How To Cook Dumplings: The Ultimate Dumpling Guide
The traditional dumpling is a simple bite packed with ingredients and served as a snack or main dish. Dating back to Ancient China, the dough is homemade and wrapped neatly around your choice of meat and vegetables.
You can buy frozen dumplings from the store for a quick, easy meal, or make them yourself for a fun night of family cooking that is out-of-this-world delicious.
Whether you’re ringing in the Lunar New Year or just cooking on a random Thursday night, you need to know how to cook your dumplings. Keep reading for a complete guide on home-cooked and store-bought dumplings with Umamicart.
How To Cook Steamed Dumplings
One of the most popular cooking methods for dumplings is simply steaming them. Steaming your dumplings is a great way to get beautiful texture in the wrapper while cooking them in a super healthy way.
Steamed dumplings are warm, juicy, and soft. There’s nothing quite like them!
Fill a Wok, Steamer, or Pot With Water
To begin, you’re going to need to prepare your steaming vessel. There are all sorts of different steaming methods out there. Many people have a bamboo steamer that you place over a pot of boiling water.
If you don’t have a bamboo steamer – don’t sweat it! There are many ways to work around it.
For starters, use a metal steamer if you have it. Or you can grab some aluminum foil and wad it up to make three big balls. They should be a few inches in diameter. Place the balls in a large pot with about two cups of water, and then place a ceramic plate on top. And there you have it – a makeshift steamer!
Place Your Dumpings 1 Inch Apart in Steamer
Once you have your steaming apparatus ready, place your dumplings inside. You’re going to want to place them about one inch apart so they don’t stick together.
To keep the dumplings from sticking to the steamer or plate as they cook, you can grease the surface with a bit of sesame oil. You can also lay down some parchment paper under the dumplings.
But a better option is to lay down some napa cabbage leaves underneath your dumplings. Then you’ll have some lovely, sweet steamed cabbage as well as delicious dumplings.
Bring Water To Boil and Cover
Now bring your water to a boil and cover your dumplings up. Once your water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low. You want a gentle boil that won’t disturb your dumplings as they steam.
Make sure you cover them! This allows for as much steam as possible so that your dumplings can definitely get cooked.
Steam for Ten Minutes
Once your water is boiling, let your dumplings cook in the steam for about ten minutes. Don’t remove the lid as letting the steam escape will disrupt the cooking process and result in undercooked dumplings, so keep that lid on!
How To Tell When Your Dumplings Are Ready
There’s a simple trick to help you tell when your dumplings are ready – all you’ll need is a toothpick. Stick your toothpick through a dumpling and pull it straight out. If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re ready to eat.
How To Cook Pan-Fried Dumplings
Pan-frying your dumplings is another great cooking option. You get a beautiful, golden brown crispiness on the bottom and a beautiful, plump, steamed texture on top. That contrast is wonderful and brings the overall flavor to a completely different place.
Add Dumplings to an Oiled Pan on Medium-High Heat
It’s incredibly important that you use a neutral oil with a high smoke point for this step. You don’t want your oil to burn and corrupt the flavor, and you don’t want any strange flavors to interfere with your dumplings. So avoid olive oil and coconut oil.
Vegetable and canola oil are great options, while avocado oil has an incredibly high smoke point and neutral flavor.
Add a small amount of oil to a pan, probably about one to two tablespoons. Turn your heat to medium-high and wait for the oil to get nice and hot before adding in your dumplings.
Fry Until Bottom of Dumplings Are Golden
Once your dumplings are in, watch closely. You only want to fry them until the bottom of your dumplings get golden brown. Have a pair of tongs or chopsticks on hand so you can lift a dumpling up to check on it every minute or so.
This shouldn’t take too long because of the higher heat, so make sure you’re paying close attention to your dumplings.
Add ½ Cup Water and Cover
Once the bottom is a nice golden brown, get about a half cup of cold water and gently pour it into the pan, making sure that water gets in every part of the pan. This will create a lot of steam, which will cook your dumplings the rest of the way.
As soon as the water has been added, put a cover on your pan. This will make sure there’s lots of steam right next to the dumplings so they cook properly.
Uncover and Cook Until Water is Gone and Dumplings Are Crisp
After about three or four minutes of steaming, remove the lid. Then, allow all the steam to evaporate. Once the water is gone, you should be left with beautifully cooked dumplings that are fluffy on top with a crispness on the bottom.
How To Cook Boiled Dumplings
Boiled dumplings are another healthy and delicious way to cook your New Year bundles of deliciousness. This method works especially well if you add dumplings to a delicious soup. Here’s how to do it.
Bring Water to a Boil
First thing’s first, bring your water to a boil. Break out the biggest pot you have and fill it with water, making sure you leave enough room from the top so that it doesn’t overflow when you put the dumplings in. Place the pot on the stove on high heat and wait for it to boil.
Once it boils, lower the heat a little bit, so it doesn’t boil over.
Place Dumplings in Water and Stir
Once your water is boiling comfortably, get your dumplings and plop them into the water. Make sure you’re careful not to splash boiling water on yourself. Use some tongs or chopsticks to gently submerge them into the water.
Then, stir continuously to ensure your dumplings won’t stick together in the pot.
Boil Until Cooked Through
Now you just have to sit and wait for them to cook. After about eight minutes, your dumplings should start to float to the top. But hold on, they’re not done just yet!
Once they’re floating, add about 1/3 cup of cold water to the pot. Then wait for the water to boil again. At that point, your dumplings should be cooked all the way through and ready to eat.
Will Dumplings Float When They Are Done Cooking?
Once the dumplings float, that’s a sign that they are almost done cooking. Once again, you’ll need to add a third of a cup of cold water. Once the water comes to a boil, then the dumplings are ready.
Floating dumplings does not mean that they are done. It just means they’re almost there!
Is It Possible To Overcook Dumplings?
You’ll know you’ve overcooked the dumplings when the wrapper is disintegrated. If you overcook your dumplings in the steamer or when boiling, the dough of the wrappers will have a gummy texture that isn’t very pleasant, and your filling might get dry and tough.
If you overcook them in the pan, you risk a similar gummy texture on top and a bitter, burnt crust on the bottom. So you want to make sure that you watch your dumplings!
How Do I Know If My Dumplings Are Still Raw?
The folds in the wrapper might not be cooked all the way through. This will make the wrapper doughy and chewy, making for an unpleasant…or rather unchewable experience.
Don’t forget to check if the filling is cooked all the way through, especially if you’re working with pork or chicken. Undercooked meat can be a safety hazard and potentially make you ill.
How Should I Store Leftover Dumplings?
If you’ve made a big batch of dumplings but didn’t cook them all at once, you’re in luck! You can easily keep your dumplings in a ziploc bag and throw them in the freezer for up to six months.
The best part? You don’t have to thaw the dumplings before you cook them! Dumplings make a nice, quick meal or snack if you’re in a rush.
If you have leftover cooked dumplings, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. When it’s time to reheat, you could use the microwave, but that might leave your dumpling wrappers soggy.
In general, the best way to reheat your dumplings is the same way you cooked them!
For steamed dumplings, steam them again for about four or five minutes. Only do enough to heat them up, don’t go much longer than five minutes, or you’ll overcook them.
For boiled dumplings, boil some water and re-boil the dumplings for two or three minutes.
For pan-fried dumplings, you just need to do the reverse order of how you cooked them. First, heat up your pan, add a little bit of water, and then add your dumplings and cover.
Steam your dumplings first to heat them, and once all the water has evaporated, add some oil and finish cooking them, getting them crispy once again.
Alternatively, if you want to make them super crispy, you can air fry your dumplings.
Can I Make My Own Dumpling Wrappers?
You can absolutely make your own dumpling wrappers! The process may take a while, but it is incredibly fun. If you like making family cooking traditions, you’ll love making your own wrappers.
To make your own wrappers, all you need is flour and water. Add two cups of flour and place it in a bowl. Next, make a small well in the flour mound. Boil ⅓ cup of water, then slowly combine with flour and mix.
Once your water and flour mixture is fully incorporated, knead the dough with your hands for about two minutes, until it has a light springiness. When you poke the dough with your finger, it should slowly spring back into place.
Seal your dough up in a ziploc bag or wrap it in cling wrap and let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Once your dough has risen, you’re ready to make the wrappers.
Cut the dough into equal parts and flatten it with your palm. Then, roll it out into a circle until you’ve achieved the desired thickness. Remember to try and keep the edges a little bit thinner than the center so that they can fold well and cook all the way through.
If that method intimidates you, you can roll the dough out in sheets and cut it into circles with a wide-mouthed glass.
Want a fool-proof dumpling wrapper without all the fuss? Grab our selection of pre-made dumpling wrappers. They are delicious and require way less work!
What Dipping Sauces Can I Use To Eat Dumplings With?
There are all sorts of delicious sauces you can dip your dumplings into. Don’t be afraid to get experimental and come up with your own.
Lots of people like to dip savory, meaty dishes in ponzu sauce, made with soy sauce, citrus, mirin, kombu, and rice vinegar. Its flavor is accentuated with the rich, umami taste found in their signature Traditional Umami Dashi. A perfect blend of salt and tang, this sauce is great as a marinade or dip.
You can also use garlic chili oil, a super easy and delicious dip to make. Finely mince some garlic, chop up the white part of some green onions, and get a spoonful of chili paste into a bowl. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat until it's piping hot, then pour the oil over your ingredients and stir.
The hot oil flash cooks the ingredients for an oily, spicy, garlicky dip that is incredibly delicious. There are also plenty of delicious dumpling sauces to try at Umamicart!
The Bottom Line
Dumplings are a delicious dish that everybody just loves. They are great to cook and eat as a family or group of friends, and they aren’t even that difficult to make! Now you have all the knowledge you need to cook your own dumplings at home that taste amazing.
So hit the kitchen and make yourself some delicious pillows of flavor!
If you need ingredients for your dumplings or any other dish you’re craving, head over to Umamicart! We deliver high-quality groceries right to your door, so you don’t have to run around town trying to search for ingredients.