Jamaican Fried Dumplings Recipe

Fried dumplings are traditionally called Johnny Cakes, which derived from the name journey cake. During slavery times in Jamaica these fried “biscuits” were packed to take on long journeys, which is how they got their name. Today Fried Dumplings are usually partnered with breakfast dishes like Callaloo and Ackee and Saltfish.


2 cups  All-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tsp  Salt (if using salted butter or margarine use 1/2 tsp salt)
3 tsp  Baking powder
3 Tbsp  Unsalted Butter or margarine
3/4 cup  Cold water
1/2 cup  Cooking oil

Cooking tip:  How do you know they’re cooked inside? When you tap the dumplings in the pan they should sound hollow


1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl
2. Blend butter into dry ingredients with hands or mixer until crumbly
3. Add water, a little at a time, to dry ingredients until dough holds together (you may
not need all the water)
. Sprinkle with more flour if dough is too wet.
4. Knead dough until smooth; do not over knead. Place in fridge for 15 minutes

5. Shape dough into 8 small balls (enough to fit in palm)
6. Pour cooking oil into frying pan and set stove to Medium High
7. Place dumplings into pan; oil should be sizzling
8. As each side browns continually turn dumplings until all sides are brown and
dumplings are light and fluffy

Makes about 8

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Fried dumplingsJamaican cooking
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  • gerrard

    Mrs. Fay, I love your authentic jamaican recipes. I cook mostly jamaican food at home and I find your videos and instructions to be informative and entertaining. Please feel free to send me any recipes that I might be missing. Do you have one on tin mackerel also corn beef and this is an affordable meal for these tough times. Respect and blessings.

    • Kay x

      Yes I would love some mackerel and cornbeef alternatives, great for in the working week.

    • Syrus

      Hi Miss Faye please share your recipe for Hard Dough bread .

  • genise greene

    My Dad made these when I was a kid. I love your videos with your daughter.

  • genise greene

    I made these fried dumpling your codfish fritters and plantains a great dinner today. I love you guys. Mrs. Fay your wonderful. Next I’ll make your patties. Oh everything was very god and tasteful.

  • fal

    Mrs Fay, thank you so much for your recipes, I’m Irish and my boyfriends St Lucian, he always asks me to make this food and I didn’t have a clue until I found your website, you have made my boyfriend a very happy man!

  • Krystle

    I have to thank you. My grandmother passed not too long ago and your recipes give me back a comfort that she could only give. I can pass them to my children now. Thank you so much.

  • Ann Elle Williams

    Your recipe for fried dumpling, can it be also the recipe for fried bakes?

    • Dee

      Yup! This is from a Trini

  • Ronda

    I love your website. I was wondering, do you have a recipe for festivals? I’m tired of buying them, lol

  • Bermuda

    Hi Mrs. Fay! I love the way my Jamaican husband cooks his dishes, and have been acting dumb on purposes just so he would cook. smile.. Next year is our 30th Wedding Anniversary and thought ok it’s about time I start surprising him and cooking his favorite food. Everyone loved it..I also tried the Salt Fish Fritters and the Toto Coconut spice cake. I’m on a roll…but I’ve got to slow down on this good cooking..don’t want to be rolling on my 3oth anniversary. ahahaha Thanks for making me shine!

  • Michelle

    Hello Ms. Fay1 I just wanted to say thank you for all of your excellent recipes and instructional videos! I would like to kindly make a request for a video for cooking oxtail. It would be so helpful if you get the time. Thanks and keep up the amazing work!

  • Jayne Watson

    Hi Fay, I have been looking for some authentic Jamaican food recipes and then I found yours!! They are so easy to follow and I cant wait to start trying them, Im off for some ingredients at the weekend. My partner loves Mutton curry and rice and peas – could i substitute the Goat meat with mutton? – Or is the mutton curry a different recipe? Also do you have a jerk chicken recipe coming up soon? He really loves that but I have not got a clue how to make it 🙂 Carry on with the great recipes and thank you again for helping us in our kitchens xxxx

    • Jayne Watson

      Oh just one more thing….. when I have tried fried dumplings before they seem to have tasted quite sweet – do some people add sugar to them? Thanks again xx

  • Tawana

    I LUV your site! It is one of the best one’s by far. I luv Jamaican Cuisine. Thank you for taking the time to share your recipes.

    Biq Up!

  • Kim

    Hi! Would it be okay to deep fry these dumplings on a medium heat or is it likely to cook them too quickly? I had dumplings for the first time yesterday and I’m desperate to eat some more!! Thanks for sharing all of your beautiful recipes X

    • Cook Like A Jamaican

      Hi Kim,
      Thank you for getting in touch. I honestly have never tried deep frying dumplings, but it shouldn’t be too different than pan frying. I believe a sign that something is cooked is when it floats to the top. Let me know how it works out. Blessings, Fay

  • Kim

    So, I’ve made these twice now – once just to snack on and tonight with a goat curry and my goodness they are amazing! I made them just as you say; fried in a pan, and my husband goes as crazy for them as me! Maybe when I’m busier and in more of a rush I might pop some in the deep freer to see how they some out, but your method is perfect. I don’t understand how something so simple can be so delicious but it just is! Thank goodness I found your website

  • Sue

    Hi Fay I love your website, can I make the dough the night before?

    • Cook Like A Jamaican

      I have never done that before but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work. Just cover the dough with plastic wrap and in the morning bring it to room temperature before rolling the dumplings. Let me know how it goes! Blessings

  • julie

    id just like to say I did your fried dumplings today and they turned out way better than I thought they would with it being my first time,so just to say thank you to you xxxx.

  • Sheri

    These turned out great!!!! Enjoying your recipes.

  • Marlène

    Mrs Fay, thank you so much for your recipes. For 30 years I have been Trying to find and recreated the food my dear grand mothers used to feed us. Finally thanks to your recipes I am able to do that.

    I have no enough words to Thank .

    Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart and god bless you


  • Keysha

    I am a Jamaican and I love ur website a lot of the dishes my granma used to make a child and she recently passed and I like the fact that u keep things authentic. A lot of the items I already knew but there are I never had a chance to learn from her … So thank u for dis website…

  • Ella

    Hi Mumma Fay,

    When are you going to publish you books and start a you-tube channel. We SO love you and your ways. London, England needs you.

    Blessings, as always,


  • Mario Bonifacio

    Truly, you are Jamaica’s finest ambassadors, bringing the Island culture to all who welcome it to enjoy.

    Thank you for being who you are and bringing this enjoyment to me.


    • Cook Like A Jamaican

      Mario, thank you for your kind works of appreciation. We are blessed to have people like you supporting us. Blessings, F&A

  • Debbi

    Good Morning Miss Fay. I love your website and have found many tips that I did not learn from the time I lived in Jamaica. I would love a good recipe for hard dough bread. My husband loves hard dough bread and I thought I would make some for him. It turned out somewhat similar to what we are used to, but something is missing or I have done something wrong. A cookbook cannot compare to your video lessons – I feel like I’m back in Jamaica watching and learning.

    • Cook Like A Jamaican

      Debbie, thank you for your request. I am currently testing a hardo bread recipe so stay tuned! Blessings, Fay

  • Grace

    Fay, I have to say, I’ve been eating johnny cakes all my life! I grew up with my grandmother and she made them very often. I kept making them the way she did as an adult. I followed your recipe this weekend and they were the best johnny cakes EVER!!! The addition of the butter made them so light. My grandmother never added butter, just flour, baking powder and salt and then fried them. They were so delicious I will definitely be making these more often!! Thanks much!!

  • Paul

    Hi Fay,

    Greetings from a fellow Jamaican . Your recipes are a blessing to peopl like me who love eat good food but caan barely cook. I tried the fried dumpling recipe and it came out perfect.Mi dawta love it. Next is the pepper pot soup. You are a gift sent from above and thanks also to your blessed and beautiful daughter.

  • keith

    Hi Fay and Angela!
    As an ex-brixtonian (Brixton in London) now living in Zurich, it’s been great to try out some of your wonderful recipes, keep them coming as jamacian food has yet to make it’s way to Switzerland – their loss!


  • Brian

    Can you make this with Rice Flour?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Brian,
      That’s a good question. I have never made dumplings with rice flour. If you give a try please let me know how it works out. Fay

  • Angela

    Fay: Thanks for your recipe. I did not use more the 1/2 cup of water because it was sticky. I don\’t know what I did wrong, It was thick and heavy inside, crispy outside Do you let the butter get soft first before measuring? I am wondering if I put too much butter in it. I have made bakes and they always come out good, but I usually flatten them. I also used Canola oil. Please let me know. Thanks.

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Angela,
      All I can say is that it sounds like you made a measuring mistake along the way. It may have been the butter or flour. Also the butter should be cold when you work it into the flour. The colder the better and flakier the results. Give it another try.
      Blessings, Fay

      • Angela

        Thanks, Fay. I will try again and let you know how it came out.

  • Angela

    Fay, I tried the bakes again. I did not put the dough in the fridge last time, kneaded it too much and did not flatten them a bit. I looked at your video again. This time I did all those things and they do look like your bakes. I used 1 tbspn of butter and 2 tbspns marg this time instead of just butter and I measured carefully and again only 1/2 cup of water. I did it in the food processor. I will opt for only 1/2 tspn of salt though especially when using margarine which has a lot of salt in it already. I don\’t like things too salt and I was tasting too much salt. I think when I try them again, they should be perfect next time. The salt was the only problem. If I could figure out how to download a picture, I will let you see how they look. Thanks for your quick response.

  • mikethepole

    I`d visit a Jamaican take-away to try any food as I am a traditional man eating polish food and guess what…. I am not anymore. After 2 dumplings and some kidney-chill dish I was not hungry for the rest of the day. next day I pop-in to and order again and Chef has told me its simple recipe. I`m doing them in a minute. LOVE THEM!

  • Bryan

    Good maybe I’ll use half the amount of salt next time.

  • Didier

    Thank you for the recipe, Fay!
    I was looking for a twist to the traditional Newfoundland & Labrador “Dough Boys” or “Doughboys”, and I think that yours is exactly what I was looking for!

  • Senait

    Hi Mrs Fay! I love your YouTube channel and website! I am a great fan of most of your recipes but this one seemed to be a little off. I did everything as you have instructed using cold water and unsalted butter. But mine came out a little too salty and almost too flakey! Strange I know but when I put the first few in the oil they fell apart. I measured the oil in the dough but I think it was a but too much fat in the dough. I kneaded the remaining dough quite a bit more and so the rest stayed together when fried but had a rough looking exterior and crumbled quite a bit when you ate it, but the inside was nice and fluffy and flakey. Next time I think I will cut both the oil and the salt by half or maybe just a third less. Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes and I look forward to trying them all!

  • Laraine

    Loved the Johnny Cakes. My dad used to make them occasionally when we were children. My mother is English and could not cook Jamaican food for my dad. in those days it was nearly impossible to find any Jamaican food where we lived. I am so delighted to find your website and I’m going to work my way through all your recipes and cook for my sister who will remember and all of our families. I am so happy. No longer a disadvantaged child. Hugs!

  • Roxine

    Aunty Fay,Thank you for sharing your gift of cooking with the world! I tried this recipe today and, trust me, I am quite humbled by the success achieved with your tremendous help.Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!God bless you!

  • kenesha

    Hello Mrs.Fay, the last time when I made fried dumplings I made sure that the dumplings were golden brown and when I ate it the middle wasnt really cooked. My question is that how would I know if the dumplings are cooked inside. Please respond before tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for all your help goodbye

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Kenesha
      Sorry I wasn’t able to respond sooner. Dumplings take time to cook through to the centre. Keep turning them and watch them brown and grow larger. How do you know they’re ready? When tap them they should sound hollow. I hope that helps, Fay

  • Hana

    Hi Ms. Faye,
    I am so happy I found this website. My husband is from Mali. That is a country that is located in the western part of Africa. Every time I make rice he always ask where is the sauce. Now that I found this website I can cook alot of good healthy meals that has sauce. He also likes Jamaican food too. And so do I. I cooked the brown stew chicken twice in one week. He liked it and my kids liked it as well. Every time I ask someone how to cook curry chicken or curry goat I get so many different responses. I’m happy that you take the time out of your schedule to show how to prepare the recipes. Today i’m going to make the curry chicken and I know its going to be good. May God Bless You and Your Family.

  • shrinkrap

    What’s the difference between bakes and festival?