How to Boil Dumplings

Whether you make your dumplings from scratch or purchase them frozen, boiling them will allow you to prepare them quickly. The traditional method of cooking dumplings is to boil them in water, but southern drop dumplings can also be simmered in stock or broth to add additional flavour. Potstickers can also be made by boiling Chinese dumplings for a short period of time in a pan. As soon as the dumplings are soft and transparent in appearance, they are ready to be served either plain or with a dipping sauce.


Boiled Chinese Dumplings



For a Pork Filling

1 3⁄4 lb (0.79 kg) ground pork

Minced ginger


Sliced green onions

Soy sauce

Sesame oil


Napa cabbage

For a Vegetarian Filling

Red onion

Minced ginger

Shiitake mushrooms

White cabbage



White pepper

Sesame oil


Drop Dumplings


8 cups (1,900 mL) water or stock



1 tablespoon (15 mL) cooking oil

2 tablespoons (30 mL) water

Method 1 Making Boiled Chinese Dumplings in a Pot

1. If you haven’t already, start by making the dough for the dumplings. A basic dough can be made by combining flour, water, and salt in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until well combined. Knead the dough for about 2 hours, then set it aside to rest. Once it has finished cooking, cut it into small chunks. You can either drop the dough balls directly into the water or roll them out to make wrappers for Chinese dumplings, as shown in the photo.

You might also be able to find fresh, uncooked dumplings at a local market. Inquire at any of the local restaurants that serve freshly made dumplings.

2. Fill and fold the wrappers as directed. It is common for Chinese dumplings to be filled with a mixture of meats and vegetables. Prepare a pork and cabbage filling, for example, by combining ground pork, napa cabbage, soy sauce, and herbs and spices in a pan. Wrapper with a small amount of filling in the centre. Fold the wrapper over on itself to seal the filling in place.

To make the filling more personalised, experiment with different ingredients. For example, you could make a filling out of pork and cabbage, or out of vegetables and spices.

3. If you aren’t going to use the dumplings right away, you can freeze them. If you plan to leave the dumplings out at room temperature for more than 30 minutes, refrigerate them first. Place a piece of parchment paper over a baking sheet to keep them from drying out. Dust the parchment paper with flour or cornstarch, arrange the dumplings in a single layer on the paper, and bake for 30 minutes in the oven. Once the dumplings have frozen, place them in airtight containers or freezer bags to keep them fresh.

When making filled dumplings, it is especially important to freeze them before cooking them. When the dough is exposed to moisture from the filling, it will crumble and fall apart when it is cooked.

4. Boil water in a large saucepan over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Fill a large pot about two-thirds of the way with cold water and set it on the stove. Cover the pot with a lid to reduce the amount of time it takes to boil. Wait for the water to rapidly bubble up and out of the container.

5. Add a small batch of dumplings to the boiling water and stir well. At any given time, only a small number of dumplings should be prepared. In an average-sized pot, you can fit approximately 8 dumplings. At the bottom of the pan, the dumplings should be arranged in a single layer. Stir them in thoroughly to ensure that they do not stick together.

It is not necessary to thaw frozen homemade dumplings before using them. If you buy frozen dumplings, such as those found in the freezer aisle of your local supermarket, you can usually let them thaw for about 15 minutes while you boil the water or make the dipping sauce, which will save you time.

The dumplings may be able to be cooked in larger batches if you have a large pot or small dumplings to work with.

6. Wait 3 to 4 minutes for the dumplings to float on the surface of the water. After a few minutes, the dumplings will bob to the surface of the water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook. Check to see if the dumplings appear to be cooked through, and discard any that have fallen apart during the cooking process.

7. Boil the dumplings for 6 minutes, or until they are translucent in appearance. After the dumplings have risen to the surface of the water, continue to cook them for a few minutes longer. The inner portion of a dumpling, which includes the filling for Chinese dumplings, cooks at a slower rate than the outer portion of the dumpling. Ideally, the dumplings should be puffed up and transparent when they have been cooked evenly throughout.

Alternatively, you could try adding 12 cup (120 mL) of cold water to the pot after the dumplings have risen to the surface. Wait for the water to come back to a boil and the dumplings to float once more. Continue to cook them in this manner until they are cooked through.

8. Transfer the dumplings to a serving plate as soon as possible. Too much water can be harmful to the dumplings, so remove them as soon as possible with a slotted spoon. Place them on a plate or tray in a single layer to prevent them from sticking together. They should not be stacked because they will absorb water and become brittle. 

You can also pour the contents of the pot into a strainer to drain the excess water from the pot.

9. Refrigerate any leftover dumplings in an airtight container after they have been cooked. Place the dumplings in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Cooked dumplings will keep for approximately 4 days in this manner. Keeping them in the freezer for up to 3 months is recommended, but storing them for longer periods of time may result in them becoming soggy and bland.

Raw homemade dumplings should be stored in a freezer bag with a tight-fitting lid. Squeeze the bag to get as much air out as you possibly can. The dumplings will keep in the freezer for at least 2 weeks, and possibly for several months, and can be quickly reheated when you’re ready to use them.

Method 2 Cooking Drop Dumplings in Broth

1. If you are making fresh dumplings, you will need to mix the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Gradually incorporate the butter into the dough to bring it together. After that, add a little milk to make it softer.

Another option is to purchase dough that has already been prepared or frozen drop dumplings. First, defrost the frozen dumplings.

2. On a stovetop, bring water or stock to a boil over high heat. Water is fine, but if you want to give the dumplings more flavour, you could use any kind of stock you want. Additionally, you can boil a soup or stew, such as one that contains carrots, peas, and chicken. Make sure the liquid is nicely bubbly.

3. Drop the dough into the boiling liquid and let it cook for a few minutes. It’s important that all of the dumplings are of the same size so that they cook at the same rate. You can scoop up the dough with a spoon and then push it into the pot with a spatula. Continue to do this until all of the dough chunks are in the pot, about 15 minutes.

Keep the dumplings small, about the size of a teaspoon, when making them. Large dumplings have a tendency to cook unevenly, which means that when you bite into them, you get a mouthful of raw dough in your mouth.

4. Cover the pan and cook the dumplings for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat on the stove to a low setting so that the liquid does not overflow. After covering the pot to keep in the remaining heat, set your timer for 15 minutes. When the dumplings are finished cooking, they will be soft and flavorful.

5. The dumplings should be served in the liquid that they were cooked in. Drop dumplings are frequently served in their original form. All you need is a serving spoon or ladle to complete the task. Scoop out the dumplings and broth, and then transfer them to a serving bowl to serve as a meal.

If you boiled the dumplings in water instead of broth or if you don’t want the broth, you can remove them with a slotted spoon.

6. Refrigerate the dumplings for up to 3 days to keep them fresh and moist. Place the dumplings and broth in a resealable plastic container and seal the lid tightly. Keep the dumplings and liquid separate as much as possible to prevent them from becoming soggy as quickly. Make as many dumplings as you will need for the dish and don’t try to store them to get the best results possible.

You can keep the broth in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and freeze it for up to 3 months, so it may be preferable to make fresh dumplings and then add them to the broth when you want to use it again.

While it is possible to store the dumplings in the freezer, the chances are that they will become mushy and not taste very good even after being removed from the liquid.

Method 3 Boiling Potstickers in a Pan

1. In a nonstick skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium heat until shimmering. In a small saucepan, heat about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat. Heat the oil until it shimmers and appears to be on the verge of catching fire.

As a precaution, use a nonstick or cast iron pan to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the pan and falling apart when you move them later.

2. Place the potstickers in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. When you’re cooking the dumplings, make sure the folded side is facing upward. The thicker side of the filling should be pressed against the bottom of the pan. If you are unable to get them to stand up, you can also lay them flat in the pan to cook them. Cook no more than 8 to 12 dumplings at a time, keeping them in a single layer so that all of the dumplings are submerged in the oil during the cooking process.

Potstickers are essentially the same as Chinese dumplings, except that they are seared and boiled in a pan instead of in a wok or a pan. They might be smaller and thinner than dumplings that have been boiled in a pot.

The number of potstickers you can cook at one time is determined by the size of your pan and the size of your dumplings.

3. 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water should be added to the pan. Make sure the heat on the stove is set to medium before adding the water. To coat the dumplings in the oil and water, swirl the mixture around with a mixing spoon or another utensil to coat them completely.

In order to achieve a better sear, gently swirl the liquids around in the pot while the dumplings are being covered.

4. Cover the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. As the potstickers are cooking, the water will evaporate. When this occurs, remove the potstickers from the pans and check to see if they are completely cooked through. They should have a transparent appearance on the outside and feel soft and warm in the centre.

The potstickers should also have a golden brown crust on the bottom, which should be crisp and crunchy. To inspect them, you can lift them with tongs. If they don’t, remove the cover from the pan and continue to cook until they are golden brown.

5. If the potstickers aren’t done, cook them for another 4 minutes in boiling water. Pour approximately 13 cup (79 mL) of water into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid once more and allow the dumplings to continue to boil. By the time the potstickers are finished, the majority of the water should have evaporated. If there is still a small amount of water in the pan, you can uncover it and allow it to evaporate.

It is possible that frozen dumplings will require additional cooking time. You may need to use a little more water when making fresh potstickers in order to get them to finish without burning.

6. Potstickers should be served with a dipping sauce. Remove the dumplings from the pan as soon as possible so that they do not continue to boil or brown. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate to cool. When served with a dipping sauce, such as a mixture of dark vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, potstickers are a popular dish in China.

Preparing the dipping sauce is best done while you are waiting for the water to come to a boil. While waiting for the dough to rise, you can make fresh dumplings while you wait for the dough to rise.

Make the dipping sauce your own by experimenting with different ingredients such as rice wine vinegar and scallions.

7. Refrigerate any leftover potstickers in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The potstickers will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days. Make sure they are protected so that they do not absorb moisture and become brittle. It’s possible that you won’t have time to store them before they’re all gone, but consider storing the raw dumplings and cooking only what you intend to eat, since they can be prepared quickly and in small batches.

They’re also great for storing in the freezer. Place them on a piece of parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes before transferring them to a resealable bag. They should last approximately three months.

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