Last Updated: June 20, 2022

Which is the Best? Fried or Steamed Dumplings? Everything You Need To Know

fried vs steamed dumplings

You are scrolling through Social Media and suddenly a picture of Fried Dumplings pops on your screen. It looks delicious to you. So, the next day you plan to try it and hence you drop by your local restaurant before coming home. But after ordering, you find out they have served you the steamed dumplings!

Well, we all have been there. But is steamed dumpling as bad as it looks? How are they made and why do they look different? What are the differences between Fried Dumplings and Steamed Dumplings actually? Let’s find out!

ComparisonFried DumplingsSteamed Dumplings
FillingSameSame
TasteSomewhat greasyWarm and steamy
FlavorContrasting and interestingSomewhat boring
TextureCrispy and chewySoft and squishy
Cooking IngredientsOil, and then waterOnly steam
Cooking UtensilPanBamboo Steamer
Difference between Fried & Steamed Dumplings

The main difference between Fried and Steamed dumplings is the cooking itself and its texture. 

  • In the case of steamed dumplings, the dumplings will taste somewhat bland and, yes, soft, squishy, and succulent. The outer layer of the dumpling becomes crispy and adds a nice polarizing contrast to its mouthfeel of it.
  • On the other hand, Fried dumplings will have a slightly nutty and caramelized taste due to being fried in oil. In the end, the winner between them is the one you prefer.
steamed dumplings arranged side-by-side in a tray
Image credit: iuliia_n, Shutterstock

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What are Dumplings anyway? How are they Made?

Dumplings are a Chinese delicacy with different varieties in cuisines all over Asia and the world. It is a small morsel of filling wrapped with a wrapper and then cooked. This filling can be sweet or savory. Vegetables, meat, seafood, etc., are common filling options. The wrapping can be of various thicknesses, shapes, and textures. And with different combinations of filling and wrapping comes all these confusing names. Let me give you a quick rundown of them!

Some of the Most Common and Famous Dumplings

  • Zheng Jiao
  • Shui Jiao
  • Guo Tie
  • Siu Mai
  • Bao Zi
  • Wontons
  • Xiao Long Bao

Zheng Jiao

This classic crescent-shaped dumpling’s name translates to “steamed dumpling” The outer layer is usually thin and crescent-shaped with intricate designs. The crescent shape allows a person to fit more dumplings in bamboo steamers.

 It is done both for aesthetics as well as productivity.

Shui Jiao

The classic dumpling is made with a thicker wrapping and folded without any design. It is the classic dumpling that is boiled. The reason for making the wrapping thick is that they don’t burst open or break during the boiling process.

Guo Tie

This version of the classic dumpling is the panfried version. It is one of the most famous versions. It is also known as potstickers in the USA and other parts of the world.

Siu Mai

It is an open-faced, steamed dumpling. The top part of the dumpling is exposed and then steamed. The wrapper is usually very thin, and the filling is usually prawn and pork.

Bao Zi

Bao Zis is generally made with a thick wrap and shaped into a bun or bao shape. The filling used for Bao Zi is traditionally pork, barbecued pork to be more precise.

Wontons

are dumplings that are more like the Italian pasta dish called Ravioli, a square sheet of dough with a filling inside it. Wontons are traditionally consumed with soup. Wontons can be served both boiled and deep-fried.

wontons arranged side by side in a tray
Image credit: Kartinkin77, Shutterstock

Xiao Long Bao

It is usually made with pork broth with high amounts of gelatin when it is translated to soup dumplings. Pig’s feet and bones are mainly used here to make the soup or broth, and it has soo much gelatin that it solidifies at room temp. That congealed mixture is then put inside a dumpling and wrapped. When steamed, the gelatinized broth turns back into a liquid, making “soup.”

Now let us see the age-old debate, Fried VS Steamed!

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FAQ

What is the most common type of dumpling?

Steamed and boiled are the most traditional forms of dumplings.

Which is the healthier option between fried and steamed dumplings?

Steamed, simply because it contains less oil than fried dumplings.

Why are steamed dumplings the healthier option?

Because fried dumplings have additional oil in them, steamed dumplings are the healthier option because it has fewer calories by default.

What do you call Chinese fried dumplings?

Potstickers in the USA and other parts of the world.

What are dumpling wraps made up of?

The wrap is made with a dough consisting of mainly 3 ingredients, water, salt, and flour.

Can I use raw meat to make dumplings?

Making dumplings with cooked meats often causes the dumplings to crack, break, or even explode.

What makes dumplings too fragile and mushy?

Overcooking and improper heat are why dumplings are too soft and fragile. It mainly happens when you boil dumplings.

Are wontons and dumplings the same?

No, wontons are made with a different wrap and are traditionally deep-fried.

How many dumplings should be there in one serving?

Depending on the size, between 10-20 dumplings can be served per person.

What is gyoza? Steamed or fried?

Gyoza is in many ways similar to dumplings, and they can be both streamed or fried.

What are the ingredients used to make dumpling filling?

Meats: Pork, Chicken, Beef.
Vegetables: Mushrooms, scallions, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc.
Seafood: Shrimp, fish, etc.
Others: Tofu, cheese, seaweed, etc.

Can I make dumplings without a bamboo steamer?

Yes!, Nowadays, a lot of options are available in the market that works just as well as bamboo steamers.

What can I use for dipping my dumplings in?

Soy Sauce, Rice vinegar, chili oil. Etc are the most common dips for dumplings: anything salty, umami, tangy, and spicy complements dumplings to contrast their dull fatty taste.

To Conclude

Dumplings are comfort food. It is a food that reminds me of sick days. The food will make you picture a rainy day with you on the couch with a big steaming pile of dumplings and your favorite TV show. It is a dish that has withstood the test of time and came out of the other end still popular and loved as it always has been throughout the ages. 

Now there is no proper definition of better. So it’s purely up to personal preference. I personally love both Steamed and Fried Dumplings. Which one do you prefer? Let us know!

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