Forget fancy plates and fussy ingredients.
Sometimes, all you crave is a hearty, soul-warming bowl of goodness.
And that’s where the iconic NZ Boil Up steps in.

This New Zealand tradition isn’t just a dish; it’s an experience.
A symphony of rich broth, tender vegetables, and fluffy doughboys all simmered together in one glorious pot.
The end result is similar in texture to a thick soup or a thin stew.

The best part? It’s endlessly customisable!
This recipe serves as your launchpad, ready to be tailored to your taste buds.
Whether you’re a classic pork fan, a seafood aficionado, a chicken connoisseur, or a lamb lover, there’s a Boil Up variation waiting to ignite your tastebuds.

Try this delicious and healthy one pot meal, you can whip up and let the stockpot do all the hard work!
You can make it the day ahead because it’s even better the second or third day re-heated.

So, grab your biggest pot, gather your favourite protein, and prepare to dive into pure comfort food bliss!

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Dive into a soul-warming Maori feast! Classic pork, seafood, chicken & lamb variations, all bubbling with flavour in one perfect pot.
Easy, comforting, and unforgettable!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes


For the Boil Up

  • 1kg meaty pork bones
  • 1 bacon hock
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 large kumara
  • ½ pumpkin
  • 4 cabbage leaves
  • 1 large bunch watercress
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Doughboys

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water


Prepare the Boil Up

  1. Peel and dice potatoes, pumpkin and kumara into 2cm cubes.
  2. Wash and roughly chop the watercress and cabbage.
  3. Slice onion and place with pork bones and hock in a large stockpot.
  4. Pour in just enough water to cover bones and hock, season with salt and then gently simmer for 1½ hours.
  5. Skim off any fat from top and remove bones, scraping off any remaining meat off the bones back in to the pot.
  6. Peel the hock, chop the meat then add it in.
  7. Add all root vegetables vegies to pot and simmer a further 20 minutes.
  8. Add all green vegetables vegies to pot and cover.

Make the Doughboys

  1. Lightly season the flour with salt.
  2. Gradually add water to form a dough.
  3. Break off small bits of dough and form 2-3cm balls.

Finish It Off

  1. Place doughboys on top of boil-up, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Don't lift lid while cooking. Larger doughboys will take a bit longer.


When shopping, try to get the freshest and best quality produce and ingredients you can.

This pork bones soup is one of those dishes that seem to taste even better on the second or third cook.

Simplified Boil Up Recipe

This basic Boil Up recipe provides an easy way for making a delicious boil up.
Learn how to prepare this traditional dish without the hassle of peeling pork hock and chopping up pumpkin.

Yield: 12 Serves
You will need:


  • 2kg meaty pork or bacon bones
  • 2kg kumara (purple), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1kg cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 bunches watercress, washed
  • Salt to taste

For the Doughboys

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water


  1. Prepare the Bones:
    Place the bones in a large pot and cover with water.
    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
  2. Make the Doughboys:
    Lightly season the flour with salt.
    Gradually add water to form a dough.
    Break off small bits of dough and form 2-3cm balls.
    Set aside.
  3. Add Vegetables:
    Add the kumara and potatoes to the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add Greens and Doughboys:
    Add the cabbage, watercress, and salt to taste.
    Place doughboys on top of boil-up, cover and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve Hot:
    Enjoy Boil Up immediately with your favourite accompaniments.

Ingredient Substitutions

For the ingredients, they are easily found at your local fruit and vegie market and butcher.
If you are having a hard time finding particular ingredients, then here are some substitution ideas.

  • Kumara;
    Kumara is simply the Maori word for (Purple) sweet potato. You can replace with any root vegetable you like.
  • Pork bones;
    Pork chops or Pork ribs, such as spareribs are a good substitute for this recipe.
    You can substitute with most kinds of meaty bones including beef, lamb, mutton or goat.
  • Bacon hock;
    Smoky bacon or pork neck can be a substitute for bacon hock in this recipe.
  • Watercress;
    Substitutes for Watercress could be Puha, Bok Choy, Spinach, Silverbeet, Kale or Nasturtium Leaves.


The classic NZ Boil Up, a hearty stew of meat, vegetables, and dumplings simmered in a flavourful broth, is a comforting and versatile dish.
But who says you have to stick to the same old recipe?

Let's explore some delicious variations that will tantalise your taste buds and keep your Boil Up nights exciting!

Seafood Boil Up:

Just when you thought your "Boil Up" couldn't get any more epic, here comes the secret weapon: late-comers bursting with briny brilliance!

In the final few minutes of your simmering symphony, introduce a cast of characters ready to make waves on your taste buds.

  • Mussels:
    Crack open the juicy treasures of the sea.
    Their plump flesh and subtle sweetness will sing alongside smoky pork and spicy broth.
  • Pipi:
    Let these little gems unleash their briny whispers.
    Soft and succulent, they'll add a delicate counterpoint to the bolder flavours.
  • Prawn or Shrimp:
    Go wild with juicy prawns or delicate cocktail shrimp.
    They'll cook up in a flash, infusing the broth with a sweet, shellfishy essence.

Remember, timing is key! These delicate denizens of the deep only need a quick dip.
Overcook them, and you'll end up with rubbery disappointment.
So, watch the clock and add them like the grand finale, ensuring they arrive perfectly plump and bursting with flavour.

Get ready to dive into a "Seafood Boil Up" that's next-level delicious!
With these late-arriving heroes, your feast will be the talk of the table (and maybe even the whole neighborhood).

Chicken Boil Up:

Step aside, pork bones, there's a new star in town!
For those yearning for a lighter take on the classic "Boil Up", embrace the Chicken Boil Up Variation.
This is a symphony of poultry, vegies, and broth that will sing to your taste buds.

  1. The swap is simple:
    Ditch the pork or bacon bones and let juicy chicken pieces take centre stage.

    Opt for bone-in, skin-on options like thighs or drumsticks for maximum flavour infusion.
    As they simmer, their richness seeps into the broth, creando a depth that's uniquely poultry-powered.
  2. But the fun doesn't stop there!
    This variation allows you to unleash your inner culinary maestro.

    Experiment with different herbs and spices to complement the chicken's subtle sweetness.

    Rosemary and thyme can evoke a rustic countryside vibe, while ginger and lemongrass will transport you to Southeast Asian shores.
  3. And let's not forget the vegies!
    Your usual potato, kumara, and cabbage comrades welcome new companions with open arms.

    Throw in some chopped corn for a touch of sweetness, or introduce bok choy for a peppery punch.
    The possibilities are endless!

So, ditch the routine and delve into the Chicken Boil Up Variation.
It's a delicious adventure waiting to be savoured, one simmering pot at a time.
Remember, experimentation is key – have fun, personalise it, and make it your own.
Happy boiling!

Lamb Boil Up:

The hearty, soul-satisfying NZ Boil Up is a canvas for culinary creativity.
While the classic pork-based version reigns supreme, there's a world of delicious variations waiting to be explored.

Step aside, pork bones, because today we're diving into the Lamb Boil Up - a symphony of juicy lamb, earthy vegetables, and rich broth that will leave you wanting more.

  1. Swap the Pork for Lamb:
    Ditch the usual pork bones and embrace lamb shanks, the undisputed kings of flavour in this variation.
    Their marbled flesh and bone-in goodness release a depth of savoury richness that will permeate every bite.

    But lamb shanks aren't the only option!
    Consider using boneless lamb shoulder for a slightly lighter experience, or neck bones for a more intense lamby punch.
  2. Beyond the Broth:
    The magic of the Lamb Boil Up isn't confined to the meat.

    Experiment with aromatic herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and oregano to complement the lamb's inherent earthiness.
    A touch of mint can add a refreshing twist, while smoked paprika will infuse a hint of campfire smokiness.
  3. Vegetable Symphony:
    While potatoes, kumara, and cabbage are the usual suspects in a Boil Up, don't be afraid to get creative!

    Throw in some chopped carrots for sweetness, or add a touch of bitterness with kale or swiss chard.
    Pumpkin adds a vibrant orange hue and creamy texture, while swede lends a unique earthy sweetness.
  4. Dumplings Delight:
    Don't forget the dumplings! These little pockets of dough can be filled with a variety of delicious options to complement your lamby broth.

    Go classic with a simple meat and onion filling, or get adventurous with feta and spinach, mushroom and thyme, or even spicy chorizo and corn.
  5. The Final Touches:
    Once everything is simmering away, don't forget the finishing touches.

    A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a vibrant freshness, while a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt can provide a welcome tangy counterpoint to the richness of the lamb.
  6. Embrace the Adventure:
    The beauty of the Boil Up lies in its adaptability.
    So get creative, experiment with different ingredients and flavours, and make this Lamb Boil Up variation your own. You might just discover your new favourite comfort food!

Remember, the possibilities are endless.
So grab your ingredients, get your pot bubbling, and embark on a delicious journey of Lamb Boil Up variations.
Your taste buds will thank you!

What To Eat With Boil Up

Boil Up is a hearty and comforting New Zealand stew traditionally made with meat, vegetables, and dumplings simmered in a flavourful broth.
It's a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes.

Here are some delicious suggestions:

  • Plain Scones:
    Plain Scones are a neutral canvas
    Fluffy, buttery scones act as a blank canvas, soaking up the rich flavours of the boil up broth and vegetables without overpowering them.
    Think of them as delicious sponges for the savoury goodness. Here is my recipe for easy scones recipes.
  • Cheese Scones:
    A savoury Symphony. Cheese scones add a delightful cheesy counterpoint to the boil up's savoury broth.

    The richness of the cheese complements the meaty flavors, creating a symphony of savory goodness in your mouth.
    Try my recipe for Cheese scones.
  • Buttered breadsticks:
    Buttered breadsticks are a classic accompaniment to any stew, and they're no exception with boil up.

    The soft bread soaks up the delicious broth and is a great way to mop up any leftovers.
    Try my recipes for Breadsticks.
  • White rice:
    Serving over steamed rice is another good option for soaking up the broth and adding a bit of bulk to the meal.
  • Fruit skewers:
    While fruit skewers might not be the most traditional way to finish a boil up, they offer a surprisingly delightful ending for several reasons.

    The beauty of fruit skewers after a boil up lies in their contrast and delightful surprise.
    They offer a light, refreshing, and healthy way to finish a hearty meal, leaving you feeling satisfied and revitalised.

    So next time you whip up a pot of boil up, don't forget to make fruit skewers – they might just become your new favourite ending to the meal!
  • Salad:
    Salads and boil up might seem like an unlikely pairing at first glance, but hear me out!
    They can create a harmonious balance that makes for a truly satisfying meal.

    The beauty of the salad and boil up pairing lies in their contrasting yet complementary nature.
    One provides richness and warmth, the other offers lightness and refreshment.
    Together, they create a well-rounded, satisfying meal that's both delicious and nutritious.

    So go ahead, take your pick of for salad choices here and embrace the unlikely duo and discover a new dimension to your favourite New Zealand stew!
  • Mashed potatoes:
    Creamy mashed potatoes are a perfect starchy partner to the savoury broth and meat of the boil up.
    They can also act as a scoop for the delicious vegetables and dumplings.
  • Kumara mash:
    A slightly sweeter alternative to mashed potatoes, kumara mash adds a touch of sweetness and a beautiful orange colour to the dish.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 621Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 689mgCarbohydrates: 48gFibre: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 51g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry is the author of Good Food To Eat, a website that provides recipes and cooking help.He is a home cook who enjoys sharing his passion for food with others. Lowry’s mother is a chef, and she taught him the basics of cooking and baking when he was young.He also has experience running a catering business with his wife, specializing in finger foods and full meals for people with dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, and low-carb.Through his various cooking experiences, Lowry has learned what makes a great recipe: simple to follow, yet delicious and satisfying. That’s why he focuses on creating step-by-step recipes that are easy for anyone to make, regardless of their cooking skills.


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