Bread dumplings with cheese – Canederli al formaggio

Canederli or Knödel in German are bread dumplings, made with dry old bread softened with eggs and milk, flavored with onions, cheese and nutmeg in this case. It’s a typical dish from the Alto Adige, the Northern part of the Trentino Alto Adige region where the cuisine is typically Tyrolean.
There are many variations of this dish served as a first course with broth or dry with melted butter as a side dish to Goulash, meats or vegetables. I personally like these cheese dumplings plain with melted butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  They can also be served with cooked vegetables like spinach,  carrots, stir fry cabbage or a small green salad. For a glimpse into the Tyrolean cuisine read my trip to Bolzano.


7 oz. dry white bread such as ciabatta cut in small cubes, about 8 cups
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole cow milk
3 oz. mild Emmentaler (Swiss cheese)
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4-5 Tbsp. unsalted butter


1. Cut the bread in small cubes and put them in a big bowl. Mix the eggs with milk and pour the batter over he bread. Combine well and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to an hour.
2. In the meantime chop the onions thinly and saute them in 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter until soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Cut the Emmentaler in small cubes and add them to the bread mixture together with onions and flour. Add nutmeg and salt to taste. Mix the bread mixture with wet hands and shape it into balls. It makes 10 dumplings.
4. Boil them in salted water at medium heat for 15 minutes. To see if they’re thoroughly cooked open one and taste it.
5. Melt 2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter and top each knödel with the butter. You can also sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese.

4 Responses to “Bread dumplings with cheese – Canederli al formaggio”

  1. Rosemarie Yaros said:

    I saw a recipe fpr canederi with chopped onion & proscuitto? Is that OK to put in the dough???

  2. Patty said:

    @Rosemarie: There are many versions of canederli. I usually see it with Speck but prosciutto should be fine too.

  3. Arlene Meuchel said:

    I grew up eating what we called “Pork Dumplings”. They are a heavy potato dumpling that we put sm.pieces of fried pork steak; You need some fat on the meat or the flavor won’t be as good plus the pork will be too dry. To this pork we add salt, pepper and lots of ground allspice. These dumplings are definitly the most loved comfort food in our family. All I have to do to get my cousins in Minnesota,
    and Wisconsin to come out to west coast to visit is tell I will make them double batches of Pork
    Your Dumplings with Cheese, very much resemble our dumplings. They look so delicious I can hardly wait to try them.
    Patti, Thanks for sharing.
    Many Blessings to you,
    Arlene Meuchel

  4. Patty said:

    Dear Arlene,
    My mother-in-law is from Minnesota (my husband too) and she makes me what she calls Clay balls: raw grated potatoes mixed with flour and then boiled. She then sautes the onions in butter and adds pork chops. She uses the onions as a sauce for the clay balls and serve them together with the pork chops. Is your dish similar to this one or do you actually add meat to your potato dumplings? I’m really curious about your recipe seeing that I love my mother-in-law’s so much as well as all of her Minnesotan dishes.

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