German Immigrant Recipe: Potato Noodles

German rouladen

Rinerrouladen with red cabbage and potatoes. Photo from Flickr by Oliver Hallmann.

I grew up with German food.  Northeastern Ohio was settled mainly by English and German immigrants (Amish, Mennonite and other congretations) and we loved our potatoes, noodles, potato noodles, hot potato salad, sauerkraut, and several dishes that I never realized were German. My father’s Kaser family were German immigrants in the 18th century, his mother’s Butts line were Catholic German immigrants and my husband’s Swiss-German ancestors arrived in the 19th century.

In fact, German immigrants had a great influence on American food in general.  Over the next few weeks I will feature some of the dishes that I loved growing up, or ate at German restaurants, or learned to cook as a young bride. I’m starting with one that is new to me–Badish Schupfrudeln — Potato Noodles.

I did not realize until I delved into the subject, that Germans brought SO MANY food ideas to America.  And I had never focused on the importance of balancing sweet and savory (sour) in recipes–despite my love of hot potato salad with its sugar and vinegar, the fact that I use brown sugar in sauerkraut and my love of mouth-watering sauerbraten.

American Beer

American Beer, from Flickr. Photo by torbakhopper.

According to the website Life in the USA, there was a period when German restaurants were the height of culinary sophistication.  Columbus, Ohio, where I spent part of my childhood and went to college, boasted many German restaurants and breweries and still celebrates its German roots in the quaint German Village.  Cincinnati, Ohio is another town with strong German roots still showing.

Berghoff Restaurant Chicago

Berghoff Restaurant Chicago

My all time favorite restaurant (and defintely my father Paul Kaser‘s favorite) was the venerable Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago Illinois. I remember sitting in the dark wood paneled rooms, with stained glass accents here and there. The most important factor was the mature male (always male) waiters (No, “I’m Jason, I’ll be your server.” here!)   The waiters wore formal attire, topped by an apron that reached nearly to the floor, and took orders without ever writing anything down. It was started in 1898 and still serves up German favorites, although it seems a sacrelige to see “gluten-free” on its menu that was once a carb-lovers hog-heaven.


German potato pancakes

German potato pancakes. Photo from Flickr, by Liren Chen.

Without the German immigrants, we would not have sauerkraut, potato pancakes,  sticky buns, apple butter, knockwurst, bratwurst and liverwurst and 3-bean salad.  How about some strudel or Black Forest Cake for dessert? We wouldn’t even have cream cheese!  Although some other nationalities made a creamy cheese, the one we principally use today in America was invented in Philadelphia by German dairy farmers. And of course the beer.  American beer is German-style lager and the prosperity of breweries built many a midwestern city.

We’ve had our moments of trying to deny the German roots of America–see Benjamin Franklin‘s opinion of Germans in the last article I posted.  According to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007),  the anti-German sentiment during World War I included changing the name of pickled cabbage from sauerkraut to “Liberty Cabbage.”  But we didn’t stop making and eating it. Or drinking the beer. Or eating the All-American hot dogs that evolved from German “wursts.”

So I will share some of these familiar foods in the coming weeks, but I wanted to start with one very German dish that I had never made or tasted–Badische Schupfrudeln (potato noodles).  Enjoy.

German Potato Noodles


  • 1 1/2lb russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup lard, bacon fat, or other fat


1. Bake potatoes about one hour--until a fork goes in easily. Set them aside to cool slightly
2. Measure flour, parsley, salt, nutmeg in bowl.
3. Peel potatoes and cut in chunks. Put on pastry surface and mash with rolling pin. Scrape into bowl with dry ingredients. Add beaten egg and stir well. Set aside at least 15 minutes.
4. Roll the dough into a log, about 1 1/2 thick. Cut the log into 20-25 pieces.
5. Roll each piece in your hands to make an elongated strip (roughly finger-length) with tapered ends.
6. Heat fat over medium heat in large skillet. Fry pieces until golden brown on both sides. (They fry quickly, so watch to prevent burning.)
7. Serve with any meat. For a traditional dish, serve fried noodles over fried sauerkraut with chopped cooked bacon or knackwurst.


Alternately, you can drop each noodle in boiling water. Or boil briefly and then fry.




2 thoughts on “German Immigrant Recipe: Potato Noodles

  1. MaureenfromAus

    Your picture and recipe of potato noodles surprised me (in a good way) – it was not what I expected to see, but didn’t know what they were ’cause it doesn’t seem to be something we eat where I’m from (I guess I was expecting to see long flat noodles like an egg noodle)
    I think Australians have a lot to thank the Germans for in this area too – though sauerkraut is also not something we usually eat here. I keep asking the hotdog vendor at the baseball games I go to (Sydney Blue Sox) to get some sauerkraut instead of cheese and onions, but to no avail. Will have to bring my own next season
    Thanks for the great posts. I have enjoyed reading them

    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Hey, Maureen it surprised me too. never thought of such fat noodles like that. And later I realized the recipe is just like the potato pancakes I make with leftover mashed potatoes. Just a different shape. Glad you’re enjoying my ancestor musings. Thanks.


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