Fried vs Steamed Dumplings – Difference and Which Is Better? 

Delicious dumplings originated in Asia, but they have become popular worldwide over time.

People accepted the original recipe, but some also experimented a bit and adapted this dish to their traditions and eating habits, so today, mostly salty but also sweet dumplings are enjoyed worldwide.

The great side of dumplings is that they can be the main dish you serve for lunch or dinner, but they can also be an appetizer or a side dish with various meat or vegetable dishes.

Also, another reason why people love dumplings is that you can completely customize them to your taste by choosing the filling you like.

Although they are mostly filled with pork and onions in China, dumplings can be filled with other meat and vegetables, mushrooms, and other foods.

You can make them vegetarian, vegan, or whatever other diets you follow.

But do you like your dumplings fried or steamed?

Both are delicious, but there are differences in the preparation and the taste you will get.

Some will like steamed, and some will like fried dumplings, and if you haven’t eaten them before, be sure to try both before making a final judgment.

In the rest of the article, we will discuss the differences between steamed and fried dumplings and questions about the ingredients and kitchen equipment you need for both.

We will answer questions about the difference between the taste of fried and steamed dumplings and which are considered healthier.

Fried vs. Steamed Dumplings – What’s the Difference? 

All dumplings have in common that they are made from dough filled with some kind of filling.

While the fillings may vary, the composition of the dough is generally more or less the same.

The dough is almost always made from flour and water. When a smooth mixture is obtained, it is left for about half an hour and then rolled out thinly to form dumplings.

Dumplings are then filled with filling and have to be cooked.

Here comes the difference in the preparation method because dumplings can be fried in a pan or cooked in a steamer.

If you decide to fry the dumplings, there are two ways. You will need a pan, oil, and water in one of the two techniques.

It is best to use oil with a high smoke point, which will not burn due to high heat.

If you want an oil that will not affect the taste of the dumplings, choose vegetable oil because it has a neutral taste.

On the other hand, if you like the dumplings to have a slightly nutty taste, you can use peanut oil, which also withstands heat very well.

Never use olive, avocado, or sesame oil to fry dumplings; these oils have a low smoke point and become unhealthy when heated.

Also, knowing how much oil to put in the pan is essential.

The pan should not have more than 3 cm of oil, so the dumplings are not too greasy.

If you use too much oil, the dumplings will swim in it, negatively affecting their taste.

Heat the oil in a pan for the first frying method, then add the dumplings and fry them until they are crispy and golden brown on both sides.

You will need about two minutes of frying on each side to achieve the perfect crispness, color, and flavor.

Do not put the dumplings in the pan before the oil is hot; they will soak in the oil and become greasy.

When the dumplings are fried, remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Another frying method involves pouring oil and water into the pan, then adding the dumplings and covering the pan. Dumplings will be steamed and fried in this way at the same time for about ten minutes.

Dumplings prepared in this way are also called potstickers, and one side is crispier than another.

Steamed dumplings are a more widespread and traditional way of preparation in the Asian countries where this dish originates.

Put the dumplings in the steamer, and the dish will be ready after ten to fifteen minutes.

Dumplings prepared this way are soft, shiny, and chewy.

In Asia, steamed dumplings are traditionally made with the help of a bamboo steamer, but this device is not necessary.

You will also achieve excellent results if you use the dishes you have in your kitchen.

Use a regular metal steamer basket to place over a pot of boiling water.

However, the dumplings sticking could be a problem with this technique, so be sure to prepare the steamer basket first by spraying it with plenty of nonstick cooking spray.

Another handy trick if you don’t have cooking spray on hand is to line the basket with cabbage or lettuce leaves.

It will prevent the dumplings from sticking and not affect their taste and smell.

For the resourceful, knowing a metal steamer basket isn’t necessary either is convenient.

You can complete the process with a regular plate and aluminum foil.

To begin with, make several larger balls out of aluminum foil. Put them in a pot of water and then put a plate on top of them, where you will put the dumplings.

Next, steam the dumplings in a pot covered with a lid for a few minutes.

You can use any filling for dumplings for both fried and steamed dumplings.

There will be no difference in the taste of the filling, regardless of the preparation process. The filling will certainly remain soft and juicy.

The only important thing is to ensure you do not put too much filling in the dumplings so that the dough does not fall apart and the filling leaks out.

The only difference in taste, which depends on the cooking method, will be the outside of the dumplings because the fried ones will be crispy, and the steamed ones will be soft and more like pasta.

Fried vs. Steamed Dumplings – Which Preparation Method is Better? 

In terms of taste, there is no better or worse way to prepare it because it depends on your preferences.

You will probably like fried dumplings more if you enjoy fried and crispy food.

On the other hand, if you like a soft taste under your teeth, like al dente pasta, steamed dumplings are probably a better choice for you.

Some people like the texture of steamed dumplings, while others enjoy the contrast between the crunchy texture and the soft filling of fried dumplings.

If you are unsure which choices are right, it is easiest to prepare half by frying and the other by steaming.

Then, you can compare the two tastes and decide on your favorite.

When it comes to preparation time, there are almost no differences.

You will need very little time for steamed and fried dumplings, so in both cases, this can be a delicious quick lunch or dinner.

Also, none of these two preparation methods require special cooking equipment or special culinary skills.

Both ways are very simple, and you can successfully prepare them even if you are not exceptionally skilled in the kitchen.

You will need a pan for fried dumplings; steamed dumplings will need a steamer or pot and a metal steamer basket.

If you need many dumplings at once, you may find it easier to steam them, especially if you have a steamer.

Some people prefer steamed dumplings because they are considered a healthier option.

No oil is used to prepare steamed dumplings, so this is the reason why they are often chosen by people who watch their fat intake.

However, the truth is that not much oil is used for preparing fried dumplings; in any case, not nearly as much as is used for preparing some deep-fried dishes, so even dumplings prepared in this way can’t be considered particularly unhealthy.

However, if you always like to choose the healthiest possible option, you should definitely prefer steamed dumplings.

Suppose you are wondering which cooking method is preferred in Southeast Asia, where dumplings originate. In that case, the answer is that the Chinese most often prepare steamed dumplings, mostly stuffed with onions and pork.

Other Ways to Cook Dumplings 

Fried and steamed dumplings are two of the most common and popular cooking methods, but they are not the only ones.

Boiled Dumplings 

In restaurants, you can generally choose between steamed and fried dumplings, but in Southeast Asian households, boiled dumplings are often prepared as well.

Many people like them because of their simple and “pure” taste and the easy way of preparation.

Also, among many people from the Far East, dumplings cooked this way are a favorite.

After all, they remind them of their childhood because they grew up eating these “water dumplings,” as they are sometimes called in these countries.

Pour a lot of water into a large pot, and when it boils, add the dumplings.

The fundamental trick to successfully steaming dumplings is to add cold water to the pot three times during cooking.

Every time you add water, cover the pot again.

In this way, the dumplings will be ready in ten minutes.

When the dumplings are cooked, rinse them under cold water to prevent dumplings from sticking together and wash away excess starch.

Dumplings prepared in this way can be served alone or in soup.

If you serve them in soup, you can skip the rinsing part.

The only disadvantage of boiling dumplings is that sometimes their appearance and shape won’t be perfect as with other cooking methods.

You can knead a thicker dough or use flour with more gluten to prevent this.

Deep-Fried Dumplings 

The spread of the popularity of dumplings worldwide has also brought some new ways of preparing this dish.

One of them, which is not used in Asia, but is very popular in some American restaurants, is deep frying.

This method involves using a large amount of vegetable or oil with a high smoke point.

Although some people, especially those who are used to fried and high-calorie food, like the taste of dumplings prepared in this way, the fact is that they are not very healthy because they contain a lot of fat.

Also, when cooked this way, dumplings sometimes have a thick, hard, and greasy crust.

In general, if you really like fried food and don’t care about excess calories, you can make deep-fried dumplings, but keep in mind that you will achieve equally crispy, tastier, and certainly healthier results with pan-fried dumplings.

Baked Dumplings 

You can also bake dumplings in the oven.

It’s one of the best preparation methods when you don’t have much time because, apart from putting the dumplings in a baking dish and turning on the oven, you have no more work with this dish.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and spray it with backing spray or apply a thin layer of oil on the paper.

Arrange the dumplings in a baking dish and place them in an oven preheated to 175°C (350°F).

Dumplings are ready when they are gold-brown, that is, in 15 to 20 minutes.

What Can You Fill the Dumplings with? 

When it comes to filling for dumplings, there are almost no limits.

It will work as long as the mixture is firm enough not to run out of the dumplings.

Dumplings are usually prepared salty, but you can also make interesting sweet fillings and serve them as desserts.

Some of the most common fillings for dumplings are pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu, but the possibilities don’t end there.

Try combinations of your favorite flavors and always follow the rule that one dumpling should not contain more than a teaspoon of filling so that it does not fall apart during cooking.

One of the traditional ways of preparing sweet dumplings, also called tangyuan in China, is a peanut butter filling.

You can experiment with sweet flavors as much as you can with salty ones and fill the dumplings with chocolate, fruit, or any other food you choose.

What to Serve with Steamed and Fried Dumplings? 

As we have already said, dumplings can be an appetizer, a side dish, or a main dish.

This dish is very tasty and can fill you up, so it can be a meal by itself and does not have to be served with any other food.

However, if you enjoy lavish dining and a mix of flavors, there’s plenty to serve with fried or steamed dumplings.

If you have no idea what to serve with dumplings, we recommend you look for inspiration in Asian cuisine, where dumplings originate.

Various sauces are among the most common choices for side dishes with fried or steamed dumplings.

The possibilities are endless, and if you want to impress your guests, make at least two or three different sauces so everyone can experiment and enjoy the various flavors.

The sauce makes the dumplings perfect, adding nuances to the taste and enriching the dish.

You don’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen to get the sauce on the table. Instead, you can use store-bought sauces.

You will find the most diverse offer in Asian stores.

If you want to make homemade sauce, reach for your favorite foods and spices, and some of the ingredients you can’t go wrong with are ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, olive oil, and chili oil.

Another great side dish for dumplings is any vegetable dish.

If you want to fit into the theme of Asian cuisine, we suggest you serve vegetable stir fry as a side dish.

One of the best accompaniments to steamed or fried dumplings is soup.

You can opt for Chinese hot and sour soup, bone broth, meat broth, chicken noodle soup, or any other type.

A good side dish for dumplings, primarily if you’re serving a fried dish, is a refreshing salad that will provide you with nutrients and balance the flavor of the main dish.

Make a salad of seasonal vegetables and add a superfood like quinoa.

If you are serving steamed dumplings, you can choose a side dish with a slightly more intense taste, such as spring rolls or fried noodles.

Fresh vs. Frozen Dumplings 

You can buy frozen dumplings in the store, which is an excellent solution if you don’t have time to knead or prefer to spend less time in the kitchen.

Another great advantage of frozen dumplings is that they have a long shelf life, so you can store them in the freezer and take them out whenever you want a quick lunch or dinner.

On the other hand, you can make dumplings yourself, and the good news is that it’s not difficult at all, so if you enjoy cooking, be sure to try it.

In that case, you will have to start preparing the meal a little earlier because when you knead the dough from water and flour, you have to wait for about half an hour before you roll it out and shape the thin dough into dumplings that you will fill with the filling you want.

Also, knowing that you can freeze homemade dumplings, both raw and pre-cooked, is useful.

It is a great way to save time by preparing a large amount at once and later taking your favorite meal out of the freezer whenever you want.

If you want to freeze raw dumplings, arrange them on a board to be spaced apart, sprinkle each dumpling with flour, and put them in the freezer for two hours.

After that, take them out, put them in ziplock bags, and return them to the freezer.

Dumplings frozen in this way can stay in the freezer for up to three months.

If you want to freeze the dumplings that you have already cooked, when they are cool, spread them with oil so that they don’t stick to each other and put them in a ziplock bag.

Of course, they can’t stay in the freezer as long as raw dumplings, but this is a good solution to save lunch leftovers for one of the following days.

You can store frozen pre-cooked dumplings in the freezer for up to four weeks.


If you have had any doubts about the differences between fried and steamed dumplings, we hope that you have resolved them after reading this.

The main difference between these two ways of preparing the dish is that fried dumplings will have a crispy crust, while steamed dumplings will be juicy and soft both outside and inside.

You can prepare both in just a few minutes and with very few dirty dishes.

Also, there are no differences in the fillings you can use for fried and steamed dumplings because all fillings are suitable for both preparation methods.

While steamed dumplings are healthier because no oil is used for cooking them, some people prefer the fried option because they find it tastier.

There is no definitive answer to whether fried or steamed dumplings are better because it entirely depends on your choice.

If you still need to decide, make or order both and try which you like better.

Bon appetit.

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