How to Make Chinese Dumplings at Home
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What's not to love about dumplings? These delicate pockets stuffed with savory fillings are always a delight. Learn how to make Chinese dumplings at home with tips from a chef based in China.
You know them as your go-to takeout order or the starter to a restaurant meal, but dumplings aren’t just for eating out. These little pockets are easy to make at home, too. We’ll show you how to make dumplings that are not only delicious, but also healthier than the ones that come from restaurants.
Once you know how to make Chinese dumplings, you can make them part of an entire feast with these Chinese takeout copycat recipes!
There are three determining factors when it comes to dumplings: the wrapper, the filling and the cooking method. To keep things healthier, we recommend using gyoza wrappers (you can find them at your local Asian grocery store) because they are easier to work with. Wonton wrappers are a fine substitute, too.
As for the filling? That’s entirely up to you! Do you want meat? Vegetables? Lots of spices? As long as you stick to the proportions listed below, the flavor options are endless.
To cook our dumplings, we’ll be using the steaming method. Steamed dumplings are both healthier and easier to make because there’s no frying involved. (Learn how to steam in your Instant Pot with these smart accessories.)
How Do You Make Dumplings?
- 1 cup finely shredded Chinese or napa cabbage
- 1/2 cup minced herbs like chives, cilantro or Thai basil
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1-3/4 pounds ground meat or finely sliced vegetables, like mushrooms
- 50 gyoza wrappers
- 6 cabbage leaves
Step 1: Make the filling
Mix all of your ingredients, except the wrappers and the cabbage leaves, together. Keep in mind that these ingredients are just guidelines; if you like more vinegar or different spices, you can mix it up to your taste. Use these dumpling recipes as inspiration for your custom fillings.
Step 2: Wrap the dumplings
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into each wrapper. (No measuring spoons? Here’s how to estimate measurements without them). To seal, moisten the edge of the wrapper, fold it over the filling and pinch the edges together. Want to be a potsticker pro? Add a dumpling press to your kitchen collection.
Step 3: Steam in batches
To cook the dumplings, line a steamer basket with cabbage leaves. Arrange the dumplings over the leaves, keeping them about an inch apart. Then, fill a large saucepan with an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil and nestle the steamer basket into the pan. Steam the dumplings, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Work in batches until all of the dumplings are steamed. Serve dumplings warm with a dipping sauce, such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce or chili sauce.
Step 4: Freeze for later
Dumplings are a great freezer meal. To freeze, place cooled dumplings on baking sheets lined with waxed paper and freeze until firm. Transfer to a large resealable plastic freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To serve, microwave dumplings, covered with a paper towel, for 30 seconds or until heated through.
Now that you’ve mastered dumplings, learn how to make spring rolls.
Tips for Making Dumplings at Home
What’s the best Chinese dumpling filling?
“A popular Chinese dumpling filling is pork and shrimp,” the chef says. But, he adds, “There are no rules! [In China] it all depends on your grandmother, as each family has their own traditions and preferences.”
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How do I fold Chinese dumplings?
Chef Zhu also has some advice for first-time dumpling crimpers: “Powder your fingers with flour to keep them from sticking.” He folds dumplings by placing the filling in the center of a square wrapper and then folding the square diagonally and making a seal by pressing around the edge of the filling. (Be sure to get out any air bubbles, because they can explode during steaming, leaving holes in your dumplings.) Then, bring the two base corners together, so they overlap, and pinch them to secure them in place.
Once you have the dumplings folded, it’s time to cook them.
How do I steam the dumplings?
The best way to get slightly chewy yet tender dumplings is to stay close by while they steam. “Observe the color and status of the dumpling wrapper,” says Zhu.”They’re done steaming when the wrapper color turns a bit transparent.”
What’s the best Chinese dumpling dipping sauce?
The chef says people in China tend to like dipping sauces with spicy red pepper and garlic flavors. You can whip up our recipe for a sweet and spicy Asian-inspired dipping sauce. Ideally, sauce will “cover the bottom of the bowl [under the dumplings] and act as a dipping sauce,” he says. But you can also serve sauce on the side for easy sharing.
How do I make dumplings for Chinese New Year?
“Traditionally, some families put a coin in the dumpling for the Chinese New Year celebration,” Chef Zhu says. Whoever gets the dumpling with the coin is considered lucky in the new year. Just make sure people know about the game. You don’t want them swallowing a coin—or a year of good luck!