Dampfnudeln (German Yeast Dumplings)

These Dampfnudeln Are Perfectly Plump And So Delicious!

Want to make German Dampfnudeln? We’ve got the Dampfnudel recipe for you!

These classic German dumplings are made with yeast dough, steamed to perfection, and can be enjoyed savory or sweet.

We like German steamed dumplings covered in a homemade vanilla sauce – but there are lots of other ways to enjoy them!

german yeast dumpling dampfnudeln with vanilla sauce
Just one of many Dampfnudeln this recipe makes!

Background Info

In case you are not familiar with the German language, you might be confused why we refer to the dumplings as “Dampfnudeln” and not as “Dampfnudel” as most people in North America seem to do.

The word without the “n” at the end is simply the singular form while “Dampfnudeln” is the plural form. Since we are making more than one dumpling, we are mainly using the plural form here!

There are actually a number of other names for Dampfnudeln. Aside from just yeast dumplings, in English, they are also sometimes referred to as German steamed bread or even sweet dumplings.

There are other types of yeast dumplings in German cuisine – called Hefeklöße – that differ from Dampfnudeln in the way that they are prepared.

Dampfnudeln are steamed in a pot with a lid – that’s why it makes sense that their literal translation is “steam noodles”. “Dampf”, in German, means steam and “Nudeln”, in German, means noodles.

Did you know that there are also lots of other German dumpling recipes out there? Some of the more popular German dumplings are Semmelknoedel (bread dumplings) and Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings).

Dampfnudeln are mainly eaten in the south of Germany which is the part of the country that Lisa grew up in.

They can be enjoyed savory with gravy and mushrooms or meat. However, our preferred way is to eat them as a dessert.

They taste delicious with homemade vanilla sauce, fruit compote, or a sauce similar to vanilla sauce made with white wine.

german dampfnudeln with boat of vanilla sauce behind on platter
The Dampfnudeln without sauce are a lovely golden brown color!

How to Make Dampfnudeln – Step by Step Recipe Instructions

If you’d like to make these German yeast dumplings, you can find the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

And in case you’d like to see some process photos, you can check them out below.

This way, you will have an idea of what the Dampfnudeln look like at each stage of the recipe!

yeast in a mug with milk
Dissolve the yeast.

If you are using active dry yeast, start by heating some milk in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove.

Then add the yeast and let the mixture sit for around 10 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble slightly.

If you are using instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add the yeast to the dough later.

dry and wet ingredients in a silver mixing bowl
Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl.

Add the flour, salt, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, and egg yolk to a large mixing bowl.

Either add the milk with the dissolved yeast or just add the instant yeast.

Using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your hands, briefly knead the dough.

Then slowly add the rest of the milk – make sure to take into account any milk you have already added (in case you used active dry yeast).

ball of german yeast dumpling dough in bowl rising
Keep kneading until you can form a ball of dough.

Keep kneading the dough until it forms a ball that doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl anymore.

Cover the bowl with a lid or a dishtowel and place it in a warm spot in your home without draft. Let the dough rise for around 60 minutes.

pieces of dampfnudeln dough cut on counter top
Cut the dough into pieces of the same size.

After the time is up, sprinkle some flour onto your countertop.

Knead the dough briefly, then roll it into a thick sausage. This will make it easier to cut the dough into equal pieces.

Cut the dough into 5 pieces of equal size.

german yeast dumplings sitting on parchment paper on counter
Form small dumplings.

Use the dough pieces to form small round dumplings. Try to keep the “seams” at the bottom so that the balls look relatively smooth at the top.

Press down on the top of the balls slightly with the open palm of your hand. Then let the dumplings rest for another 15 minutes.

chunk of butter in milk in large black pot
Melt the butter.

In the meantime, add the butter, sugar, and milk to a large pot with a lid.

Melt the butter on low heat and mix regularly until the sugar has dissolved.

dampfnudeln in pot on stovetop with butter and milk around them
Add the dumplings to the pot.

Once the butter has fully melted and the 15 minutes are up, place the dumplings in the pot.

Make sure to space them out as well as possible since they will increase their size noticeably.

dampfnudeln in covered black pot with glass top
Let the dumplings steam.

Place the lid on the pot and don’t lift it again until the dumplings are done. Otherwise they might deflate.

Steam the dumplings on medium heat for around 7 minutes. After that turn down the heat slightly and steam them for 15-20 more minutes.

It’s great if you have a pot with a glass lid since you can see what happens inside the pot. That can be helpful if you’ve never made Dampfnudeln before.

Pay attention when all the milk has evaporated and less steam is produced in the pot. At this point, leave the dumplings in the pan for another minute or two so the bottoms can get nicely golden brown.

However, be careful here and use your judgement since you don’t want to burn them bottom of the dumplings either.

If you don’t have a glass lid, just make sure to listen really closely to the sounds from inside the pot. When the milk has evaporated, the sound will change to more of a sizzling.

When the dumplings are done, be careful when removing the lid and make sure that the water droplets on the lid don’t hit the dumplings.

The dumplings should have signifcantly increased in size.

german yeast dumpling with vanilla sauce in bowl on counter
One Dampfnudel getting its vanilla sauce bath!

Serve the dumplings right away. As mentioned, we like them with homemade vanilla sauce (which is super easy to make!).

Alternatively, you can also eat them with savory dishes that have a gravy component.

Storage Tips

In our opinion, Dampfnudeln taste best fresh so ideally you only make as many as you’ll need.

However, you can store leftover dumplings in a container in the fridge and reheat them the next day. We like doing this in the microwave with the dumpling already covered in vanilla sauce.

Alternatively, you can also cut the leftover dumplings into slices and fry these in some oil or butter.

Enjoy!

german yeast dumpling dampfnudeln with vanilla sauce

Dampfnudeln (German Yeast Dumplings)

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

These classic German yeast dumplings - known as Dampfnudeln - are quite easy to make. Enjoyed savory or sweet with vanilla sauce, these fluffy steamed dumplings are the perfect little round, filling desserts!

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk, warm
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk from a medium-sized egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Ingredients For The Steam Pot

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Add the flour, salt, sugar, melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk with the dissolved yeast - or instant yeast if you're using that kind of yeast.
  2. Knead the mixture with the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer. Slowly add the milk. Keep kneading until the mixture forms a ball that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
  3. Use your hands to shape the dough into a nicer looking ball, then cover the bowl that holds the ball of dough with a dishtowel or lid. Place the bowl in a warm spot without draft for 60 minutes to allow the dough to rise.
  4. After the 60 minutes are up and the dough has increased in size, sprinkle a little bit of flour on your countertop. Knead the dough briefly, then roll it into a thick sausage.
  5. Cut the dough into 5 pieces of equal size. Form a small ball out of each piece of dough. Make sure that the "seams" are at the bottom of the ball so that the top looks relatively smooth. Press down on the top of the ball slightly so it gets a little squished. Let the balls of dough rest for another 15 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, heat the butter, sugar, and milk on low heat in a large pot with a lid on the stove.
  7. After the 15 minutes are up, place the balls of dough into the pot, leaving some space between them (they will increase their size significantly). Place the lid on the pot and DON'T LIFT IT AGAIN until the dumplings are done. Otherwise, they might deflate.
  8. Steam the dumplings on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes, then turn the heat down slightly and steam them for approx. 18-22 more minutes. Ideally, you use a pot or large flat-bottom saucepan with a glass lid so that you can see the dumplings rise. When the milk has evaporated you will no longer see bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot/pan and less steam will be produced on the inside of the lid. When you reach this point, leave the lid on for another minute so the dumplings can get a nice browned bottom (but not burn so watch/listen carefully). If you don't have a pot with a glass lid, just make sure to listen really carefully. The sound from inside the pot will change when the milk is gone - it will sound more like a sizzling. When lifting the lid, make sure that no water droplets hit the dumplings.
  9. Serve the dumplings right away. They taste delicious with homemade vanilla sauce!

Notes

  • We are using instant dry yeast for this recipe. If you're using active dry yeast (the one that has to be dissolved first), heat 1/3 cup of milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm. Add the yeast, and let the mixture sit for around 10 minutes until the yeast has dissolved and becomes active (it starts to bubble slightly). Then add the yeast at the step when you add the milk. Just remember to account for the 1/3 cup of milk and only add another 1/3 cup to the bowl.
  • Keep an eye on the dumplings at the end and use the above indicators to finish off the steaming. Be careful not to overcook or else the bottom of the dumplings can burn once the moisture is all gone from inside the pot. It can take a bit of practice, so don't give up if they didn't turn out perfect the first time!
  • Make sure that you are using yeast that hasn't expired yet. Otherwise, your dough might not rise. Also, make sure that the milk you are adding to the dough is warm and not boiling as this might also negatively affect the yeast bacteria.
  • Dampfnudeln taste best fresh, but you can try to reheat them the next day. We sometimes do that in the microwave with vanilla sauce already on it to give the dumpling some moisture back. Alternatively, you can also cut any leftover dumplings into slices and then fry them in some oil or butter the next day.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 9g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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