Austria, Dessert, Recipes, Treats

Austrian Topfenknödel {4 Variations}

March 11, 2013

Before diving into this post I should warn you that it contains about a million pictures. I’ve actually had to update the title from 2 to 4 variations as I kept testing and creating new flavors and fillings. I could have made four separate posts out of this but it’s really just the filling that’s different. You’ll see what I mean once you scroll down.

So, tomorrow I will be cooking lunch at work. Admittedly it’s only be for a selected {lucky} group of people but I couldn’t be anymore excited to cook in an actual show kitchen where I have 3 ovens and 2 microwaves. Unfortunately I chose to cook something that only requires an hob.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-41

I wanted to cook something typically Austrian and finding that perfect recipes was rather tricky. There really isn’t much difference between Bavarian and Austrian cuisine. Germans know about Applestrudel, Schweinsbraten and Wienerschnitzel the same way that Austrians know about Münchner Weißwurst. But when it came to choosing the recipe I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with Topfenknödel.

Topfen is the Austrian version of quark which is a soft cheese. I’m still trying to find a good substitution for it since I’ve been using in lots of recipes lately. Today I’ll talk you through another great recipe. Let’s get going!

Get out your mixing bowl. Throw in 2 egg yolks and butter and start mixing on medium speed just until the mixture is starting to fluff.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-19

Just like that…

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-20

Then throw in 3 or 4 tablespoons of vanilla sugar. You can add more, or add normal caster sugar if you prefer.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-21

Then add in flour…,…

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-22

…one packet of Topfen {also known as Quark  in Germany}.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-23

Next add a bit of semolina….

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-24

A good amount of lemon zest…

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-25

…and last but certainly not least: vanilla extract, to add even more of that wonderful vanilla taste that I love so much.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-26

Mix again and then you have the dough ready to go!! Mix until this….

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-27

…turns to this!

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-28

The filling is the part that you can be really creative with. In the summers we use stone fruit like plums or apricots from our garden but strawberries also make a juicy core. In the winter months when fruits aren’t that widely available chocolate Lindt balls, Mozartkugeln, nougat or poppy seeds make delicious, indulgent alternatives.

Let’s begin with one of my favorite flavors: Mozartkugel filling {by the way, if you haven’t guessed, these chocolate balls were named after the famous Austrian composer W.A.Mozart}

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-29

Before actually adding the filling to the dough fill a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-30

Then make the Knödel. Take a handful of dough and add a bit of flour and form a ball, then press it flat. Add the chocolate ball and then form the Knödel.


Just like that. The other variation that you can try out {especially during the summer} is using fruit. I found some plums hidden in the freezer and used those. The procedure is the same.


The other filling is nougat. Cut it into small cubes and roll the dumpling.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_

Knödel how to

And the last variation you could try out is with poppy seeds!

I’m not sure how widely available poppy seeds are where you live but they are commonly used in cakes and pastries in Germany and Austria. In the baking section we have a handy poppy seed mixture that basically consists of ground poppy seeds and sugar and mixing that up with a splash of milk you’ll get a nice gooey mixture. This is really good and I could literally eat it by the spoonful!

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-3

Forming the Knödel is {surprisingly} exactly the same as before just that this time the filling will be a bit softer which makes rolling it a bit more challenging. But it is possible!

Poppy Seed Knödel how to

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-31

Carefully drop the Knödel into the pot of boiling water {do not use a lid} and wait for it to cook. Let it just bubble away for 15 minutes. If the Knödel falls apart in the water then you’ll have readjust the dough by adding a bit more flour.

While the Knödel is bubbling in the water toast some breadcrumbs in a knob of butter until golden. 

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-32

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-33

You can roll the cooked Knödel in the breadcrumbs directly after taking it out of the water and let it sit in the pan until you’re ready to serve. Instead of using breadcrumbs I like rolling the poppy seed dumplings in ground poppy seeds.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-36

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-37

When all your dough is used up and the Knödel cooked you are done! Time to eat!

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-6

Let’s take a peek inside! Molten chocolate….who wouldn’t like that?

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-8

As for the poppy seed Knödel, I prefer those with the addition of some molten butter. It also softens the poppy seeds a little which to be honest, I quite liked {especially since I used whole instead of ground poppy seeds!!! ooops!}.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-9

A drizzle of butter and we are good to go!

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-10


Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-11

As for the chocolate  Knödel….these are my absolute favorite.

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-41

Just look at the filling!

Austrian Knödel from healthinspirations.net_-40

Now go and make these! Whichever variation you choose I can guarantee you’ll love them!


Austrian Topfenknödel

serves 3 {makes 9 medium-sized or 5 large Knödel}


For the dough

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 75g butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp. vanilla sugar
  • 75g {1/2 cup packed} all-purpose flour + additional for flouring hands, work surface etc.
  • 250g Topfen {Quark}, full fat
  • 20g semolina {1/8 cup}
  • zest from an organic lemon
  • a drop vanilla extract
  • salt for water

Options for the filling + coating

  • ~  50g nougat, cut into small cubes
  • Chocolate Lindt Balls, Mozartkugeln, etc.
  • fruit like strawberries, apricot, plums {works with frozen fruit but results are better when using fresh}
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • a knob of butter
  • powdered sugar
  • poppy seeds, ground
  • poppy seed paste {needs to be mixed with milk}


  1. Add 2 egg yolks and 75g of room temperature butter to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Mix at medium speed until fluffy. Then add vanilla sugar, all-purpose flour, Topfen, semolina, lemon zest and about 1/2 tablespoon  of vanilla extract. Mix until just combined.
  2. Then heat up water in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat up a knob of butter in a pan and add about 2 cups of breadcrumbs. Toast until just golden, then set aside.
  4. Gather your ingredients. This is a really fun recipe because you can mix and match. If you’re a chocolate lover use chocolate balls or nougat and if you like fruit desserts pick stone fruit like apricots or plums.
  5. As pictured about use a handful of dough, add a bit of flour and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough, add the filling then roll into a dumpling.
  6. Carefully drop the Knödel into the pot of simmering water and let it bubble away for 15-20 minutes. After that take it out of the water and roll it in the toasted breadcrumbs.
  7. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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  • Reply Katie (The Muffin Myth) March 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Omg. You put a Mozart ball in a dumpling? My mind is officially blown! I’ve just recently discovered the Swedish version of Quark (Kvarg) and I’m eating the light version (0.1% fat and 14% protein) for breakfast, in smoothies, stirred into soups. It’s bonkers I lived here nearly three years and didn’t know that stuff existed. I’m sure the full fat stuff only for the recipe, but I’m pretty excited about this discovery!

    • Reply Antonia March 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      I’m so happy to see that someone else is so enthusiastic about quark. It’s an incredibly delicious addition to everything from breakfast smoothies, oatmeals to dinner {I like to use a spoon to cream vegetables}. Whenever a recipe calls for Greek yoghurt I like to substitute it with quark although I know it’s not the same thing. But the Greek yoghurt we get here is all full fat and not really that great but the Germans sure know how to make good quark. And as you said, the low fat version makes a healthy addition to so many meals!

      • Reply Katie (The Muffin Myth) March 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

        Yeah, I really miss the 0% fat 18% protein Greek yoghurt I could get in Canada. Quark is definitely the next best thing here, so now that I know about it I’m using it all the time.

  • Reply Clair March 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Ok, so this is basically all of my favorite dessert flavors in one post. OH MY GOSH, I want to eat all of them. Please let me know if you can think of a good non-dairy substitute for Quark. If not, I’ll probably indulge anyway! 😉

    • Reply Antonia March 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Oh boy….that’s a tricky question but I’ll look out for something that resembles quark and report back 😉

  • Reply Bec March 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Holy mother of God, these look amazing. They are so being made this weekend! So I have a question for you concerning differences in European food – I’m Dutch on my Dad’s side and I have been to Holland, Austria and Germany before but I was pretty young and don’t remember a lot. Do you know how Dutch food is different from Austrian and Bavarian food? My grandmother could probably tell me, but I thought I’d ask you instead 🙂 It’s just very interesting to find this stuff out, especially being a born and bred Australian who grew up in an Italian, and not Dutch, household. I know my Italian.

    • Reply Antonia March 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Haha…that is such an interesting mixture. My flat mate is dutch and I’ll ask her about the food differences and similarities for you. I can’t believe I’ve never asked her…it’s about time. I’ll let you know about what she says 🙂

  • Reply Nina March 12, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Wow! They look great! I ate my last Mozartkugel so I’d have to use another chocolate when I try this out… What kind of other chocolates would you recommend?

  • Reply Peekaboo :) March 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    They (dumplings) don’t just look good. I have eaten them 😀 Prepared by Master himself. Deeeeeliiiiicious!!!!!!!

  • Reply Ana March 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Hmmm tried the knödels today… Very yummy, thank you again for saving them for today. And i will definitly try the Mozart knödel version 🙂

  • Reply Anupam Gupta December 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

    You’ve got me hooked to your recipe for Topfenknodels. Thanks.
    I am from India, and had tasted these in Vienna last year, but did not know what were they called, and so could not ask for them later, not knowing enough of German langauge.
    By the way, Topfen or Quark, is a very popular ingredient in India. We call it “Chhena”. We make a very popular sweet with it – “Rasgulla”. Simply take some Quark, rub it through a coarse sieve a few times. Roll into small dumplings, and boil in a thin sugar syrup for about 15 minutes. Serve Chilled.

  • Reply Katie March 4, 2014 at 2:47 am

    What texture is Topfen? Is it smooth like Greek yogurt, or grainy like ricotta? I’m not sure we have it in the US. I know the English word is quark but I’ve never seen that either. Wondering what to substitute. Would you use ricotta or farmer’s cheese (grainy) or something smooth like yogurt or sour cream?

    • Reply Antonia March 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Hi Katie! I get that question a lot. Topfen is basically the Austrian word for quark. That’s how the German’s call it and it’s cheese curd. The consistency really depends on the type (fat %) of Topfen/Quark you buy, but I think it most compares to a full-fat Greek yogurt or thick sour cream. Either one should hopefully work. But if the consistency of the dough isn’t right and you can’t form the Knödel, then playing around with the ratio of flour:sour cream/Greek yogurt should help.
      Hope this helps and good luck!

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