Fried dumplings are a favorite staple food found just about everywhere in the Caribbean. They are flat fried buttery dough generally served for breakfast or as a snack any time of day. Caribbean fried dumplings are moist and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. They are best served warm with a dash of icing or with a touch of your favorite spice.

Traditionally called Johnny Cakes, fried dumplings were packed to take on long journeys or trips. Today they are commonly paired with breakfast dishes such as Salt fish, Callaloo, Ackee, eggs or corn beef hash. Caribbean dumplings come in a wide variety of forms. They are very popular at street side vendors, in casual dining restaurants and in private homes.

Basically, Caribbean dumplings come in two different varieties. The festival type includes cornmeal, sugar and cinnamon. They are served with spicy meats such as jerk pork or jerk chicken. The traditional fried dumpling is made with just flour, salt and baking powder. Sometimes cornmeal is used. Both types are kneaded into dough, shaped into balls and then fried in oil or lard until golden in color.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste (less if using salted butter)
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup oil, for cooking


  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Using a fork or your hands, blend butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Slowly add water to dry ingredients. Mix until dough holds together. Add more water if needed. Likewise, dust with more flour if the dough is too wet.
  • Knead the dough until smooth being careful not to over knead.
  • Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes. Shape dough into 8 small balls about the size of a golf ball. Make sure to leave a dent in the middle of the dough that way the dumplings cook faster (it is also traditional).
  • Add cooking oil into frying pan. Set stove to medium high heat. When oil is hot, put dumplings into the pan. Oil should be sizzling. Continually turn the dumplings as each side browns. The dumplings should be light and fluffy.


If the dumplings sound hollow when you tap them, then they are done on the inside.


Use milk or half and half instead of water. It makes a richer and heaver dough. Make sure and fry the dumplings on lower heat or they will be hard on the sides and soft around the edges.

Try cornmeal dumplings for a nice variation. They are made with the same ingredients as flour dumplings; just add a little cornmeal to the flour for a nice texture.

Add a dollop of corned beef to the dough pieces before frying. You can also add cheddar cheese, or both cheese and corned beef. You might also want to try other variations such as onions, tomato, fish, scotch bonnet peppers, black pepper or other desired herbs. For something sweet; add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and/or bananas. When making sweet dumplings, make sure and add an egg and a little cornmeal. Generally, ½ cup cornmeal and 1 ½ cup flour is the best ratio.

Best Cookware to Use:

  • A large bowl for mixing dough
  • Frying pan