Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)

Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 90 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Rest: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Yield: 60 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
219 Calories
10g Fat
21g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 245mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 191mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) are a rather popular dish during the Lunar New Year season but are also a fun and delicious appetizer, dinner food, and snack to enjoy any time of year. This recipe includes a homemade dumpling dough and ground pork or meat and vegetable filling, as well as instructions on how to assemble and boil the dumplings. Serve them with a homemade dipping sauce.

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"This recipe replicates the taste of store-bought frozen and restaurant dumplings perfectly. The ingredients are standard in Asian cuisine. It takes time to form the dumplings and creates a mess in the kitchen, which is why it’s a “project.” There’s more than enough to freeze for other meals. The reward is in the first bite." —Colleen Graham

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Ingredients

For the Jiaozi Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cups cold water

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground pork, or ground beef

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1/2 medium scallion, finely minced

  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded napa cabbage

  • 1/4 cup shredded bamboo shoots

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

For Cooking the Dumplings:

  • 1 cup cold water, divided

  • 3 tablespoons oil, optional, for frying

For Serving:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Chinese dumplings

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Dumpling Dough

  1. Place the flour in a bowl and stir in the salt. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding only as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the dough on a flat surface and knead into a smooth ball.

    knead the dough

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

    dough in a bowl covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Filling

  1. While the dough is resting, make the filling. Place the meat in a bowl and add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and pepper. Stir in only one direction. 

    meat in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix well, stirring in the same direction until the mixture is sticky.

    dumpling filling in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Form the Dumplings

  1. Knead the dough again until it forms a smooth ball.

    dough ball on a wood surface

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Divide the dough into 60 pieces, with each piece weighing about 1/2 ounce (15 grams). Roll each piece out into a circle about 3 inches in diameter, lightly flouring the surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

    small dough balls rolled out into rounds

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper.

    dumpling filling on top of dough

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water.

    dumpling edges brushed with water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. For a pleated look, gently lift the edges of the wrapper over the filling and bring it together at the top center. Crimp the edges of the wrapper several times along the edge and pinch together to seal. For an easier option, simply fold the dough over the filling into a half-moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

    shaped dumplings

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Cook the Dumplings

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Once the water returns to a boil, add 1/2 cup of cold water and cover the pot. Once the water returns to a boil, add another 1/2 cup of cold water and cover.

    dumplings cooking in a pot of water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. When the water comes to a boil again, the dumplings should be fully cooked and ready to be removed from the pot and drained. You can cut open a test dumpling just to make sure.

    dumplings in a colander

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan and cook until slightly golden.

    dumplings cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Arrange the dumplings on a platter and sprinkle with scallions. Serve with a dipping sauce on the side. Enjoy!

    Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Dumpling Wrapper Tips

  • As you're rolling out the wrappers, keep any unrolled pieces of dough covered with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out and developing a crust.
  • Ideally, when rolling out the wrapper, try to leave the center of the wrapper a little thicker than the edges for an even distribution of dough once the wrapper is folded around the filling.
  • As you work, store the finished wrappers slightly overlapped on a lightly floured baking sheet and keep them covered with a kitchen towel. Lightly flour any areas where the wrappers are touching to prevent them from sticking together. Try to use the wrappers relatively soon after rolling them.

How to Store and Freeze

The dumplings can be stored prior to cooking. Keep them covered in the refrigerator overnight to cook the next day. They also freeze wonderfully: Lay the dumplings out on a baking sheet so they aren't touching and place in the freezer for an hour or two, or until frozen through. Transfer frozen dumplings to freezer bags or containers and use within three months. There's no need to thaw frozen dumplings; simply cook according to the recipe.

Can I use premade dumpling wrappers?

Yes, you can certainly use premade dumpling wrappers instead of making them from scratch! The texture will be different but the dumplings will still be delicious. Dumpling wrappers can be found in Asian grocery stores and in more and more supermarkets these days, either sold fresh in the refrigerated section or in the frozen aisle.

Why do you have to stir the filling in one direction only?

To get the right texture in the filling, it's important to vigorously stir the raw meat filling in one direction to encourage myosin development. Myosin is a sticky, fibrous protein that helps bind the filling and gives it a springy but tender texture. You'll know that you've stirred it enough when the filling gets sticky and cohesive.

Are Jiaozi and Gyoza the Same?

Jiaozi and gyoza are both dumplings, but jiaozi is the Chinese version (jiaozi is the Mandarin word for dumpling) while gyoza is the term for the Japanese dumpling. Jiaozi is the original, going back roughly a thousand years, while gyoza was created after World War II when the Japanese brought the dumpling back to Japan after occupying Manchuria. Gyoza generally has a thinner wrapper, a more finely chopped filling, and are often pan-fried.