Kaeseknoedel – Cheese dumplings

Did you know that I often choose hiking tours according to the huts along the way? In South Tyrol, the purest pleasure: Fresh buttermilk, cheese with the aroma of spicy alpine herbs, smoked bacon, Kaminwurzen, or homemade dumplings are available almost everywhere. I love these traditional, simple hut meals more than anything. That’s all it takes for hiking happiness.

I like South Tyrolean dumplings best as the main course, with just a little (cabbage) salad on the side – and a fruity Vernatsch. And my favorite thing of all is to enjoy cheese dumplings and bacon dumplings on the terrace of an alpine hut with a view of the mountains.

The classic South Tyrolean dumpling recipe probably doesn’t exist. Every region, every hut, every cook swears by their own, often passed down through generations. But the basic ingredients are the same for all: bread, onions, milk, eggs, cheese, and bacon.

During my last visit to the Zmailerhof in Schenna, I was allowed to look into the pots of dumpling queen Martha. For 30 years, the boss herself has been cooking: dumplings with nettle, cheese, or bacon. Sometimes with coleslaw, sometimes with lots of butter and Parmesan. Always with a lot of love.

A few months later in the Three Peaks region, I was able to make dumplings myself at the cooking course in the Helmstuben in Sesto. Thanks to expert tips, they turned out well right away.

Friendly hut host Schorsch has thereby revealed his dumpling recipe – for all those who want to cook dumplings again later at home. Is there a nicer way to look forward to your next vacation in South Tyrol?

South Tyrolean cheese and bacon dumpling recipe

Simple and quick dumpling recipe from the South Tyrolean innkeeper of the Helmhütte in the Three Peaks region that also tastes fabulous at home.

Preparation time 20 min.
Dish: Main course
Country & Region: Alps, Hut dish, South Tyrol
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 500kcal


600 g white bread
300 g gray cheese alternatively: sour milk cheese e.g. Harzer
200 g South Tyrolean bacon alternatively: well-marbled German ham bacon
2 large onions
100 g butter
400 ml milk
4 eggs
1 bunch of parsley


Cut white bread into small cubes (about 1.5 cm) and set aside. 
Finely chop the parsley. 
Dice onion and sauté in pan with a little butter until translucent. 
Sauté parsley briefly.

Bacon dumplings

For the bacon dumplings, fry the (ham) bacon in a pan and add half of the onion-parsley mixture (we need the rest for the cheese dumplings).
Mix with half of the bread cubes, 2 egg yolks and 200 ml milk. 
Tip: Add a little more or less milk depending on the consistency, the dumpling dough must "smack" between your hands.
Season with salt and pepper and form dumplings.
Place in boiling salted water and let steep over low heat until dumplings float to the surface (takes between 8-12 min depending on size).
Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with melted butter (and grated parmesan if desired).

Cheese dumplings

Break or cut cheese into small pieces.
Mix remaining bread cubes and onion-parsley mixture with 2 egg yolks.
Add the chopped cheese and gradually stir in about 200 ml of milk until a not too runny dough is formed (add a little flour if necessary).
Season with salt and pepper and form dumplings.
Put them into boiling salted water and let them simmer at low heat until the dumplings float on the surface (takes between 8-12 min depending on the size).
Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with melted butter (and grated parmesan if desired).

Regional Recipe from Südtirol

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.