Jamaican Spinners (Dumplings)

Jamaican Spinners (Dumplings)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Rest: 10 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 12 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
109 Calories
0g Fat
23g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 158mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 32mg 1%
*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.)

Jamaican spinners are a type of dumpling, but they're different than what you might expect. While the goal for other types of dumplings is to make them light and fluffy so that they float on top of the broth, Jamaican spinners are dense and hearty. These dumplings are also known as "spinners and sinkers" because their long, tapered shape causes them to sink and spin while they cook, whereas traditional dumplings bob and float.

Best of all, these Jamaican dumplings only require three ingredients to make. The dumplings are typically made of all-purpose flour, though sometimes cornmeal is added. Shaping them is a fun and quick project that kids can take part in too. Spinners are most often cooked in soups and stews, including this Caribbean beef soup recipe. You can also boil and eat them as a side dish.

"Quick to make, these tasty dumplings are as fun to shape as they are to eat. Adding small amounts of water is key so the dough doesn’t get too sticky. It’s a great recipe, and I will be making these more often when a slimmer dumpling sounds like a good alternative." —Colleen Graham

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, as needed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Jamaican Spinners (Dumplings) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add just enough water, one tablespoon at a time, to make a stiff dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

    dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Pinch off about 1/2 ounce of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands to form a softly tapered cylindrical shape. Repeat until all of the dough has been transformed into spinners.

    rolling dough to form a softly tapered cylindrical shape

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. The spinners can be cooked in a pot of boiling salted water for about 5 to 7 minutes or added to a soup or stew 5 minutes before the dish is due to finish cooking. To test for doneness, cut one open to make sure the dough is fully cooked.

    spinners cooking in a pot, spinner in a small strainer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Serve and enjoy!

    Jamaican Spinners (Dumplings)

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • When mixing the dough, use a measuring spoon to add the water because it provides more control than pouring it from a cup. If you do add too much water and the dough is sticky, add a tablespoon of flour and mix it in (add more if needed).
  • It's helpful to keep your hands floured while shaping the dumplings.
  • Play around with the size of the spinners. They're typically about three inches long and larger, thicker dumplings will take longer to cook.
  • The spinners can be made in advance and kept, uncooked, in the fridge for up to three days.

Recipe Variations

  • Cornmeal dumplings: Add 1/4 cup of cornmeal to the flour mixture.
  • Jamaican spiced spinners: Work the spices of Jamaican jerk seasoning into the dough by adding 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a dash of cayenne pepper (or more, depending on your heat tolerance).
  • Potato dumplings: Add 1 cup of mashed potatoes, 1 beaten egg, and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder to the dough. These dumplings are more likely to sink than spin.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Freeze the uncooked spinners by placing them on a cookie sheet and putting them in the freezer until they're hard. Once solid, remove the spinners from the cookie sheet and put them in a freezer-grade plastic bag, and store them for up to three months.
  • Frozen spinners don't need to be thawed before cooking. Put them in boiling water or soup and check after 10 minutes to make sure they're cooked through.