Dumplings are a feature of most of the world's cuisines, in one guise or another. There are two main varieties. One type is a ball of dough, usually steamed in a soup or stew; the other is a pasta-like dough wrapped around a sweet or savory filling. Both kinds can be made with frozen dough, making them more convenient for busy cooks.
Freezing Homemade Dough
The best way to enjoy dumplings from frozen dough is to make your own favorite recipe and freeze it well wrapped in single-dumpling portions. Most dumpling recipes freeze well, and the leavening will still work fine as the dumplings warm up. Thawing the dough for 30 minutes before cooking it is always helpful, but the dumplings can be cooked from frozen if needed. The cooking time should be extended by approximately five minutes.
Frozen Biscuit Dough
Most traditional recipes for dough-type dumplings are leavened with baking powder or baking soda. They are comparable to biscuit recipes, though usually less rich. Some cooks use the same recipe for both dumplings and biscuits, varying only the preparation method. Frozen biscuit dough can be opened and cut into small portions, usually no more than one quarter or one half of a biscuit per dumpling. Place the frozen dough in your pot, cover the simmering soup or stew, and cook the dough as you normally would for dumplings.
Frozen Yeast Dough
While most dumpling recipes are similar to biscuit recipes, there are some cooks who prefer to use a yeast-raised dough. Yeasted dumpling dough is less prone to disintegrating as it cooks, while still providing a light and tender end result. Frozen bread and roll dough makes an excellent substitute for this type of dumpling. Cut or pinch off small pieces and drop them into the simmering pot, either thawed or frozen. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Stuffed dumplings are best made with fresh dough, but in many cases frozen dough is the only option available. The dough is usually sold in small packages, which should be allowed to thaw slowly for a few hours in the refrigerator before use. Thawing the dough quickly is likely to make it stick together, at best an inconvenience and at worst a disaster. Once thawed, the frozen dough can be used in the same way as fresh dough, and the end result will be indistinguishable.