feasting with friends

Michigan Monday: Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

Willkommen to Frankenmuth… a sign, stating this message, greets visitors upon entering this small town. It is located in the mid-section of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Frankenmuth is known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” and is rich in German history.

Frankenmuth has much to offer it’s visitors… dining, shopping, a brewery, entertainment, German culture and… Are your ready for it?… The world’s largest Christmas store. That’s right, Frankenmuth is home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, billed as the worlds L A R G E S T Christmas Store. It measures 1½ football fields in size and offers over 50,000+ items of the gift and holiday trim type. This time of year, it is a mad-house. Crazy crowded, kind of mad-house. Personally, I won’t set foot in there after Halloween (too many people tend to bring out my Grinch side). February through October is just fine with me!

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

We venture to Frankenmuth at least yearly. And surprise, surprise… it’s the food that inspires to make the 45 minute drive. There are many restaurants to choose from in the town, but for most visitors the destination is one of two “main” restaurants, Zehnder’s or The Bavarian Inn. They are essentially the same, menu-wise, and were founded by members of the same family (the Zehnder’s). Both restaurants are known for their all-you-can-eat, family style, chicken dinners. Course, after glorious course of food. Stollen bread, fruit preserves, a variety of salads, golden (aka, fried) chicken, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, hot veggies, and the highlight of the meal (for our family) the hot buttered noodles. They are OMG delicious!

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

Duplicating these addicting noodles at home has been a decades long project of mine. It sounds simple enough… buttered noodles. But it wasn’t. They never tasted as good as the restaurant version. Oma (grandma) Dorothy Zehnder even shares “The Recipe” on the website. Let me just say… that sneaky Oma is leaving out something. Like butter… there’s no mention of buttering the noodles in her recipe… I have her number, she can’t fool me!

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

Shops in the restaurants will gladly sell you bags of their noodles. In addition, most grocery stores in our area sell the same type of noodles. Thick egg noodles, or kluski, is what one needs. Note: these are “thick” noodles… not “wide”. Using Oma Dorothy’s recipe as the “base”, and through much trial and error, I’ve figured out a recipe/procedure that satisfies the buttered noodle monsters in our house.

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

Frankenmuth Hot Buttered Noodles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients for Noodles:
8 ounces medium egg noodles, thick or kluski
2 quarts chicken broth
1½ teaspoons poultry seasoning (instant bouillon is fine)
pinch of pepper

Ingredients for Topping:
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (crumbs)
2 Tablespoons butter

Ingredients for Butter Sauce:
1/4 cup chicken broth
4 Tablespoons butter

Heat the chicken broth, poultry seasoning and pepper to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles. Cook according to package ingredients (normally 15-20 minutes for thick noodles).

While the noodles are cooking, make the topping and sauce.

For the topping: In a skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in the cracker crumbs to coat with the melted butter. Saute until light brown, stirring often. Remove from heat and side aside for serving.

For the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the 4 tablespoons of butter and the 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Heat over low heat. Keep warm.

To Serve: Drain the noodles and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the hot broth/butter mixture over the noodles. Stir well. Top the noodles with desired amount of browned cracker crumbs; serve additional topping on the side. Note: Noodles will initially be slightly “soupy”, but will absorb the additional liquid as they sit.


  1. Made it and it wasnt bad. Little salty though, I used real butter and saltine crackers and I did the poutry cube too. Didnt have the really wide Kluski noodles, but it wasnt bad either way. I also did 2 cups water & 2 cups broth.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Lisa! Due to my husbands low sodium diet restriction, I use only unsalted butter and low sodium broth…perhaps you would find it less salty with either substitution.

  2. Jan

    Looks great! Is the seasoning Chicken or Poultry? What does the bottle look like? It’s confusing on the website. One is even msg free! Does it matter?

    • Yes it is, Sandra. The noodles need a good amount of liquid to boil without sticking to the pan or each other. You could probably get away with a little less…should make sure the noodles have room to toss, turn and somersault in the pan. 😉

  3. pat monahan

    The noodles sound great. A waitress at zehnders or maybe it was at the bavarian inn told me they used crushed pretzels for topping the noodles. Could be a taste test is in my future.

    • That may be a taste test in my future too, Pat! I can’t say pretzels ever crossed my mind (or taste buds!) when dining in Frankenmuth…but what the heck, it’s worth a try! Thanks for taking the time to share. 🙂

      • Tanya

        I thought it was ritz type crackers. I saw a not so crushed part of the topping on our last trip and thought I had hit the jack pot. Either way-you gave made this Charleston, South Carolina family an awesome New Year’s gift! Thank you!

        • You are very welcome, Tanya! I hope you get a chance to make these in your home and are highly satisfied with a taste (and a memory or two) of Frankenmuth!
          As for the topping…there’s definitely much debate…and whether I use the method in the recipe, Ritz or Townhouse crackers, my family never complains! Thanks for visiting and commenting… Happy New Year!

  4. B

    I make these for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I did ask a server at the Bavarian Inn what type of cracker they use and he said Club. Tried it and it was just like the restaurants.

    • That’s the first comment stating club crackers, B. And the buttery, saltine goodness they possess does make sense to me! I’ll have to give that a try sometime and see if the family notices. 😉

  5. Jennifer

    Two issues, 1. No seasoning or chicken broth is right unless you use the zehnders chicken seasoning (sold in the shops beneath the restuarant) 2. They use crushed townhouse crackers as topping.

    • Thanks for your input, Jennifer! The idea behind this recipe is to share a taste of Michigan with my readers…many of which live outside of the state and country. Though my pantry is always stocked with Frankenmuth chicken seasoning, my goal was to create a recipe that tasted similar, yet used ingredients universally available.

  6. Katie

    I’m from Frankenmuth and just have to add- not just any poultry seasoning will do- Frankenmuth Chicken Seasoning is the only way to go! Check the spice cabinets of Just about anyone in the area, and I’m guessing you’ll find it!

    • And if you checked mine…you’d find at least two containers! Hahah. It’s good stuff! I do use it in my noodles…though this recipe was altered so that those living out of state/country could enjoy it as well. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment!

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