When I was growing up, family recipes mince and doughballs (otherwise know as dumplings or doughboys), were a staple of the Scottish diet.  I may not always have agreed with the vegetable choice (always carrot or peas!) to go with, but it still remains one of my fondest meals!

NB: Did you know that in Scotland if you had been ‘thick’, then you would be called a dumpling!

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs


Prep: 10 mins      Cook: 40 mins


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g lean minced beef/steak mince
  • 600ml (1 pint) boiling water
  • 4 dessertspoons gravy granules
  • 1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50g beef suet
  • 100g sr flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • water, as needed


  1. Chop and sweat onions till transparent in olive oil and butter.
  2. Tip in beef mince (5%) and cook for several minutes – substitute with pork mince or turkey mince if required.
  3. Add gravy granules and water, cook to a simmer.
  4. Add dessertspoonful of Worcestershire Sauce.
  5. Mix flour and beef suet together with a pinch of salt. Add drops of water until the dough is thick (hence the term ‘dumpling‘).
  6. Cover hands in flour and roll pieces of the stiff dough into balls.
  7. Place each dough ball on top of your mince (or any dish with a simmering gravy or beef stock) and place the lid on your pot for 40 minutes or until puffy.  These could also be easily cooked in a slow cooker!
Family Favourites _ Mince and Doughballs Family Recipes _ Cooking with Kids


Leave these beauties alone, don’t keep checking them by taking the lid off your pot as this will make these flatten.

Doughballs can be served with anything that has stock or gravy if you don’t happen to have mince.  Garlic Chicken casserole; Ground beef, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock to make a bolognese; or beef stewing steak with a little red wine.  And if you like a crispy top on your doughballs then uncover and put in the oven at high heat for 5 mins.

It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in, as they love the making of dumplings.  They don’t have to be neat, so it makes no difference if they are all the same size or not, get the kids involved!


Fay x

If you liked this post then check out all my other family recipe ideas, perfect for trying the kids:

Family Recipes & Bakes

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