Jamaican Dumpling Recipe

Jamaican Dumpling Recipe
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Jamaican Dumpling Recipe (Boiled or Fried)

Dumplings (or “dumplins” in Jamaica) are just cooked balls of dough. The Jamaicans created the first Caribbean dumplings, which were English-influenced, or so it is said. Dumplings are sometimes called Cartwheels or Jack or Johnny Cakes depending upon how they are prepared. And, while you may think dumplings have little nutritional value, think again…you cannot have a real Jamaican meal without them!


3 cups flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter (1 cube), cut into small pieces

1/2 cup milk


1. Sift flour into a medium-size mixing bowl. Add salt and baking powder and combine.

2. Add butter to the flour and combine until the mixture looks like crumbs. Add milk, a little at a time, and work it into the mixture. Continue adding milk slowly and kneading until you have a smooth, rather firm, dough. You do not want dough that is too soft or wet.

3. Tear pieces of the dough and make golf-ball-sized pieces. Place them all in a bowl and rest for 20 minutes.

4. Take the golf balls and roll them between your palms to make them feel smooth. Using the heel of your palm, press a piece of dough until it is flat and round – about 2 inches across and ¾ inch thick. Put a small dent in the center of the round with one of your finger knuckles. (Dumplings must have a dent!)

For Boiled Dumplings, Spinners or Cartwheels:

Add about ½ teaspoon of salt and a few drops of oil to a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add the dumplings to the pot, uncrowded, and boil for about 15 minutes. Drain and serve.

To make Cartwheels, just make bigger balls, about tennis-ball-sized.

To make Spinners: Instead of pressing them flat, roll the pieces between your palms into the shape of a small pen.

For Fried Dumplings, Johnny Cakes or Jack:

Prick each dumpling with a fork. Heat some oil in a pan over a low heat until hot. Fry dumplings, turning them over, until golden brown (this should take about five minutes). Place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and serve.

To make Jack, omit the butter from the recipe, make the dumplings twice the size, and use a fork to press the dumplings while they are frying.

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Dumplings may be served with ackee, eggs, fish, callaloo, or any kind of meat.

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