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Steamed sweet dumplings (Dampfnudeln) recipe

Steamed sweet dumplings (Dampfnudeln) recipe

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The most challenging aspect in this recipe is to resist the temptation to peek into the pot. That's an absolute no-no! You will be fully rewarded for your patience.

Pennsylvania, United States

8 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 15g dried active baking yeast
  • 250ml lukewarm milk, plus more for steaming
  • 125g butter, divided
  • salt
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:1hr rising › Ready in:1hr50min

  1. Mix the yeast with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the milk and let stand for a few minutes until it starts to foam.
  2. Mix yeast with the rest of the milk, 50g butter, salt, half of the caster sugar, egg, lemon zest and flour in a bowl. Work all ingredients into smooth dough, using the kneading attachment of an electric hand-held mixer. Cover with a damp tea towel and let stand for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  3. Place the dough on a floured work surface and form a roll of about 25cm. Cut it into 12 equal portions and shape into small dumplings with floured hands. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes in a warm place.
  4. Slowly heat additional milk in a large, wide saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. The milk should fill the pan to at least 2cm. Add 75g butter and the rest of the caster sugar and the vanilla.
  5. Place the dumplings in the milk. Cover the pan immediately. Cook at medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Opening the pan during the cooking process is an absolute no-no, or your dumplings will collapse.
  6. Open the pan only when you hear a sizzling sound, which indicates that the dumplings have a nice brown crust at the bottom while light and shiny on the top – this is exactly the way they should be. Remove the dumplings with a pancake turner one by one and place them bottom up on a large serving platter. Serve the dumplings warm with fruit compote or chilled vanilla custard.

For more information:

My German regional cookbook, Spoonfuls of Germany, has many more German recipes and stories about German cuisine. Visit my blog for more information.

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Sweet Steamed Dumplings (Dampfnudeln)

This post is also available in: Deutsch

A while ago I received a reader request for dampfnudeln. Dampfnudeln are yeasted dumplings filled with jam (often plum). (Dampf means “steam” and nudel means “noodle”.) They are also called Germknödel or Hefeklöße. (Both terms can be translated as “yeasted dumplings”.) I have to admit I am not an expert when it comes to recipes like this. Dampfnudeln are a Southern German or Austrian thing and I am from the North. It’s funny that I almost never get recipe requests for Northern German recipes. Since the requests usually come from Northern Americans who have German relatives or ancestors, it seems like nobody from Northern Germany ever emigrated to the USA or Canada. I know this isn’t true. So maybe our recipes are so crappy that nobody wants to preserve them. People where probably glad they left them behind.

Anyway, I learned that there are several ways to prepare the yeasted dumplings. You can steam them or boil them in water. Or you can steam them in a milk, fat and sugar mixture. It seems that the water steamed/cooked dumplings are often called germknödel and the ones cooked in milk are called dampfnudeln. But I found a lot of conflicting information on this. The ones steamed and cooked in milk are supposed to have a sticky bottom once they are done. The ones steamed in water are more like enriched, light and fluffy bread rolls.

I tried both methods and had way better results steaming the dumplings in water. (I used crappy equipment. I need to try this again with a better pot.) One thing you read about the cooking in milk method is that you should use a large and heavy pot (for example cast iron) and with a lid that closes perfectly so that the steam won’t escape. One thing you should never ever do is open the lid. Well, our lids don’t close that well. And when I tried to cook the dumplings, the soy milk boiled over so that I did in fact open the lid. I guess my pot just wasn’t deep enough (It’s more like a deep pan.) Of course the minute I opened the lid the dumplings all sank and in the end they came out very dense and chewy. They were still delicious. Just not what I had expected. (You can probably guess what the texture was like by looking at the following picture.)

For my next attempt I filled a large pot with water and placed a steamer basket inside. I steamed the dumplings for 20 minutes (without opening the lid!) and they came out perfectly. So this is definitely my favourite method to make dampfnudeln now. (If you want to try the other version, here is a description. As I said, traditionally these dumplings are often filled with plum jam or compote and they are served with vanilla sauce. My versions are not so traditional, but they are really tasty, too. I filled the dumplings with with mixed nuts and served them with homemade almond cream and store bought rote grütze (red berry compote, my Northern German contribution to the recipe, here is my homemade version.) This was so delicious! The almond cream came out amazing and the slightly tart rote grütze was the perfect addition both to the sweet cream and the sweet dumplings. We ate way too much of this.

Dampfnudeln (makes 8 dumplings, serves 2-4)

110 g almonds (3/4 cup)
120 ml (1/2 cup) almond milk, soy milk, or water
seeds from half a vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30 g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar

100 g (3.5 oz) mixed nuts, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2-3 tablespoons almond or soy milk

240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 ml ( 1/2 cup) soy milk
60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil such as rapeseed (canola)

Bring a small pot with water to a boil. Add the almonds and blanch them for 2 minutes. Drain and let cool. Remove the skins. (Even if you have blanched almonds on hand, please don’t skip the cooking step. Just like soaking it makes the almonds soft and easier to blend.)

Combine almonds and remaining ingredients for the almond cream in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Combine nuts and sugar in a food processor. Process into a fine meal. Add soy milk and pulse a couple of times until everything turns into a sticky mass. Set aside.

Combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Add soy milk and oil. Knead with your hands for two or three minutes. If the dough is still sticky, don’t worry. Most of the gluten will develop during resting. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes. Since the dough is quite enriched, it won’t rise that much. It definitely will not double. Knead the dough again for one minute. It should now have a silky texture and not stick to your hands or your working surface anymore. Place on a lightly floured working surface. Divide the dough into eight equally sized pieces. Roll them into a disk and place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the centre. Carefully close the dough around the filling and make sure it is properly sealed. You can roll the balls on your working surface once again to reshape them. Place them on a lightly floured surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest for 20 minutes. (Again, they won’t rise much.) Place a steamer basket in a large pot, add water and bring to a boil.

Place four of the dumplings in the basket, close the lid and reduce temperature to low. Steam the dumplings in the simmering water for 20 minutes. Remove and steam the remaining dumplings. Serve warm with almond cream and rote grütze, if you have.

Dampfnudeln mit Vanillesoße (German Steamed Dumplings with Vanilla Sauce)

Dampfnudeln (literally steamed noodles) are German steamed rolls. They are made from a yeast dough, then cooked in a tightly closed pot with butter and water (or milk). Dampfnudeln can be savory or sweet. Even the sweet varieties are often served as meals. My favorite way of eating them is in a pool of vanilla sauce and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

I first tried Dampfnudeln in a small cafe in Garmisch-Partenkirchen after a day exploring the Zugspitze- the tallest mountain in Germany. It was the perfect end to the day. Dessert for dinner, but not overly sweet.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in southern Bavaria near the Austrian border. Originally, it was two separate towns, with Garmisch in the west and Partenkirchen in the east. They combined in 1935 prior to the 1936 Olympic Winter games. Even with the forced union, each town still has its own distinct characteristics. It is a gorgeous area with numerous lakes and mountains to explore.

We only spent time walking around the town and exploring the Zugspitze, but there is much more to see. It is a big area for winter sports and I also want to go back someday to see the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge).

Don’t be in a hurry with these dumplings and open the lid too early. The pot must have a tight fitting lid until all the water has evaporated and the dumplings are crackling. Opening the lid prematurely will prevent the buns from rising and becoming soft.

The texture is best the day they are made. If you have any extra, place them bottom side up on a plate, cover with a towel, and refrigerate. Eat the remainder by the next day with jam, nutella, or slice the extra up and fry them with butter.

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Yeast dough made from:
500g wheat flour
1/2 cube (about 20g) fresh yeast
a pinch of sugar
1/8 - 1/4 litre lukewarm milk
2 eggs
80g butter
60g sugar
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of salt

for baking:
40g butter
2 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 litre water or half milk, half water

Put flour in a bowl or on a board and make a well in the centre. Mix the crumbled yeast, sugar and some milk and pour into the hollow. Let the yeast mixture rise, then mix with other ingredients and knead until smooth.

Let rise again, then roll out to finger thickness and cut out small rounds with a glass or cut little portions with a spoon. Make about 20 little rounds. Let rise again.

Melt the butter in a casserole dish or pan that has a lid. Add salt, sugar and liquid. The liquid should stand 2cm high in the pan. Bring the liquid to the boil, put the little rounds in it and cover with a lid. NB If the lid doesn't close tightly, put a strip of dough around the rim to seal. Simmer gently over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. When the Dampfnudeln stop sizzling, cook for a further 10 minutes so that a crust can form.

Lift out with a spatula and serve one of my favourite German dessert recipes with fruit compote or vanilla sauce.

Alternatively, you can bake the Dampfnudeln in an open casserole dish in the oven (180-200 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes. Dampfnudeln brown on the top and are called Rohrnudeln. They taste good with vanilla sauce or just served with coffee.

Dampfnudeln Recipe


  • 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 2 and a half cup all-purpose flour


  • Dissolve the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar in the water and leave in a warm place to grow for 15 minutes.
  • Dissolve 2 tablespoons of butter in milk and leave to cool a bit. Mix it in a bowl with one tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add the yeast to the mixture in the bowl.
  • Add the flour and beat until a smooth dough forms. Knead for about 5 minutes. If necessary add more flour until a soft not sticky bowl can be formed.
  • Put the dough into a greased bowl and leave to grow in a warm place until it is doubled. (About one hour).
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape little balls.
  • Place the balls 3 cm apart on a greased baking sheet and cover with a clean towel. Leave to rise for another 45 minutes.
  • Dissolve a spoon of butter on the saucepan and place few dumplings inside. Pour over them half a glass of salty water and cover with a lid.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes (or until all the water boils out) WITHOUT PEEKING
  • Serve warm, bottom side up (should be brown and crunchy) with vanilla sauce or traditional white wine sauce.

Vanilla Sauce



  • Beat the yolks with sugar for about 5 minutes.
  • Boil the milk in a saucepan.
  • When the milk cools down a bit, slowly add the yolks while stirring.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Steer until the sauce thickens.

White Wine Sauce


  • 1/2 litre your favourite sweet or dry white wine
  • 1/4 litre of water
  • 75g sugar
  • 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 tablespoon starch


  • Heat up the wine, water and sugar in a small pot.
  • Mix in the starch remembering to add first a bit of the liquid to the powder and only then stir it in the pot.
  • Bring it to boil and keep stirring using a whisk.
  • Take it off the fire and add in two yolks.
  • Beat the whites and gently stir them into the mixture.

Serve Dampfnudeln together warm and delicious!

This was our article about Dampfnudeln. Read about Traditional Colombian Food / Top 10 Dishes HERE.

Steamed Sweet Dumplings

These dumplings are super addictive and require no fancy ingredients. But don’t be tricked by it’s humble appearance. Getting a perfect batch is an art and you have to really take your time to get them right.
By Suchitra Vaidyaram

This recipe is a keeper and though I have made them a bunch of times, I am yet to achieve perfection. I love making a batch of these dumplings and keep popping in my mouth as and when I please. They are super addictive and require no fancy ingredients. But don’t be tricked by it’s humble appearance. Getting a perfect batch is an art and you have to really take your time to get them right. After all the hard work, when I gobble the little dumplings in my mouth, I feel it’s worth the effort!

Home Made Is Easy

The traditional southern German steam dumplings are made out of a dough with yeast and are light in texture. They can be paired with Sauerbraten , Jägerschnitzelor Rouladen (beef roll-ups). You can also make these steamed dumplings stuffed with plums or apricots, glaze them with melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar on top for a sweet bavarian dessert. Alternatively you can top them with a warm vanilla sauce.

Bavarian Dampfnudeln, Buchteln - German Steamed Dumplings Recipe


1/4 L / 1 cup milk or water

Additional Ingredients for filled dumplings:

1 kg / 2 lbs plums or apricots

150 g / 5.2 oz bread crumbs

First cook on medium heat then reduce heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes until all the milk is absorbed and the crust of the dumplings begins to make a “singing” or “cracking” sound. Then the heat has to be turned to the lowest possible setting for gas or turned off completely. If you have an electric stove just turn it off and leave on the warm burner. Total cooking time is 30-35 minutes during which you must not open the lid ! The Dampfnudeln have to be light and fluffy, have absorbed all the liquid and have a nice crust. Let the Dampfnudeln remain in the closed pot for several more minutes. Carefully remove the lid so that the condensed water does not drip on the Dampfnudeln. Remove them carefully with a wooden spoon and place with crust on top (upside down) on a warmed plate.

Serve with Vanilla sauce, foamed wine sauce or fruit sauce or as a savory side dish with Sauerbraten , , Jägerschnitzel or Rouladen (beef roll-ups). ***ALL RECIPES ON THIS BLOG****

The Origin Of Dampfnudeln

There have been ongoing disputes about where the yeast dumplings originally come from. Both Palatinate and Bavaria claim to be the place of origin.

The name “Dampfnudeln” is composed by the German words for steam (Dampf) and noodles (Nudeln). This refers to the way they are cooked as well as their form. Most people would not refer to the dough balls as noodles. However, the word “Nudel” is a modification of the word “Knödel” from the same stem. Like this one, many other germanic words that start with the syllable kn- all express a type of swelling. Although most people today mostly think of pasta, the expression “noodles” or “Nudeln” actually covers a much broader field.

Try this diverse German food yourself with our delicious and simple recipe:

Delicious Dampfnudeln – Steamed Dumplings

Steamed dumplings are pure comfort food! My grandma used to make them on a regular basis during the colder months and we would dunk ours in a warm bowl of soup.

You may have heard of sweet yeast dumplings from Germany, or other parts of Europe, usually accompanied by vanilla sauce and/or fruit compote. This is a more savory version and kind of like the European pendant to the sweet rolls Americans like to eat with their Roast/Turkey. The dough is a brioche dough, but the dumplings get steamed in a water/butter/salt mixture, which gives them that nice salty and crunchy bottom crust you may know from bakeries around Europe.

I have wanted to try making them myself for the longest time, but was always a bit intimidated by the process. Well, I can tell you there is nothing to fear. This recipe is simple and basically guarantees you the softest and most delicious steamed dumplings you can impress anyone with.

They are best eaten with soup, as they are delicious for dunking, but can accompany anything with gravy as well.

  • 700g flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 packets of dry yeast (or 1 cube fresh yeast)
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  1. Add all your ingredients into your mixer. Here it is really handy to have one with a kneading function, otherwise you are going to have to do this by hand. My grandma did it that way, but it’s hard I can tell you. Make sure your milk is warm and your eggs are at room temperature. I like to warm my milk together with the butter, that way both are nice and soft.
  2. Let the mixer knead everything together into a soft dough for about 10 minutes.
  3. Rub a little butter on top of the dough and cover it with cling film tightly. Let it rise for at least 1 hour, or until it has at least doubled in size. No need to put it into the warm oven, just let it sit there at room temperature.
  4. Once the dough has nicely risen, punch it down and take it out into a lightly floured surface. Give it a good knead, then divide it. At this point, it is your decision, how many dumplings you want to make and how much dough you want to have left for something else. You could use the rest of the dough for Cinnamon Rolls (see my previous post), a Brioche, cheesecake, donuts, plum or cherry cake – the possibilities are endless.
  5. Now, take the dough you intend to use for your dumplings and divide it into small size balls. You don’t want them too big, around the size of your palm.
  6. Cover them with a kitchen towel for another 20 minutes to let them rise. This is the trick when working with yeast dough, it needs to be kneaded and it also needs to rest.
  7. In the meantime add 125ml water, a good teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of salt into a large pan. Once the balls have risen, add them into the boiling water and cover them with the lid. Cook/steam them on high heat for about 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium. Have a quick look under the lid to make sure the bottoms are not getting burned, then cover them again.
  8. The dumplings should be cooked within 10 minutes at the most. During the last few minutes I like to remove the lid to give them those crunchy bottoms we love. Eat them warm with your favorite soup!
  9. As mentioned above, you can do many other things with the remaining dough. I usually end up baking a Brioche, as we love it for breakfast around here.

The best part about this recipe, which is my mother-in-law’s and is just the best, is that it makes for enough dough to make yourself a batch of dumplings plus a nice loaf of Challah or Brioche to eat for breakfast the next day.

That’s it guys, hope you give them a try and love them as much as we do.