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Clootie dumpling

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Clootie dumpling

When you think of Scottish desserts, cranachan is often the first to spring to mind for any Scottish feast. But the clootie dumpling is not one to be overlooked. Surprise your friends and family with this delicious, traditional steamed Scottish pudding recipe. The clootie dumpling is simply irresistible served with a side of custard, and bursting with dried fruit and spices, perfect for pairing with your favourite dram of whisky.

03 May, 2023
Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

serves for


total time

4 HR 0 MIN


Plain flour
200g / 7 oz
125g / 4.4 oz
150g / 5.3 oz
Dark brown sugar
125g / 4.4 oz
Ginger powder
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
Mixed spice
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
125g / 4.4 oz
125g / 4.4 oz
Baking powder
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
Golden syrup
3 tbsp / 1.5 oz
150ml / 5 oz

Step 01

Mix the plain flour, oatmeal, suet, dark brown sugar, ground ginger and cinnamon, mixed spice, currants, sultanas, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Then add the golden syrup and eggs to form a sticky ball. Add milk, gradually as needed, if the mixture seems dry.

Step 02

Place a large pan of water on to boil with a large plate at the base that can withstand the heat. Whilst bringing to the boil, take a tea towel or cloth, place into a colander and pour hot water over it in the sink. Let it cool, then squeeze any excess water before placing onto a clean surface. Dust the surface of the cloth with a thin layer of flour.

Step 03

Place the sticky ball into the centre of the cloth, shaping with your hands as needed. Bring the corners of the cloth up to the top of the dumpling and fix in place with a piece of string.

Step 04

Gently lower your dumpling into the pan with the knot at the top. Turn the heat down to simmer, cover with a lid and boil for 3 hours until firm. Continue to check the water and ensure the dumpling remains submerged up to the knot. Top up the water if necessary.

Step 05

Once the dumpling is cooked, preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Drain the pudding using a colander, then slowly remove the cloth, taking care not to peel away the skin. Transfer the dumpling into an ovenproof dish and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin has darkened.

Step 06

Serve warm with custard, cream, ice cream or even a dram of whisky. 


Tips & tricks

The trickiest part of making a clootie dumpling is getting the moisture in the mix just sticky enough to form a ball, but not so sticky that it’s difficult to transfer to the cloth. Make sure you gradually add the milk to create the desired texture, and you might not need the full amount. When removing the dumpling from the cloth after boiling, you can use the back of a spoon to help carefully take the pudding out, without removing the skin.

History & origins

The clootie dumpling recipe is thought to date back to as far as the 1700s. As a traditional steamed Scottish pudding, the recipe has been passed down for generations and the exact ingredients can vary between families. What truly makes it a clootie dumpling is the boiling in the cloth, referred to as a “cloot” in classic recipes.

Often linked to Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), it’s thought of as an alternative to Christmas pudding, although the clootie dumpling tends to be lighter in texture and flavour. The pudding would have been left to dry in front of roaring fires when made centuries ago, as a comforting and warming dessert for the winter months. For a little more inspiration from the British isles, discover a few of our favourite English & Scottish recipes here.


It’s best to store your clootie dumpling in a cold dark place and it can be kept for a couple of months, depending on the storage conditions. Slices of the pudding can be reheated in the oven. Simply wrap in foil and heat for 5-10 minutes until warm enough to eat.

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