Maultaschen is a traditional dish in the Swabian region of southern Germany. Over the centuries, the borders of this region have shifted significantly. Nowadays, this region covers an area of about 300x220 km (200x150 miles), and is very roughly limited by the Black Forest (D: Schwarzwald) to the west, the Lech river to the east, Lake Constance (D: Bodensee) to the south (on the Swiss border), and the Stuttgart area to the north.

A Maultasche consists of pasta dough pocket that is traditionally filled with minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions, flavored with various herbs and spices (e.g., pepper, parsley and nutmeg). Maultaschen are similar to Italian ravioli, but are much larger: about 8-12 cm across (3-5 inches). The name "Maultasche" (singular of "Maultaschen") may be a contraction of the words for animal mouth and bag, i.e., a rectangular feedbag for horses and other livestock. So it may refer to the shape of the stuffed dough pockets.

In Swabia, Maultaschen were traditionally associated with the 40-day "Lent" period of repentance, fasting, and other fun exercises, leading up to Easter. During this period, believers were encouraged to refrain from eating meat. So, the clever Swabians hid the meat from the (almost) all-seeing eye of their tribal idol, by putting it in pasta-dough pockets. Nowadays, they are served at restaurants and cooked at home all year around.

Maultaschen are served in three basic ways:

  • "geröstet" - cut into thick slices that are pan-fried with onions
  • "in der Brühe" - simmered in a clear broth, and served like a soup, sometimes with slivers of a thin "Flädle" pancake on top
  • "geschmälzt" - dressed with butter and fried onions

  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Dough rest time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Makes 6 servings.


  • Ingredients for the pasta dough:
  • 500 grams "all-purpose" flour (D: type 550; F: type 55)
  • If you want to go fancy: use finely milled, high-protein flour type "00"
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten

  • Ingredients for the filling:
  • 400 grams ground lean beef
  • 100 grams smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 250 grams cooked spinach, very well drained (requires some squeezing!)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (e.g., from 4 rolls)
  • 4 eggs
  • flat-leaf parsley (i.e., not curly-leaf), finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Ingredients for serving:
  • 2-3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • beef or veal stock (clear broth)


  • 2 medium size bowl
  • Wire whisk
  • Rolling pin or pasta maker
  • Pasta/ravioli "crimper" wheel
  • Medium-large size sauce pan


A simple pasta maker


  • Instructions for the pasta dough:
  • Put the flour in a bowl and whisk (too loosen up the flour and eliminate clumps, if any; this is quicker and easier (incl. cleaning) than using a sifter)
  •  Add the eggs to the flour and knead, knead, knead.
  • Let the dough rest for 1 hour

  • Instructions for the filling:
  • In a bowl, mix the ground beef, beaten eggs, spinach, and bread crumbs
  • Sauté the bacon and the chopped onion, then add to the bowl and mix
  • Season with the spices

  • Instructions for the assembly:
  • If making pasta dough yourself: roll it into sheets of appr. 1-2 mm thickness
  • This is position 7-8 on a standard manual pasta rolling machine
  • Cut the pasta dough into strips of appr. 6-8 cm wide (3 inch) and appr. 3 times as long
  • Put a rounded tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each dough strip, leaving the edges clear
  • Moisten the edges, fold the sides over and seal well (e.g., with a crimper wheel), so no water can get in when boiling
  • Make sure to get (most of) the air out of the dough pocket before sealing, otherwise the pockets will open up when they get boiled

  • Instructions for serving:
  • If serving in broth:
  • Pan-fry the sliced onions in some butter or olive oil
  • Heat up the broth in a sauce pan
  • Serve the broth in large soup bowl, each with a Maultsache with some fried sliced onions on top
  • If serving on a plate:
  • Heat the plates in the oven
  • Pan-fry the sliced onions in some butter or olive oil
  • Pan-fry the cooked Maultsachen in some butter or olive oil
  • Serve the Maultsachen, covered with generous amount of sautéed onions;


  • The Maultaschen filling is also great for stuffing bell peppers (paprikas); stuff, cover with cheese, bake in oven.

red-blue line

©1993-2016 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.