Delectable Caribbean cornmeal dumplings recipe

20.9.23 | Recipe by Renz

Simple boiled cornmeal dumplings are a staple in Caribbean kitchens, perfect on the side of stewed meat. You’ll only need four ingredients to create these fluffy and satisfying morsels.

Boiled cornmeal dumplings on a green plate with a white background and a green spatula on a green napkin.

Cornmeal dumplings have a savory flavor, slightly richer and sweeter than the plain traditional dumplings made from flour, adding another layer to your meal. They’re amazing served alongside any meal with a thick sauce like saucy stews. Try layering your spoon with a dumpling, meat, and a glug of gravy to finish - it’s the best.

You are guaranteed to find dumplings in any Caribbean kitchen, so I wanted to create this easy-to-follow recipe with simple ingredients. I’ve also included links to other variations below, but these classic cornmeal dumplings always impress and are a great side dish.

This cornmeal dumplings recipe is simple for anyone to prepare and a great alternative to rice. You can make your dumplings flat to serve alongside meat or round balls to cook in a soup. They also look inviting in a big pot of homemade stew.

Ingredient notes

Ingredients needed to make the cornmeal dumpling shared out in portions for making.

  • Yellow cornmeal - Cornmeal is a flour made from dried, ground corn. A lot of cornmeal is relatively coarse, which can give your dumplings a rough texture, so I’d recommend using fine cornmeal if you happen to have a texture issue like mine.
  • Brown sugar - Brown sugar might seem like a strange ingredient for a savory dish. Adding a small amount of sugar helps to bring out the other flavors, similar to salt. Try it; you’ll notice a difference.


These Jamaican cornmeal dumplings are straightforward to make.

The dry ingredients for making cornmeal dumplings in a glass bowl ready to be mixed.

First, we combine all the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl with water to make a dough. Let the dough sit covered with a damp tissue or towel for five minutes.

The cornmeal dumpling mixed together and ready to sit to activate the gluten.

Then give it a second knead to get the gluten in the dough more activated and a smoother dough.

Cornmeal dumpling dough after sitting and ready to portioned to be boiled.

While the dough is sitting you can begin to heat the pot of water along with about a teaspoon salt. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer, ready for when you want to cook the dumplings.

Separate your dumpling dough into separate balls for the dumplings. You should get about roughly 6-8 dumpling balls.

When making cornmeal dumplings to eat with meat, we usually make them regular flat and round, but this one we have given a nice concave shape to help to spoon up some of the gravy from the stew meat. 

First, we take the balls and shape them into logs.

Cornmeal dumplings as balls and dough as logs on green plate.

Now take a log and using the side of your hand, flatten the center with a well, creating a concave shape. You can also flatten out the sides a little.

A hand holding one Jamaican cornmeal dumplings made with an indent to make a concave shape.

Once the dumplings are in the right shape, pop them in the boiling water for around ten minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when they float to the top. Serve with your favorite dish for a hearty and satisfying meal. Delicious!

Preparation notes

This Jamaican cornmeal dumplings recipe is simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When adding the water to the cornflour mixture, be sure to do it gradually, as this will make sure the dough isn’t too sticky to work with.
  • Don’t forget to let the dough sit for five minutes. Sitting allows the dough's gluten structure to loosen, making your dumplings more light and fluffy.
  • For perfectly shaped dumplings, you can roll them out with a rolling pin and use a glass to cut them up. If you’re making soup or stew, don’t press the dumplings. Simply put the round dumplings straight in the pot and let them cook in the sauce.

Why are my dumplings hard?

If your dumplings are hard it means you haven’t added enough liquid. When you combine your ingredients, the dough should be a little sticky. If it isn’t, add some more liquid a few spoonfuls at a time to get a better consistency.

Boiled cornmeal dumpling completed and ready to eat, being held up with a green spatula.

Recipe variations

  • Use corn flour if you can’t find cornmeal. Corn flour has a finer texture and is not as flavorful as cornmeal, but it adds the same slight sweetness you get from cornmeal.
  • Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting the wheat flour for a gluten-free alternative.
  • Add finely chopped scallions to the dough before dividing it.

Other dumpling recipes

If you like these Jamaican cornmeal dumplings, you’ll love my other dumpling recipes:

Give them a try, and let me know which one you like best.

Jamaican cornmeal dumplings on a white plate served with some stewed chicken.

What to serve with cornmeal dumplings


If you have leftover dumplings, seal them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge; you can keep them safely for 3-4 days.

You can also freeze leftover dumplings or raw dough. You can store cooked dumplings safely in the freezer for up to four weeks and dough for up to three months.


Defrost frozen dumplings thoroughly before reheating them.

To reheat, simply put the dumplings in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes until they are hot all the way through.