How to Make Dumplings from Scratch

Learn how to make better-than-takeout pan-fried potstickers using store-bought dumpling wrappers.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Also known as gyoza and potsickers, pan-fried one-bite pork dumplings are practically ubiquitous in Japanese and Chinese restaurants and are a crowd-pleasing favorite at parties. They work nicely as snacks, appetizers or passed hors d’oeuvres.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Surprisingly, they’re not hard to make at home. The trick is to save time at home by using store-bought gyoza wrappers or round dumpling wrappers. Using store-bought wrappers will cut the active time to under 30 minutes, which makes these delicious from-scratch dumplings faster, easier and cheaper than takeout.

The most-important part of any dumpling is its filling. Though you’ll find veggie dumplings, chicken dumplings and creative takes, like bacon-cheeseburger dumplings, the classic is ground pork.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This recipe for Pork Gyoza with Ginger Dipping Sauce flavors the pork with sesame oil, soy sauce, vermouth, ginger, garlic and scallion, with egg and cornstarch to bind it, and a bit of sugar and salt to punch up the flavors.

Refrigerate the filling for 20 minutes to help the flavors mingle and make the filling easier to roll into the wrappers.

Forming dumplings is pretty easy, once you get the hang of it. Before you begin, set up a work station with the filling, the wrappers, a bowl of cool water, a pastry brush and a teaspoon, though you can use your fingers and a basic spoon if you don’t have a brush and a dedicated teaspoon.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brush one edge of the dumpling wrapper with the chilled water using your brush or your finger, then mound the filling into the center of the wrapper and pinch it into an oval that mirrors the shape of the wrapper.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Close the wrapper by connecting two sides over the filled bottom, making between four and six pleats to the side that faces you, firmly pressing together the edges to keep the filling intact. Only one side should be pleated. As you finish each gyoza, remove it to a baking sheet and cover it with a moistened kitchen towel or paper towel to keep the dumpling wrapper from drying out, then repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and pork filling.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Once you’re ready to cook the potstickers, heat two tablespoons of neutral oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet or pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Arrange them in an even layer, separating into batches so that they’re not crowded. Stand each one filling-side down, with the connected edges pointing up. Fry them until the bottoms just start to brown — about a minute — then add 2/3 of a cup of water, being careful of spatters from the hot skillet. Cover the skillet and cook until tender, about six minutes.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

While the dumplings cook, whisk together the soy-ginger dipping sauce, which uses soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sugar and julienned ginger.

Once the dumpling skins are tender, remove the lid and continue to cook until golden and crisp, about four more minutes. Repeat in batches until all dumplings are cooked, then serve with ginger dipping sauce.

Here are a few more homemade dumpling recipes that Food Network loves:

This recipe works bacon and chives into the filling.

Valerie uses bottled ponzu and two cups of cabbage to make her scrumptious vegetarian-friendly snacks.

Molly Yeh's Chicken Potstickers with dipping sauce

Molly makes her own dough for delicious fried chicken dumplings.

Clockwise from bottom left, Anne Burrell's Hoisin Glazed Bacon Bao Buns with Sauteed Mushrooms and Pickled Vegetables, Tyler Florence's Red Curry-Lime Chicken Wings, Tyler Florence's Pork and Shrimp Gyoza and Anne Burrell's Asian Style Chicken Meat Balls from the Southeast Asian Street Food elimination challenge are displayed on the set of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 8.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tyler’s take combines pork and shrimp for one crowd-pleasing bite.

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