Try your hand at making Jamaican Boiled Dumplings, delicious chewy mounds of dough that pair perfectly with your favourite Caribbean recipes. With just flour, water, and a pinch of salt, this simple doughy treat takes any meal to the next level. This recipe includes a cornmeal option for even more flavour and texture!
Jamaican Boiled Dumplings
Boiled dumplings are a delicious addition to any Jamaican meal. That’s why we add them to soups like Jamaican Red Peas Soup and use them as a palate-cleansing side dish for saucy entrees and savory dishes, like a heaping plate of oxtails. If you grew up in a Jamaican or Caribbean household, learning how to make “dumplin” simply comes with the territory!
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Quick and Easy: Made with just 4 simple ingredients, these dumplings take about 20 minutes to boil.
- Versatile: Boiled dumplings go well with so much; soups, stews, curries, and more!
- Customizable: Boiled dumplings are a wonderful base recipe. Once you master kneading the dough and forming the shape, you can play around by adding other ingredients to switch up the flavours. I have some tasty ideas!
What are Jamaican Boiled Dumplings?
Boiled dumplings (also known as boiled flour dumplings, Jamaican spinners, Caribbean boiled dumplings, and Caribbean dumplings) are a staple in Jamaican cuisine. They are simple yet delicious dumplings made from a combination of flour, water, and salt. However, dumplings are popular across the Caribbean and beyond.
But do not confuse them with Chinese dumplings like my Pork & Chinese Cabbage Dumplings. These dumplings have no filling, although they are often served with ground provisions.
Jamaican Dumplings: Boiled vs Fried
There are two ways to prepare Jamaican dumplings; either by boiling them or frying them (fried dumplings). Both methods have their own unique texture and taste. Boiled flour dumplings are soft and chewy, whereas Jamaican Fried Dumpling have a light crispy coating and a fluffy center.
Choose boiled dumplings for stews, soups, and dishes with lots of sauce. Fried, they are great with breakfast or steamed veggies.
What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- Mixing Bowl: For combining the dough.
- Stock Pot: For boiling the dumpling.
Boiled Dumplings Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- All Purpose Flour: This is an essential ingredient. Use all purpose or your flour of choice.
- Fine Yellow Cornmeal: Although optional, this ingredient is recommended for extra and richer flavor and texture. Cornmeal dumplings are always a hit!
- Salt: Flour is pretty bland. Add salt to enhance the flavor while still keeping this recipe simple.
- Water: You need water to form the dough and later more water in order to boil the dumplings.
How to Make Boiled Dumplings
Step One: In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, optional and salt) and mix together until well combined. Then create a little well in the center of the mixture.
Step Two: Gradually add the water into the flour mixture well and use your fingers to pull the flour from the sides of the bowl into the center. Continue using your hands to knead and form the dough, add more water if needed. The dough should be soft but not sticky and wet – knead for about 5 minutes.
Step Three: Pinch or cut off your preferred sized dumpling pieces (small pieces – golf ball sized). In the palm of your hand using a circular motion, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and fold the edges of the dough into the center. Set each dumpling aside.
Step Four: Bring a stockpot of water to a boil, then add some oil. Carefully place the dumplings into the boiling water and boil for 20-25 minutes or until they start to float.
Step Five: Remove dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate. Serve hot and enjoy!
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- Jamaican Boiled Dumplings without Cornmeal: Cornmeal is an optional add-in for this recipe and will give the dumplings a corny more dense flavour and texture.
- Gluten-Free: If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, swap all-purpose flour for good all-purpose gluten-free flour.
- Whole Wheat: Here’s a healthier alternative to ap flour, but keep in mind that the texture and flavor of the dumplings may be slightly different.
- Cassava Dumplings:Add cassava flour for a subtle sweetness. It is also another gluten-free option and has a similar texture to wheat flour which is commonly used in Caribbean cooking.
- Green Banana Dumplings: This adds a sweet, fruity element to boiled dumplings. If you opt to boil dumplings with bananas, peel them first in order to avoid the gray color the peel often adds.
- Shapes: You can shape them into discs (like this recipe) or make a cylinder shape, known as spinners.
- Coconut: You can boil the dumplings in coconut milk or just add shredded coconut for a more subtle coconut-infused flavour. You can also explore coconut flour, but keep in mind coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid as opposed to wheat flour, so you will need to adjust the amount of water.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
There are many ways to serve boiled dumplings. Although I’m not opposed to eating them as is, they taste amazing when paired with other dishes. Here are some suggestions:
- Soups and Stews – this a great way to thicken a soup or stew and make it more filling. Try adding them to Jamaican Chicken Soup, Gungo Peas Soup, or Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup.
- Ground Provisions – serve these with root vegetables such as yam, cassava, potato, dasheen etc. for a hearty side dish.
- Saucy Entrees – the light, neutral flavor of the dumplings makes it the perfect pairing forJamaican Curry Chicken, Brown Stew Salmon or Brown Stew Chicken.
- Ackee and Saltfish – what better way to serve dumplings than with this national treasure?
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- If your dough sticks to your hands as you knead, it is too soft. Add a bit of flour until you reach your desired consistency.
- Add butter or to the boiling water in order to prevent the water from boiling over also if you are boiling ground provision, it keeps the white colour of the dumplings.
- If you have long nails, consider wearing food-grade gloves to keep to keep it sanitary.
- Ensure the dumplings are the same size so they cook evenly. The best way to ensure this is to cut the dough into even pieces.
- Never add dumplings to lukewarm or cold water. The water should be boiling before you add them. Otherwise, the texture of the dumplings is compromised.
- Give yourself time and grace to get the form of the dumplings right. With time and practice you wil perfect them, just as I have!
- Use a large bowl to ensure you have enough room to combine and knead the dough.
- Add a little water at a time, to ensure you don’t add too much. If you do, then simply add more flour – little bit at a time.
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
Yes. Once the dumplings are formed, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer so you can make them whenever you are ready.
Once they have cooled down to room temperature, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze, flash freeze the dumplings on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Then transfer them to a Ziploc bag for up to 3 months. Personally, this is not my preferred choice as I find the texture is a bit compromised but try it out, you may just like it!
How to Reheat Boiled Dumplings
Reheat them by adding them to a boiling pot of water for about 5 minutes until they are heated through.
Steaming can also work, and it can help maintain the texture of the dumplings better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When consumed in moderation, they are relatively healthy. Use pink salt to lower the amount of sodium. They are definitely a healthier option than fried dumplings because they aren’t cooked in oil and have fewer calories.
Jamaican boiled dumplings are made with four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, and cornmeal. However, the cornmeal is optional.
Dumplings take 20-25 minutes to boil. They are done when they float to the surface of the water.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Cassava Chips (Yuca Chips)
- Jamaican Saltfish Fritters
- How to Make Soursop Juice
- Jamaican Poke Bowl
- Oxtail Patty
- Jamaican Fried Dumpling
- Homemade Plantain Chips 3-Ways
- Jamaican Red Peas Soup
If you try this Boiled Dumplings recipe, we’d greatly appreciate if you leave us a star ★ rating, as well as some feedback in the comment section below if you found this blog post helpful and tasty!
Also, please use the hashtag #theseasonedskillet on social media for a chance to be featured, and don’t forget to keep up with TSS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest!
Lastly, sign up to our Friday weekly newsletter for the latest TSS updates, blog posts and recipes straight to your inbox.
Oh, and share, share, share with your family and friends!
Jamaican Boiled Dumplings
- Mixing Bowl for combining the dough
- Stock Pot for boiling the dumpling
- 5 cups All Purpose Flour or flour of choice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Fine Yellow Cornmeal optional
- 1 1/4 cup Water + 1/4 cup more if using cornmeal, adjust as needed
- Salted Water enough to cover and boil the dumplings
- In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal and salt) and mix together until well combined. Then create a little well in the center of the mixture.
- Gradually add the water into the well and use your fingers to pull the flour from the sides of the bowl into the center. Continue using your hands to knead and form the dough, add more water if needed. Dough should be soft but not sticky and wet – knead for about 5 minutes.
- Pinch or cut off your preferred size dumpling pieces. In the palm of your hand using a circular motion, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and fold the edges of the dough into the center. Set each dumpling aside.
- Bring a stockpot of water to a boil, then add some oil. Carefully place the dumplings into the boiling water and boil for 20-25 minutes or until they start to float.
- Remove dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate. Serve hot and enjoy!
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.