Oma's Dampfnudeln – German Steamed Buns

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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Dampfnudeln, those delicious German steamed dumplings (literal translation: steamed noodles), are the perfect recipe to learn since they can be used as a main course and a dessert cours

Thankfully, it's a recipe that's not at all hard to master. Just a bit of patience and watchfulness and you'll soon be enjoying this classic German food.

Popular in southern Germany, these are usually something people remember from their Oma's kitchen.

A steaming hot Bavarian Dampfnudel with a silky vanilla sauce poured all around, or enveloped in a most delicious gravy as shown below. (Yes, this is rouladen gravy. THE BEST!)

Dampfnudeln are the German steamed buns that are used either as a main dish or a dessert. Here, they are served with roulade gravy. YUM!!!

I was in such a hurry to eat the Dampfnudeln in the photo above, that I totally forgot to put the veggies on the plate. After all, who needs veggies when this steamed bun is drenched in rouladen gravy? Even the rouladen aren't necessary!

These are also known as German steamed buns… because they truly taste like freshly baked buns, only without a crusty interior… but a yummy crispy bottom.

Show off your knowledge of German culture

…by NOT using a knife and fork to cut into these dumplings! Use two forks or two spoons to gently pull apart the steamed roll to expose the fluffy interior. 

Once pulled apart, pour in the gravy or sauce. Yes, you can use your knife and fork to help cut it into pieces to eat, but just make sure you use those 2 forks or spoons to start with. :)

How to use leftover Dampfnudeln?

Although it's unlikely that there will be leftovers (unless you make more than you need), they are delicious sliced and fried in butter the next day. Topped with your favorite gravy or sauce, you'll enjoy them this way as well.

I've also added leftovers on top of some simmering goulash soup I was cooking the following day. Covered and left to warm, they were ready to eat in about 5 - 10 minutes and fit wonderfully with the soup. A yummy "left-over" meal. Tasted just like freshly-made.

Serving leftover Dampfnudeln (German Steamed Buns or Dumplings) with goulash. They surely bring back memories of Oma's kitchen

How do you test yeast to see if it's still good?

Yeast is a living organism. At least, it should be for it to work in baking. That's why the little packets one buys have an expiry date.

I had a packet lying around and, oops, it was expired by just 2 months. I figured I'd test it first and see if it still had life in it. I'm glad I tested it. Below, you'll see the result. On the left, the expired pack and on the right, a fresh pack.

Just put 2 tablespoons lukewarm water into a small bowl. Lightly stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon yeast. Let sit, undisturbed for 10 minutes.

It should get all bubbly and increase in volume. If it does, go ahead and continue with the recipe. If not, STOP! Don't even attempt to bake with this. It will be a flop! Ask me how I know. ;)

Testing to make sure that the yeast is "alive and working" BEFORE starting to bake. So important! Which one would you choose to use?

Before you start, pre-warm your eggs!

When baking with yeast, all ingredients should be at room temperature. 

But, what if you forgot to take the eggs out of the fridge earlier to let them warm up? Easy, just submerge them in a bowl of very warm water (not hot… you don't want to cook these!) while you wait for the yeast to proof.

Ready to start baking with yeast, but the eggs are cold? Warm them up first!

Lydia Remembers ...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like this Dampfnudel recipe!

I have had lots of dumpling recipes with Oma, and this one is certainly one of the favorites, especially with gravy. If there's one thing I learned about German dumpling culture with this recipe, it's that you ALWAYS pull it apart first with two forks before pouring gravy inside. 

I thought that this was a pretty fun tradition! My sister and I used to make mashed potato 'volcanoes' when we were younger and make a hole in our potato mountain with a fork before pouring gravy inside it. This new dumpling tradition reminded me so much of that! I love when food brings back special memories.

Oma's dumplings are so lecker, and every bite is a treat. With the moist, soft, gravy-covered goodness, what's not to love! These yeast dumplings are a must-have at a German family dinner! Your family will love this recipe. It's fun to make and eat, and best of all… it's made the best way, the German way!

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!

Is your yeast good? Are your eggs warm?

Ready to make Oma's Dampfnudel Recipe?

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Oma's Dampfnudeln – German Steamed Buns

Dampfnudeln, those deliciously classic German dumplings, are so delicious served with your favorite gravy and veggies.

These also make a delicious dessert that's especially yummy served with my homemade vanilla sauce.

Whether you prefer a savory roll or a sweet bun, this Dampfnudel recipe is sure to please the whole family!

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes

Total Time

50 min + 1.5 hr rising


Makes 8 - 10 dumplings


Yeast Dumplings:

  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional for sweet dumplings)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup lukewarm milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 - 2½ cups all-purpose flour

Poaching Liquid:

  • 1½ cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • pinch salt
  • Optional for sweet dumplings: 1 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon zest


  1. Grease a baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. To make the dumplings, add the water into a small bowl; add the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir and let sit 10 minutes. (This mixture should become bubbly, indicating that the yeast is "alive & working." If it's not, throw out and use new yeast.)
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the 2 tablespoons sugar (if using) and add the eggs, milk, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture. Mix in enough flour to make a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well until a smooth dough forms, adding more flour as necessary. Place dough into a clean bowl. Cover bowl and let sit in a warm place that is draft-free until double in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal pieces (about 1-inch in diameter) and shape into dumplings.
  5. Place the dough balls onto the greased baking sheet. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise about half an hour in a draft-free warm spot.
  6. In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, place all the poaching liquid ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the dumplings, making sure they are not overcrowded.
  7. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes until you hear the butter sizzling meaning that all the milk has evaporated. Do not open the lid during this poaching time or the dumplings will stop rising. 
  8. Open the lid, either as soon as you hear them sizzling or at 25 minutes even if you don't hear them sizzling. Check that the tops are firm to the touch. Leave the lid off and continue to simmer to evaporate any remaining liquid and let the bottom of the dumplings become browned in the butter.
  9. Serve immediately, using two forks to make a hole in the top of the dumpling into which gravy or warm vanilla sauce is poured. 


  • The sweet dumplings can also be served with a topping of melted butter, poppy seeds, and regular sugar or brown sugar. Also delicious with caramel sauce, plum sauce, or your favorite fruit compote.
  • If you use a saucepan with a tight-fitting glass lid, you can watch to make sure everything is simmering properly.

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02.02.2022 revision update

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Dampfnudeln are the German steamed buns that are used either as a main dish or a dessert. They surely bring back memories of Oma's kitchen.

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