How to Use

How to Make Suet Dumplings

What, Why, How?

Suet is a traditional British ingredient and was popular until the mid-1900s. Renowned for adding lightness to both traditional and contemporary dishes, it is still commonly used in premade pastry and puddings, among other baked items. Enhancing flavour without interfering with the taste of the dish itself, it is also a great addition to home baking of all levels.

The reason suet makes such brilliantly light dumplings is that it traps air in the dough as it melts. For this reason, suet should not be fully mixed into the dough, but rather leave a speckled effect in the mixture. Overworking suet dough makes the final product more dense than the fluffy dumplings we all love. Adding suet last to your dough mixture is a good way of ensuring this does not happen.

Suet replaces alternative fats, such as butter, when cooking. Its higher melting point allows for the fluffiest of batters, meaning you can substitute it into almost any recipe which uses butter – just replace the butter with the same quantity of suet. As suet is bought grated and coated in flour, it is less messy to use and blends more easily, too!

Some people choose to use beef suet in all recipes, however the vegetable alternative makes a great replacement in both sweet and savoury dishes and offers a more subtle flavour.

Always remember that suet goes a long way – you may not need as much as you think – so always follow the recipe to ensure the best results.

Suet Tips


Heat ovens or boiling water to stated recipe temperatures before beginning cooking/steaming to ensure even cooking of puddings.

Use suet at room temperature to ensure the best, most flaky pastry.

In recipes using self-raising flour, don’t fill the basin/bowl more than ¾ full to allow room for rising.

Dumplings can disintegrate in boiling liquid – only add them to simmering dishes.

If you prefer your dumplings crisp, part bake them until lightly brown before adding to your stew.

Add suet as a final ingredient to your dumplings for fluffiness.

Don’t overwork suet or you will risk your recipe becoming oily. The final dough should be slightly speckled, with the pieces of suet still visible rather than fully mixed.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with dumplings – add your own flavours to compliment your dish!

Suet Tips

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What You Say

I love old-fashioned suet puddings

Madhur Jaffrey, Actress

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