German Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce Recipe (Dampfnudeln)

German Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce (Dampfnudeln) on plates

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rest/Rise: 95 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 12 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
225 Calories
7g Fat
35g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 131mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 101mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Germans often bypass traditional savory foods for dinner and fill up with noodles or dumplings that are sweetened with fruit compote and vanilla sauce. Americans might call this skipping the meal and just cutting to the dessert. 

These dumplings are poached in sweetened milk that caramelizes on the bottom, which gives them a nice, chewy bite with soft insides. The rich, creamy vanilla sauce they swim in really puts them over the top.

"The dumplings were delicious with the vanilla sauce. The texture and aroma reminded me of raised donuts. They were fluffy inside like dinner rolls, and even though they were a bit sweet on the bottoms I think they could also work well with a savory meal." —Diana Rattray

German dumpling with vanilla sauce tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (half of a 1/4-ounce packet)

  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110 F

  • 3/4 cup warm milk, 110 F

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, or more if necessary

  • 1/2 cup cold milk

  • 2 cups vanilla sauce, optional, for serving

  • 1 1/2 cups warm fruit compote, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    German Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce (Dampfnudeln) ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in the warm water. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.

    Yeast, water, and sugar in a white bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a large bowl, stir 1 tablespoon sugar, the lukewarm milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and the salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

    Sugar, milk, butter and salt mixture in a bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the bubbling yeast mixture to the milk mixture and then add 2 1/4 cups flour, beating until a smooth dough forms. Add more flour as necessary, until the dough can be formed into a soft ball.

    Dough in a bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes.

    Dough ball on a floured wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Lightly grease or spray a bowl and place the dough in it. Cover loosely and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 45 minutes.

    Dough ball in a glass bowl, covered with a towel

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Punch the dough down, divide it into 12 pieces, and shape the pieces into balls.

    Dough balls on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 45 minutes.

    Dough ball on a baking sheet, covered with a towel

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet or saucepan with a tight lid. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cold milk and bring to a boil.

    Butter, sugar and milk mixture in a pan on a burner, with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Reduce the heat to low, arrange the dumplings in the saucepan, and cover.

    Dumplings in the covered pan with a milk mixture, on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Simmer for 25 minutes without peeking, then check the dumplings. If there is still liquid left in the pan, keep simmering a little longer until the dumplings have absorbed all the liquid. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.

    Dumplings in a pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Serve warm, bottom-side up, with vanilla sauce and a tart fruit compote, if desired. Enjoy!

    German Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce (Dampfnudeln) on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Tip

Near the end of the cooking time, check the dumplings for moisture to avoid burning the bottoms.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of vanilla sauce and fruit, serve the dumplings with cinnamon sugar and applesauce.
  • Serve the dumplings with the vanilla sauce and a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar or poppy seeds.
  • Serve the dumplings with caramel sauce instead of vanilla sauce.

How to Store and Reheat

  • The dumplings are best eaten the day they're made, but if you have leftovers, refrigerate them in a covered container for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, slice them and fry them in butter or steam them in a covered saucepan or skillet in a small amount of butter and milk or water to keep them from sticking.

What is a German dumpling made of?

Dumplings are popular throughout Germany and are eaten in both sweet and savory preparations. They can be made of potatoes, flour, bread, and other ingredients.

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