German Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce Recipe (Dampfnudeln)

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
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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


  • 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.

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

  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.

  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.

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

  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.

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

  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.

  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.

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

  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.

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


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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