Kärntner Nudeln
Dumplings, Noodles, Potatoes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Carinthian Cheese Noodles (‘Kärntner Nudeln’)

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Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state and home to a unique kind of dumpling: the Carinthian cheese noodle. It’s a vegetarian dumpling that is said to be closely related to the Italian ravioli.

While a Swabian would never ever think of pleating his soup dumplings (‘Maultaschen’), it’s the trademark of the Carinthian cheese noodle. In the past, it was unthinkable for Swabians to eat vegetarian dumplings. They were originally invented to hide the meat from god during fasting periods. Hence their old name ‘Hergottsbescheiserle’ which literally translates to ‘god-cheaters’.

The alpine cuisine of the Southern German states and Austria, however, has always been mainly vegetarian. The fancy cuts of meat were unaffordable for the country people and cattle were needed for farm work rather than steak.

What goes into the filling for Carinthian cheese noodles?

Carinthian cheese noodles are filled with a potato puree that is enriched with dry topfen (quark). It’s a specialty dairy product from Germany and Austria that might be hard for you to come by outside of Germany. Even if you’re in Germany, you might not be able to source it outside of the Southern states. That is because you need a special kind of low-moisture topfen called ‘Bröseltopfen’.

Filling for Carinthian Cheese Noodles

However, I don’t want to discourage you from recreating this recipe. You can use low-moisture cream cheese (‘Schichtkäse’) instead. Or, if you just have access to regular quark (20 % fat), you can wrap it in cheesecloth and leave it to drain for a few days until crumbly and very dry.

The most important seasoning for the filling are fresh mint leaves. There is a special kind of mint that grows in Carinthia that is referred to as noodle mint (‘Nudelminze’). I bet you can’t source that but you can substitute it with regular spearmint. Peppermint isn’t a proper substitute because its menthol content is too high so that it overpowers all the other flavors.

How to prepare and pleat the dumpling wrappers

The dough used for wrapping is a pretty basic noodle dough with eggs and water. Eggs were expensive so that no more than was absolutely necessary was used. You can roll it out by hand or by using a pasta machine. For these noodles, I prefer to roll out the dough by hand. I don’t have a special mold to cut out the dumplings so that I use a coffee cup for this task.

Cutting out the dumpling skins with a coffee cup
Dumpling skins for wrapping

You can pleat your dumplings however you like. Mine always end up looking a bit more like from a Chinese restaurant than from a Carinthian housewife but in my defense, I’m not from Carinthia. If you don’t bother about appearance, you can also leave them unpleated. You probably won’t need to produce pretty pictures for a food blog after cooking.

One big ball of filling inside the wrapper
Closing the dumpling horizontally
Closed Carinthian Cheese Dumpling
Pleated Carinthian Cheese Dumpling

Carinthian cheese noodles are usually not pan-seared. You can eat them right after blanching drizzled with some brown butter. I know my brown butter on the pictures is pretty pale in color. You can certainly make it darker if you prefer. It’s best to eat this rich dish with a tangy green salad on the side.

You can easily half or double the recipe in case you want to produce more or fewer dumplings. They freeze beautifully when still raw. It’s worth making a big batch if you have some time on hand. That way you always have a quick dinner on hand.


  1. Real Carinthian here. The recipe is well described, good job! When I first learned to make them I also used tips I learned from making Japanese gyoza. It was hard for me to get the dough nice and thin so I started leaving out the egg (like my mom in law does), which works better for me. Instead of cooking them I prefer to steam them, because sometimes they break open in the water when you’re not careful. People will often skip the herbs when serving, but in my opinion adding lots of chives is mandatory. From my mother in law I also learned that you can fry leftover ones in butter the next day (large ones cut up in strips to get them hot and brown evenly). These are such a staple food in Carinthia, my mom makes huge batches and sells them frozen. My grandmother from Poland used to make them with rinsed Sauerkraut and potato filling, which I later learned are just like Pierogi she grew up with. I guess various filled dumplings are a staple food in many countries all over the world, the possibilities here are endless.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nucifera! Yes it takes a bit of practice to make dumplings, especially Carinthian ones. The Swabian Maultaschen are easier to fold and we also fry leftover ones in butter and eat them with scrambled egg and potato salad. There are dumplings everywhere you go and they always taste great!

  2. Jennifer Loesel

    These are very good. Farmers cheese is often a good substitute for Topfen. It is not as dry as quark, but it is a good start.

    Somehow, sitting at my table in Florida looking down on my loose chickens and goats with the kids running around is not the same. This belongs at a small gasthaus on the side of a hill with crystal blue skies and lanes up into the land to admire the views.
    I am homesick.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. Yes, I can imagine that the setting is a little different in Florida than back home. Every place in this world is unique.

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