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« Weekly Meal Planning 2 | Main | Easy Beef & Tomato Stew »

Healthy Dumplings without Suet

Dumplings, savory scone-like balls, are great to serve with stew instead of potatoes. I have only very recently discovered the delights of dumplings, having been put off by the name for many years. Contrary to what it sounds like, dumplings don't have to make you into a dumpling!

Traditionally they are made with flour mixed with suet and water. Since we're trying to cut our saturated fat intake in the Kay household, I tried making dumplings without suet, using olive oil, milk and some dried herbs. They tasted delicious with beef stew and filled us up a treat. I told Joshua they were 'special cakes' and he wolfed them down.

Dumplings take moments to make and they are ridiculously cheap. All you need are a few very basic store cupboard ingredients. Uncooked dumplings are then placed on top of your cooked stew and baked in the oven. I believe you can cook dumplings on the hob, but I have never tried doing it that way.

Here's a little dumpling related tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver - Dumplings soak up quite a bit of moisture, so if your stew looks dry, stir in a mug of boiling water before you add you dumplings.

If you like these healthy dumplings, try this beef cobbler.


Healthy Dumplings without Suet: Serves 4:

Time:  5 mins prep + 30 mins cooking
Cost:  8p per serving
Calories:  299 per serving

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Good pinch dried herbs e.g. thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Good splash of milk
  1. Mix the flour, salt and thyme in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil and a little milk. Stir, and keep adding milk a little at a time to form a soft dough. Don't add too much milk or it will become sticky. If this happens, just add a little more flour.
  2. Knead the dough a little on a floured surface. Split the dough into 12 roughly even sized pieces and roll them into little balls. Pop them on top of your (cooked) stew and press them down a little so they are half submerged in the stew.
  3. You can cook the dumplings in the oven or on the hob. Cook in the oven at 180 C / gas mark 4 for around 25 - 30 minuites until risen and golden.

More easy budget recipes

Reader Comments (26)

Thank you! I live in Cyprus and it's difficult to find Atora suet here. I've made a huge stewpot and have been craving some dumplings to go in it! Of course I have no trouble sourcing Olive Oil and have plenty of that. I am going to try this right now!

February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterP Brambley

Fantastic!! I hope it works well for you! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for your comment, Filipa x

February 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum


February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I've just read yr recipe and I have now made them for our dinner tonight as I had to pre make everything so this is a little different to the ones I normally make. I will let you know how it goes down tonight. Fingers crossed I have a difficult family I may do a plain batch I don't now yet we will see how this go. Thanks for the recipe x

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisamac

These were perfect, i used soy milk too as i am lactose intolerant and they turned out beautifully.

May 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

Hi, Delighted I found your healthier option dumpling recipe tonight. As I had made a hearty beef and mushroom stew I was thinking about making mashed potatoes but then thought I'd like to make dumplings. I don't keep suet so looked for a recipe without suet and found yours. Have to say they were a great hit, we all loved them, so incredibly quick and easy to make and light, fluffy and delicious. I added rosemary and pepper and they complimented the main dish perfectly. No doubt I will be making this recipe a few times this winter. Many thanks.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Hi Elizabeth! So pleased you enjoyed them! They are so easy and guilt free too :) I love to hear the different herbs people use in them as well. Many thanks for your kind comment, Filipa x

May 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

Francesca - great to hear they work with soy milk too! Thanks for sharing! Filipa x

May 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

Is there any reason these couldn't be made with wholemeal flour? I am trying to stick to as many whole foods as I can whilst still enjoying things like dumplings in my stews.

September 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRhys

Hi Rhys, I can't see why now, the only thing is that they might soak up more liquid than using white flour, so try half and half maybe to start with, and add a little more liquid to your stew. Please let me know how it goes if you try it! Many thanks, Filipa x

September 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

I am vegan and love suet crust pastry, however vegetarian Atora uses Palm Oil which for ethical reasons I do not want to use. Could your dumpling mixture be rolled out and used for a pudding?

October 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C

Hi John, I have never tried using it for pudding so not sure how it would work. I think maybe the lack of animal / saturated fat means it would not have quite the same texture as suet pastry. No harm in trying though. Please do let me know how you get on. Filipa x

October 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

I am soo pleased I found this. Been craving a hearty stew with the cold weather coming in now and due to me being a vegetarian I obviously cannot use suet so thank you :) they were lovely

October 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKayleighb

Delighted Kayleigh! Thanks for leaving a comment! Filipa x

October 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

Perfect veggie solution to the "dumpling" craving. Thank you, they cooked up a treat and made my wife very happy.

October 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterReggie T

Great Reggie! Thank you! x

October 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

I'm vegetarian and while you can use vegetable suet, cheese is a tasty substitute. Another option is to freeze a pack of butter and grate it into the mixture.

November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob H

Just found your recipe and have quickly made a batch. They're cooking right now, some in a turkey stew on the hob and some are baking in the oven (my partner likes his crispy). I've added some fresh sage so can't wait to see how they turn out. Thanks for the recipe x

February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLady Alison Hobbs

I have these cooking as we speak ran out of milk so had to use water instead. They smell and look delicious. I can't wait to try them. Thank you. Jade :)

May 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJade

Randomly came across recipe,i love how no butter is used - they smell awesome! Thanks :)
Jean from new zealand

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjean

Well i had no self raising flour so i decided to use a packet mix to bake a loaf of bread....,fingers crossed it works??? No suet either so used i cant believe its not butter, haha! You never know guys. Stew on the go in a slow cooker, usually do the dumplings in the oven as i too like a crust! Fill you in after its all been eaten and the plates are hopefully empty?!

July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Excellent Rachel! x

July 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterGourmet Mum

I love my dumplings but dont use mix as you dont know whats in it, bit im having ago at these as im health contious, cant wait nom nom

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteremma bolton

Hiya i am so glad i found this recipe as ive been trying to improve my diet and used wholemeal self raising flour and coconut oil with plenty of pepper and they was delicious the children even ate them :)...

September 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertasha

Cooked these for ten this lunchtime. All ten loved them. 10 out of 10 scrum my xxx

February 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterOj

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