Serving up a big platter of juicy, homemade dumplings is guaranteed to impress. Pork is a classic dumpling filling, but these use my favourite shortcut to juicy flavour: a little sausage meat in the filling. They’re easy to prep-ahead, making them perfect for entertaining, or for quick weeknight meals.
If I could live off dumplings, I honestly would. They’re the absolute perfect, juicy little bite and jam-packed with flavour. They’re always a go-to for me when I’m entertaining – everyone loves them, they look super impressive and you can do all the hard work in advance, throw them in the freezer, then pop them in the steamer when you’re ready to serve.
The key to a great dumpling is a lovely, moist, packed with flavour filling and my shortcut of using a little sausage meat gives you that straight away. It has a higher percentage of fat, which equals juiciness and flavour, everything you want in a dumpling. I like to mix the sausage meat with ground pork mince, for the best combination of flavours and texture.
While making dumplings might be a bit of a labour of love, they are 100% worth it. Plus, if you use store-bought wrappers, you’ll save a lot of time (though, I would definitely recommend trying making your own – the flavour and texture is so superior and they’re actually very easy). I love spending an afternoon in the kitchen making a big batch of these beauties and stashing them in the freezer for quick, flavour-packed meals.
- Ground pork mince. Go for good quality, free-range pork if you can, with a decent percentage of fat.
- Sausage meat. This is my little shortcut to super moist, flavourful dumplings. Sausage meat has a high-fat percentage, which is necessary for a great dumpling filling. Use sausages without a lot of added flavours, or flavours that don’t mesh well with the Asian ingredients included here.
- White cabbage. You could also use Napa cabbage here.
- Ginger. Fresh is best if possible. I like to grate ginger using a microplane or the fine side of a box grater – that way, you don’t need to peel it. If you don’t have any fresh, use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger.
- Cilantro (coriander). Swap this for mint or Thai basil if you’re not a cilantro fan.
- Fish sauce. This brings a lovely deep savouriness to the dumplings (nothing fishy at all!) and I definitely encourage you to try to include it.
How to make them
Chop your scallions and cilantro finely, crush your garlic cloves and grate your ginger, then massage a little salt into your shredded cabbage (this will help to soften it and bring out any excess water). Add to a mixing bowl with the ground pork, sausage meat and the rest of the ingredients. Use a chopstick to vigorously mix everything together.
PRO TIP: I always like to pan-fry a little bit of the filling before filling dumplings, to check the seasoning.
Spoon roughly a tablespoon of the filling onto your dumpling wrapper. Shape your dumplings however you’d like – pictured here is the shape I normally go for (and I promise it’s easy once you do it a few times). If you’re new to dumpling making, have a look at my guide that shares three easy ways to shape dumplings which will help.
Line a steamer with baking paper and make little cuts with a knife through the paper, so that the steam has somewhere to go. Arrange your dumplings in the steamer, leaving about an inch in between each. Steam the dumplings for 10 minutes.
Got a question?
You can – it will keep well for 3 days in the fridge.
Yes! Often when I make dumplings I steam half, then pan-fry the rest. To pan-fry the dumplings, heat a little oil in a frying pan or skillet you have a lid for, then arrange the dumplings in the pan, leaving a little space in between each. When the bottom of the dumplings starts to get golden brown (pick one up to check), pour in enough water so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the dumplings, then pop the lid on. Cook until most of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another few minutes, until all the water has evaporated and you’re left with gorgeous, crispy-bottomed dumplings.
Hands down, freezing them. Formed dumplings don’t keep well in the fridge – the filling will start to seep through the bottom and make them soggy. I like to freeze the dumplings on a lined tray, transfer them to ziplock bags and then you can cool them straight from frozen.
Everything you need for dumpling night
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