The A to Z of German Christmas: D is for Dampfnudeln

Traditional German market food
A sweet, steamed dumpling and a glass of hot booze | Image credit A Bavarian Sojourn

Dampfnudeln are popular in certain parts of the country throughout the year, but have become a stalwart of German Christmas markets everywhere. These sweet, yeasted dumplings get their name from the steaming process (dampfen) with which they are cooked, in a closed stovetop pot using either butter and milk or salt water and fat.

There’s much argument about whether Dampfnudeln originated in the Palatinate or Bavaria, and in these regions, they’re made and eaten in slightly different ways. Always plump and white with a light, bread-like texture, in the Palatinate (and elsewhere now too) they also have a slightly crispy, golden brown underside.

Dampfnudeln are served warm, sometimes savoury, with a vegetable or potato soup or, in Bavaria, cabbage, but at Christmas markets, they are are most popularly enjoyed sweet, with a white wine sauce, vanilla custard or preserved fruit.

How to make Dampfnudeln

Ginger‘s steamed dumplings come complete with a crispy, caramelised bottom.

Dampfnudeln – Sweet Dumplings

D is also for…

Dominosteine (dominos): Invented in Dresden in 1936, these small, roughly cube-shaped Christmas pralines are made up of layers of Lebkuchen, dark chocolate, fruit jelly and marzipan, all covered in even more dark chocolate. Extremely pleasing to bite through!


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