Canederli in Broth South Tirol Recipe.

Italian Dumplings (Canederli) in Broth: Recipe from Trentino-Alto Adige.

Italian dumplings (canederli) in broth is a delicious and easy way to use up stale bread. This is a signature dish from the beautiful South Tirol that is warming, comforting, filling and healthy! Simple Alpine food at its best!

Italian dumplings canederli in broth

Canederli in brodo.

Canederli are delicious large round dumplings made from a mixture of stale bread, flour, eggs and milk. These bread dumplings are traditional in Trentino-Alto Adige, the Alpine region in North East Italy that borders with Austria. In fact, canederli are also a signature dish on the Austrian side of the border too, although there they are usually called knödel.

canederli in broth

For many Italians, canederli are a type of gnocchi and in fact, they are often called bread gnocchi. Away from the Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tirol region there are similar types of bread dumplings known as ‘gnocchi di pane’ which have practically the same ingredients. The only ingredient in this Italian dumplings in broth recipe that is quintessentially from the Alto Adige is the speck, specifically speck Alto Adige IGP.

ingredients for canederli (Italian bread dumplings) on white plate

What is speck?

Speck Alto Adige IGP is a distinctly flavored, smoked, cured ham which has a much fuller taste than Italian prosciutto crudo. It’s one of a number of Italian food products that has a European IGP certification, meaning that it is made in a specific geographical area according to traditional methods of production.

prepared ingredients for Italian dumplings in white bowls

In fact, this speck is the most well-known food produced in and exported from the Alto-Adige or South Tirol. It is often used in cooking in Northern Italy. Apart from this canederli in broth recipe, I have already posted a number of other recipes with speck such as fettuccine with speck and radicchio and orecchiette with zucchini and speck. However, it’s also eaten raw like prosciutto. I love it with horseradish!

stale bread cubes in white bowl with beaten egg

Outside of Italy, speck can be harder to find and is more expensive than pancetta. But, this Italian dumplings in broth can be made with pancetta too. You can also use bacon, prosciutto, ham, spicy sausage or normal pork sausage meat.

chopped onions and speck in skillet with olive oil and butter

What kind of broth is best?

Italians usually eat bread dumplings with a clear homemade broth. The broth can be beef, chicken or vegetable. I used homemade beef broth for this canederli recipe. You can check out how to make it in my recipe for homemade beef broth with grattoni pasta.  

speck and onions cooking in skillet

Some people boil the canederli in water first and then serve them in the broth. Others cook the canederli in the broth, which is what I did. You can make the broth a day or two before and keep it covered in the fridge. It’s also possible to cook these Italian bread dumplings in water or broth and then serve them with out of the broth with melted butter and grated parmigiano.

all the ingredients for Italian dumplings (canederli) in white bowl before mixing

What kind of bread to use.

Italians use mostly white bread to make canederli. However, the slices need to be thicker than ready sliced white bread. So, it’s better to use something like a day old Italian loaf, ciabatta or country loaf. Here in Italy, we can buy stale bread cubes specifically for making bread dumplings! But, I used bread I had at home!

ingredients for canederli mixed together in white bowl

Making this canederli in broth recipe

The canederli for this Italian dumplings in broth recipe are easy to make but they take a little time as you need to let the bread soak in the eggs and milk for a couple of hours.

ready to cook Italian dumplings (canederli) on white plate

Then, once you add the cooked onions and speck plus the flour and parsley, you’ll have to let the mixture sit for another 30 minutes before forming the dumplings. However, canederli are well worth the wait. Cooking time is pretty fast, just 15 minutes.

canederli cooking in broth

Although canederli in broth is more of a comforting winter dish, I love it all year round. It’s a tasty and healthy dish that is filling enough to be a one plate meal. Plus it is, of course, a great way to use up stale bread!

ready to serve canederli in broth in saucepan

If you do try this Italian canederli in broth recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Italian dumplings (canederli) in broth

Save this recipe for later!

If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.

canederli in broth (long image)
5 from 24 votes
canederli in broth
Canederli in Broth: Recipe from The South Tirol
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Resting time
2 hrs 30 mins

This warming and filling Italian bread dumplings recipe is a delicious way to use up stale bread. Cooked in homemade broth this is Alpine comfort food at its best.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige
Keyword: bread dumplings, broth, canederli, gnocchi, Italian food, speck
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 8-10 slices stale bread (quite thick)
  • 200 ml warm milk (1 cup)
  • 200 g speck (7oz) or bacon cut into small cubes
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 50 g Parmigiano cheese (1/4 cup 2oz) grated
  • 40 g all purpose flour (1/3 cup 1.5oz)
  • 30 g butter (1oz)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg grated
  • 6 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 Lts beef broth (8.5 cups) or chicken or vegetable
  1. Cut the bread into small squares and put it in a bowl. Add the milk and beaten eggs. Mix everything together and leave covered for up to 2 hours. Mix again a couple of time in the 2 hours.

  2. If making your own broth you can do it while the bread is soaking. The broth needs to be filtered before cooking the canederli in it.

  3. Cut the speck into small cubes and peel and finely chop the onion. Cook the speck and onions in olive oil and butter for 5 to 8 minutes in a skillet over a medium heat,  or until the speck starts to crisp. Pour off and discard fat. Set pan aside to cool.

  4. Using your hands, mix together the pre-soaked bread with the onions and speck, grated parmigiano, 4 to 5 tablespoons of chopped parsley, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Add the flour and mix again. Leave the mixture to rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Form soft balls from the canederli mixture of about 8-10 cms in diameter (3-4 ins) (You can make balls bigger or smaller but you may need to adjust cooking time.) Place the dumplings on a floured surface until you have made them all.

  6. Bring the broth to a simmer and drop the canederli, one at a time, into the heated broth. Don’t overcrowd the pan. You may have to do them in batches and keep warm while you cook the rest. Simmer the dumplings for 15 minutes, or until each turns slightly yellow and rises to the top. Remove balls carefully with a slotted spoon.

  7. Serve one or two dumplings per bowl, covered with heated broth. Garnish with remaining parsley and more grated parmigiano.

Recipe Notes

You can also use bacon, prosciutto, ham, spicy sausage or normal pork sausage meat instead of speck. The broth can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge in a sealed container. The canederli can also be kept for one to two days in the fridge after cooking. 

For my recipe for homemade beef broth check out this recipe

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  • Avatar
    Kim Morgan
    January 7, 2020 9:33 pm

    My husband’s grandfather came from Cles, Tyrol. One of his favorite meals in the winter was what he called Canedelin. My husband wanted to make it but, we misplaced his Nanna’s recipe and couldn’t find it on-line with the incorrect spelling. Thank you for sharing!

  • Avatar
    July 25, 2019 10:28 pm

    Never seen Italian dumplings before but this sounds interesting dish. Sounds delicious and comforting.

  • Avatar
    July 23, 2019 12:04 am

    I wondered what the signature dish of South Tirol was. I’ve seen so many great dishes but was not sure which one was the best representation of the area. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Avatar
    July 22, 2019 10:24 pm

    First time learning about Italian dumplings and this sounds so comforting. Can’t wait to give it a try!

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    Jenni LeBaron
    July 22, 2019 9:25 pm

    I had no idea that Italy had their own version of dumplings and I am so excited I came across this recipe because they look absolutely delicious! This will be gorgeous comfort food in our house the second it cools down a bit!

  • Avatar
    July 22, 2019 7:07 pm

    I love dumplings of all kinds, but canederli is a first for me. These are so delicious and comforting. I can’t wait to make these over and over again. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    July 22, 2019 4:30 pm

    What a lovely family friendly recipe. I love the dumplings. I already saved the recipe and will make it for my boys. Can’t wait!

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    Karyl Henry
    July 22, 2019 1:25 am

    I have never heard of Speck, but I’m obsessed with all kinds of Italian meats, so I would definitely give it a try! This dish looks amazing and hearty, and perfect for a weekend dinner

  • Avatar
    July 21, 2019 9:58 pm

    Yum! It never ceases to amaze me how resourceful Italians are at using up the leftovers. My grandma was from southern Italy and always found ways to use up old bread.

  • Avatar
    July 21, 2019 9:34 pm

    This is such a unique recipe! So hearty and flavor full. Love that the broth is hand crafted!

  • Avatar
    July 21, 2019 6:56 pm

    I absolutely love gnocchis I I know I would love his dish! It looks so wholesome. I can’t wait to try!

  • Avatar
    Anne Lawton
    July 21, 2019 5:53 pm

    This dish sounds so good! Simple ingredients with a lot of flavor. I can’t wait to try it !

  • Avatar
    Amanda Mason
    July 21, 2019 5:40 pm

    Yum! how wonderful do these look!! Loving the nutmeg you added! The step-by-step instructions truly help me, along with the pictures! Sounds delish!!!

  • Avatar
    July 21, 2019 11:48 am

    It’s always nice to know whenever visiting a place or a region especially in Italy where there are so many dishes to choose from, what to get. I will definitely try these when we go to South Tyrol. Most likely will try these at home before that as I really like dumplings. Definitely saving the recipe. Thanks for sharing this yummy dish dear Jacqui.

  • Avatar
    Jeannette (Jay Joy)
    July 21, 2019 8:25 am

    Before reading the article, I thought to myself that these look just like gnocchi but more filling, like a meal in itself. How delicious!

  • Avatar
    July 20, 2019 7:14 pm

    Wow I’ve never heard of this dish but it looks so interesting and delicious! And I need to get my hands on some speck, it sounds wonderful. I appreciated that you provided alternate ideas though if I can’t find it 🙂

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ a Taste of Madness
    July 20, 2019 2:35 pm

    I just got back from South Tyrol but did not try this!! There is always next time because I’m DEFINITELY going back!! This looks so good

  • Avatar
    July 19, 2019 4:27 pm

    Oh wow! What a fantastic recipe! My grandma used to make very similar dumplings when I was growing up in Poland, and they were the tastiest and most satisfying things ever! Thanks for bringing all these memories back!

  • Avatar
    July 19, 2019 4:24 am

    This looks amazing. Definitely one I will have to try. I bet my family would love it!

  • Avatar
    Mama Maggie’s Kitchen
    July 18, 2019 10:41 pm

    This looks so so good. My husband will love this Canederli in brodo for sure. Can’t wait to go to my kitchen.

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    July 18, 2019 9:44 pm

    I love a good recipe that uses ingredients that are no longer at their prime. This canederli looks like a crowd pleaser!

  • Avatar
    Lesli Schwartz
    July 17, 2019 9:23 pm

    This beautiful recipe kind of looks like my matzo ball soup! Italian-style! Can’t wait to try!

    • Jacqui
      July 18, 2019 9:02 am

      I’ve never tried matzo balls Lesli but they do look similar to canederli! I’m sure you’d like these Italian dumplings!

  • Avatar
    July 17, 2019 7:53 pm

    I’ve never had Italian dumplings! This looks absolutely delicious! Will have to try this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jacqui
      July 18, 2019 9:04 am

      There are many kinds of Italian dumplings (gnocchi) Leslie but these canederli are among my favourites. I’m sure you’ll love them!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    July 17, 2019 8:12 am

    We have something similar in Norway, but I honestly think this looks so much better! The added speck sounds really delicious.

    • Jacqui
      July 18, 2019 9:05 am

      Thank you dear Stine Mari! Yes the speck adds lots of flavour to these bread dumplings! But you can also make them with spinach instead of meat or use another kind of meat. Any which way, they are delicious!

  • Avatar
    July 17, 2019 5:23 am

    This dish sounds incredibly comforting and delicious. I’m amazed that such simple ingredients can be transformed into such a wonderful dish. I’m saving this recipe for when cooler weather hits.

    • Jacqui
      July 18, 2019 9:07 am

      Thanks Michelle! This is perfect comfort food for cooler weather! Am sure you’ll agree once you try these canederli!

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