How to Make Chinese Dumpling Dough


Chinese dumplings always call for a basic unleavened dough because the gluten strands stay tight and keep the wrappers from expanding during cooking, which allows the filling to heat through quickly and evenly. Homemade Chinese dumplings, or jiao zi, use the standard 4-parts-flour-to-1-1/2-parts-water formula shared by other Asian dumplings, and only differ in the wrapping technique used to encase the filling. You can use homemade jiao zi wrappers as you would store-bought, except you don't need to moisten the edges with water when you seal them around the filling.

  • Sift 4 parts all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl and pour in 1 1/2 parts boiling water in a steady stream. One cup of flour yields approximately 15 dumpling wrappers. Start the dough a couple of hours before you want to make the dumplings.

  • Stir the water and flour until it just comes together. Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it becomes smooth and lump-free, about 3 minutes.

  • Cover the dough with a moist paper towel and let it relax for 30 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature. You'll find the dough easiest to work with if you let the gluten relax for 2 hours, but you can get started after 30 minutes if you're pressed for time.

  • Dust your work surface with flour. Pull off a piece of dough about the size of a small orange and immediately cover the dough again with the moist paper towel. Roll the dough ball into a 5- to 6-inch-long, 1-inch-wide cylinder using your palms.

  • Cut the cylinder of dough into 1-inch pieces and flatten them into 1 1/2-inch disks using your fingers.

  • Roll each disk out to 3 to 3 1/2 inches using a rolling pin. Make the edges of the wrapper thinner than the center.

  • Keep the dough covered while you work. Store the prepared wrappers in single layers separated with parchment paper in a parchment-lined container or on a parchment-lined pan. Keep them in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days, or until you notice the dough start to dry out. Otherwise, fill and cook the dumplings immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want a perfectly circular wrapper, roll them a little larger than 3 inches then trim them with a 3-inch cookie cutter.

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