Perfect Mince and Dumplings Recipe

Our Mince and Dumplings recipe is the perfect combination of two family favourites! We have two wee boys who like nothing better than mince and tatties for tea after a hard day’s nursery.

Adding dumplings to that is the savoury icing to their mince-based cake!

Mince and Dumpling recipe in a pot

We have recipes for both Mince and Tatties, and our delicious Dumplings, but we thought we’d keep it simple for you and put everything together here in one place for the perfect mince and dumplings recipe.

What are Mince and Dumplings?

We’re starting with an easy one this time, as Mince and Dumplings is a pretty self-explanatory dish. However, as we understand it, mince in the US is called ground beef, and the type of dumplings we’re talking about are known as biscuit dumplings (Please correct us if this isn’t correct).

So it turns out Mince and Dumplings might need some explanation after all!

What is Mince?

The best way to describe the mince element of mince and dumplings is a savoury meat dish where typically beef or lamb has been passed through a mincer or meat grinder. The meat is then slowly cooked with a mix of other ingredients to create an almost stew-like dish.

Mince and Tatties with peas

What are Dumplings?

The dumplings in our classic mince and dumpling recipe are simply delicious fluffy balls of flour and a fat, often suet, vegetable shortening for our American friends. They have a wonderfully cake-like consistency that soaks up all the flavour of whatever they’re cooking on top of, in this case, mince.

Now suet can put people off a little, so we’ve made ours without it. They’re still just as fluffy and delicious though!

And there you have them, perfect Mince and Dumplings!

Mince and dumplings

Things You’ll Need to Make Mince and Dumplings

For the Mince

  • Large pan or frying pan with a lid
  • Measuring jug
  • Spoon
  • Knife and chopping board

For the Dumplings

  • Large Bowl
  • Butterknife
  • Pastry Cutter – optional, but it can help to make mixing the flour and butter together easier on your hands.

Ingredients for the Mince and Dumplings

For the Mince

This is a really simple but delicious version of savoury mince. Feel free to add anything extra that takes your fancy. Some people add Worcestershire Sauce, red wine or even Marmite. See more on this in the FAQs.

  • 500g (1lb) minced beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 350-450ml beef stock/gravy* see recipe method for details on which one to use

For the Dumplings

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 125g Cold, Cubed Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp water

If you’re determined to use suet, then substituting the butter for suet is easy. You can use either beef or vegetable suet.

Substituting the butter for margarine is also simple. Just add an extra teaspoon of marg, due to its higher water content.

How to make Mince and Dumplings – Step by step Method

How to make the Mince

Peel and slice the carrots into circles and dice the onion.

Heat your saucepan or pot over a medium heat, melting the butter. Once nice and hot, add the onions, cooking them until soft.

Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it heats to avoid big lumps and cook the meat more evenly.

Add the flour, stirring thoroughly.

Once the flour is thoroughly mixed in, add the sliced carrots and your stock/gravy. You should have enough to cover the mixture. It will look like a lot but don’t worry; it will reduce through the cooking process. However, if it reduces too quickly, you can top it up.

Once the stock is added and covering the mince, turn the heat down to low and simmer. The meat and carrots will slowly soften, and the mixture will thicken up. This will take approximately an hour. You can also cover it with a lid if the stock is reducing too quickly.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Time to make the dumpling part of your mince and dumplings!

How to make the Dumplings

Using your fingertips rub the flour and butter together until it looks and feels like breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter to help start the process and then finish with your fingertips.

Add 3 tbsp of water and mix with a butterknife to bring it together. You can add more water if necessary, do this slowly, one tbsp at a time.

Do your best not to handle the mix too much. Once all the ingredients are combined, divide the dough, forming it into around 8 even balls.

Once completed, individually place them on top of your mince 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, keeping some gaps between them to allow for them to grow a little bigger.

Leave the lid on for 15mins, then remove it for the last 5 minutes.

Serve your mince and dumplings. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Perfect Mince and Dumplings Recipe

Savoury Mince and Dumplings Recipe

Savoury Mince and Dumplings is one of our wee one's favourite teas! It may seem like a long recipe, but it is ridiculously simple to whip up this great-tasting Scottish classic.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Mince

  • 500g (1lb) minced beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 350 - 450ml beef stock/gravy

For the Dumplings

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 125g Cold Cubed Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp water

Instructions

How to make the Mince

  1. Peel and slice the carrots into circles and dice the onion.
  2. Heat your saucepan or pot over a medium heat, melting the butter. Once nice and hot, add the onions, cooking them until soft.
  3. Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it heats to avoid big lumps and cook the meat more evenly.
  4. Add the flour, stirring thoroughly.
  5. Once the flour is thoroughly mixed in, add the sliced carrots and your stock/gravy. You should have enough to cover the mixture. It will look like a lot but don't worry; it will reduce through the cooking process. However, if it reduces too quickly, you can top it up.
  6. Once the stock is added and covering the mince, turn the heat down to low and simmer. The meat and carrots will slowly soften, and the mixture will thicken up. This will take approximately an hour. You can also cover it with a lid if the stock is reducing too quickly.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Time to make the dumpling part of your mince and dumplings!

How to make the Dumplings

  1. Using your fingertips rub the flour and butter together until it looks and feels like breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter to help start the process and then finish with your fingertips. 
  2. Add 3 tbsp of water and mix with a butterknife to bring it together. You can add more water if necessary, do this slowly, one tbsp at a time.
  3. Do your best not to handle the mix too much. Once all the ingredients are combined, divide the dough, forming it into around 8 even balls.
  4. Once completed, individually place them on top of your mince 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, keeping some gaps between them to allow for them to grow a little bigger.
  5. Leave the lid on for 15mins, then remove it for the last 5 minutes.
  6. Serve your mince and dumplings. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g

The above values are an indication only,

FAQS

Stock or Gravy for Mince and Dumplings?

We’re big fans of using stock to flavour our mince, but many people would rather add gravy granules and water instead. Gravy thickens the mixture faster than stock, so use a little less flour (try 3 tbsp instead) if you’d prefer granules to stock.

Type of Mince for Mince and Dumplings

We’ve tried this recipe with both lean beef (less than 5% fat) and beef with 20% fat. The 20% beef is usually a bit tastier, so we would suggest you use this. But of course, you can use lean beef and add additional seasoning.

Making Mince in the Slow Cooker

You could also easily adapt this to be a mince slow cooker recipe, then add the dumplings before serving.

Cooking in a slow cooker means the mixture will not reduce as it does on a stovetop, so you’ll want to add less water with your stock/gravy granules, although you can use the same amount of those to keep the flavour.

Add enough water to cover the mince. How much is required will depend on the size of the slow cooker. You still want the mince to be JUST covered. If the mince is too runny at the end of the cooking time (4 hours high and 6-8 hours low), then add a little cornflour to thicken it.

Only after you’re happy with the thickness should you add the dumplings.

Why don’t we use suet in our dumplings?

Dumplings are traditionally made with beef suet, an animal fat used to enhance the flavour. However, as suet is not necessarily something everyone has to hand these days, it can be easier to substitute it for butter instead.

Suet is also generally cheaper than butter, so you may want to give it a go!

It’s also easy to buy vegetable suet, made from oils combined with flour, providing another alternative to using beef suet or butter.

You can use whatever you prefer to make dumplings – from suet to butter, margarine, or even oil. The ratio of flour to fat and water will just need to be adjusted depending on the fat and water content of whatever you’re using.

Can you add herbs or flavourings to the dumplings?

You can, of course! We love our dumplings just as they are, simple but effective, but you can definitely add any flavours you think will work to make the recipe perfect for you.

Start simple; some people add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the mixture or use salted butter. Adding pepper is certainly an option too.

If you want your dumplings with a little more punch, the onion powder and garlic powder or even chilli flakes are great additions. Add a teaspoon or two of each added, depending on how strong you’d like them.

Parsley or mixed herbs unsurprisingly make for a lovely herby taste, and for deliciously cheesy dumplings, add 150g of grated cheese just before you start adding the water.

From here, it’s up to you how creative you get!

Add cheese and a few pinches of chilli flakes for cheese and chilli dumplings, or add cheese and mixed herbs for cheesy herb dumplings.

Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for a sharp bite to your dumplings.

Large pot of mince and dumplings

Can you cook dumplings on their own?

You don’t have to cook your dumplings on top of your mince. If you’ve already made it but have a hankering for dumplings, here’s what you should do.

You can just make a small mix of stock or gravy in the bottom of a pan and cook the dumplings on that. Just make sure they don’t sink!

If that’s too much work, then never fear; the microwave can be made use of too.

To make use of the microwave, you’ll need a wide-based dish and a little pre-heated stock or gravy in the bottom. Place the dumplings in it and cook for 3 minutes on high.

Sadly they don’t fluff up as much as pot-cooked dumplings, but they’re still tasty!

Should you flip the Dumplings?

This can make or break families, to flip or not flip! If you have a flipper in your family, cook the dumplings for 12-15 minutes with the lid on, then flip them over with the lid off for the last 5-8 minutes. This means they’ll be coated in the sauce of the mince but can crisp up a little on both sides.

Here in Casa Scran, we prefer to keep them on one side to allow them to rise nicely and be slightly drier on one side and deliciously soft on the other. Each to their own though. If flipping works for you, then go for it!

Can you make vegan Dumplings?

You certainly can; vegetable suet is vegan, so you can use this in place of butter to make vegan dumplings. Add some suitable meat and stock replacement, and the whole recipe can be vegan.

Top Tips for Making Mince and Dumplings

  • Your dumpling dough should be firm and easy to make into balls; make sure it’s not too sticky! If it is, then you may have added too much fat or water, so add some more flour to the mix.
  • Don’t make the dumpling dough in advance, as it uses self-raising flour. This will activate right away, so make your dumplings and put them straight onto the mince.
  • Make sure there is still plenty of liquid left in your mince, and keep the lid on so it doesn’t evaporate too quickly at the beginning of cooking the dumplings.
  • Also, make sure it is boiling or “simmering briskly”. You need enough heat from your mince to cook the dumplings.
  • Sometimes when making mince and dumplings, the latter can be a little chewy. Your dumplings may need another 5 minutes to cook and fluff up properly. This is probably due to there not being enough liquid for them to cook properly or enough space for them to grow. You can return them to the pot to cook for a little longer, as long as they have something still to cook in!

Other Family Savoury Dishes to Try

  • Beef Olives – Thin beef steaks wrapped around sausage meat, skirlie, stuffing or even haggis.
  • Scottish Stovies – Stovies is a famous dish made of potatoes, onions and, traditionally, leftover roast meat with beef dripping.
  • Steak Pie – Rich beef filling topped with. a fluffy puff pastry. What’s not to love?

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