How to Make Chinese Dumplings at Home

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It's all about perfecting your fold. Once you learn how to make Chinese dumplings in your kitchen, you can experiment with different fillings.

Dumplings are a key part of Lunar New Year celebrations. These pockets are stuffed with all sorts of fillings, from pork to fish to vegetables.

Served piping hot with a crispy bottom, Chinese dumplings are hard to resist. But this recipe isn’t just delicious, it’s also a symbolic part of the holiday. Dumplings represent money purses for wealth and prosperity in the new year.

Like many other stuffed dishes (think empanadas, pierogi or samosas), making dumplings does take time and a bit of practice. But rest assured that the effort is well worth it, whether you’re folding these dumplings up for Chinese New Year or for a weekend project.

How to Make Homemade Chinese Dumplings

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This pork dumplings recipe comes to us from Emma Lovewell of New York City. Fitness fanatics, you may recognize the name from your regular rides: Emma is a Peloton trainer. She’s also an avid home cook who spent a lot of time in the kitchen growing up thanks to her mother, a Chinese cooking instructor who immigrated from Taiwan.

Ingredients

Dumplings like these can be filled with many ingredients. Emma explains that her family makes them with pork, vegetables or fish. This recipe calls for ground pork, but feel free to substitute in the protein of your choice—even mushrooms or tofu.

  • 12 ounces lean ground pork
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 package (10 ounces) round pot sticker or gyoza wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

Go to Recipe

Tools for Making Chinese Dumplings

One of the great things about making Chinese dumplings is that you really don’t need a lot of special equipment. Much of the technique relies on your hands. But to get started, you will need a few basics.

  • Chef knife: Make sure your knife is sharp and ready for mincing garlic, green onions and fresh ginger.
  • Mixing bowls: Extra large mixing bowls always come in handy. These red Mason Cash bowls are perfect for Lunar New Year. The color symbolizes luck and happiness.
  • Saute pan with a lid: A heavy-bottomed pan is what you’ll want to crisp up the bottom of the dumplings. Make sure your preferred pot has a lid to pop on top for steaming the dumplings.

Directions

Step 1: Prep the filling

Start making these Chinese dumplings by creating a flavorful filling. Combine the ground pork, minced green onions, garlic and fresh ginger in a large bowl along with sesame oil and soy sauce. Mix until just combined.

Test Kitchen tip: Don’t know which soy sauce to grab? We tested all the biggest brands in a blind test and found this is the best soy sauce.

Step 2: Fill and fold the wrappers

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Making Chinese dumplings is a lot of work on its own, so we don’t recommend making your own wrappers on top of all the folding and steaming. Instead, pick up a package of round pot sticker or gyoza wrappers. You’ll find them at most large supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.

Start by placing a level tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edge of the wrapper with water and fold it in half. Pinch the center to keep the wrapper in place.

Test Kitchen tip: Keeping the wrappers pliable is important for getting the right fold. Cover remaining wrappers with a slightly damp tea towel until you’re ready to use them.

Step 3: Pleat and pinch to secure the wrappers

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Now it’s time for the step that requires a bit of finesse. Like any other stuffed dumpling, your first few may not be the prettiest and that’s OK! You’ll get the hang of it.

On each side of the pinched area, pleat the front wrapper edge three times, leaving the backside uncreased. Pinch the edge to seal in the filling. If the wrappers aren’t staying in place, use a little water to seal them tight.

Once folded, place the dumplings on a baking sheet folded-side up, gently flattening the bottom.

Step 4: Sear and steam

peloton instructor Emma Lovewell cooking dumplings on the stoveSasha Israel for Taste of Home

After all the patient work of folding, it’s time to get cooking. Heat oil (our Test Kitchen uses canola oil here) in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add dumplings, flat-side down, and cook until the bottoms are golden—about 5 minutes. Be mindful not to overcrowd the pan. If you’re feeding a lot of guests, you’ll have to work in batches. Cooked dumplings can be kept warm in the oven.

After browning, add a 1/2 cup of water and pop the lid on your pan. Cook for 5 minutes or so until most of the water has evaporated. Then remove the lid until all the water is gone and the centers of your dumplings are cooked through—about 1 to 2 minutes more.

Step 5: Assemble the sauce

The very last step is to stir up the sauce. Just give the soy sauce, rice vinegar and minced ginger a quick whisk together and you’re ready to enjoy!

Tips for How to Make Chinese Dumplings

peloton instructor Emma Lovewell holding a dumpling in chopsticks, standing in her kitchenSasha Israel for Taste of Home

Customize the Dumpling Filling

While we can’t recommend Emma’s pork dumplings enough, there are lots of ways to alter the filling to suit your tastes (and what’s in the fridge). Here are some other versions to try:

  • Poultry: Easily sub in ground turkey or chicken for the pork in this recipe.
  • Shrimp: Peel and clean shrimp to fill these dumplings. Once cleaned, chop the shrimp finely and use in the place of pork.
  • Vegetables: Emma also has a recipe for a tasty veggie filling. Omit the pork and use a mix of 2 cups diced mushrooms, 1 cup shredded cabbage and 6 ounces of diced extra firm tofu.

Freeze the Dumplings for Later

As a kid, Emma and her family would make 100 of these dumplings at a time. Time-consuming recipes like this are often made in large batches and frozen for later.

To freeze these Chinese dumplings, place the folded dumplings on a baking sheet and freeze until solid (an hour or so), then transfer into a large freezer bag or freezer-safe container. They’ll keep for up to three months.

When you’re ready to eat, you can steam the dumplings as normal. Just increase the cooking time to 6 to 7 minutes and add a splash more water.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.