How to Wrap and Cook Dumplings: Three Methods and Recipes (VIDEO) (2024)

Learn how to make dumplings using thanks to three delicious filling recipes and a video that shows different wrapping and cooking methods.

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Last weekend, as a belated nod to Chinese New Year, I decided to stock up on dumplings. Once in a while, I make a big batch of these bite-size wonders and freeze them for future use. It’s a time-consuming task, but I find it relaxing and I’m rewarded with many great meals to come. Whenever I want a quick & easy lunch, I take out exactly the number of bites I need, cook them from frozen and voilà, I enjoy their crispy and moist deliciousness. Industrially-made dumplings sold in the frozen section of Asian supermarkets are fairly popular and some brands are not too bad, but making them yourself is lots better, believe me. First, you control the thickness of the wrappers you’re using – nothing worse than biting a dumpling and discovering that it’s mostly made of dough, not filling. Second, you know exactly what you put in your dumplings: no fillers, no mystery ingredients, just goodness. And you can play around with the ingredients and invent a new recipe every time!

Another thing that I love about dumplings is that you can wrap them in many ways so they always feel different and new. The crescent shape is a classic so I always make some this way, but I also like to try new methods. This time, I tried a technique I first saw demonstrated by Chef Susur Lee which wraps shrimp filling in such a way that it makes the dumplings look like little gifts. I also used a dumpling press that I paid less than $3 at the Asian market. The gadget was quick to work with but I found the dumplings it produced the least attractive of the bunch.

If you’ve never made your own dumplings before, now is the time to try. I will guide you through making three different kinds of dumplings:

  • Bow dumplings filled with shrimp mousse
  • Traditional pleated crescent beef dumplings
  • Flat half-moon vegetable dumplings (made using a dumpling press)

Dumplings can be cooked in different ways:

  • You can fry and steam them, which turns them into potstickers (my favorite cooking method).
  • You can boil and fry them, which also makes them potstickers. This method works especially well with classic crescent dumplings wrapped in thicker wrappers.
  • For a lighter alternative, you can steam them using a traditional bamboo steamer or more modern accessories like a double-boiler or an electric steamer.
  • I sometimes just throw them in a soup. Wontons are the meat-filled bites that are traditionally added to soups as they’re usually smaller and more delicate, but sometimes I just feel for a comforting soup so a handful of frozen dumplings added to hot broth make a hearty meal in a snap.

Dumplings are best served with a classic dipping sauce. My recipe for a scalable and super easy dumpling dipping sauce is at the very bottom of this post!

How to Prepare Dumpling Wrappers

You can find dumpling wrappers in the freezer section of all Asian grocery stores, and in most regular supermarkets too. Both Chinese dumpling wrappers and Japanese gyoza wrappers can be used, and the difference between the two is that the Chinese wrapper tends to be thicker. These wrappers can be used as is, but following the recommendation of chef Susur Lee, I’ve taken to rolling them out to make them thinner. This creates dumplings that become beautifully glistening and translucent after cooking. Thin dumpling skins also fry crunchier (yum!).

To flatten dumpling wrappers:

  • Sprinkle cornstarch on both sides of two (or up to four) wrappers and stack them precisely one on top of the other.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the wrappers until they become about 140% larger.
  • With a 3.5-inch round cookie cutter, cut out new wrappers. Discard the excess dough.
  • Stack the new, thinner wrappers on a plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap while you work on the rest of the wrappers to prevent them from drying and cracking.

If you want to try something new, make your own dumpling wrappers from scratch! They’re easier to make than you think. Get my go-to recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers.

How to Wrap Dumplings

There are several different ways to wrap dumplings, the most traditional of which is certainly the classic crescent shape. You can have fun and wrap them in many different ways; I like to use a different wrapping method per filling so that the different varieties are easy to recognize.

Because videos are tremendously helpful to learn new techniques in the kitchen (and because it was easier than trying to explain it in words!), I’ve put together a short video in which I show how to flatten dumpling skins, as well as three different wrapping methods: Susur Lee’s “bow” technique, the classic crescent shape and the flat half-moon shape.

Watch below or click here to view the video in HD quality on YouTube (instructions will be easier to read!).

Dumpling Filling Recipes

The following three recipes were inspired by Susur Lee but I heavily adapted them to use ingredients that are easy to find. Feel free to use these recipes as a guide and come up with your own variations. You can use a wide variety of proteins as a base, such as duck, chicken, pork, beef, fish, crab or shrimp, or you can go vegetarian by using tofu or only vegetables. Other classic ingredients in fillings include cabbage, green onions, leek and chives. Seasonings can include sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, chopped hot peppers (or hot sauce), ginger, lemongrass, and lemon or orange zest.

Colorful vegetable dumpling filling.

How to Steam and Fry Dumplings (Potstickers)

This method works with any kind of dumpling. I like to fry flat half-moon vegetable dumplings on both sides: turn them before adding water to the skillet.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry dumplings until their bottom is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup water for every 10 to 12 dumplings, cover immediately, and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and let any remaining water cook-off. Serve very hot.

How to Boil and Fry Dumplings (Potstickers)

This method works best with thicker wrappers and crescent-shaped dumplings. I wouldn’t boil delicate bow-wrapped or flat half-moon dumplings.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add dumplings (don’t overcrowd your pot) and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Heat up some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry boiled dumplings until their bottom is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Serve very hot.

How to Steam Dumplings

This method works best with thin wrappers.

Heat one to two inches of water in the bottom of a wok until it simmers. Place a bamboo steamer over the water (the bottom of the steamer must not touch the water). Place dumplings in the steamer and cover. Vegetable dumplings will be the quickest to cook (about 3 minutes), shrimp dumplings are ready after 4-5 minutes and beef takes about 8 minutes.
Follow the same instructions for a double-boiler. If using an electric steamer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Freeze Dumplings

If you intend on freezing dumplings, do so as soon as possible. With time, the filling’s moisture will get through the wrappers and make them all sticky and soggy. If you freeze them as soon as they’re made, they will keep their cornstarch coating and remain easy to manipulate.

As you make the dumplings, line them up on a baking sheet and as soon as one sheet is full, put it in the freezer. Once the dumplings are frozen hard (3 hours later minimum), transfer the dumplings to freezer bags and store until you have a craving for hot and crispy dumplings!

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Shrimp Dumpling Filling

A tasty shrimp-based filling to use in dumplings.

Prep Time:15 minutes mins

Cook Time:10 minutes mins

Dumpling Folding Time:45 minutes mins

Total Time:1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Servings 30 dumplings

Author Marie Asselin

Ingredients

US Customary / Metric

Instructions

  • In a food processor equipped with the paddle or dough attachment, combine all ingredients and beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes pasty, about 2 to 3 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the dumplings.

  • The shrimp filling looks gray and pasty when raw, but cooks to a nice pink color.

  • Recipe Credit: Adapted from chef Susur Lee.

Did you make this?

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How to Wrap and Cook Dumplings: Three Methods and Recipes (VIDEO) (11)

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Beef Dumpling Filling

Delicious beef-based filling to use in dumplings.

Prep Time:15 minutes mins

Cook Time:10 minutes mins

Dumpling Folding Time:45 minutes mins

Total Time:1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Servings 30 dumplings

Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

US Customary / Metric

Instructions

  • In a food processor equipped with paddle or dough attachment, combine all ingredients and beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes pasty, about 2 to 3 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the dumplings.

  • Recipe Credit: Adapted from chef Susur Lee.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

How to Wrap and Cook Dumplings: Three Methods and Recipes (VIDEO) (12)

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Vegetable Dumpling Filling (Vegan)

This colorful, veggie-packed filling creates extremely flavorful vegan dumplings.

Prep Time:15 minutes mins

Cook Time:25 minutes mins

Dumpling Folding Time:1 hour hr

Total Time:1 hour hr 40 minutes mins

Servings 50 dumplings

Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

US Customary / Metric

Instructions

  • In a large nonstick saute pan set over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and warm until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent.

  • Add all the remaining vegetables: cabbage, boy choy, carrots, corn, celery, mushrooms, and bamboo shoot. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables are soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes.

  • Add the Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce and simmer until the liquids are reduced by half. Add the ginger and sesame oil, stir well to combine, then stir in the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring vigorously to distribute it. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and green onions. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

  • Cool the vegetable dunmpling mixture completely before filling in dumpling wrappers.

  • MAKE-AHEAD TIP: You can prepare the vegetable dumpling mixture up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to fill dumpling wrappers.

  • Recipe Credit: Adapted from chef Susur Lee.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

How to Wrap and Cook Dumplings: Three Methods and Recipes (VIDEO) (13)

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Classic Dumpling Dipping Sauce

An easy-to-make, versatile dipping sauce for dumplings. Scale as needed.

Prep Time:5 minutes mins

Total Time:5 minutes mins

Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

US Customary / Metric

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together.

  • Serve alongside steamed or fried dumplings.

  • STORAGE: Refrigerate the sauce in a jar for up to 1 week.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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How to Wrap and Cook Dumplings: Three Methods and Recipes (VIDEO) (2024)

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