Potato dumplings (bramborové knedlíky) are a very popular side dish in Czech cuisine. You can serve them with savoury or sweet meals. This recipe is easy to follow and perfect for making ahead and batch cooking.
About Czech Food And Dumplings
Dumplings are an important part of Central European and Czech cuisine (people even make jokes about them!). Just like in Germany or Austria, we have several different types of dumplings - bread dumplings, sourdough dumplings, Carlsbad dumplings (these are quite fancy!), bacon dumplings, potato dumplings, fruit dumplings… the list could go on!
If you are wondering what sweet dumplings are, imagine a combination of gnocchi and hot fruit (plums, strawberries, peaches etc), covered in melted butter and icing sugar. These sweet dumplings are served either as a main course or as a dessert.
Every region of the country has got their way of serving dumplings. However, they are traditionally served with rich sauce (Czech goulash or svíčková), or with braised cabbage and a portion of roast meat (usually pork or beef, and on special occasions also lamb, geese or duck).
Restaurants sometimes serve a variety of dumplings together with a main course, so that everyone finds their favorites on one plate.
Making dumplings can be time-consuming, so people usually buy ready-made ones in local shops and then just reheat them in a steamer before serving.
But there are a few types of dumplings that are relatively easy to make – potato dumplings being one of them! 😊
Why To Try These Czech Potato Dumplings
Potato dumplings are typical for their look and texture: they are slimy on the outside and fluffy and moist on the inside. They can be served in many ways too - as slices (of a loaf), or in an egg-shape form, which we call 'noky' (a Czech word for gnocchi) or kluski (which are similar to German Klosse).
Potato dumplings (Kartoffelknodel) are fairly simple, therefore people often cook them at home.
They also contain some basic store cupboard ingredients, and are great for batch cooking and making ahead, as they freeze well.
Key Ingredients For Czech Potato Dumplings
This recipe for Bohemian potato dumplings contains only 5 essential pantry ingredients! Here they are:
- Potatoes are of course, the main ingredient. Use white starchy (mealy) potatoes (such as Yukon Gold) or white potatoes which are universal. Cook the potatoes with the skin on, and take the skin off once cooked and slightly cooled. You can also use leftover cooked potatoes. You will need to grate them – do not skip this step, and do not use potato musher, as they will loose their texture and the dumplings will fall apart.
- Flour is necessary in this recipe, assuring the dumplings have the desired fluffy texture. Use plain flour, or a mix of plain (all-purpose) and semolina flour. Semolina flour is a high-gluten wheat flour with a visible coarse texture. It is traditionally used for pasta and pizza bases, dumplings or porridge and is available in most large supermarkets (check the international/world aisle!).
- Free-range egg is the binding agent that helps the shredded potatoes and flour to stick together.
- Salt is added to bring out some of the potato and egg flavours.
Optional ingredients in this recipe are potato starch and butter.
- Add powdered potato starch if you think the potato variety used is too soft. This extra potato starch will help the dough stick better together. The dumplings may be slightly more chewy as a result.
- If you are making the dumplings ahead, and will reheat them later, brush them (hot) with a knob of butter.
Exact quantities can be found in the recipe card below this post.
Substitutes & Variations
This recipe for traditional Czech potato dumplings contains allergens like flour and egg. You can, however, swap these ingredients to make them allergen-free!
- Use gluten-free plain flour, OR powdered potato starch only instead of regular plain and semolina flour if you are gluten-intolerant. Corn starch will work as well.
- Skip adding the egg for a dairy-free dumpling recipe. Add a small splash of water if the dough seems too dry – little is more in this case! Add more flour if the dough becomes too runny.
How To Make Bohemian Potato Dumplings
This recipe is ready in very little time and can be made in advance. Just follow these easy steps:
- Cook the potatoes and leave to cool down (up to a day ahead).
- Boil some water - use a pan that is large enough (at least 24cm diameter).
- Peel the potato skin off. Grate (shred) the potatoes.
- Add the egg, both flours, potato starch and a pinch of salt. Knead together to make dough.
- Divide the dough into two parts and create two loaves.
- Add both dumplings to the boiling water and cook for 20 mins, check the dumplings aren't stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- After 20 minutes, take the dumplings out and slice them. Serve with roast meat, gravy, cabbage, or creamed spinach.
- Cook the potatoes so they are just cooked, do not overcook them.
- Let the potatoes to cool down completely before mixing with flour and egg.
- Do not let the uncooked dough sit around - it would become thinner and runny, and it would be impossible to cook it correctly. Follow the steps of the recipe closely to avoid this. If you notice the dough becoming thinner, add more flour and/or potato starch.
- To prevent the potato dumplings from going grey, make sure you peel and grate them and add them to the dough, and cook the dumplings as soon as possible. Any delay and prolonged exposure to air makes the potatoes turn black and your dumplings will go grey.
- Potato varieties differ a lot, and they also change consistency throughout the year, meaning they can be more watery at times. Make sure to add enough flour to prevent the potato dumplings from falling apart (being too mushy). The right consistency of the dough is thick and stretchy, almost like pizza dough.
Storage & Reheating
These potato dumplings will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let them cool down completely and then wrap them tightly in a cling film or place them into a plastic bag, push all air out and seal.
You can also freeze these dumplings – wrap them the same way as if you were to store them in the fridge. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
How To Reheat Potato Dumplings
You can reheat potato dumplings in 3 different ways: in a steamer, in a microwave, or in a pan.
The best and recommended method of reheating dumplings is in a steamer. Add about 1 cm of water into a saucepan, add a steam insert, place the sliced dumplings on top, cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes. This will keep the dumplings moist and soft. Serve immediately.
Alternatively, you can reheat these Bohemian potato dumplings in a microwave. Place them into a plastic bag, add a teaspoon of cold water, and reheat for 3-5 minutes per portion, depending on the power of your microwave. Serve and consume immediately, as they will get rubbery the longer they sit around.
Lastly, you can reheat these dumplings in a frying pan. Drizzle the pan with oil, set on medium-high heat and when hot, add the sliced (or diced) dumplings. Cook until slightly brown, turning them occasionally. You can add various toppings here, from onion to sauerkraut, bacon, cabbage, spinach and more.
Potato dumplings would turn out mushy and will fall apart if you don’t add enough flour to the dough, or if you use potatoes which are still warm. If the dough seems too wet and sticky, add a generous amount of flour to it.
You can cook the potatoes up to a day ahead of making the dumplings. Grate them and mix with flour, egg, and salt just when you’re ready to finish them off. Do not prepare the dough only – this would become too thin too soon and impossible to use later on.
When you finish making potato dumplings and they have cooled down, you can freeze them for later.
Not exactly. They will naturally come up to the water level after a few minutes unless they are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue boiling them for the set time.
Any delay and prolonged exposure to air makes potatoes turn black, meaning your dumplings will go grey. To prevent the potato dumplings from going grey, make sure you peel and grate them and add them to the dough, and cook the dumplings as soon as possible.
More Czech Recipes
- Roast duck on red cabbage
- Slow-cooked red cabbage
- Czech potato salad
- Czech potato goulash
- Lentil stew with gammon
- Classic Czech roast chicken
📖 The Recipe
Czech Potato Dumplings
- 900 g potatoes, raw or cooked
- 300 g plain (all-purpose) flour, + more for dusting
- 150 g semolina flour
- 1 free-range egg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- ½ tablespoon butter, for serving
- Carefully wash the potatoes and boil until soft in slightly salted water. Let the potatoes cool down completely. You can make this a day ahead (store in the fridge overnight).
- When ready to cook the potato dumplings, fill a large stockpot with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil on high heat.
- Meanwhile, peel the potato skins off with a butter knife. Grate (shred) the potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, both flours, potato starch and a pinch of salt. Knead the mixture with your hands until you get a thick dough. If it seems too sticky, add more flour.
- Dust the worktop with some plain flour and use this area for rolling the dough.
- Divide the dough into two parts. Take one part and roll it into a regular, about 5cm thick and 20cm long loaf with flat ends. Do the same with the second part of the dough. Sprinkle some more flour on the worktop if needed (it stops the surface from being sticky).
- Add both dumplings to the boiling water, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook for 20 mins, regularly stirring and checking they aren't stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- About a third or halfway through the cooking process, the dumplings will be floating on top of the hot water – continue cooking them for the rest of the time.
- Take the dumplings out of the boiling water. Cut them into 1-1.5cm thick slices, and serve them with roast meat, sauce, cabbage, or spinach.
- Optional: Brush the hot dumplings over with a knob of butter if you plan to serve them later.
- Gluten-free flour for regular and semolina flour (1:1 ratio),
- Corn starch instead of potato starch (1:1 ratio).