.
What Is Spaetzle?
If you're a spaetzle newbie, you're in for a treat. I'm actually pretty new to spaetzle and only first tried it in the last couple years.
What a mistake. I can't believe I've lived a spaetzle-less existence for so many years.
Spaetzle is a small German dumpling made from flour, eggs, milk, salt and a few herbs if you're so inclined. These little bites are tender and pillowy and can be used like pasta. My favorite way to enjoy spaetzle is baked with plenty of cheese, which we do here, but it's also delicious straight out of the pot with butter.
How to Make Spaetzle
You can find plenty of spaetzle recipes out there, but I especially love Craft Beering's spaetzle recipe. Craft Beering walks you through the process step by step if you decide to use that recipe, and it's surprisingly simple.
To make spaetzle, we mix together flour, salt, eggs and milk. I like to first use the paddle attachment to bring the dough together and then switch to the dough hook to knead the dough for almost 20 minutes. Yes, it takes time, but you can use those 20 minutes to prep the other ingredients.
Once air bubbles form on the surface, we're ready to pass our dough through a spaetzle maker and drop our spaetzle into boiling water to cook the dumplings. I picked up this spaetzle maker on Amazon, and it works well. Some people also use a potato ricer to make spaetzle. Although I haven't tried that method, I imagine it should work fine.
As a heads up, the dough will be sticky. I find the process to be a bit messy, so if you're preparing this spaetzle for company, I recommend making the spaeztle ahead of time. You can boil the spaetzle and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
How to Make
After we make our spaetzle, we're ready to put together the rest of our ingredients and bake. To make the bratwurst, we simply cut open the casing and brown the ground pork in a pan. Once the bratwurst cooks through, we can put it to the side.
For the sweet potatoes, we first roast them by tossing them with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook them until soft. Meanwhile, we prepare our onions by cooking them in plenty of butter over medium-low heat until perfectly caramelized. With our mix-ins all ready, we toss them with the spaetzle and grated Gruyere and havarti in a baking dish and cook until the cheese melts.
And that's it! We're now ready to dig in to a big comforting bowl of spaetzle with bratwurst. Easy, huh?
Can You Buy Spaetzle?
You can buy dried spaetzle for those days you're short on time or feel too lazy to make your own spaetzle. My local stores don't carry it; however, Amazon has everything, including dried spaetzle. Seriously, what did we do before Amazon?
I definitely recommend making your own spaetzle if you can. Homemade spaetzle is well-worth the effort, but the dried variety is fine if it's just not happening this time around.
Considering that spaetzle is perfect for an Oktoberfest celebration, you can't go wrong with a nice German Märzen. Besides being a traditional Oktoberfest beer, a Märzen's malty backbone makes this beer perfect with the spaetzle. The sweet malt typically comes with bread-like notes with some sweet toffee and caramel that work beautifully with our Gruyere and brat.
If you're in the mood for wine, Germany offers some nice pinot noirs that would be great with this spaetzle. Pinot noir has an earthiness that matches well with the brat, caramelized onion and nutty notes of the Gruyere.
Whether you're looking for a festive way to celebrate Oktoberfest or in need of some major comfort food, I hope you try this spaetzle with bratwurst, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions.
Love This Oktoberfest Recipe?
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Spaetzle With Bratwurst, Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Onions
- Large skillet
- Large stockpot
- 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish or 12-inch cast-iron skillet
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 sweet yellow onion uniformly sliced
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 medium sweet potato cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 12 ounces bratwurst links about three to four links, depending on the size
- 5 cups cooked spaetzle homemade or store-bought
- 1 ½ cups grated havarti
- 1 ½ cups grated Gruyere
- Fresh sage chopped, for garnish
- In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter and then add sliced onions and pinch of sugar. Stir to coat. Continue to let the onions cook until caramelized. Don't mess with the onions too often but give them a stir about every five to eight minutes. This process takes some time, so it's best to start on the onions while prepping the other ingredients.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potato cubes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until soft, about 20 minutes.
- Cut the bratwurst lengthwise and remove the ground bratwurst from the casing. Over medium heat, cook the bratwurst until no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes. As the brat cooks, break up with a spoon to crumble. Once cooked, move bratwurst to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish or 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Layer half of the cooked spaetzle and top with half of the havarti and Gruyere. Spread half of the bratwurst crumbles, roasted sweet potato cubes and caramelized onions on top. Repeat for the last remaining layer.
- Bake until the cheese melts, about 15-20 minutes. Top with plenty of fresh chopped sage for added fall flavor. Enjoy!
- I love the homemade spaetzle recipe from Craft Beering, and it was the inspiration for this dish.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.