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Secrets to Perfect Gluten Free Dumplings

@GFHomemade  #GlutenFreeHomemade

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Updated August 13, 2016.

Perfect gluten free dumplings are delicious and easy to make.  

Perhaps the most universal comfort food, dumplings, in one form or another, are found in most every country.  Recipes are as diverse as are the cultures from which they originate.

They go way . . . way back in history to humble beginnings in poor households where cooks used cheap, starchy ingredients to stretch meager meals as far as possible in order to fill the stomachs of their hungry families.

Over time, these simple standbys became today’s “comfort food”.

What are Dumplings?

Dumplings are pieces of cooked batter or dough sometimes stuffed with a filling.  They can be steamed, fried, baked, roasted, boiled, deep fried, toasted or simmered.

Some of the more well-known dumplings are pot stickers, gnocchi, empanadas, wontons, gnocchi, pierogi, gyoza, kreplach, ravioli, matzah balls, tamales and spaetzle; there are many, many more.

In the United States, dumplings are made with a biscuit based dough, such as in American’s favorite comfort food, Chicken FricasseeChicken and Dumplings, or desserts such as peach cobbler.

Gluten Free Dumplings are Easy to Make . . . Right?

When I began my quest for the perfect gluten free dumpling, I thought it would be an easy “first try”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Most of my attempts resulted in a fragile dough that disintegrated when dropped onto chicken stew making very thick, starchy, lumpy gravy . . . yuck!

When I finally achieved the semblance of a lump of dough, the gluten free dumpling was a flavorless, gummy mass that stuck to our teeth like muddy clay cloys to rubber boots--it piles up and won’t let go.  We couldn’t swallow it for fear of choking.

Then, there was the dreaded metallic aftertaste I couldn’t shake off.

I tried gluten-free flour after flour.

On and on and on the recipe testing went.  I thought I’d never master the “art” of gluten free dumpling-making.

One day I woke up . . .

. . . and I knew!  I knew what I had to do to make the perfect gluten free dumpling!

First, I had to toss store-bought baking powder to dispose of the horrible metallic aftertaste, and use Gluten-free Baking Powder instead.

Then, I added an egg to the dough. This was a key change.

The egg imitates gluten in order to develop structure, part of the fluffy, moist, but dry (not gummy) “crumb” I was looking for.  Egg also imitates gluten by acting as a binder to hold the dough together so it doesn't fly apart when dropped on bubbling stew, soup or broth.

Even more important, the egg helped the dough to raise more, and added a depth of flavor and color otherwise missing from rice based flour blends.

In order to achieve a tenderer, flaky “crumb” I added a little more butter.

Then, I adjusted for the liquid in the egg by reducing the measure of milk, and corrected the salt to balance the sodium in the homemade baking powder.

The Result?

Perfect gluten free dumplings!

So, I did the ultimate test.  I served them to my unsuspecting dinner guests.

When compared side by side, my discerning guests couldn't tell which dumplings were gluten-free from those made with all purpose wheat flour.

I asked my guests which dumplings they liked best.

To my surprise, their choice was unanimous!  They preferred the gluten free dumplings over the wheat flour dumplings!

So, I asked them what it was about those dumplings they liked better.  All cited the texture, tender “crumb” and pleasing flavor.

Were they ever surprised to find out their dumpling of choice was gluten-free!

By the way, perfect gluten free dumplings are easy to make when you have a no-fail recipe consisting of the right ingredients and cooking techniques!


Perfect Gluten Free Dumplings

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Time:  30 minutes

Servings:  8 to 10 dumplings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, blend dry ingredients together.
  2. Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg until frothy, and then whisk in the milk until blended.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Drop dumpling dough by tablespoonfuls onto simmering gravy, sauce, soup or stew.
  6. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  7. Cover and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Variations

Basil Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 2 tablespoons fresh snipped basil.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Black Pepper Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Buttermilk Dumplings

  1. Substitute ½ cup buttermilk for milk.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Celery Seed Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 teaspoon dried celery seed.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Cheddar Cheese Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ½ teaspoon ground mustard.
  2. Stir in ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Chive Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 3 tablespoons fresh snipped chives or 3 teaspoons dried chives.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Chile Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 teaspoon chile powder.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Chiles Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 tablespoon seeded minced chiles of your choice (ancho, chipotle, habanero, jalapeño, pablano).
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Cilantro Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 3 tablespoons fresh snipped cilantro or 3 teaspoons dried cilantro.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Cornmeal Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 2/3 cup cornmeal.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Dairy-free Dumplings

  1. Substitute 3 tablespoons cold shortening for butter.
  2. Substitute ½ cup of your favorite milk substitute for milk.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Egg-free Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard and 1 ½ teaspoons Egg Replacer™ powder.
  2. Increase milk to ¾ cup.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Green Onion Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup chopped fresh scallions.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Italian Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Onion Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup diced onion.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Oregano Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 tablespoons fresh snipped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Parsley Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 2 tablespoons fresh snipped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Rosemary Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 tablespoons fresh snipped rosemary or 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Sage Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 2 teaspoons fresh snipped sage or ¼ teaspoons dried herbs.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Sour Cream Dumplings

  1. Substitute ½ cup sour cream for milk.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Sour Cream & Chive Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 3 tablespoons fresh snipped chives or 3 teaspoons dried chives.
  2. Substitute ½ cup sour cream for milk.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Sour Cream & Green Onion Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup chopped fresh scallions.
  2. Substitute ½ cup sour cream for milk.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Sour Cream & Onion Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup diced onions.
  2. Substitute ½ cup sour cream for milk.
  3. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Spinach Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup chopped fresh spinach leaves.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Spinach & Cheese Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add ¼ cup chopped fresh spinach leaves and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Thyme Dumplings

  1. To dry ingredients add 1 tablespoons fresh snipped thyme or 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.


Whole Grain Dumplings

  1. Substitute Whole Grain Gluten Free Flour Blend for White Gluten Free Flour Blend.
  2. Prepare and cook dough as directed in recipe.



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