How to Make Dumplings from Scratch 4 Ways
If you grew up in the southern or midwestern United States, chances are that your brain jumps to Chicken and Dumplings when we mention how to make dumplings from scratch. But for many families across the globe—and especially those with ties to China and other parts of Asia—dumplings have a completely different meaning. If you’re looking for the former how-to guide, click here for how to make light, fluffy dumplings to pair with chicken, just like Grandma made. And for the latter—how to make Asian dumplings—read on; you’re in the right place. We’ll explain how to make dumplings from scratch in two traditional ways, with wonton wrappers and with dough. Then we’ll show you how to make pork dumplings in an air fryer and how to make soup dumplings that taste remarkably similar to those you order via takeout.
How to Make Homemade Dumplings 4 WaysGet the Recipe
Boiled dough-wrapped dumplings are the most classic style served in China. They’re a staple at many Lunar New Year celebrations and are believed to represent good luck. First, we’ll explain how to make dumplings that way; then we’ll move on to steamed pot sticker-style dumplings, how to make soup dumplings, and modern air-fryer dumplings.
How to Make Dumpling Dough and Dough-Wrapped Dumplings
Here’s the general process for making homemade dumplings. Use our Steamed Dumplings recipe for specific amounts and timings.
- Begin by making the dough:
- Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; pour in warm water.
- Using a fork, stir just until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Add oil. Mix until combined and dough forms a ball. Transfer to a lightly-floured surface.
- Knead until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle this dumpling dough lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and allow this to stand at room temperature for 1 hour. (Yes, we know it can feel tempting to skip that extra hour, but it’s actually a crucial part of the process for how to make dumpling dough that you can more easily roll out.)
- Meanwhile, prepare your desired filling, such as lemongrass and ginger pork or cilantro-lime chicken. Chill the dumpling filling.
- Line the bottom of a bamboo steamer basket ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond) with a piece of parchment cut to fit. Using a sharp knife, make several slits in the paper. Lightly coat the surface with nonstick spray.
- Divide the dumpling dough into four equal portions. Roll one portion of dough at a time into a 12-inch log. (Keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.) Using a ruler as a guide, cut into 1-inch pieces. Press each piece into a circle, then roll to a 4-inch circle.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon filling in the center. Working your way around the dumpling, pull the dough up over filling, creating pleats to enclose. Pinch dough at the top and twist. (See our complete guide for how to fold dumplings for more.)
- Transfer these pleated dumplings to the prepared steamer basket. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (We suggest multitasking; fill and shape the remaining batches of dumplings while the first batches steam.)
- Set the steamer basket over a skillet of boiling water—above the water, not touching it. Cover the steamer basket with its lid and steam the homemade dumplings for 10 minutes or until dumplings reach 165°F when an instant-read thermometer ($15, Target) is inserted into the filling. Serve with desired dipping sauce.
Test Kitchen Tip: Want to save a batch for later? Prepare the dumplings through step 5, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, freeze until firm, and transfer the dumplings to airtight containers. Cover and freeze up to 3 months. Once ready to enjoy, steam for 12 minutes or until cooked to a safe internal temperature (165°F).
How to Make Steamed Dumplings Pot Sticker-StyleGet the Recipe
Follow our recipe for Asian Dumplings with Pickled Ginger Drizzle for recipe specifics, or use the steps below if you’re making your own version of steamed dumplings.
- Since the wrappers you’ll use for this recipe are store-bought, start this process for making dumplings with the filling. In a small bowl combine the chopped cabbage and salt, then toss to combine. Let the cabbage stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Transfer cabbage to a fine-mesh sieve; press cabbage firmly to remove all excess liquid, then move the vegetables to a medium bowl. Add cilantro, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, green onion, serrano chile pepper, ginger, and hot chili oil; toss well to combine. Stir in ground meat until evenly mixed.
- For the dumplings, line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of the ground meat filling in the center of 1 wonton wrapper. (Cover the remaining wrappers with a damp cloth to keep them moist as you work.) Lightly brush the edges of the wrapper with water, then fold dumpling in half and press edges together. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. Arrange the dumplings, sealed side up, about ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside a steamer basket, then place that along the bottom of the basket. Lightly spray the parchment with nonstick spray and arrange dumplings in a single layer in the steamer basket. Work in batches if necessary.
- Set the steamer basket over a skillet of boiling water—above the water, not touching it. Cover the steamer basket with its lid and steam the homemade dumplings 6 minutes or until dumplings reach 165°F. Remove dumplings to a serving platter. Serve warm drizzled with your dipping sauce of choice.
How to Make Soup DumplingsGet the Recipe
Here are the general steps for making soup dumplings, but you can use our Soup Dumplings recipe for more specifics.
- Start with the soup: In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water; let this stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine chicken stock, green onions, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, reduced-sodium soy sauce, and Chinese rice wine. Bring to just a boil and add gelatin mixture, stirring constantly until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove this mixture from the heat; strain soup through a sieve into a 2-quart baking dish. Discard the solids. Cover and chill until set, or about 4 hours.
- Next, make the dough: In a large bowl, sift the flour. Slowly add hot water to the flour, whisking constantly with a fork or chopsticks until the dough starts to come together and looks shaggy. Cover and let this stand 20 minutes. Add oil and mix until the dough comes together to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth. Return the dough to a bowl, then cover it and allow it to stand for 1 hour.
- The dipping sauce is easy and ideal to mix next: In a small bowl, combine black or rice vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, Asian chili paste ($2, Target) or sriracha, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Set this aside.
- Remove the soup mixture from the refrigerator. Scrape and mash this soup mixture with a fork until it is finely shredded. In a large bowl, mix ground pork, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, Chinese rice wine, kosher salt, grated ginger, toasted sesame oil, and white pepper until just combined. Fold in the soup mixture.
- Divide the rested dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (while the other 3 remain covered), roll the dough into a 12-inch rope and cut each rope into 12 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 4-inch round. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of the dough round. Gently pull and stretch the wrapper edge outward and bring it back in to create a pleat. Pinch to seal. Work around the filling, leaving a small hole in the top. Pinch edges together over the filling and gently twist to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, keeping the finished dumplings covered.
- Place several large cabbage leaves on the bottom of a steamer basket, leaving about a 1-inch border from the sides, then coat the cabbage with nonstick spray. Add about 6 dumplings at a time, leaving plenty of space in between each. Cover and steam the soup dumplings 8 to 9 minutes, or until filling is cooked through. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Test Kitchen Tip: To get a head start on these soup dumplings (we get it; they’re a bit of a weekend project), make all the dumplings and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Cover and freeze completely. Transfer dumplings to a resealable plastic freezer bag and steam as directed straight from the freezer 10 to 12 minutes, or until the filling is cooked through.
How to Make Dumplings in an Air FryerGet the Recipe
For a completely different texture and eating experience than the previous dumpling methods, give air-fried a try using our Air-Fryer Pork Dumplings recipe.
- Start with the filling’s vegetables: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add bok choy and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and mostly dry, or for about 6 to 8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute more. Transfer this bok choy mixture to a plate to cool for 5 minutes. Pat the mixture dry with a paper towel.
- In a medium bowl, stir together ground pork, the prepared bok choy mixture, and crushed red pepper.
- Place a store-bought wonton-style dumpling wrapper on your work surface, and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the ground pork filling in the center of the wrapper. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, lightly moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper over to make a half-moon shape, pressing the edges to seal. Repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Lightly coat your air-fryer basket with nonstick spray. Place 6 dumplings in the basket, leaving room between each, then lightly spray the dumplings with nonstick spray, too. Cook the air-fryer dumplings at 375°F until lightly browned, or about 12 minutes, turning dumplings halfway through cooking. Repeat with the remaining dumplings, keeping cooked dumplings warm in an oven set to 200°F on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the dumpling sauce: In a small bowl, stir together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and green onions until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once you’re done cooking all of the pork dumplings, serve them immediately with the dumpling sauce.
Test Kitchen Tips to Make Homemade Dumplings Better—No Matter Which Method You Choose
Whether you’re steaming, air-frying, or otherwise, these dumpling tips will help you level up your dumpling game.
- Stretch your steamer options. A bamboo basket ($20, Williams Sonoma) positioned over a skillet or wok of water is the traditional technique, but a regular metal steamer covered in cabbage leaves also works beautifully if that’s what you have in your kitchen.
- Avoid lean meat. Your best bet is to opt for ground meat with at least 20% fat. If you’re seeking the most classic option for how to make Chinese dumplings, pork and/or lamb are traditional. 80/20 or fattier ground beef, ground chicken, or a meatloaf-style mix (of 70% ground beef and 30% ground pork) can also yield tender and juicy dumplings.
- Don’t fear herbs and spices. Fresh herbs, dried herbs, and spices are your friend to amp up the flavor and make the filling your own. Think of combinations you’ve enjoyed in other Asian-inspired recipes and feel free to experiment.
- Veg out. To add more moisture—and score juicier dumplings—consider adding corn kernels, peas, chopped cabbage, shredded or diced carrots, shredded summer squash, or chopped mushrooms to the meat mixture.
- Dip it. You can buy or make specific dumpling dipping sauces. Our Homemade Chili Crisp is also exceptional with any kind of dumpling.