How to make dumplings

Making dumpling wraps at home is easier than you might think. All you need is plain old all-purpose flour, salt, and water. The result is tender and chewy wraps that are easy to work with.

DSC7485 e1675534652685 - How to make dumplings

I’ve made countless dumplings (mandu, 만두) over the years. I sometimes use store-bought wrappers (mandupi, 만두피) to save time and effort. But I really love making dumplings with homemade dumpling sheets. It’s a bit of work, of course, but it’s worth it! Freshly made dumpling casings are softer, tougher and more durable to work with, and they don’t tear easily. They also taste a lot better.

Making your own dumpling cases also means you have complete control over the size and thickness. It’s also so much easier to shape dumplings however you like. Some common Korean dumplings, like kimchi mandu, are made with a rich filling made from a variety of ingredients—vegetables, tofu, meat, and sometimes starch noodles (dangmyeon, 당면). Homemade wraps are perfect for them.

DSC7462 e1675534874603 - How to make dumplings

How to make dumplings


I use unbleached all-purpose flour. Depending on the flour and how it’s measured, 1 cup of all-purpose flour can weigh quite a bit. My 1 cup is usually around 140 grams, but don’t worry about the exact weight measurement if you don’t have a scale. For dumpling dough, you can always adjust it by adding a little more water or flour, whichever is needed to soften the dough enough to be pliable but not too soft.

All-purpose flour is called Joong-lyuk-boon (중력분) when you buy a Korean brand.

Hot water vs. cold water

Hot water partially inhibits gluten development by denaturing the proteins in the flour. It also cooks (or gelatinizes) the starch. The result is a dough that contains more water but is not as elastic as cold water dough. The higher water content helps dumpling skins stay tender after cooking. Therefore, it is well suited for steaming or pan frying, whereby the dumplings do not absorb much water during cooking. Less gluten means the dough isn’t as elastic and is easier to roll out.

On the other hand, cold water dough has less water and more gluten, making the dough elastic, chewy, and strong. Cold water dough is therefore more suitable for boiled dumplings. The cold water dough springs back slightly when rolled out.

6 x 4 in 13 e1675541779407 - How to make dumplings

Knead the dough

The amount of water required may vary depending on the flour. So it’s important to feel the dough and adjust the moisture level as needed, adding a little more water or flour as needed. As soon as a dough has formed, knead it for about 5 minutes. The dough should be fairly smooth but slightly stiff. After a rest period of about 30 minutes, it relaxes and becomes soft and supple.

rolling the dough

I find it more efficient to cut the dough into small one wrapper sized pieces and roll out each one. A small rolling pin is helpful for this first method. You don’t have to actually roll out the dough into a round shape, but you can use a round cutter if you have one to trim it nicely.

6 x 4 in 14 e1675548273635 - How to make dumplings

DSC7406 e1675537559172 - How to make dumplings

Another method is to cut the dough into two or three large pieces, roll each out thinly with a large roller, and cut out as many circles as possible with a round cookie cutter. You can reuse leftover dough to make more rounds. When the leftovers have dried you can add a little moisture by wetting your hands before working with them.

DSC7413 5 e1675548108845 - How to make dumplings

Tips for homemade dumplings

  1. A small rolling pin is helpful when rolling out small pieces of dough.
  2. Flour the surface and the dough while rolling out.
  3. If you like it evenly round, use a round cutter (cookie cutter, wine glass, etc.).
  4. Always cover the dough and wrappers that are not in use with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
  5. It is best to use homemade dumplings immediately after preparation. Make a few, fill the stuffing, fold and repeat.
  6. If you are stacking wrappers for later use, dust each wrapper generously with cornstarch or potato starch. Flour won’t work because it will be absorbed into the wrappers.
  7. Double protect your dumpling wrappers for storage by first wrapping them in plastic wrap and then placing them in a storage/freezer bag. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 2 days, or freeze it immediately for longer storage. Bring them to room temperature before use.

DSC7408 2 e1675541835592 - How to make dumplings

Colorful dumpling dough

You can give your dumplings a natural color. For green dough I use spinach or garlic chives. Beets are great for pink/red batter and carrots for orange batter. Simply boil, puree and strain the veggies to get a colorful liquid for the batter.

Try the same technique to make colorful homemade noodles for kalguksu (knife-cut noodles).

6 x 4 in 9 e1675478874886 - How to make dumplings

dumpling recipes

Dumplings (Mandu)
Kimchi mandu
Crab dumplings (saeu mandu)
Hobak Mandu (vegan dumplings)

For more Korean cuisine inspiration, see below youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, FacebookAnd Instagram.

DSC7485 e1675534652685 500x500 - How to make dumplings

How to make homemade dumplings


Preparation time: 1 Hour

30 protocol

Servings: 32 packagings

Print recipe


For green dough

  • Blanch the spinach in boiling water. Puree in a food processor. Pass it through a sieve and squeeze with a spoon to extract green juice, about 2/3 cup. Add water if necessary. Heat it in the microwave to about 170°F. Follow the same steps for the wrappers above.


  1. You can use cold water if you want to cook the dumplings. Cold water dough is more elastic and is a little harder to roll out.
  2. If you are stacking wrappers for later use, dust each wrapper generously with cornstarch or potato starch. Flour won’t work because it will be absorbed into the wrappers.

This dumpling wrap recipe was included in my shrimp dumpling recipe. I’ve moved it here as a separate post with more information and new photos. It really deserves a spotlight of its own.

Source link