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Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup

Dutch Rivel Soup is an easy and delicious old fashioned meal.

Dutch Rivel Soup

What is Dutch Rivel Soup? Dutch Rivel Soup also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup or just Rivel Soup is an old fashioned recipe that is easy and delicious to make.

It is one of those recipes that our grandmothers and great grandmothers probably made because it was a basic, yet comforting and filling meal that used up leftovers.

This is a soup my mother in-law and her family have been making for years. I am not sure where the recipe came from, but I am guessing that it originated in the NE area of the US, therefore the name Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup.

Dutch Rivel Soup

This soup is about as simple and frugal of a soup as you can make. It is definitely an old fashioned recipe. This is from a time when meals were simple, but hearty. A time when the cook used everything and wasted nothing.

This soup in similar to a southern dumpling recipe. I know all you true southerners are probably yelling, it is not! It is nothing like a dumpling. But yes, it is the same idea.

In this recipe though you use eggs in the dough. I have never seen a southern dumpling with egg in it, maybe there is a recipe out there, but not that I have seen. This is also has a little smaller of a “noodle” in it than a dumpling.

It reminds of dumplings because of how it thickens up. In my opinion this is better and easier then dumplings. But what do I know, I came from the OR, the land where dumpling and Rivels are not known.

Dutch Rivel Soup

The recipe calls for chicken broth, but I made it with my turkey broth. It is good both ways. If you use homemade broth I suggest adding some salt to it to give the final product a better flavor.

I also like to put a little meat in this. After Thanksgiving I always make this with leftover turkey and turkey broth, but you can also use chicken.

For the most frugal and easiest version leave out the meat. If you want a heartier soup add the meat.

The dough mixture that you make looks kind of dry and crumbly.

You drop it in the hot broth and it cooks. In the end it looks kind of like this.

It is not a pretty soup, but it is so good!

Like this soup and want more soup recipes? Here are a few of our favorites:

Now for the Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup Recipe

Dutch Rivel Soup

Yield: servings

Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup

Dutch Rivel Soup

Easy and delicious soup and a great way to use leftovers.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 6 to 8 cups of chicken broth or stock, turkey or beef broth works as well (if you want it thick use 6 cups, if you want it more soup like use 8 cups)


  1. Combine flour and salt. Gradually add beaten egg while stirring flour with a fork. Mixture will be crumbly and a bit dry. 
  2. Boil broth and pour mixture gradually into broth.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes. The rivels start to look like large rice or noodles in the broth. I usually taste test at about 8 minutes to see if they are done. They have a similar consistency to dumplings.
  4. If using meat at the very end and cook just until meat is heated.


For a gluten free version use a gluten free flour blend in place of regular flour.

Originally posted November 2008. Updated March 2020. 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. This sounds very interesting to me, and I know my dumpling-biscuit-cracker-bread loving husband would adore this soup. One question, do you ever add veggies to the broth? Seems like an easy addition, just sauteing some in butter and adding the broth. I just may try this!

    Oh, and have you tried whole wheat flour?

    • @Suzanne, I have never added any vegetables to it, but I think you easily could. But I would saute them first since this does not cook for very long. And no I have never tried whole wheat in this one. I think you could but I would start with 1/4 or 1/2 of the flour as whole wheat.

      • Jacque Brooks says

        I learned to make rivels when I was 10 in my German Grandma’s kitchen ( I’m 64)! She usually made them with home canned beef. When they butchered she would cold packed the scraps and small pieces. She made her rivels strictly with beef, but I have used chicken, venison, and turkey. My family prefers the beef or chicken. We also eat ours over mashed potatoes hence the “Lazy Noodle” name. In fact I just make a huge pan and divided them up and took them to family last week. So far neither of my daughters or granddaughter knows how to make them, Mom’s (Grandma’s) are always better. I hope to teach at least one of them how to make them so this wonderful comfort food is not lost to future generation of my family.

        • I have never had a beef version, but I will have to try that. Thanks for sharing how you make it. And yes, you should teach at least one of them how to make them. Passing down recipes is so important and so fun. There are several recipes of my grandmothers that I wish I had, but never got. Hopefully, one of them will want you to show them how to make them.

          • Jacque Brooks says

            I have my grandma’s hand written (she started it at 15) cookbook, if you think of a recipe I may have it. Feel free to ask, If I have something even close I will be glad to send it to you. I hope you enjoy the beef rivels!

          • What a treasure to have a cookbook like that!

          • Tony Russo says

            May I ask do you mix the beef or chicken broth in the flour mixture, do you just form the rivers in the broth?

          • I add the meat after I have dropped the rivels in and after they have cooked most of the way. Basically I add the cooked meat at the end just long enough to heat it. I hope that helps.

        • Linda Stevens says

          This is the way my German grandmother made it. The men usually ate it over mashed potatoes. The ladies passed on the potatoes. For obvious reasons. I use chicken broth, only because I don’t eat much beef. No one can make it like Mum. So, I only make it for me. A 2 week visit to my Mum’s house, usually cost me 10 lbs. Between the cakes made from scratch, to ginger cookies, to rivel soup, it was worth every lb.

          • Patty foor says

            7we usually make it with chickenbroth, chicken, and fresh,frozen,or canned corn. And og course the rivels. And i mean a LOT of rivels. That was the only complaint i ever got. Not enough was the favorite of the whole extended family. The only thing we liked as much was ham potpie… (made in the biggest pot we have). Oh yes I’m pa.dutch.

          • Thank you for sharing that! I love all the different versions that readers have shared!

  2. We grew up on this in Okla. It was my great-g-mothers, to g-mother, to mother’s recipe. We called it “doodles” (as they were dumpling/noodle soup). The main difference instead of little rice-sized nibblets (as if pushed through a strainer as I’ve heard some do) they use a table spoon and drop dollops of batter into the boiling broth. The end result is the same flavor but with someone a little more substantial to “gnaw on”.

    The surprise they got when they found that it was a Penn Dutch recipe was something to see. They had no idea. Later family tree work showed that link to their side of the family. The recipe was an oral tradition for which they had no clue about the origin.

  3. My mother used to make the plain version of this with milk for breakfast. We called it Farmer’s Rice. I’m curious, though, since my wife has celiac, whether the rivel part of this could be adapted somehow with gluten-free ingredients. Any ideas?

    • @Rafael, This is one of my husband’s favorite soups, so I am going to attempt a gf version, I just have not done it yet. If it works, I will definitely post it on my allergy gf site.

      • @Lynn,

        Oh I am just going GF and the only thing I am super sad about is missing rivel soup! If you do make your GF I would love to know the results. What is your GF site?

      • Sherry L Saunders says

        I make this with gluten free flour and it is almost just as good….I grew up on this as my grandmother’s family originated from Holland. It has and always will be a much loved comfort food as it brings back memories of my grandmother whenever I make it.

        • I made it a few months ago with gf flour and I agree it turned out great. I think this is one of those soups that many people think of as comfort food.

    • Carol from PA says

      My grand mother and mother used to make this soup two ways one with chicken stock and the other with milk.
      The milk version is by far my favorite. I like to add a tbls of butter.
      Be sure to add salt to the milk to enhance the flavor

  4. I was happy to find this recipe. My mother made this soup- we called it chicken rivelli (with a “y” sound ending) soup. She also added chicken hearts but no other chicken meat. We would fight over the hearts. Today, chicken hearts sound very unappealing to me but back then we loved them.
    I’ve played with trying to replicate her recipe and came close. Your photo looks exactly how I remember it.
    Can’t wait to try your recipe and share it with my sisters. Thanks!

  5. I’m from central PA, and we put rivels in our chicken corn soup. Something like this we call pot pie, and we make it with different ingredients – ham broth and diced ham, or beans, or both. To use rivels, we cook chicken, shred it, add it back to the broth, and add corn (usually that we blanched and froze during the summer). Then we let it simmer for just a bit and add a small amount of rivels right near the end. It’s FABULOUS! Simple and yummy!

  6. Penny Calhoun says

    I just had to stick my two sense worth in. I’m Southern, my grandmother was Pennsylvania Dutch and we grew up on dumplings and rivels. Yes they taste similar. I love both. My mom and grandmother made chicken soup, but mom never learned to make dumplings because rivels were easier. They also put it in potato soup which is yummy.

  7. I make a potato soup that my grandmother taught me to make, and it has rivels. You dice however many potatoes you need, cover them with water, and simmer until soft. Use a hand held potato masher to somewhat mash the potatoes. You don’t want mush though, and you don’t drain the water. Add 2 – 3 T of butter, and pour in some milk (about 2 – 3 cups). Make your rivels. I always eyeball about 1 1/2 cups of flour, and use 1 egg. I also add some salt and pepper to the flour. Cut the egg into the flour with a fork to make the rivels. Bring the soup to a simmer and slowly add the rivels. Stir well, and slowly simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. At the end, I salt and pepper to taste. With no other seasonings, it requires quite a bit of salt.

    So simple, and so yummy! I totally plan to teach my boys how to make it so it can continue to be passed down. They’re 5 and 2 right now, and they both love it. My grandmother passed away 4 1/2 years ago, and I’m SO thankful she taught me how to make this comfort food from my childhood.

    • Jen, your recipe with potatoes and rivels is the closest I have come on the Internet to my grandmother’s recipe. The only difference is that we added the milk to our bowls at the table. I learned to make it when I was about 9 from my grandmother who is of Pennsylvania-Dutch descent, she is 97 years old and thrilled to know I still make it. We have found that the men in our family are not as fond of it as the women are, a man who likes rivel potato soup is a keeper.

      • Hi! Today, for the 1st time I learned the word Rivels for the egg dumplings in my grandmother’s potato soup. Our recipe is exactly as described by Jen. My family loves it with as many dumplings as I can fit in the pot. And our men are definitely keepers because they definitely love this soup just as much as the women in our family. 🥰

  8. My Grandmother on my Mom’s side was pure Austrian and her parents came from a village about 3 miles from where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born. I grew up eating this soup on visits and my Mom always talks about it but can’t remember how to make it! A few years ago I asked her how to make ” Piggy Soup” as my grandmother always referred to the chewy dumplings as “piggies”. However, Mom didn’t realize that I meant rivels and unfortunately my grandmother died in 1964 from a long illness. I only found this out because I was looking for rivel soup recipes to make some for her as she’ll be 80 soon. Rivel soup was something they ate on certain days (with homemade bread) and it was one of the ways they stretched their rations; they put no actual chicken in their version, just broth and I think some carrots. Can’t wait to make some “piggy soup” this weekend!

  9. The Pennsylvania Dutch people were of German or Dutch descent. All of these recipes are variations of the German recipe for spatzle. They either run the thin spatzle dough through what looks like a potato ricer which makes the thin style noodle or though a spatzle maker which chops the dough off in little chunks into boiling broth or water. Then they do various things with it. If in broth it goes into soup much like we do noodle soup or they fry it and serve it with brown gravy or serve it fried with a side of apple sauce or put it in a cheese sauce much like we do macaroni and cheese. I grew up with rivels in potato soup made the way Ann’s grandmother made hers. I knew my ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch but didn’t realize how many of the recipes my mother used were Pennsylvania Dutch recipes until I started reading stories about the Amish. Then I married a German man and found many of the recipes his mother made were the same as the Pennsylvania Dutch recipes my mother made.

  10. Becca Brehm says

    My mom (and her mother) made this often especially during the winter. She always used beef stock and beef and added some celery/.celery leaves. I like to sprinkle Lawry’s Season salt on my bowl of soup..

  11. Deborah L C says

    I have been making these for 40 yrs. Learned how to from mother in-law when first married and it is a rite of passage to teach to the younger generations. My husbands family had come from Amish and Mennonite family, and this came from his grandmother on his mothers side. The size of the eggs and the moisture content dictates how they come out. The most I will mix up is 3 cups of flour at one time. Never beat the egg, just plopped it on top of the flour mixture and sprinkled water, about 4 sprinkles per cup of flour, like you would sprinkle clothes to iron, and then start to slowly drag the flour around, using a fork is what I use.

    I use beef, chuck works well, and since I make a lot sometimes with little beef, I use several bouillon cubes in it so it will keep its’ flavor for reheating leftovers, that is if there is any. The rivels are great over homemade mashed potatoes and I like it in potato soup too. Never liked it as much in chicken soup, seemed a little bland maybe.

  12. We always make it in beef broth. So yummy!

  13. gordon j. wendling says

    my grosemater made this, she came from austria hungry, nor romania, prior to wwI ,1909 she would make the dough into a ball, then grate it into the rivella, mmmmmmmmmmmmm

  14. Ellen Keyes says

    I always thought my mom made this up to serve to us when we were sick! I love it that it is a real thing…my mom adds potatoes to hers and then purees them to thicken the broth..and the broth is simply water, onions, and salt. But, it is so comforting and tasty!

  15. my MIL just made this for me except she used milk instead of broth and called it. milk rivel soup. you eat it with brown sugar… kind of reminds me of hot cereal

  16. Mom (who grew up in the “Dutchtown” area of St. Louis) used to make Rivel, not as a soup, but as a side dish with pork roasts. Hers were on the thick side and it went very well with the pork roast, onion, potatoes and carrots she cooked with the roast. Not sure she used the cooking liquid from the pork roast in lieu of chicken broth or not.

    I remember, as a kid, mushing my potatoes and carrots into a sort of paste and spooning the Rivel over it as a sort of gravy. It was my all-time favorite meal. (I know, I know. Two carbs in one meal. But she was feeding six+ if we had guests at dinner on a budget. And we almost always did since she was an amazing cook. All the neighborhood kids wanted to have supper at our house.) Unfortunately, I was the youngest son who loved to cook, but I never got the Rivel recipe from her. She had, for whatever reason, pretty much stopped making it by the time I met my fiance so I didn’t have a chance to have Mom inculcate her into what her son really, really liked. My sisters did, and tried to teach me, but without success.

    Guess I need to strap on the apron, get a pork roast and give it another shot now that there’s enough in my family to make a big enough pork roast for more than just two of us a practical meal.

  17. Thanks for this recipe! This is one of those recipes that my family has always done by look and feel rather than using measurements. Now I can give people a recipe when they ask!

    • Rivelets ARE always done that way!

      • Suz, We always called them rivelets, too. I’m 77 and my mother grew up having rivelets in soup, so it’s been in our family for well over 100 years. I put them in most of the soups I make which gives them all the ‘comfort food’ taste and a meal. Potato soup isn’t complete without rivelets in our family.

  18. I grew up in the heart of PA. Even though I was born in June I always asked for rivelets for my birthday! I make it like my great grandmother made it- fry ioff bacon and then add onion sauté add chicken stock boil until potatoes are soft then add the rivels – made of eggs and flour and you can make big or small it’s reminiscent of spaetzel, but rough, boil till those are cooked through. I’ve also added dill and curry powder to mine and it’s delicious! Still my comfort food!!

  19. My wife is from York PA,on the edge of Amish country, and her family’s from the same area of Southwestern Germany as the Amish and Mennonites. I learned so many wonderful recipes from them; himmel und erde (mashed potatoes, apples and sausage), schnitz und knepp {dried apples, ham and square(bot boi) noodles), chicken, pork, or oxtail bot boi (pot pie – boiled meat and square noodles)), shoo-fly pie, snickerdoodles and of course chicken corn soup with rivels. I still make most of them to this day and stumbling onto your website has brought back a flood of memories from our over 50 years together.
    Thank you so much. I’ll be making chicken corn soup later today!

  20. Thom Martin says

    My Mother’s family is Amish/Mennonite and she was born in Berlin, PA, the family lived in the Somerset area, Grandma was the Postmaster in Jenners for decades. She had a wing on her house that was used as the Post Office and I remember when we would go visit or stay with her we could sit or play in the hallway between the PO and house hall but that was as far as we were allowed to go. I grew up on Rivel soup and for decades thought it was just a family recipe. It was/is rather simple to make but it brings back many memories of those times. I am fortunate to have many of our families recipes and also acquired more via the internet.

    • Thank you for sharing that! I love all the stories about dutch rivel soup that readers have wrote in the comments of this recipe! The stories make the recipes even better. Thanks for sharing yours!

  21. I have been making a type of this soup for years which I saw on Frugal Gormet many years ago. I can not find his recipe online but it has celery leaves, potatoes, onion, chicken pieces, and these dumplings. Using flour and egg (1 to 2 cups flour with 1 to 2 eggs) mixing this with a fork until it crumbles in to small pieces. You add this to the mixture above
    which has chicken broth/milk/half and half mixture cooking for around ten to 15 min and then add these dumplings, cooking about 20 more minutes.
    I am now 75 and got this recipe from his show when it was popular on PBS. It is delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Sharon aka Oma says

    I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where there is a strong German heritage. My grandmother made rivels as a side dish with beef, using the broth from the beef to cook the rivels. They were always thick and beefy and so good. My mother carried on the recipe, so I grew up eating rivels only as a side dish. My kids are now grown, but when I make rivels, they show up for their share. Now my grandchildren are eatings my rivels also. Great comfort food in the fall and winter. Glad to see that there are rivel lovers all over the country. I never met anyone outside my my home area who even knew what I was talking about, so it is great to know that this old recipe is still alive and still going. Thanks for your great blog

  23. My Grandfather was born in the Netherlands, his family came to America when he was a baby, his mother made Rivels, the ingredients were the same as those mentioned here. My grandfather loved what his dad called Poor Man’s Soup, that consisted of Rivels, with a salt, pepper and ground nutmeg in water to make the broth, his favorite way to have them. My grandmother, his wife made hers with potatoes, celery if she had it and onion. Using bacon grease as a flavor for the broth, again if it was available. She added the rivels after the potatoes were nearly cooked. I do not remember her ever mashing up the potatoes not even a little bit. After the ingredients in the broth were cooked through she added a small amount of cream or milk if the cow was “giving” but even without the milk it was delicious! My mother made her’s like her mother did except once in awhile she would cook a few small diced carrots in it. I never mess with perfection for me the way my grandmother made it is how I make it, including a grating of Nutmeg on top. I am making a pot of Potato Soup with Rivels right now, the house smells wonderful! My daughters make this soup as well, we jokingly call it Rivel with potato soup because we use more rivels than potatoes!!

    • Thank you for sharing that! I love hearing stories about food and recipes that have been in the family for years. Your version sounds delicious!

  24. Skyla Dowden says

    I have a German background and we make a soup kind a like this and we call it gashtal. To make it we take one egg to about 3/4 cup of flour, mix that into a very very stiff dough and then we use a grater, What we call now a knuckle grater, to grate it into little chunks. Now I just put it through a food processor which cuts it into little chunks much easier. We usually boil it up in a chicken-based broth. Yummy yummy.

    • Thank you for sharing your version! I love hearing about recipes that have been in the family for years. Your soup sounds delicious!

  25. I like to boil my ribbles in plain water then transfer them to the stock with a slotted spoon or similar device, otherwise, they get too starchy.
    These are very easy to make. My granny made them all the time when she made a chicken for Dinner. I really miss her cooking! I’m pretty sure that this is a German thing! These are simple and simply delicious!

  26. My mom made it very simple, she learned from her mother-in-law . She just peeled, diced and cooked potatoes in water with a little salt. Added the rivers when potatoes were almost cooked through. We crumbled HiHo or Townhouse Crackers into our bowl.

    • Thank you for sharing how your family made Dutch Rivel Soup. I love hearing all the different ways different people have learned to make this.

      • I googled this to show someone what I was talking about, and my families recipe is much different. We use milk in place of broth, add diced potatoes, onions, and ham off the bone while also letting a ham bone simmer in it to add extra flavor. Now, as an adult, I add a touch of Dijon mustard and some garlic. My family always begs for more.

  27. I was just looking up this recipe and found yours! My mom & grandma have made this forever, makes sense since grandma is from PA Dutch territory! My family makes it with sliced potatoes & onion as well with larger rivels. I honestly thought it was just a made up soup because I couldn’t track it down anywhere, turns out I just didn’t know they were called ‘rivels’.
    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Christopher Klinger says

    I’m Pennaylvanian dutch. I have never had rivel soup with meat but it’s nice for people to have options. My mothers rivels were a bit bigger than yours. Then again she had 4 of us kids she was trying to feed so maybe she wanted more substance to fill our bellies. She would Also make dumpling soup. Both are pretty similar. Let me know if you are interested in other PA dutch recipes. I bequeathed several PA Dutch cookbooks after my grandmother passing. I have a killer recipe for PA dutch beets. My recipe is nothing like any other recipies on the net.

    • I love hearing stories like this! Thanks for sharing your family’s version. Your mention of beets is interesting. My mother inlaw loves them and she is the one that this recipe came from. The rest of the family don’t like them at all, but she has always loved them. They must have been popular in that area.

    • Sue Stauffer says

      Christopher, could I please get your recipe for Dutch beets? I cannot find a recipe that tastes the same as my mothers recipe …which was in her head and she’s gone now. All other recipes are missing something. She was good for having a secret ingredient in her recipes.

  29. My grandfather always made it with milk not chicken broth.

  30. My mom is Pennsylvania-German, raised Plain in Lancaster, PA. She would make this for us. Dutch is a misnomer. People misunderstood Deutsch and translated it as Dutch. It’s not Dutch. They’re of German descent.

    • Yes you are right. My mother in-law is of German descent. She always called it Dutch Rivel, but it is more of a German recipe. Thanks for that reminder!!

    • Staci Hutchinson says

      My grandma always made bean soup with “rivelets”. And when I was young the rivelets were all I liked! Just make bean soup and add them into the bean soup at the end and cook about 20 min. more.

      • I love the idea of adding them to bean soup! They are basically a form of homemade noodle, so you could add them to just about any soup. Thanks for sharing how your family made them. I love all the stories the people have shared.

  31. My Moms side of the family came from Germany. She made ,what we as children called it, griebble soup every time she baked a chicken. We loved bid griebbles, my Dad liked the small ones. My Mom died at 50 and unfortunately did not write this recipe down. For 40 years I searched for griebble soup, I tried to make it from memory, but still kept searching. I found a reference to riebbles. But it didn’t talk about a soup. Today as I was again searching for German cookbooks and recipes I ran across your article and the picture of Rivel soup looked just like the soup my Mother made. My guess is that it was originally called Riebble soup by my Grandmother and her mother also. When Mom told us the name we as children called it griebble soup. I am so happy that I ran across your article. Thank you.

    • Thank you for sharing your family recipe story! I love all the comments on this post. Reading all the comments about various versions has been so fun. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post and recipe. I hope that when you make it, it turns out just as you remembered!

  32. Joe Blaeser says

    My grandmother made it in tomato soup I still make it to this day

  33. Karen Renner says

    My Step mothers Mom would make these for us and she used some Bacon greases in the water with a stick of butter and some salt and then make the rivals and throw them in the soup would get a thick consistency oh my word they were so good we all loved them . when ever she knew we were coming over she would make them I make them now but can;t get the dough as smallas she did

  34. My Dad’s Mom made Chicken “Ribble” soup and then my Mom took over and taught me. I have made it for years. Yesterday, I took the leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and cooked it in broth until the meat fell off the bone. Then strained the broth, added back the cut up turkey and threw in a bunch of “ribbles”. It made alot of soup/stew. I ladled into containers and shared with family. It is SO good and a total comfort food. I don’t know why our family calls rivels “ribbles” but that’s what we do! By the way, my Grandfather’s parents were from Germany so that is probably why it was a tradition on that side of the family.

    • Thank you for sharing your family’s version of rivel soup or “ribble” soup. I love all the stories that have been shared about this soup. I had no idea when I posted this recipe how many people have fond memories of it.

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