Clootie Dumpling Recipe

Clootie dumpling is a steamed pudding, usually eaten at Christmas or New Year (Hogmanay). The term Clootie comes from the Scottish word cloot (clothe) which encases the dumpling while it is cooking.
My mother always made a clootie dumpling for Christmas, and I have carried on this tradition.


20171223_111728.jpg500g plain flour
500g mixed dried fruit (I used a mix with added mixed peel)
A handful of chopped glace cherries (optional)
3 tsp of baking powder
3 eggs
200g treacle
50g castor sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2tsp ginger powder
2tsp clove powder
100g coconut oil or vegetable suet
A little milk to bind.


  • Add all dry ingredients to a large baking bowl,
  • Add beaten eggs and mix gently,
  • Melt coconut oil slowly in a saucepan, then add treacle and a couple of tablespoons of milk,
  • Add melted ingredients to bowl,
  • Mix,
  • Add extra milk if needed.

Preparing the Cloot

An old pillowcase is traditionally used as the cloot. However, you could use a square of white cotton.
  • Cut an old but clean pillowcase along two sides,
  • Spread it out, and dust with a thin layer of flour,
  • Tip out your dumpling mixture, tie with string, allowing a a little room for expansion,
  • Fill a large, thick bottomed saucepan half ways with boiling water,
  • Place a heat proof plate in the bottom of the saucepan to prevent your cloot from burning,
  • Place cloot into pot, and adjust top to prevent it touching cooker surface.

Cook for 3 hours, keeping water topped up on a regular basis (around 4-5 times)

  • Lift cloot from pot and place on a large plate for 5 minutes to cool,
  • Gently peel cloot away from the top half of dumpling,
  • Tip upside down onto another large plate to complete the process.


The clootie dumpling can be served warm with custard or cream.
However, it is traditional to fry dumpling slices with a little bacon, topped off with a runny fried egg for a hearty breakfast.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. Hi Brigid,
    Childhood memories of our Boxing Night visitors, friends of the family and daughter. Matt McGeorge was from Glasgow & his wife Nellie from Lancashire with their only daughter Ann who was three years older than me.
    We had no relatives in England & we looked forward to their visit. Matt often spoke of clootie dumpling. I will definitely have a go at your recipe for hogmanay.
    Thank you 🎄🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes Brigid. Only went for Christmas & new year once via Holyhead, never again as ferry delayed for hours etc due to inclement weather. Went out New Year’s Eve & don’t think there was a count down. Hope you have a happy one though ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am visiting because my cryptoblog pal Traci York tweeted this. My Dad talked about clootie dumplings and now I realist that my Sasenach mother used to make them – well sort of – for Burns Night for years. The difference was that the cloot was tied over the top of a special bowl (which I still have) and she always worried that the cloot would come adrift. I can’t remember if it ever did. We didn’t eat it fried. As I recall, after a Burns Night, there was no dumpling left!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. oh yum! i would so love to have this though i don’t think i could make it. happy Christmas to you and your loved ones Brigid. this post makes me feel very festive recalling my own mother making our Christmas cake when we were kids.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We had Clootie Dumpling in Orkney too. My old recipe was handed down by my Aunt who got from…and so on. A few differences from yours, we use a muslin cloth and butter the cloot so the dumpling has a skin on it when done. And yes, it’s delicious fried. Merry Christmas Brigid. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A totally new dish for me and fascinating once I realized it wasn’t called cootie! Here I am about to make a Christmas tradition in our home, a stollen. Heavy cake with preserved fruit soaked in rum(the fruit, not the cake) and then dusted with powdered sugar and set aside for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that you carry on this tradition! I tried to do the Norwegian traditions we followed in our house but after my nieces grew up and got too busy for their auntie {😆!} I barely put up a tree. Cooking a much loved recipe is a great tradition tho Brigid. I may have to rethink this.😊

    Liked by 1 person

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