A recipe for Schwäbische Maultaschen (German Meat and Spinach Dumplings)! This incredibly versatile Swabian stuffed pasta is filled with a savory mixture of meat and spinach, then boiled until tender.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Maultaschen have long been a favorite of mine when visiting Germany, but I very rarely see them here in the United States. These large meat and spinach filled dumplings come from Schwaben (Swabia) in eastern Baden-Württemberg and part of western Bavaria.
Also known as Herrgottsbescheißerle (small God cheaters), the dumplings are said to have been created in the 1600s by Cistercian monks of the Maulbronn Abbey. By combining the meat with greens and wrapping in pasta, they were able to disguise the meat from God during the Lenten season.
Forming the Schwäbische Maultaschen
I have come across the Maultaschen formed in two different styles.
After rolling the dough in a thin sheet, the pasta can be cut into individual large squares, filled with the meat spinach mixture, and sealed to close and form pillowy ravioli-like dumplings.
I personally prefer the strudel-like rolling of the dough. It creates fun little swirls in the dumplings when sliced and pan-fried.
After rolling the dough into a thin sheet, spread the filling lengthwise across the sheet, leaving about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) free on each side.
Brush the free edges with the egg wash and roll up the dough tightly, long side to long side, pressing out any air.
Use a wooden handle to press down on the roll of dough and create individual Maultaschen, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Cut along the separated, pressed down edges to form a row of dumplings fairly quickly.
A Few Tips
Slowly add a little more water if the pasta dough is too dry and crumbly. If too wet and sticky, slowly add a little more flour until easier to handle (take care not to add too much).
I rolled the dough out by hand. It needs to be a thin sheet, about 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) thick. If using a pasta machine, roll unable roll to the thinnest setting.
If you have a difficult time rolling the dough and it keeps shrinking back, wrap back up in the plastic and allow it to rest for another 15 minutes or so.
I used raw bratwurst with the casing removed and crumbled for the Schwäbische Maultaschen filling. For those in the Los Angeles area, I have been able to find a variety of German and Eastern European sausage at Alpine Village in Torrance, California.
If you do not have authentic Bratwurst available, The Daring Gourmet has put together a great combination of spices to help get the flavor of Bratwurstbrät.
Speck is another common addition.
If you want to finely chop the spinach and parsley quickly, add them to a large food processor and pulse a few times to desired texture before adding to the meat mixture.
If you are unsure about the amount of spices in the filling, take a small round and pan-fry until just cooked through and taste to adjust the flavors.
When cooking in water, reduce the heat to a light simmer. A heavy boil will cause the dumplings to fall apart.
The Maultaschen do take some time and steps to prepare, but this recipes creates a fairly decent-sized batch. The formed Maultaschen can easy be frozen for easy meals later before cooking.
Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze the baking sheet and once chilled, transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe bag up to 3 months. Simmer straight from the freezer. A couple of minutes may need to be added to the cooking time.
Schwäbische Maultaschen Serving Ideas
Along with being formed in different styles, these dumplings can also be served in many different ways! The photos above come from our last visit to Munich, Germany.
Geröstete Maultaschen mit Ei is one of my personal favorites. Simply slice leftover Maultaschen and pan-fry in butter until golden. In a small bowl, beat together a couple of eggs with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a splash of milk. Add to the pan with the sliced Maultaschen and toss just until the eggs are set.
Chad prefers Maultaschen in der Brühe (in broth), especially with the addition of potato salad. This option is particularly comforting on cold winter days.
For other filling ideas, Meine Bayerische Küche by Alfons Schuhbeck has some fun variations such as Kartoffel-Frischkäse-Maultaschen (Potato and Cream Cheese Maultaschen) and Rote-Bete-Maultaschen (Red Beet Maultaschen).
Looking for more German recipes?
- Flädlesuppe (German Crepe Soup)
- Obatzda (Bavarian Beer and Cheese Spread)
- Schupfnudeln (German Potato Noodles)
This recipe was originally posted in March 2013 and updated April 2022.
Schwäbische Maultaschen (German Meat and Spinach Dumplings) Recipe
Adapted from The German Cookbook
Schwäbische Maultaschen (German Meat and Spinach Dumplings)
- 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4-1/2 cup (60-120 milliliters) water
Pork and Spinach Filling:
- 1 pound fresh spinach tough stems removed
- 2 day old rolls about 130 grams, 4.5 ounces
- 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion peeled and finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 12 ounces (340 grams) ground beef, pork, or a combination
- 8 ounces (227 grams) raw bratwurst casing removed and crumbled
- 1/2 cup (20 grams) fresh parsley finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) water
- Chopped fresh parsley or chives
To make the pasta:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Mix in the eggs and slowly add just enough water to form a soft dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth. If still too crumbly to come together, add a little more water. If too sticky to handle, add a little more flour.
- Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
To form the filling:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook just until blanched, about 1 minute.
- Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze excess water out of the leaves and finely chop.
- Chop the rolls into small cubes and place in a medium bowl. Add the milk and allow the bread to soak while you prepare the rest of the filling.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef or pork, crumbled bratwurst, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Add the finely chopped spinach and the cooled onion garlic mixture.
- Squeeze the milk from the cubes of bread and crumble into the bowl.
- Add the eggs and combine to create an evenly distributed filling.
To form the Maultaschen:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
- Place one piece on a floured work surface and cover the remainder. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
- Roll the dough into a thin sheet using a pasta machine or rolling pin, until it is about 1/16th inch (1.5 millimeter) thick.
- To form individual squares: Cut the sheet of pasta into 3-4 inch (7.5-10 centimeter) squares.
- Place a spoonful of the pork and spinach filling in the center of the square, leaving about 1/4-1/2 inch (6-12.5 millimeters) free around the edges.
- Brush the edges with the beaten egg wash and fold the square of pasta over, sealing the edges.
- If desired, press a fork around the edges to seal well. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- To form strudel-like Maultaschen: After rolling the dough into a thin sheet, spread the filling lengthwise across the sheet, leaving about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) free on each side.
- Brush the free edges with the egg wash and roll up the dough tightly, long side to long side, pressing out any air.
- Use a wooden handle to press down on the roll of dough and create dumplings, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Cut along the separated, pressed down edges to form the individual Maultaschen and arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat to a light simmer and cook the Maultaschen, a few at a time to not overcrowd, until floating on the top and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve in broth with fresh herbs or slice and pan-fry in butter with caramelized onions.