The German beef dumpling soup with bone marrow dumplings, vegetables, noodles, and egg custard is comforting and delicious.
This German beef dumpling soup or Rindfleischsuppe with egg custard must be the first traditional German food I had when coming to Germany; it is my mother-in-law's signature dish.
It is something we mostly have during the colder times of the year; those are the times when you don't mind a pot of bone broth simmering for hours and hours in the kitchen and when you feel like taking more time to prepare such extra things like bone marrow dumplings and egg custard squares.
And if you would like a vegetarian soup, try the Vegetarian Dumpling Soup (with Vegetables).
Table of contents
A tissue found in the center of the bones. Beef marrow is commonly consumed in Germany and many other parts of the world. It has a rich flavor, and it is mostly used to make bone marrow dumplings for soup, or to make spreads for toast, for instance, marrow butter.
You can replace it with more butter. The procedure is the same, the dumplings will taste a bit different, but they will still be totally delicious.
The German Eierstich - egg custard – is beaten eggs, spiced with salt and pepper. The mixture is placed in a freezer bag and cooked in a pot of water until set. Once cooked the eggs are cut into squares and added to the German beef soup.
My mother-in-law uses Maggi sauce to give the soup its typical dark color and a bit of spiciness. All German people know what that is, but I am not sure how known that is outside Germany.
Because I don’t want to buy a whole bottle of Maggi for making just the beef dumpling soup, I replace it with soy sauce. It is very unorthodox, but I think soy sauce not only gives the soup the expected darker color but also adds some more saltiness and flavor.
Refrigerate the beef dumpling soup for 3-4 days in the pot (covered) or in an airtight container.
It’s a great soup to make for guests as it is rich, and filling and it can be made well in advance.
- For the beef broth:
- Meat: One piece of beef boiling meat, about 300-400 g/ 10.5-14 oz
- Vegetables: one thin leek, two medium carrots, one piece of celeriac, or 2-3 celery stalks.
- Spices: bay leaves, allspice berries, juniper berries, and cloves.
- For the egg custard: You will need eggs, milk, salt, and a pinch of nutmeg
- For the marrow dumplings: Bone marrow from about 4-5 small bones, dry breadcrumbs, salt, ground black pepper, nutmeg, parsley, and eggs.
- For the German beef dumpling soup:
- Beef broth cubes to help increase the flavor of the broth. Beef broth is cooked for a relatively short period of time, not enough to develop the rich deep flavor of a beef bone broth.
- If you are using beef bone broth or shop-bought broth (which already contains lots of flavor enhancers), you can skip the broth cubes.
- Vegetables: One medium leek and carrots. Also, some fresh parsley or chives to garnish the German beef soup.
- One small handful of tiny-shaped noodles.
- Spices: Red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, soy sauce. Alternatively, use Maggi from a bottle.
The recipe for the beef dumpling soup is not difficult, but there are a few very different steps involved, so it requires a bit of time and organization.
How to make beef broth?
- Remove the marrow from the bones: Before starting to make the broth with the marrow bones, remember to remove the bone marrow before cooking the bones, it must be raw and not cooked. Scratch out the marrow, about 100 g/ 3.5 oz of it, and use that to make the dumplings for the soup. Keep it refrigerated in a small airtight container until ready to use.
- Simmer: Place the boiling meat and all the (empty) bones in a large pot. Add vegetables, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately, remove the scum with a slotted spoon, and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
- Finish: Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside. Strain the broth into a clean pot and discard the bones and the cooked vegetables. Once cool enough to handle, chop the meat into small pieces and set it aside for later.
How to make egg custard?
- You can make the egg custard for the beef dumpling soup in advance and keep it refrigerated in an airtight container. Only add it to the beef dumpling soup at the end of the cooking process.
- Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and nutmeg very well. Pour the mixture into a freezer bag and knot the bag very tightly (1).
- Cook: Fill a wider pot with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, place the bag with the eggs in the pot (2) and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, turning the bag a few times in between (use tongs), until the eggs are completely set.
- Chop: Remove, let cool for a while. Cut the bag, take out the egg custard (3), slice the eggs thickly, then chop them into small squares or diamonds (4). Add to the soup during the last minutes of the cooking time.
How to make marrow dumplings?
- Weigh the marrow (5). If you don't have quite 100 g/ 3.5 oz replace the missing quantity with butter. You could only use butter if you don't have the marrow.
- Melt: Place the marrow in a small, preferably nonstick saucepan and heat gently, stirring often, until the marrow is melted. Sieve the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium bowl (6).
- Combine: Add the dry breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, chopped parsley (7), and eggs, and mix very well together (8).
- Form lots of small balls (9) and cook them in the slightly simmering broth for about 10-15 minutes or until they start to float on top of the German beef soup.
How to make the German beef dumpling soup?
- Taste the broth, if it’s not flavorful enough, heat it well and add the beef broth cubes, stir well to help them dissolve. Heat the broth before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Add vegetables: Chop the leeks and the carrots and cook them in the beef broth until very slightly softer, about 5 minutes.
- Add dumplings, noodles, and cooked meat: Add the beef dumplings and simmer them for 10-15 minutes or until they float in the pot. While the dumplings are simmering, add the noodles as well. Check the noodle's cooking time and add them to the soup on time. Add the chopped cooked beef when you add the noodles.
- Add the egg custard squares to the German beef soup during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time, so that they can get hot again.
- Adjust the taste of the beef dumpling soup with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and vinegar. Start with a little and keep tasting until you get the desired taste. Alternatively, use Maggi sauce from a bottle (to taste). Sprinkle with parsley and/or chives and serve.
- Beef broth doesn't have the intense flavor of beef bone broth, which is cooked for a whole day.
- To increase the flavor, I recommend adding a few good quality, low-sodium beef broth cubes. Use them to taste and adjust the taste with salt accordingly.
Cloudy broth: It tastes just as good as clear broth, so don’t stress too much if it happens.
What might help against it?
- Start making the beef broth with cold water.
- Don’t let the broth boil, it should only very gently simmer.
- Skim off the scum.
- You can prepare the broth one day ahead. Keep it refrigerated (I use large jars for this purpose). You can remove the fat that sets on top of the liquid before reheating the broth.
- If you want to make the broth several days in advance, it is preferable to freeze the bone marrow in a small container until ready to use (and up to 3 months).
- You can also make the egg custard one day ahead. Leave it in the bag, place the bag in a container and refrigerate the custard.
- You can prepare the German beef soup in advance and keep it refrigerated. However, it is preferable to add the noodles when reheating the soup, especially if you serve it to guests. When the noodles stay in the soup overnight, they will absorb a lot of liquid and will become softer. The soup will also become thicker.
- That’s not a bad thing when happening to leftovers, but I prefer to have a perfect beef dumpling soup the first time we serve it and a thicker one the next day.
More German soup recipes
German Beef Dumpling Soup
- Large pot
- Medium pot
- Small pot
Beef broth (Note 1):
- 3 liter water cold 100 fl.oz/ 12-13 cups
- 1 piece of beef boiling meat about 300-400 g/ 10.5-14 oz
- 1 thin leek
- 2 medium carrots
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 10 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 allspice berries
- 5 juniper berries
- 4 cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt or Kosher, a bit less if using table salt
- 4 eggs
- 120 ml milk 4 fl.oz/ ½ cup
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- a pinch of nutmeg
Marrow dumplings (Note 2):
- 100 g bone marrow from about 4-5 small bones 3.5 oz
- 80 g dry breadcrumbs 3 oz/ ½ cup
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- some nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 cubes of beef broth good quality, low-sodium, Note 3
- 1 medium leek
- 2 carrots
- 1 small handful tiny-shaped noodles
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic or more to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or more to taste, Note 4
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- fresh parsley or/and chives to garnish
- Remove the marrow from the bones. You can do that by scratching inside the bone with a long thin knife (not your best knife) or object. Place the marrow in an airtight container and refrigerate it until needed (you can also freeze it).
- Place the beef and all the bones in a large pot. Add the roughly chopped vegetables and all the spices. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer: Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
- Finish broth: Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside. Strain the broth into a clean pot and discard the bones and the cooked vegetables. Adjust the taste of the broth with more salt if necessary. Once cool enough to handle, chop the meat into small pieces and set it aside for later.
- Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and nutmeg very well. Pour the mixture into a freezer bag, and knot the bag very tightly.
- Simmer egg custard: Fill a wider pot with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, place the bag with the eggs in the pot and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, turning the bag a few times in between (use tongs), until the eggs are completely set.
- Chop: Take the bag out of the water and let the egg custard cool for a while. Remove the bag, slice the eggs thickly, then chop them into small squares or diamonds.
- Add them to the soup during the last minutes of the cooking time.
- Weigh the marrow. If you don't have quite 100 g/ 3.5 oz replace the missing quantity with some butter. You could only use butter if you don't have the marrow.
- Melt marrow: Place the marrow in a small, preferably nonstick saucepan and heat gently, stirring often, until the marrow is melted.
- Sieve the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium bowl.
- Combine: Add the dry breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, chopped parsley, and eggs and mix very well.Tip: Depending on the size of the eggs and the breadcrumbs, you might need to adjust the texture by adding more breadcrumbs. Check the images in the blog post to see how the mixture should look like.
- Form lots of small balls and cook them in the slightly simmering broth for about 10-15 or until they float in the soup. You will need to add the noodles and the cooked beef during these 10-15 minutes.
German beef soup:
- While you make and form the dumplings, reheat the broth.
- Finely chop the fresh carrots and leek. Add to the soup and cook for about 5 minutes until they are half cooked.
- Add the dumplings and simmer them for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they start to float in the soup. Check the noodle's cooking time and add them to the soup while the dumplings are simmering. The noodles I use are tiny and only need 4 or 5 minutes, so I add them about 4 minutes before the dumplings are done.Add the chopped cooked meat together with the noodles, so that it can be reheated as well.
- Add the egg custard squares during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time, so that they can get hot again.
- Finish the soup: Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar or balsamic to taste. I like a slightly sour and salty taste, so I add more than 2 tablespoons of vinegar and soy sauce. Start with a little and keep tasting until you get the desired taste.
- Sprinkle with parsley and/or chives and serve.
- You can use homemade beef broth or bone broth made in advance.
- The marrow can be replaced with the same amount of unsalted butter.
- Beef broth doesn't have the intense flavor of beef bone broth, which is cooked for a whole day. To increase the flavor, I recommend adding a few good quality, low-sodium beef broth cubes. Use them to taste and adjust the taste with salt accordingly.
- Alternatively, use Maggi sauce from a bottle, to taste.