How to Make Dumplings Better Than a Chinese Restaurant

What's not to love about dumplings? These delicate pockets stuffed with savory fillings are always a delight. We'll teach you how to make dumplings at home that rival the ones from your local takeout joint.

You know them as your go-to takeout order or the starter to a restaurant meal, but dumplings aren’t just for eating out. These little pockets are easy to make at home, too. We’ll show you how to make dumplings that are not only delicious but healthier than the ones that come from restaurants.

Psst! Learn how to make an entire feast with these Chinese takeout copycat recipes.

Dumpling Basics

There are three determining factors when it comes to dumplings: the wrapper, the filling and the cooking method. To keep things healthy, we recommend using gyoza wrappers (you can find them at your local Asian grocery) because they are easier to work with. Wonton wrappers are a fine substitute, too.

As for the filling? That’s entirely up to you! Do you want meat? Vegetables? Lots of spices? As long as you stick to the proportions listed below, the flavor options are endless.

To cook our dumplings, we’ll be using the steaming method. Steamed dumplings are both healthier and easier to make because there’s no frying involved. (Learn how to steam in your Instant Pot with these smart accessories.)

How Do You Make Dumplings?


  • 1 cup finely shredded Chinese or napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup minced herbs like chives, cilantro, or Thai Basil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-3/4 pounds ground meat or finely sliced vegetables, like mushrooms
  • 50 potsticker skins or gyoza wrappers
  • 6 cabbage leaves

Step 1: Make the Filling

Mix all of your ingredients (except the wrappers and the cabbage leaves) together. Keep in mind that these ingredients are just guidelines, if you like more vinegar or different spices, you can mix it up to your taste. Use these 25 dumpling recipes as inspiration for your custom fillings.

Step 2: Wrap the Dumplings

Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into each wrapper. (No measuring spoons? Learn how to estimate measurements without them). To seal, moisten the edge of the wrapper, fold it over the filling and pinch the edges together. Want to be a potsticker pro? Invest in a dumpling press like this ($5).

Step 3: Steam in Batches

To cook the dumplings, line a steamer basket with cabbage leaves. Arrange the dumplings over the leaves, keeping them about an inch apart. Then, fill a large saucepan with an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil and nestle the steamer basket into the pan. Steam the dumplings, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Work in batches until all of the dumplings are steamed. Serve dumplings warm with a dipping sauce, such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce or chili sauce.

Step 4: Freeze For Later

Dumplings are a great freezer meal (just like these yummy recipes!). To freeze, place cooled dumplings on waxed paper-lined baking sheets and freeze until firm. Transfer to a large resealable plastic freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To serve, microwave dumplings, covered with a paper towel, for 30 seconds or until heated through.

Now that you’ve mastered dumplings, learn how to make spring rolls at home!

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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.