German potato balls

Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Yields Makes about 75 dumplings
Potato balls cooked at the LAT Kitchen Studio
A family recipe for German potato dumplings became a holiday tradition.
(Shelby Moore / For The Times)
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This family recipe for German potato dumplings — an adaptation of kartoffelklösse — is prepared for holidays. It makes about 75 dumplings and can easily be doubled or tripled for a big holiday meal. The dumplings freeze well too, if you want to serve some and freeze more for later. Rolling and boiling the dumplings works best as a two-person project, one person rolling and one person monitoring the wiggle-woggling.

Before boiling all of the dumplings, you may want to test two or three to be sure they hold together. If they come apart, mix more flour into the dough in 1-tablespoon increments and retest until the dough coheres.

Potato balls cooked at the LAT Kitchen Studio
These delicious German potato dumplings freeze well, if you want to serve some and freeze more for later.
(Shelby Moore / For The Times)
For the dumplings
For preparation

Prepare the potato mash. Peel the potatoes and place them in a medium pot with cool water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool, and mash. You should have about 3 cups.


Put a large pot of water on to boil.


In a large bowl or the potato cooking pot, combine the potato mash with the egg, ¾ cup of flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix together with clean hands until a sticky dough forms. (If, as you try to roll the dumplings, it seems unworkably sticky, add more flour in 1-tablespoon increments, mixing the dough as you go, but the less flour you use the better they’ll be in the end.)


With clean, floured hands, take a small clump of the sticky dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a shooter marble or a grape. Repeat with remaining dough. You should have about 75 balls.


Drop several balls into the boiling water. After about a minute, they will float and “wiggle-woggle” for a minute or two before rising to and remaining on the surface. Use a slotted spoon to move them to a paper-towel-lined plate where they can cool and dry.


Once you’ve rolled and wiggle-woggled all the dumplings, you can store them in large zip-top bags in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.


For serving, fill a 12-inch skillet — we use one of those plug-in skillets so we don’t take up a burner — with a single layer of room temp potato balls, leaving enough space to comfortably stir and rotate the balls. Add the butter and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook on medium-low until warmed through, regularly rotating with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. The balls should get warm and butter-coated first on the low heat, and then increase the heat to just below medium and allow a beautiful golden-brown crust to form, again, regularly rotating them for even cooking. When you have a steaming skillet of golden-brown spheres, 15 to 20 minutes, they’re ready to serve.

Make Ahead:
Dumplings can be prepared through Step 6 and stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use.