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Homemade Stuffings and Dumplings - 10 Simple Recipes

Updated on August 25, 2011
Mushroom Stuffing
Mushroom Stuffing

A homemade stuffing is one of those simple added touches that can make a family meal special. Rather than saving stuffings just for festive days and entertaining, try making them part of your everyday meals. As well as adding interesting flavor and texture, a well-chosen stuffing can help hold the food in shape and keep it moist by generating steam during cooking. Homemade stuffings are also economical because they make meals more substantial.

It is important to mix and handle stuffings lightly so as not to compact them, and to pack them loosely, leaving room for the stuffing to expand and stay light. If there is some left over, cook it separately in a small, greased oven dish for the last 30-40 minutes of cooking time.

It is best to cook onion and garlic lightly before adding them to stuffing, as this improves the flavor and aids digestion. You should also precook minced pork or sausage meat until it changes color, to make sure that it will cook through. The exception is sausage stuffing for the breast cavity of a turkey, when the stuffing is placed so close to the surface and is cooked for so long that precooking is not necessary. As a safety measure, always stuff poultry just before cooking. Make fresh breadcrumbs, using bread 2 to 4 days old, by pulling it apart very lightly with your fingers or with two forks. Of course, if you have an electric blender or food processor, beautiful crumbs can be made in a trice.

Stuffing Recipes

This Hub includes recipes for the following homemade stuffings:

  • Herb Stuffing
  • Rice and Watercress Stuffing
  • Pork and Pineapple Stuffing
  • Sausage and Meat Stuffing
  • Mushroom Stuffing

Dumplings are also a traditional part of good family cooking, and are making a come-back in the light of rising meat prices. A simple stew or casserole takes on new interest (and goes much further!) with fluffy-light dumplings cooked in the gravy. The only 'secret' to success with dumplings is to leave the lid on the pot until the cooking time is up. Follow the recipes below exactly and you will be rewarded with perfect dumplings.

Dumpling Recipes

This Hub includes recipes for the following homemade dumplings:

  • Traditional Dumplings
  • Cornmeal Dumplings
  • Spinach and Cheese Dumplings
  • Semolina Dumplings
  • Sweet Sultana Dumplings

Herb Stuffing

Use for fish, poultry or meat.

You will need:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Stock or water, to moisten


Cook the onion gently in the butter until golden. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, fresh or dried herbs, parsley, lemon rind, salt, and a generous amount of pepper. Add the onion and butter, egg, and enough stock or water to moisten the dressing very lightly. Do not over mix, just stir through with a fork. This quantity is enough to stuff a chicken, a large whole fish, or a shoulder of lamb.

NOTE: Use sage or savory for duck or goose, lemon thyme for fish, chicken, lamb or veal, mint for lamb.

Rice and Watercress Stuffing

Use for chicken, duck, lamb and veal.

You will need:

  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces (60 g) butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten


Wash the watercress, discarding any yellow leaves and long stalks and chop finely. Place in a bowl with the rice, celery, onion, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the melted butter and egg, mix well, and use immediately. This is enough for a large chicken, duck or boned shoulder of veal.

Pork and Pineapple Stuffing

You will need:

  • 8 ounces (250 g) pure minced pork
  • 4 cups soft white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed walnuts
  • ½ cup honey
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


Brown the pork in a heavy frying pan, using a fork to break up any lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Makes about 7 cups of stuffing, enough for a 14 lb (7 kg) turkey.

Sausage and Meat Stuffing

Use for turkey, chicken and veal.

You will need:

  • 1 pound (500 g) minced pork or sausage meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • Good pinch of ground mace
  • 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


Break up the meat with a fork and lightly mix in the other ingredients. Use to stuff the breast cavity of a turkey about 12 lbs (6 kg) in weight. For a chicken or boned shoulder of veal, halve the recipe.

Mushroom Stuffing

Use for fish, tomatoes, peppers and marrow.

You will need:

  • 2 rashers rindless streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 3 ounces (90 g) mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon juice


Gently fry the bacon over medium heat until the fat runs. Add the butter and fry the onion and mushrooms until soft. Stir in the rice, parsley and herbs, and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Makes enough to stuff 4 tomatoes or peppers, or 1 large fish or marrow.

Traditional Dumplings

These light, fluffy dumplings are delicious with any meat stew or casserole and are easily varied for extra flavor.

You will need:

  • 1 cup self-rising (raising) flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)


Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter with fingertips. Beat the egg and milk together, add to the flour mixture with the parsley, if using, and stir with a knife to form a soft dough. If you have a food processor, use the steel blade and put the flour, salt, butter and parsley (which need not be chopped) into the bowl. Process for 15 seconds then, with the motor running, pour in the beaten egg and milk.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls into boiling salted water or stock, or place on a stew or casserole. Cover tightly and simmer gently without lifting the lid for 15 minutes, until well risen and fluffy. Makes 6 medium dumplings.


Cheese Dumplings: Follow the recipe for dumplings, adding 2 tablespoons of grated cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients. These are best with a beef or chicken casserole. Alternatively, the mixture can be shaped into tiny balls and dropped into chicken or vegetable soup.

Roast Herb Dumplings: Follow the recipe for dumplings, adding to the flour and butter mixture 1 tablespoon each of chopped fresh parsley and mint for lamb; lemon thyme for veal or chicken; sage or savory for pork or duck. If fresh herbs are not available, chop 1 teaspoon dried herbs with 1 tablespoon fresh parsley. Mix and shape the dumplings and place them in hot fat round a roasting joint for 20 to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking, turning once, until risen and golden brown. Drain on crumpled paper towels. Finely chopped onion or grated lemon rind may be added to the flour and butter mixture for extra flavor. These dumplings make an imaginative change from baked potatoes, and children enjoy the difference as much as adults.

Cornmeal Dumplings

Interesting to serve with spicy meat dishes like Chili con Carne.

You will need:

  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter, melted


Sift the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Beat the eggs and milk together, add to the dry ingredients with the melted butter and stir with a knife to make a soft dough.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls into boiling beef stock, consommé or any clear soup or water. Cover tightly and simmer without lifting the lid for 15 minutes until well risen and fluffy. Makes 12 small dumplings.

Spinach and Cheese Dumplings

These beautifully flavored dumplings, enriched with egg, are served as a dish in their own right. They are perfect as a first course before a light main dish or for a winter lunch.

You will need:

  • Small bunch spinach
  • 12 ounces (375 g) Ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Flour
  • 2 ounces (60 g) butter, melted


Wash the spinach and chop the leaves finely, discarding the stalks. Cook the spinach until just tender, drain well, and process in a blender or food processor, or push through a sieve. Mix together the spinach, Ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls into a little flour spread on greaseproof paper. Shape into small balls. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the dumplings and cover tightly. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a hot serving plate. Pour the melted butter over and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Semolina Dumplings

These Italian-style dumplings are very light, with a different texture to the usual flour dumplings.

You will need:

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup semolina
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Good pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • Boiling stock
  • 1 ounce (30 g) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Heat the milk to boiling point and add the semolina, butter, salt, paprika and nutmeg. Cook over a low heat until thick, then remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Drop into boiling stock from a teaspoon; cover the pan and steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Top with melted butter and cheese. Serves 6.

Sweet Sultana Dumplings

An old-fashioned winter dessert for hearty appetites.

You will need:

  • 1 cup self-rising (raising) flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 ounces (60 g) butter
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 1 egg, beaten with ½ cup orange juice


Sift the flour, salt, sugar and spice into a bowl. Rub in the butter and stir in the sultanas. Bind together with the egg mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls into boiling water, then cover tightly and steam for 15 minutes. Split open and serve with butter and golden syrup. Makes 6 dumplings.


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    • marisuewrites profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      YUMMM is right, the dumpling recipe will be tried this weekend, I have a chicken and biscuit recipe that's very much like dumplings and I think I'll use this for the "biscuit" part. You are publishing a wonderful cookbook, maybe you'd like to visit my recipe sites? I'd love to know what you think of them....

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 

      9 years ago from Bangalore,India



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