Maultaschen are a fun and delicious way to explore the world of German cuisine, with a tempting combination of tender pasta dough, that is filled with an oh-so lecker savory meat, spinach, and onions mixture.
To enjoy Maultaschen in Germany is very easy; you can find them ready to cook in every supermarket, but if you want to make them outside of Germany, you need to make them from scratch. No worries, this is way easier than you might think!
It took me a while and a few experiments to create this easy recipe for you that tastes like the authentic Swabian original and makes making them so super easy that you won´t miss the convenience of buying them.
The customizability of the filling truly makes this dish a special treat! You can be creative and play with the filling to include all of your favorite ingredients. Whether you're looking for a quick lunch, a special dish to share with your German friends, or simply craving a hearty and satisfying meal, this Maultaschen recipe is a must-try!
If you happen to love Southern German cuisine, I've got some more recipe suggestions that you might be interested in. Check out these authentic Southern German recipes for Swabian Zwiebelrostbraten, Rahmschnitzel, or this delicious Swabian potato salad.
The Story Behind Maultaschen
The origin of Maultaschen bears quite an interesting story. Back in the 15th century, the Maulbronn Monastery was booming, with about 130 monks living there. It was a pretty rough time, with people dealing with brutally cold winters, lousy harvests, and even the plague.
One day, Jakob, the monk who was in charge of the errands, came across a piece of meat while shopping. If you know Swabians, they're all about not wasting an opportunity. So Jakob brought the meat back to the monastery, but there was a catch: it was the middle of Lent, and monks were forbidden to eat meat.
But Jakob, being the crafty Swabian he was, hatches a genius plan. He thinks, "Why not chop up the meat and hide it among other ingredients and wrap it into dough? That way, God won't see the meat, and no sin is committed, right?" That is how the idea for Maultaschen were born! And this is why Maultaschen also have the nick name "Herrgottsbescheißerle" which means something like "little god-cheaters".
Where Is Maultaschen From?
What is the Word for German Ravioli?
German ravioli are called Maultaschen. Literally translated "Maul" is the crude German word for mouth and "Taschen" means bag. In Swabian dialect the dish is pronounced "Mauldascha"
How to pronounce "Maultaschen" in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Maultaschen" the right way.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Now, let's explore the simple ingredients that make authentic Swabian Maultaschen from scratch with ingredients you can find in almost every supermarket around the world.
Flour: The trusty foundation for our Maultaschen pasta dough is all-purpose flour, creating that tender and satisfying bite we all adore.
Eggs: These little wonders help bind the dough together and give it a lovely yellow tint. Plus they are helping to hold the filling together and giving it a rich, creamy texture.
Water: Helps to hydrate the flour and makes the dough smooth and pliable, ready for some Maultaschen magic.
Salt: A generous pinch of this essential seasoning enhances the flavor of our pasta dough.
Nutmeg: A dash of nutmeg adds warmth and depth to the dough and filling, creating the delightful traditional German flavor.
Fresh Brats: You can substitute ground meat and season it to your liking, but I found out by experimenting that the raw brat mixture comes closer to the original German fillings, as it is called "Brät". Alternatively, you can also use a mix of ground pork or beef and fresh brats.
Spinach: Adds a pop of color but also lends a lovely earthy flavor and some bonus nutrients.
Parsley: This lively green herb brings a burst of freshness to the Maultaschen, giving the flavors a delightful lift and adding a gorgeous garnish that makes the dish absolutely irresistible.
Onions: These flavor packed champions bring a sweet and savory touch to the filling, elevating the overall taste of this Swabian classic.
Salt and pepper: The trusty seasonings work their magic in the filling, ensuring our Maultaschen are perfectly balanced and bursting with flavor. No need for a lot of extra seasoning, you can keep it simple.
See recipe card for quantities.
Check out these easy steps and learn how to make these delicious Swabian dumplings.
Step 1: Combine all dough ingredients, knead, shape into a rectangle, wrap, and chill.
Step 2: Prepare all ingredients for the filling and knead everything until well combined.
Step 3: Divide the dough into halves, roll out, and spread filling. Fold dough, press out air, and repeat.
Step 4: Cut into 1-inch pieces.
Step 7: Simmer the maultaschen in vegetable broth for 20 minutes, then remove and place on oiled plate or a plate covered with cling film.
You can add different ingredients to the filling, and you can even leave out the meat altogether if you are looking for a vegetarian version.
- Fish - try ground salmon or trout instead of meat for the filling.
- Veggies - carrots, leeks, peas, asparagus, and other vegetables make a wonderful alternative to meat.
- Cheese - cream cheese and freshly chopped herbs make a quick delicious filling.
- Ground Meat - instead of fresh brats you can use ground beef or pork instead.
If you don´t want to make your own maultaschen dough, you can use store bought pasta dough or in a pinch even wanton sheets.
No fancy equipment needed to make these Swabian noodle pockets from scratch.
- Large mixing bowl: for combining the dough ingredients and kneading the dough.
- Cling film: to wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator.
- Colander: for thawing and draining the spinach, and for squeezing the soaked roll.
- Cutting board: for chopping the spinach (if needed), onion, garlic, and parsley or wild garlic.
- Sharp knife: for chopping the ingredients.
- Skillet or frying pan: for sautéing the onion, garlic, and parsley or wild garlic in butter.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: for stirring the ingredients while sautéing.
- Mixing bowl: for combining the filling ingredients.
- Rolling pin: for rolling out the pasta dough.
- Slotted spoon: for transferring the Maultaschen into the simmering broth and for removing them once they are cooked.
- Large pot: for cooking the Maultaschen.
Storing Maultaschen is a breeze! Just follow these easy steps to keep them fresh and delicious:
For uncooked Maultaschen: If you're planning to cook them within a day or two, simply lay them out in a single layer on a plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap, and pop them in the fridge.
For longer storage, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they don't touch. Pop them in the freezer for a few hours or until solid.
Once frozen, move them to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag, using parchment paper between layers to avoid sticking. Don't forget to label and date the container or bag, and they'll be good to go in the freezer for up to 3 months!
For cooked Maultaschen: Let them cool down to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container, using parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.
Keep the container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you're ready to enjoy them, simply reheat in a pan with a bit of butter or give them a quick zap in the microwave.
If you'd like to freeze cooked Maultaschen, use the same method as for uncooked ones. When it's time to dig in, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat as you prefer.
How to Serve
Traditionally, Maultaschen are served "gemältzt" in a bit of broth with sautéed onions and potato salad. One of the biggest misconceptions about Maultaschen is that they need a sauce, like their Italian cousins, ravioli. While that's also super tasty, it's not the classic version. If you wanna try a sauce, go for something like this creamy mushroom sauce.
Fried in butter, Maultaschen make an awesome companion for salads and vegetables. You can also slice 'em up and serve them as a baked casserole with cheese. And, of course, you can enjoy them with any sauce or cooking style you'd use for ravioli and tortellini. Have fun trying different combos!
What to drink with Maultaschen?
Both red and white wines go great with traditional Swabian Maultaschen, depending on how you cook and serve 'em. Of course, German wines are the top choice. For white wine, you could go for a Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) from the Palatinate or a tasty Müller-Thurgau.
As for red wine, any Swabian would grab their fave Trollinger.
If you're not feeling like wine, you can always drink beer or a Radler with your Maultaschen. For non-alcoholic options, water, sodas, or fruity spritzers like apple juice spritzer work well as a matching drink. Enjoy!
Maultaschen - Swabian Style German Ravioli
For the noodle dough:
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ cup water possibly more or less
- 2 tsp. oil
For the filling:
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch parsley or wild garlic leaves
- 1 roll stale
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 10 oz. spinach, chopped frozen
- 250 g fresh brats 10 oz.
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper, coarse
- 2-4 quarts vegetable broth
- Add all ingredients for the dough to a large bowl and knead until all ingredients are well combined and a smooth dough forms. You might need to adjust the water or flour amount depending on where you live and which flour you are using.
- Shape the dough to a flat rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator.
- Thaw the spinach in a colander and then squeeze the excess water out. If the spinach appears to be cut only coarsely, you might want to chop it a bit finer.
- Soak the roll in cold water for about 10 minutes, then squeeze it well (preferably in a larger colander) and pull it into small pieces.
- In the meantime, peel the onion and garlic and finely chop it along with the parsley or wild garlic. Then sauté everything in butter until translucent.
- Remove the filling from the brats and discard the casings. Combine the meat with the egg and spices. Then add the spinach, roll, and sauteed vegetables, and knead everything well to a smooth consistency.
- Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out the pasta dough on a lightly floured surface into a long, 6-inch-wide rectangle. Evenly spread half of the filling onto the dough. Then fold one third of the dough lengthwise towards the middle and repeat to have a 2-inch-wide folded dough sheet. Press gently to let the air escape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Cut the folded dough sheet into 1-inch wide pieces.
- In a large pot bring the vegetable broth to a simmer, place the Maultaschen into it with a slotted spoon and allow to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them on a lightly oiled plate.