Making Dumplings for Chinese New Year

Three bowls of different dumplings.

Dumplings originated in Northern China, but are now commonly eaten all over the country. (Image: via Unsplashed)

Many people wonder how to make Chinese dumplings (餃子 jiǎozī). They are very popular in China. They originated in Northern China, but now they are commonly eaten all over the country.

They are good for you as they combine flour, meat, and vegetables, making them very tasty. They are specially made for holidays. When a family has a get-together, they make dumplings to celebrate. Like people in the U.S. who have turkey for Thanksgiving, Chinese people have dumplings for Chinese New Year.

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Dumplings on a plate with two different sauce bowls.
You can boil, steam, or pan-fry dumplings. (Image: via Flicker)

Dumplings 101

There are three main ways to cook dumplings. You can boil, steam, or pan-fry them. All three methods are delicious.

  • Boiled dumplings (水餃 shǔi jiǎo, boiled in water)
  • Steamed dumplings (蒸餃 zhēng jiǎo, steamed)
  • Pan-fried dumplings (煎餃 jiān jiǎo, fried)

You can use ground beef or pork mixed with different vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, celery, green peppers, etc.

You can also use eggs in the place of meat, either fried or scrambled eggs with mushrooms and green vegetables.

Making these delicacies is easiest and more fun with others. The whole family can participate, from children to the elderly.


You can buy dumpling wrappers at Chinese supermarkets, which saves time, or if you are skillful, you can make your own.

Home-made wrappers (60 total):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling (60 total):

  • 3 cups ground pork or beef
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small spoon of Chinese rice wine or sherry
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 green onion, finely mince
  • 2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 8 dried mushrooms soaked in water, then finely minced
Pair of chopsticks holding a fried dumpling with a serving tray holding more dumplings and dipping sauce in the background.
Making dumplings is easiest and more fun with others. (Image: Fotoatelie via Dreamstime)


Making the wrappers:

  1. Add cold water to flour to form a smooth dough.
  2. Knead the dough into a smooth ball.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients.

Making the filling:

  1. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and 1/2 spoon sesame oil to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the onion and ginger, stir in one direction, and mix well.
  3. Put in the vegetables, such as cabbage or celery, and mix up with the meat.
  4. Stir in one direction until ready to use.

Filling the wrappers:

  1. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.
  2. Place a small portion (about 1 level tbsp) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper.
  3. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half-moon shape and pinch the edges to seal.
  4. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

Boiling the dumplings:

  1. To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. After the water boils, put 15 dumplings in the pot, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together.
  3. Bring the water to a boil again, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat.
  4. When water boils again, put 1/2 cup of cold water in again, and wait until it boils.
  5. When they come to a boil for the third time and float, they are ready.
  6. Drain the water out, place them on a plate, and serve.

If desired, the dumplings can be pan-fried with a bit of oil after boiling.

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