A close-up side view of a white ceramic plate displaying chicken-filled dumpling wrappers, neatly folded in half and sealed with pleats, placed on a marble tabletop. A single dumpling is positioned on its side to reveal its beautifully golden-brown, crispy underside.

Chicken Dumplings

Growing up, dumplings held a special place in my diet. I recall observing my grandma wrapping them in the kitchen, storing them in the freezer, ready to be transformed into quick lunches for weeks to come. Dumplings are one of the friendliest dishes to portion control. My grandmother would always ask for my preferred quantity, ensuring that I had exactly enough to make me full. These dumplings are filled with chicken, my preferred choice over pork. They’re well-seasoned and boast a perfect texture, whether you choose to boil or pan-fry them.

A close-up side view of a white ceramic plate displaying chicken-filled dumpling wrappers, neatly folded in half and sealed with pleats, placed on a marble tabletop. A single dumpling is positioned on its side to reveal its beautifully golden-brown, crispy underside.

What are dumplings?

Dumplings (jiaoxi, goete, suijiao), consist of two components: round wheat wrappers typically measuring 3.5 inches in diameter and a savory filling. The wrappers are filled with a mixture of ingredients like pork, shrimp, chicken, or a combination thereof. Once filled, dumplings can be prepared through pan-frying or boiling. While dumplings can be enjoyed everyday, they also hold a special place in celebrations, like for Lunar New Year. Dumplings may be wrapped in numerous styles, many of which symbolize a coin purse, signifying good fortune and prosperity.

  1. Jiaozi: Jiaozi is a broad term for Chinese dumplings.
    • Suijiao: Boiled dumplings that are served dry or in a chicken or pork bone based broth.
    • Goēte: Pan-fried dumplings (potstickers) are pan-fried on one side until crispy and then steamed to finish cooking.

Why This Works

Dumplings are exceptional when it comes to portion control making it effortless to customize depending on hunger. Dumplings showcase remarkable versatility in their cooking methods. They adapt effortlessly to various culinary techniques. Pan-fry them for a crispy texture, or boil them for a soft and chewy bite. This adaptability makes dumplings suitable for a wide range of occasions, providing a versatile dining option for various settings.

An overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make chicken dumplings. From top left to bottom right: a bowl of boneless chicken thighs, a package of dumpling wrappers, julienned scallions, egg white, soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine, grated ginger, toasted sesame oi, salt, and white pepper powder
From top left to bottom right: a bowl of boneless chicken thighs, a package of dumpling wrappers, julienned scallions, egg white, soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine, grated ginger, toasted sesame oil, salt, and white pepper powder


What type of chicken do I need for dumplings?

In my recipe, I’ve chosen chicken thighs for their perfect balance in texture, which contributes to their juiciness. However, for those seeking a leaner option, have the flexibility to substitute up to 50% of the filling with boneless, skinless chicken breast. It’s crucial not to surpass this limit to maintain a moist filling. If you have a preference for proteins other than chicken, you have the option to substitute with ground pork (pork tenderloin), peeled and deveined shrimp, or even a combination of these.

When working with the chicken, ensure thorough preparation by finely grinding it. You can achieve this by using a food processor or employing two exceptionally sharp knives for chopping. This step is key in achieving an even texture throughout the filling. This not only aids in consistent shaping but also ensures an even distribution of seasonings.

What are dumpling wrappers?

Dumpling wrappers are primarily composed of a simple mixture of wheat and water, resulting in a flexible dough that are shaped into either square or round forms. You have a choice between two popular types: Shanghai Style Dumpling Wrappers and Northern Style Dumpling Wrappers. The Shanghai style wheat-flour wrappers are notable for their characteristic traits – a white appearance, a smooth texture, and a round shape measuring around 3.5 inches in diameter. Northern style wrappers are similar except that they are slightly thicker, resulting in a fewer number of wrappers. I personally prefer the Shanghai style for both boiled and pan fried dumplings.

How do I buy dumpling wrappers?

You can typically find them available for purchase at your local Chinese grocery store. When selecting dumpling wrappers, it’s best to opt for those stored in the refrigerated aisle rather than the pre-frozen ones. Frozen wrappers tend to be more susceptible to cracking due to their higher water content, making the wrapping process a bit more challenging.

Here are my suggestions for selecting dumpling wrappers wisely. Unfortunately, not all grocery stores maintain the freshness of their stock, and I’ve encountered instances where purchased wrappers developed mold just a week later – a situation that shouldn’t occur. Additionally, dumpling wrappers may start to become excessively dry, causing them to crack around the edges when folded. While technically still usable, they tend to result in chewier dumplings.

To steer clear of these issues, I highly recommend purchasing dumpling wrappers and using them within 48 hours of purchase. When using them, remember to keep any remaining wrappers securely sealed in their original plastic packaging. This practice helps prevent them from drying out, ensuring your dumplings turn out just right. Be sure to check for any traces of black or green mold.

How do I make dumpling wrappers?

While making your own dumpling wrappers at home is an option, it’s not always the most efficient choice in terms of time and cost. Using all-purpose flour and water, you may find that the taste and color don’t quite match the store-bought ones. Achieving the perfect roundness and thinness of commercial wrappers can also prove to be a daunting task at home. Furthermore, ensuring the ideal level of firmness to prevent breakage and maintain their shape can be a real challenge. Therefore, for consistent and convenient results, opting for store-bought dumpling wrappers is often the preferred choice.

A close-up side view of a white ceramic plate displaying chicken-filled dumpling wrappers, neatly folded in half and sealed with pleats, placed on a marble tabletop.

What is toasted sesame oil?

Toasted sesame oil is made from pressing roasted sesame seeds. The seeds are toasted before being pressed to create the oil, giving it a deeper and more intense flavor than regular sesame oil. It has a lower smoke point than regular sesame oil making it more appropriate to use as a finishing oil. In other words, it should not be used for deep-frying. However, one notable exception is the use of toasted sesame oil in Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken (Taiwanese Basil Chicken).

What is white pepper powder?

White pepper is derived from the same plant as black pepper, but is harvested at a different stage and has a white or gray appearance. It is often used in Chinese, Vietnamese, and French cuisine, and can be purchased finely ground into a powder or whole. White pepper has a milder and less complex flavor compared to black pepper, with a slightly earthy and musty taste. It is commonly used as a seasoning in dishes such as soups, stews, and marinades. Unlike black pepper, white pepper does not visibly speckle the food, making it a good choice for dishes that require a smooth appearance.

Chinese white pepper powder is widely available in Asian grocery stores and can also be purchased online. It is important to note that white pepper should be used sparingly, as its flavor can easily overpower other ingredients if used in excess. I use white pepper in many recipes such as: Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow), Wontons with Spicy Chili Oil, Wonton Soup with Pork and Shrimp, Taiwanese Braised Pork Over Rice (Lou Rou Fan), Pork Belly Buns (Guabao), and Pork Buns with Black Pepper.

What is Shaoxing cooking wine?

Shaoxing wine (Shao-hsing, Shaohsing wine) is a type of Chinese rice wine that is made by fermenting glutinous rice, water, and wheat. It contains a very small percentage of alcohol that evaporates when exposed to heat, so its primary function is to add flavor. The taste and aroma of Shaoxing wine are similar to that of sherry. I find it to be a great ingredient to use with chicken or pork, as it helps to purify any unpleasant flavors of the protein while also adding a fragrant aroma to the dish.

What is soy sauce?

Soy sauce is a popular condiment used in many Asian dishes, and it comes in several different varieties. Generally, when a recipe calls for soy sauce, it is referring to light or premium soy sauce, which are essentially the same thing. This type of soy sauce has a lighter color and more delicate flavor compared to other types like dark soy sauce or tamari.

  • What is Light Soy Sauce (Premium Soy Sauce)?
    • Made from a combination of soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. The mixture is fermented for a period of time to develop its characteristic savory and slightly sweet taste. It’s important to note that different brands may have slightly different flavor profiles, so it’s a good idea to taste-test various brands to find the one that works best for your taste preferences.
  • What is Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce?
    • A lower-salt alternative to traditional soy sauce. This type of soy sauce is made by reducing the amount of sodium in the product, often by as much as 50% or more. This makes it a healthier choice for those who are watching their sodium intake or trying to reduce their overall salt consumption. Reduced-sodium soy sauce still has the same savory umami flavor as traditional soy sauce, but with a milder and less salty taste. It is commonly used in cooking, especially in dishes that require a lot of soy sauce. Additionally, this type of soy sauce can be used as a dipping sauce or a marinade for meats and vegetables

What type of oil do I need?

When frying, opt for a neutral oil with a high smoke point, as oils like olive oil tend to splatter more vigorously. The neutral oils that you may use are vegetable, avocado, and grapeseed.

Can dumplings be stored for later?

Yes, dumplings may be frozen after they are wrapped and before they are cooked. Transfer the dumplings into an airtight freezer bag or container. Freeze them on a flat tray spaced apart to prevent them from sticking and potentially breaking when separated.

For pan-fried dumplings, heat a non-stick skillet with a bit of oil over medium heat. Place the frozen dumplings in the pan, making sure they are not too crowded. Fry until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown. Then, add a small amount of water and immediately cover the pan to steam them for a few more minutes until heated through. If you have boiled dumplings, you can reheat them by gently dropping them into a pot of boiling water for and continuously stir until they float to the surface, up to 12 mins for frozen dumplings.

A close-up side view of a white ceramic plate displaying chicken-filled dumpling wrappers, neatly folded in half and sealed with pleats, placed on a marble tabletop.

Chicken Dumplings

Dumplings filled with succulent chicken, infused with aromatic seasonings, pan-seared to golden perfection.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 30 Dumplings


  • 1 Cutting Board For preparing and chopping the scallions and chicken.
  • 1 Food Processor (or 2 Sharp Knives) To finely grind the chicken.
  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl To mix the ground chicken with the other filling ingredients.
  • 1 Small Bowl or Ramekin For moistening the edges of the dumpling wrappers before sealing.
  • 1 Pan or 1 Pot You'll need a pan or skillet to cook the dumplings.
  • 1 Lid To cover the pan while steaming the dumplings if pan frying.
  • 1 Tongs For flipping and handling the dumplings while cooking.


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup scallions julienned
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 package Shanghai or Northern Style dumpling wrappers
  • 1 cup neutral oil
  • 1/4 water


  • Filling | Place the chicken on a cutting board. Remove any cartilage.
    Finely grind the chicken by chopping it with two knives or using a food processor.
    Transfer the ground chicken to a bowl and add the egg white, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, white pepper, salt, ginger, and scallions. Thoroughly mix.
  • Shape | Take one dumpling wrapper in your hand. With the other, dab your fingers in water and moisten the perimeter of the wrapper.
    On the wet side of the wrapper, place 1-2 tbsp of filling in the center.
    For pan-fried dumplings, fold in half.
    Starting from one end of the half-moon, use your fingers to pinch and fold the edge, creating pleats. Keep folding the edge in one direction until you reach the other end.
    Ensure there are no air pockets inside the dumpling. Press the pleats together firmly to seal the dumpling. Repeat.
    ~For boiled dumplings, fold the wrapper in half to create a half-moon shape and press to seal the edges firmly.
  • Cook | Heat a pan over low heat for 3 mins.
    Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat for an additional min.
    Then, place the dumplings in the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Sear the dumplings for 3 mins.
    Add water to the pan and immediately cover it with a lid. Cook until the oil splattering subsides, approximately 6 mins.
    Uncover and continue cooking until all the water has evaporated.
    ~ For boiled dumplings, fill a pot up to three-quarters full with water, and place it on the stove over high heat to bring it to a boil. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully add in the dumplings. Be mindful not to overcrowd the pot; you may need to do this in batches if necessary. Stir the dumplings continuously until they rise to the surface. Fresh dumplings should be ready in as little as 3 minutes of boiling, while frozen ones might require up to 12 minutes, depending on the filling volume and quantity.
    Plate and serve the dumplings while hot.
    If you've tried this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and it helps me improve my recipes for future cooking adventures. And if you enjoyed it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! You can help my channel by tagging @vocabularyoffood in your cooks. ۶(◠ 。◠)۶
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