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!

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Nissa Van Riper

    We totally thought this was going to translate as wet noodle. haha I must share your site with the military community here. They are very into their Christmas markets but I can honestly say I don’t think we’ve seen any of the market foods you mention. Maybe this will inspire us to look deeper or travel further! <3

    1. Wet noodle! ? I would definitely recommend having a good hunt around the Christmas markets (and local bakeries) for Christmas specialties, you’ll probably find all sorts of wonderful things. Many of them are very regionally specific, but that’s what I love about the German cuisine. Thank you so much for sharing my site, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that! Wishing you a very happy holiday 🙂

  2. says: Nissa Van Riper

    So someone just told me feuerzangenbowle is everywhere. That’s what I get for visiting markets with my kid an non-wine-drinking husband…I only notice the wursts. haha

    1. In that case, I think you should park them on a carousel and go on a Glühwein research mission! …though I say that cautiously, as I have two little ones myself and know what it’s like trying to get them back off the carousel again afterwards ?

Leave a comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.