Recipe: Clootie Dumplings

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Recipe From: Michelle Maddox, Clootie McToot Dumplings

Photo From: JJ Greig

Prep: 45 mins / Cooking: 3 hrs 10 mins / Serves: 4

The Clootie Dumpling is a traditional steamed Scottish pudding made with dried fruit and spices and often served at Christmas or on Burns Night with a wee dram and custard. A clootie is the name of the piece of cloth that is used to wrap the pudding. Although the recipe was first published in 1747, the enigmatic clootie dumpling had been around for generations beforehand with each family from Scotland having their own recipe. That means that the pudding was different depending on what ingredients could be gathered in the local vicinity and each recipe was a closely guarded family secret.

Michelle Maddox owns the fantastic company Clootie McToot Dumplings based in Abernethy Perth. Although she wouldn’t divulge her granny’s secret recipe passed down the generations, she was able to share a slightly different recipe along with some tips and tricks to making the perfect clootie dumpling at home.


1. Put a large pan of water on to boil with an upturned plate in the base.

2. In a large mixing bowl, tip the breadcrumbs, flour, suet, sugar, salt, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger and various dried fruit (don’t forget to go foraging in your local area for a truly traditional clootie dumpling!) and mix altogether.

3. In another bowl, whisk the treacle or syrup with the milk and egg using a fork. Make sure it is well blended. Then carefully tip the bowl into the one with the dried ingredients and mix together with a standard cutlery blade to create a soft dough.

4. Ensure your clootie (or cloth) is warm and has been pre boiled. Spread the cloot on a clean work surface and sprinkle evenly with flour.

5. Place your dough in the centre of the cloot. Gather the cloot and tie at the top with the string. Make sure the string is nice and tight, so water doesn’t get in.

6. Skelp (or smack) your cloot for luck then lower the clootie into a pan of simmering water, cover with a lid and boil it for 3 hours or until firm. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level and top off, if necessary, as the clootie must be fully immersed.

7. Heat the oven to 150°C. Tip the pudding into a colander to drain and carefully peel away the clootie and parchment. Place the clootie in an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 10 mins to dry off and create that classic skin. (You’re not cooking it again, just creating a beautiful skin.)

8. Serving suggestions include custard or, if you feel fancy, you can flambee it.


Butter for greasing

175g fresh white breadcrumbs

175g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)

175g suet

100g dark brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas, berries

2 tbsp black treacle or golden syrup

150 ml milk

1 large egg

Food Grade Muslin Cloth


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