Lost Plate’s Traditional Chinese Dumpling Recipe

Chinese Dumpling Recipe

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There are few things humanity agrees on, and in that very short list is dumplings. In China the most popular type is called Jiaozi (饺子) or water dumplings (水饺), meaning traditionally they are boiled in water, as opposed to their many well-known and equally delicious steamed cousins.

Once you learn how to make dumplings from scratch, not only will you be able to try all the hundreds of varieties eaten around the world, you can come up with your own recipes and traditions as well. Steamed, boiled, fried, at any hour of the day, this skill will open up a universe of bite-sized blessings. So why not start making dumplings by following our traditional Chinese dumpling recipe?

There are three main parts to making a dumpling: The Dough, The Fillings, and The Sauce. Then you need to put them all together and cook!

Makes 20 Dumplings

Prep Time: 60+ mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 80+ mins

The Dough:


300g flour

100-125 ml cold water

1 tsp salt


  1. Add flour into a large bowl. Slowly pour water into the bowl, mixing them together with a pair of chopsticks until the dough comes together and is cohesive. You want a dough that is fairly tough, soft dough won’t hold it’s shape in the moving boiling water.
  2. When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form the dough. The dough will be quite tough and should easily be able to be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom. Once you can pick it up without resistance, you’re set.
  3. When dough has formed, dust a working surface with flour and dust hands again. Transfer the dough to the cutting board and continue to knead it until its surface becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Let the dough sit while you prepare the fillings. If you find that the dough isn’t pliable after this point, let it rest up to 3-4 hours for the dough to relax.
  4. Roll the dough into a long, round log.
  5. Cut the dough into even sized chunks.
  6. Press down on each chunk with your hand to flatter them into round shapes.
  7. Make wrappers: Excessively flour your work surface. Put our thumb in the middle of the dough piece, while rolling it with a rolling pin from the edge of the dough towards the center. Roll outwards from your thumb in the center, rotating the dough continuously as you work through it. Make sure you keep dusting with flour throughout the whole process.
  8. This will ensure the wrappers to be thin at the edges, and thicker in the center. The wrappers need to be thicker in the center because in this way they can support the weight of the filling better and so they don’t fall apart while boiling. The thin ends will come together anyways up top.

The Fillings:

There’s a lot of room for you to personalize your dumplings. Add some garlic, sesame oil, or take a nod from other cultures and add dried spices. There’s no wrong way to do it, just remember to keep seasonings simple. If you’re working with vegetables or any other ingredients with high water content, the moisture needs to be removed before you put the filling into the dumplings. You can do this by cooking out the moisture or letting it rest with salt for half an hour and then squeezing out the excess water. Don’t use anything super watery, like tomatoes, because they will ruin your dumplings.

Simple Meat Filling

300g ground chicken, pork, or pork and shrimp, etc

100g spring onion

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Salt + Pepper to Taste

Mix all ingredients together well.


Simple Vegetarian Filling

200g cabbage

200g spring onion

100g mushroom or carrots

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

salt +pepper to taste

Stir-fry all ingredients together to release excess moisture before stuffing.


The Sauce:

Sweet & Sour

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp finely sliced green onion

1 tsp ginger, finely grated

Mix together well.


As you head west to places like Chengdu and Xian, it’s very common to dip dumplings into a chili sauce. Most restaurants all specialize in making their own sauce. At home, you can use your favorite store-brand sauce, or following the chili sauce recipe that we use to make our dan dan noodles.

Put It All Together:

  1. Before wrapping the dumplings, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil, it should be ready by the time you’re done.
  2. Wrapping the dumplings is better as a team event – one person can roll the wrappers while the other person simultaneously wraps the dumplings. If you are enjoying a solo challenge or a large batch, you can buy a little more time by leaving them under a damp towel. Not too damp though- otherwise they’ll stick together.
  3. Place a comfortable amount of filling in the center of your dumpling wrapper.
  4. This is how you can wrap it:

5. Never take your eyes off the pan! Put 20 dumplings into the boiling water, one by one to prevent sticking. (put fewer in the water if the dumplings are big or there isn’t enough room). You want to keep the lid on as much as possible so that trapped steam will cook the top of any floating dumplings.

6. The addition of dumplings will reduce the water temperature, but eventually, it will reach boiling again. At this point, add a small cup of cold water in the pot to stop the boiling. Put the lid back on until the water reaches a boil again.

7. If you are making dumplings without a raw meat filling, then proceed to the next step. If you are using raw meat, add another cup of water and bring it to boil one more time.

8. Finally, when the dumplings are all floating on the surface, you know they’re done. Turn off the heat, and drain. If you’re cooking another batch, run the hot dumplings under some cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking as you are cooking.

9. Grab your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

More Authentic Chinese Recipes:

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