How to Make Chinese Dumplings

Four Parts:Making the WrappersMaking the FillingBoiling the DumplingsFrying the Dumplings

Chinese dumplings have been a tasty treat for thousands of years. There are actually several different types of dumplings––jiaozi (boiled or pan-fried), potstickers (pan-fried then steamed), and gow gees (steamed or deep-fried). You can easily make tasty jiaozi that are either boiled or pan-fried, with just a bit of effort and preparation.

If you'd like to make potstickers, click here.


For the Wrappers

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 1.5 cups ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped shrimp
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon green onion
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking wine
  • 1/3 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Part 1
Making the Wrappers

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    Mix the flour, salt, and water in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together until you make a nice, smooth dough. Use a wooden spoon to stir the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated. This recipe should make about 20 wrappers.[1]
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    Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This can help the ingredients settle together. As you wait for the dough to rest, you can cover the bowl with cling wrap. You can start to make the filling for the dumplings while you wait.
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    Place the dough on a flat surface. A cutting board will work here. Then, cut the dough into about 20 or more equal pieces for the dumplings.
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    Make each circular wrapper. Simply use your hand to pick up each piece of dough and pound it into the board to make a small circular disc. Then, use a rolling pin to smooth out each disc until it's about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. They don't have to all be exactly the same size, but it can help to get them as close to the same size as possible.
    • You can add some flour to the rolling pin to keep the wrappers from sticking.
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    Store or use the wrappers immediately. You should either fill the wrappers immediately, or you can store them in the fridge to keep them fresh while you make the filling. You can store them for a few days in the fridge, or you can even freeze them to store them long-term. Just make sure to coat them with flour so they don't stick to each other.
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    Buy wrappers if you don't want to make your own. If you don't have the time or energy to make your own wrappers, then you should know that two types of wrappers are readily available in supermarkets and Asian food stores. Wonton wrappers (also called skins) are delicate and paper-thin, usually about a thirty-second of an inch thick. They typically come in three-inch squares and are made from flour, eggs, and salt.
    • These wrappers, which are Chinese in origin, are suitable for boiling, steaming, deep-frying, and pan-frying.

Part 2
Making the Filling

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    Shred the cabbage and put into a stainless pot. If you'd like to be extra thorough, then you can add a dash of salt to the cabbage and let it sit in a bowl for 10 minutes; this will allow the salt to soak up the excess moisture in the dumplings.
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    Mix the cabbage and minced meat together by hand. Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder. The process of mincing is usually done manually. Continue mixing the cabbage and meat together until they are thoroughly blended.
    • Pork and lamb are generally preferred for Chinese dumplings, but beef, chicken, and turkey may be used as well. In South Asia, both lamb (mutton) and goat meat are popular.
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    Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and mix again. Repeat the process until you've thoroughly mixed in the remaining ingredients. If you'd rather use mixing spoons instead of your hands, that will work too, but you have to be really thorough.
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    Massage the cabbage mixture with your hand for 10 minutes. This will help dry out the mixture a bit. While you massage the mixture, if you feel that there is not enough vegetable oil, then you should add more.
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    Scoop the filling onto each wrapper. Just use a spoon to scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture in the center of every wrapper. You don't have to use the exact same amount in every wrapper; just make sure you have enough to use for all 20 or so of the wrappers.
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    Fold the sides of the wrapper together. You should wet the edge of each wrapper with a damp finger and then fold the sides together, crimping (pressing together) the dough with your fingers to seal the contents inside. To do this, first fold it in half and press together the top of the edge. Then press each side together, while crimping it. Simple mechanical "dumpling presses" are also available to simplify this process.
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    Place the wrapped dumplings on a floured surface. This will keep them from sticking to the surface and will make your dumplings ready to either boil or fry—it's your choice!

Part 3
Boiling the Dumplings

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    Put the dumplings in boiling water. To make sure that they are thoroughly cooked, one method used in China is the "3 boil" method. To do this, add the dumplings to boiling water, and return the water to a boil. Then, add 1 or 2 cups of water (it can be cold or at room temperature). Wait for it to boil the second time, then add water again. After the water boils the third time, your dumplings should be good to go.
    • Alternately, you can boil the water, place the dumplings in it, wait for the water to return to a boil, and cook the dumplings for 10 more minutes at a simmer.
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    Transfer the dumplings carefully from the pot to a plate. You can use a slotted spoon to take out the dumplings or close the lid over the pot and pour out the water before removing the dumplings.
    • Though they are done at this point, you can go for a boiling/frying combo if you'd like to transfer them to a skillet with hot oil and fry them for just a minute or two, until they're a bit crispy, for an added touch.
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    Serve. Serve these tasty dumplings while they're warm. You can enjoy them with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Part 4
Frying the Dumplings

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    Heat cooking oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. You should cook about 8 dumplings at a time, if the size of the pan allows it. Once the oil heats up, you should place the first 8 dumplings on the pan while trying to move them apart enough so that they don't stick together.[2]
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    Fry the dumplings for 2-3 minutes, until their bottoms are light brown.
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    Add 50 milliliters of water to the pan and heat it over high heat. Cover the skillet and let it steam until the water has completely evaporated. Then, turn the heat back to medium to continue frying the dumplings.
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    Add some oil to the pan and fry the dumplings until they are crispy with golden brown bottoms. Once you've finished frying these dumplings, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb the excess oil. You can also remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and shake the extra oil back into the pan.
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    Cook the remaining dumplings. Then, cook the remaining 12 or so dumplings in two batches. Do exactly what you did with the previous batch of dumplings, adding more oil when necessary.
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    Serve. Serve the dumplings while they're warm with your favorite dipping sauce.


  • You can try other variations of the filling: pork and celery, beef and onions, and chicken and mushroom are some popular kinds of filling.
  • Keep the water at a gentle boil. The water should not be a rolling boil or the dumplings may break.
  • You can steam the dumplings instead of boiling them.
  • When you eat the dumplings, you can use any sauce you want. Soy sauce, vinegar, spicy sauce, and garlic sauce are recommended.
  • Balm is scallions or green onion in English.
  • Cook a sample of the filling in a microwave or frying pan if you want to check your seasonings.
  • You can fry the dumplings, but it's a good idea to do this with ones that are already cooked. Otherwise, it's difficult to fully cook the meat in the middle of the dumplings without burning the outside. It's a great way to handle leftovers!
  • Don't put too much filling into the crusts. They can be broken easily, which will make them a lot less flavorful.
  • You can make the dumplings and then freeze them, so it's an easy dish to prepare days or even weeks ahead of time.


  • Be sure to fully cook the dumplings if you have any kind of meat in the filling, since the meat is ground up.
  • The dumplings may absorb some water if you boil them, so be careful when you bite into a hot one, because the juices may spill out.

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Categories: Chinese Dishes