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Chicken soup with german butter balls

December 27, 2008

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This chicken soup recipe came to us from a member of HD’s extended blended family.  Always a treat at their Christmas celebration, we have stolen some of the tradition and always serve it on New Years.  German in origin, the similar recipes I have found on-line also give credit to Russia for this delightful, hearty and spicy soup.  If you like Swedish meatballs, you will enjoy this.  Hint, Hint, allspice is the seasoning that lends a different flavor to the soup.  Prepared in several stages, the work can be spread over several days and is great for distracted busy cooks.  You will be making a spicy broth, homemade noodles and the butter balls.  This soup gains flavor and thickness after each reheating.  Noodles or bread balls not to your liking?  Just leave them out and make chicken soup with the allspice, you can mix and match and still have a great meal.

I’ll give this recipe as it was given to me, and I put my notes in italics.  Use your own method of making the chicken broth.  I never have used the easy way, but I have tasted the soup made with commercial broth and it is good too.

Easy way: 
4 – 49 1/2 oz cans Chicken Broth
2 – lg cans of chicken meat
2 – tsp. ground allspice

Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for 1 day.

Make your broth from scratch.  Pick meat from bones, return meat to broth and cook with whole allspice in a tea strainer (or 2 tsp ground allspice).  Simmer for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for 1 day.

NOODLES:  Make 3 batches for soup, do not triple recipe.

1 beaten egg
1/2 t salt
1 T milk, cream or half & half
1 cup flour
Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Mixture will be fairly stiff.  Add small amount of milk if too dry. 
Roll on floured board to 1/16″ thickness (thinness?).  Cut noodles in desired shape.  I usually cut 3/8″ strips and then cut the strips in 3 inch lengths.  These will swell when cooked, so don’t cut them too large.  Let noodles dry at least 2 hours.  (I never dry these noodles ) The longer they dry the more tender they will be .  These can be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.  My note:  I have never found the noodles more tender with a longer drying period.  I use this part of the recipe  for noodles all the time.  In 5 minutes you have noodles, that is good fast food from scratch!  No need to use the store bought stuff or get all elaborate making pasta. 😉 These work great for lasagna too, just cut the noodles larger.


6 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 T allspice
1 Lg can evaporated milk, heated to just hot. ( I use a pint of whole milk)
2 cubes room temperature butter (1 cup for you Canadians 😉 )

Mix allspice with bread crumbs, add hot milk and mix well.  Add butter, and work in.  Add one egg at a time and mix well.  Roll into walnut size balls.  To test butter balls, cook a few in some simmering broth or water.  You want them to retain their shape.  If they fall apart, add more milk, until you have a ball that will withstand cooking.
These can be made ahead too, and refrigerated or frozen.

Final Day:

Heat broth to boiling, add noodles and simmer 10 minutes.  Add Butter Balls and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve.  The soup starts out thin, but will thicken as the day progresses.  This is even better the second day. 🙂

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Bread crumbs for bread balls with allspice.  Mix well.  

I keep a gallon jar of dried bread cubes from our own bread on hand.  Bread cubes and crumbs from the store contain preservatives, soy lecithin*, and will get rancid (if they aren’t already when you buy them) and you don’t really know what kind of oil or fat was used in the original bread baking.  I go months without using bread crumbs in cooking and I have never had the our dried bread go rancid, even at room temperature.   I guess the preservatives aren’t really needed.


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Add milk, mix and then add softened butter.  Mix well and add eggs, one at a time. 

This is hands on, a good place to enlist the kids who like to get their hands dirty.

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Have a small pan of simmering broth or even water to test the butter balls.  This is to make sure they hold up. 

Have you ever heard of people leaving out an ingredient when they give someone a recipe?  Well, the first copy of this soup recipe I received left out one teeny, tiny little thing.  This soup was always so tasty, and HD thought I should fix it for his Mom and her umpteenth husband one year for Christmas Dinner.  The recipe came from his Dad’s new wife’s family, so we figured it would be something his mom hadn’t had before 😉  So the soup odyssey started 3 days before Christmas, and to make a long, embarrassing story short, THE night at dinner when we uncovered the soup pot, the bread balls had dissolved into a sickening looking porridge.  I read a lot of Gothic romances as a teen and it looked exactly like the swill the kitchen help got to eat!  I think my MIL read the same books, because that is exactly what she exclaimed when she saw the pan of slopssoup. :O  It really reminded me of the “hamburger” gravy that we ate for hot lunch at school.  It was really TVP and it never really quite looked like ground beef.  But anyway, the magic ingredient?  Eggs, they help bind the bread balls together during the cooking.  Without the eggs, they will hold together for the testing, but the actual cooking and then staying in the broth is a disaster.  Of course, I got a new amended recipe, with a note saying:  If I follow the recipe, I NEVER have any problems.  Oh well.   It still tasted good, just a little thick… .


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After you are satisfied with the bread balls, form into balls and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.


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Noodle dough – this is a stiff dough and a little hard to mix, but hang in there and try not to add too much more milk.  This isn’t like pie dough, you can’t over mix it.

Making your own noodles is easy, and all it takes is a few lessons in industrial food production to turn your stomach for the stuff at the store.  Large batches of noodle dough would lend themselves to using up floor sweepings if you know what I mean.  That plant manager using cost cutting and frugal measures, shouldn’t be compared with the frugal home cook, that can provide fresh, home made food stuffs in the home kitchen.  

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Roll out on floured board to desired thickness.  This is one recipe.


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Cut to desired width.  These will swell during the cooking, so size is a matter of personal preference.  Did I mention I use this for lasagna noodles too?  This batch will make enough lasagna noodles for a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna.  Just cut them wider.  No need to dry either.  Just make the noodles and use them.

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Cut crosswise in desired lengths.  If company is coming I don’t put in the odd shaped pieces from the edge.  These noodles keep in the refrigerator for several days, so I just plan a meal with noodles to use up the leftovers.

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Bring broth to a boil, add noodles and simmer for 10 minutes. 


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After the noodles have cooked, add the bread balls and simmer for 10 minutes.  Let soup cool a little before serving. 

The oddest thing about the soup is the taupe color, which is from the ground allspice, but it believe me it does not affect the taste!!!

* peruse Nourishing Traditions for information about soy lecithin, it is used extensively as a dough conditioner in bakery breads.   It makes the store bread soft, but the manufacturing of this product is also an eye opener.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2008 9:47 am

    wow, its interesting to see how you make the meatballs. it would be a good try for me, though i could imagine how it would turn out the first time :s

  2. December 28, 2008 9:48 am

    sorry, not meatballs, bread balls oops 😛

  3. December 28, 2008 10:27 am

    Thank you for the noodle recipe! I’ve been waiting for something like that to come along for me to try and this is perfect timing. The leftover turkey carcass is just about right for a turkey noodle soup!

  4. December 28, 2008 11:29 am

    Another great tutorial Nita! I haven’t made noodles in a long while but I might just have to try this recipe next week.

  5. December 28, 2008 2:15 pm

    Looks & sounds so yummy!

  6. December 28, 2008 4:27 pm

    Mmmmm … lovely recipe. I’d not heard of butter balls before, but I love the look of them as well as those dumpling like noodles. Homemade noodles are hands-down the best, and I’ll gladly devour your odd shaped end pieces. Kind of like the occasional lump in smashed potatoes, those odd pieces shout out “homemade” and are more than welcome on my plate! I bet a serving of this warms you from head to toe. YUM!

    • Linda permalink
      October 23, 2018 1:50 pm

      My family enjoys butterballs every holiday and special occasions!

  7. December 28, 2008 10:46 pm

    chumpman, it is an interesting recipe for sure. My first time was a disaster, it’s a good thing I’m so stubborn!

    Tina, the noodles are so easy, and cheap too. I had never made noodles until I got this recipe. 🙂

    Linda, maybe you can slap Bossman with a noodle when you get done – but don’t try to test these by throwing them on the fridge, it makes a terrible mess. 😉

    Kim, just what you need more work. I think Leah might do real good with the recipe. She’s a natural.

    Paula, I love lumpy potatoes too! Argghh the butter balls are the best, even not cooked. Who needs cookies 😉

  8. December 29, 2008 8:10 am

    I’ve never made homemade noodles (yet) and this recipe looks great, Nita! The bread balls look like they have some similarities to matzoh balls, which I use in my chicken soup sometimes. Yours are homemade and those spices sound amazing…I’m going to have to try this 🙂

  9. Ellen permalink
    December 30, 2008 4:57 pm

    That recipe looks great. I have not had homemade noodles in so long. My mom makes them on holidays but haven’t been home in awhile – guess I will try your recipe and do my own.

    I have been reading your blog for a few months now and love all of the good information and figured you were the best to ask a seed saving question. I know you save a lot of seed from year to year for your garden. I feel really dumb asking it but decided to ask you anyway. My question is do they ever expire? Do you need to use the seed the next year after saving it or can you store it indefinitely? What I am really wondering is if I buy vegetable seeds this year, will they still be viable two years from now? Some I would plant this coming summer but some not until the next.

    I am planning on moving back to my home state the year after next but feel like the best way to plan for my family’s future food needs is vegetable seeds but do not want them to be wasted. Thank you for any info. you could give me on this. Your blog is wonderful and I enjoy every post. Thank you.

  10. December 30, 2008 9:02 pm

    Robbyn, I think the bread balls are very similar to Matzoh balls, just using bread crumbs instead of the…is it Matzoh meal? You will like how easy the noodles are to make too 🙂

    Ellen, thanks you’ll be surprised how easy the noodles are! They are great.

    Your seed question is a great one. I’m planning a post soon because of this being prime seed ordering time, but I’ll give you a few pointers.

    Yes seeds do expire. They call it seed life, and it varies from as short as one year for alliums (onion family) and parsnips to 3-5 years on other vegetables, and some keep longer than that depending on how fresh they were when you buy them. If you want to save seeds from plants you have grown you need open pollinated (OP) instead of hybrids. By choosing OP you may be preserving a variety that may be lost. However for growing sake, especially for beginners, hybrids are great. I grow both, but only save seeds from OP plants. The next thing is isolation and numbers of plants for insured purity.

    A good place to start is with vegetables that don’t need isolation, e.g. beans, peas, tomatoes. Territorial Seed has good vegetable culture explanations with seed life listed in each box and they also carry a good mix of OP and hybrid seeds. They are a little expensive, but the catalog is free and you can pick up some good pointers in it.

    thanks for reading!

  11. December 31, 2008 6:16 pm

    Funny, I had to look twice at this title because I know ‘butter balls’ as store-bought chickens! I thought, ‘Surely not from Trapper!’. I’ll have to try this recipe! I love allspice, and the real butter balls sound simply scrumptious!

    Happy New Year Trapper! HDR.

  12. December 31, 2008 6:21 pm

    PS. as a rule of thumb, when making noodles I use 3/4 cup flour to one egg. I it is the traditional Italian ‘rule of thumb’. No milk, no water, no salt, no additives. I works really well and I use it for spaghetti, lasgagne, and all my pasta forays.

  13. January 2, 2009 7:30 am

    YUMM! Will have to try this soup – I think I’ve had a similar one made with beef instead of chicken – but no recipe. It was delicious.

  14. Dawn Milford permalink
    December 14, 2009 9:57 am

    I will be bookmarking this for sure, any chance for a printer friendly version? PDF perhaps???

  15. April 9, 2010 4:44 pm

    I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this e-mail!! My family came from Weimar, Germany and brought this recipe with them to America. We have been making this for many years. We call them butterglaes (pronounced buetteerglaze). My mother always made the noodles from scratch, but in later years we bought tiny, skinny, egg noodles in the store. We cook a chicken for the broth, then serve the chicken, potatoes, etc. on the side.

    I remember this meal at my grandparent’s home (they were born in Germany) when I was small. My children grew up with it and know how to prepare it now.


    • April 9, 2010 5:30 pm

      Doris, you’re welcome! The funny thing is I am German but never heard of or tasted this delicious soup before having it as an adult. Oh my goodness, you will have to try the noodle recipe, it is so simple, makes me wonder why I ever bought noodles!

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Vienna permalink
    January 25, 2011 6:07 am

    As a small child, I remember my Grandmother (Russian German) making these. I have’nt had them in years. I recall she used cream, from the farm since there were many dairy cattle, and fresh homemake butter. I will never forget the smell and taste of these wonderful little ball and her chicken noodle soup. Thanks for this, it brought back alot of fond memories.

  17. lynn permalink
    November 15, 2011 4:14 pm

    MMMMMMMMMMM….I cannot believe i found this recipe. My grandmother, being a very german woman, always made butterballs when i was little. I crave homemade noodles and butterballs so i thot i would try a search online. Cant wait to make this for my family. However, I would not use canned chicken with homemade noodles and butterballs…..Just boil a few chicken thighs and now you have natural chicken broth for the noodles.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • November 15, 2011 7:21 pm

      Lynn, I never have purchased chicken broth either since we raise our own meat chickens. I was just sharing the recipe exactly as it was given to me. It is a delicious meal. 🙂

  18. Suzanne Schneider permalink
    March 12, 2012 5:39 pm

    My inlaws are Russian-German and have something called “Budda Glaz”. I am German-Slovak and know “Butter Klosse” which is similar. Their recipe for the “Balls” is a cardiologist dream: 6 sandwich bread loaves toasted in the oven and Processed into crumbs, 23 eggs (yup 23)beaten, 2 lbs melted butter, 1 Tbsp Marjoram Mix everything together, roll into walnut-size balls, simmer in homemade chicken soup and enjoy. I am going to try your version as it seems much easier on the heart. Thanks.

    • Shirley permalink
      July 2, 2012 10:51 am

      I also had aGerman Russian Grandma who made chicken soup with “budda glaz” always was my favorite, however Grandma never shared her recipes so she could be the hero! I have managed to recreate some of her other specialities but never this one! Thankyou thank you!

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 11, 2013 5:07 pm

        I went wheat-free in January 2013 so there will need to be an adapted recipe. I am working on it but not quite hit the perfect match yet! Hope you enjoyed lots of Chicken Soup with Butterklosse this past Winter. 🙂

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 11, 2013 5:14 pm

        OH! I forgot to mention that we freeze the “balls” loose on a cookie sheet and once frozen, place in a freezer ZipLoc for later use. I must admit that I have been known to add a bit of milk (whatever you have on hand) because sometimes the kitchen is to warm and the tough a bit tough to mix. My arthritis also takes a beating so a bit of milk softens things up.

  19. Dianna permalink
    April 9, 2013 1:21 pm

    I don’t think the milk was right because it made them runny had to add more bread crumbs. another 15 oz,

    • Suzanne permalink
      April 11, 2013 5:16 pm

      Are you certain you added one Tablespoon? The recipe I posted has no milk at all but sometimes I put it in anyway as the dough seems a bit tough…it depends how angry you are that day and whether you want to beat up the dough! Let me know how it goes.

  20. Bea Scholfied permalink
    October 16, 2017 11:19 am

    So fun reading your recipe and the replys. My aunt, by marriages, was also German/russian. I was raised on the Butta Glase. She eventually taught me, and now my children come at holiday time, and we all make them. She originally made with home made butter & her own home made bread crumbs & country cream. Then taught me with half & half. Its a wonderful tradition. Thank you.


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