Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Chinese dumpling dipping sauce

The Spruce

  • Total: 8 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Yield: 1/2 cup (4 servings)

Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) are one of the most traditional dishes in Chinese cuisine and a must-have at everything from family dinners to banquet meals. But a dumpling wouldn't be a dumpling without the dipping sauce that goes with it. They simply require something tangy, sometimes spicy, to help cut through the rich savoriness of the dumpling filling.

Just as there are many different types of dumplings, there's also a variety of sauces. This recipe is a quick, easy, and popular version. It uses a soy sauce and rice vinegar base with garlic, sesame oil, and hot chile oil for flavor. The sauce works great for classic pork-filled dumplings but also pairs wonderfully with pockets filled with eggs, prawns, or vegetables. With some simple substitutions, you can also make the perfect sauce for Japanese gyoza and Thai potstickers.

Instructions are given for making your own chile oil, but a store-bought version is fine to use. You can use Szechuan peppercorn oil instead. Both will give the sauce a nice spicy kick. As always, you can adjust the flavor to suit your personal preference.

Use this recipe either for homemade Chinese dumplings or store-bought dumplings. While those often come with dipping sauce, you will be better able to adjust the seasonings if you make it yourself.

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Ingredients

  • For the Chile Oil:
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or chile flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (of your choice)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile oil

Steps to Make It

If you decide to make your own chile oil, you will start with that step. Otherwise, skip ahead to directions for the dipping sauce.

Make the Chile Oil

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chili powder and oil
    The Spruce
  2. Place the chili powder or chile flakes into a heatproof bowl.

    Chili powder
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  3. In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil
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  4. Pour the hot oil into the chili powder. Let it cool.

    Pour oil into chili
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  5. The chili oil can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar or container if not used immediately.

Make the Dipping Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for dipping sauce
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  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of the hot chile oil. Whisk until well combined.

    Chinese dumpling dipping sauce
    The Spruce
  3. Serve with your favorite dumplings.

Tips

  • The dipping sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Serve the dipping sauce in individual small dishes for each guest. This eliminates any worries about "double-dipping."

What Is a Good Substitute for Rice Vinegar?

If you enjoy exploring Asian recipes, a bottle of rice wine vinegar will come in handy. It's a common ingredient in many sauces and marinades and the rice adds a sweetness not found in every type of vinegar. The best substitutes are apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, and sherry vinegar. Standard white vinegar is a decent option but lacks the sweetness, so consider adding a little sugar to the sauce.

Recipe Variations

  • Add thin strips of ginger or chopped green scallions as a crunchy garnish that also adds flavor.
  • For a hint of sweetness, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar; brown sugar is a popular choice for Asian sauces and marinades.
  • To put a Japanese spin on this dipping sauce—perfect for gyoza—substitute ponzu for the soy sauce and mirin for the Chinese rice wine vinegar.
  • For Thai-style potstickers, swap the chile oil for nam prik pao (Thai chile paste) and add a splash of lime juice.