How to Make Suet Dumplings

7 dumplings
30 min

Suet dumplings are a British classic – especially served with a rich, gravy-based stew! Here’s how to make perfect suet dumplings.

We ate stew and dumplings regularly when I was growing up, and it’s still one of my favourite dinners. There’s nothing more comforting than a bowlful of rich veggie stew. And the best bit: fluffy suet dumplings!

Dumplings are practically a British institution, but if you’re never made them before, here’s how to make perfect suet dumplings!

What are suet dumplings?

Seemingly every cuisine in the world has their own version of the dumpling. Japanese gyoza, Polish pierogi, Spanish empanadas… and British suet dumplings! They’re a much-loved British dish.

Suet dumplings are cakey and fluffy – vaguely similar in texture to a dense cornbread.

They’re often cooked right on top of a gravy-based stew, which is perfect, as the bottom of the dumpling soaks up the gravy beautifully. The top of the dumpling gets slightly crispy.

Recipe details

  • 7  dumplings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 130 g (~ 1 cup) vegetable suet
  • 260 g (~ 2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 250 ml (~ 1 cup) water


Add the vegetable suet and self-raising flour to a large bowl, and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Add the water, and mix with a fork to create a sticky dough.
Dollop the dumpling mixture on top of your favourite stew when it’s nearly cooked. Add a lid, and return the stew to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes, until the dumplings are firm. I like to remove the lid for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking time, to help them to crisp up a little.

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  • Victoria McMackin Victoria McMackin on Oct 21, 2021

    The term suet literally means fat taken from animals. Its the fat around the kidneys, usually either lard or tallow. So there is no such thing as vegetable 'suet', is actually highly refined hydrogenated vegetable oils, like Crisco. Older versions, or traditional, versions of this recipe would have used the hard fat around whatever animal they butchered, which would also have lent to a richer, flakier dumpling. The recipe itself sounds more like a normal dumpling, which was a way of using up what they had on hand in abundant (fat and ground wheat) to extend the meal by filling up bellies quickly. Overall, the recipe looks wonderful and a good one to try (using real suet of course).

  • Mbj29439383 Mbj29439383 on Nov 06, 2021

    Thank you for the link for the suet. I have never heard of this product before ( I live in U.S.). Do you think butter would work, or would that change the flavor/texture too much? Looks delicious!

    • Becca Becca on Nov 09, 2021

      I haven't tried it, but I have heard people saying that grated cold butter can be used. Probably best to find a non-suet dumpling recipe though rather than just improvising.