Dumplings are an incredibly popular treat, and for good reason. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also super versatile — both in taste and texture! You can also cook dumplings in a number of different ways, the most popular methods being steaming or frying them. Steamed dumplings have a soft and delicate texture, whereas fried dumplings are crispy on the outside and bursting with flavor on the inside.
You can fill steamed or fried dumplings with whatever you like! It just depends on your personal preferences. Some of the most popular steamed dumpling fillings include ground pork, chicken, or beef; cabbage and carrots, and of course lots of spices and seasonings. Fried dumplings also taste delicious when filled with ground chicken, pork, or veggies. You can even make sweet fried dumplings by filling them with Nutella or fruit preserves.
Steamed dumplings and fried dumplings are beloved all over the world, but which one is better? What is it exactly that makes them so different? The main difference between steamed dumplings and fried dumplings is the way they’re cooked. Because of these different cooking methods, steamed and fried dumplings have completely different textures and tastes. Which one is better, you ask? Well, that’s what we’re here to investigate.
Steamed vs Fried Dumplings Overview
Steamed dumplings are soft and fluffy when you bite into them, while fried dumplings (otherwise known as potstickers) are quite the opposite. Let’s go over what steamed and fried dumplings are in a bit more detail below so that we may gain a better understanding of which one tastes better between the two.
What are Steamed Dumplings?
Steamed dumplings are a staple food in many Asian cultures, but they’ve become popularized all over the world. You can make these plump parcels of heaven yourself by wrapping your choice of ingredients in a thin circle of dough. All you have to do from there is arrange the dumplings in a steaming basket and cook them over boiling water. As your cute little dumplings steam, their wrappers will become translucent, revealing the succulent filling inside.
Unlike fried dumplings, steamed dumplings have a fluffy, delicate texture. You need to be super careful when eating really good steamed dumplings because they’re essentially so soft and heavenly that they could easily fall apart. This is why we recommend eating them with chopsticks rather than a fork or your fingers. Each bite is meant to melt in your mouth, especially if you enjoy steamed dumplings with soy sauce or add them to a soup.
What are Fried Dumplings?
Fried dumplings are a delicious, crispy alternative to steamed dumplings. They can be perfectly round or shaped like a crescent moon, and you can fill them with sweet or savory ingredients (which makes them a bit more versatile than steamed dumplings.) You can make fried dumplings by taking the same doughy wrappers used to make steamed dumplings, and filling them with whatever you like. Fry them in hot oil until they turn golden brown and delightfully crispy.
Eating fried dumplings is quite the experience. Just thinking about it is enough to make you start salivating. The crispy and crunchy exterior of a fried dumpling contrasts perfectly with its soft and flavorful filling. Fried dumplings are also more chewy and durable than steamed dumplings, which means they’re a much better finger food option for parties and small get-togethers.
What are the Differences Between Fried and Steamed Dumplings?
If you’re hosting a party soon and are planning on serving a variety of Asian cuisines, you might be wondering whether you should make fried dumplings or steamed dumplings. We feel that fried dumplings are more of a comfort food that you can eat with your fingers while mingling with your guests, whereas steamed dumplings are a better choice if you’re having a sit-down dinner. Let’s go over the differences below in a bit more detail!
The proper way to cook steamed dumplings is by, well, steaming them. You simply prepare your dumplings and place them in a steaming basket over boiling water. As the water boils, steam rises and cooks the dumplings to perfection. You’ll know they’re done cooking when the wrapper turns translucent and feels slightly sticky to the touch.
Because steaming doesn’t require oil, it’s a healthier cooking method than frying. Steamed dumplings also tend to be more flavorful, whereas the amount of oil used to cook fried dumplings may be overpowering. When it comes to cooking fried dumplings, it’s just a matter of preparing them and frying them in hot oil.
The high heat of the oil will quickly sear the exterior of the wrapper, creating a crispy texture that contrasts beautifully with the dumpling’s flavorful filling. You can season fried dumplings with herbs and spices, or dip them in soy sauce or Sriracha. Just keep in mind that frying adds a considerable amount of calories to the dumplings, so it’s not necessarily the best choice if you’re trying to be health-conscious.
It’s interesting that fried dumplings and steamed dumplings have such different tastes, especially considering they can be made from exactly the same ingredients. Steamed dumplings are light and pleasant, which a delicate flavor that shines through due to the steaming process. They are tender and mild, yet filling and satisfying. Cooking steamed dumplings for dinner is sure to impress your guests if you’re throwing a party or hosting a potluck!
Fried dumplings are essentially the perfect comfort food. Frying dumplings basically carmelizes them, which gives them their crispy exterior and rich flavor. The flavor profile of fried dumplings is bold and savory (or sweet if you decide to fill your dumplings with fruit or Nutella). When you bite into a fried dumpling, you’ll get an explosion of flavor on your tongue. Just be careful, though, because they’re a little messy!
Steamed dumplings have a soft and delicate texture that’s light and easy on the palate. The steaming process cooks the dough evenly, which makes the wrapper moist and tender. The filling will be juicy and quite flavorful, as the steaming process is meant to amplify the different flavor notes of the filling (whereas the frying process is all about getting that delectably crispy exterior).
Fried dumplings are usually denser and chewier than steamed dumplings. They have a bold and satisfying texture, which means every single bite will be a satisfying one. The crispy wrapper provides a nice crunch, and the hot filling is so comforting it’s enough to make a grown man cry. If you cook fried dumplings with too much oil, you might find that the oil overpowers them, but perfectly cooked fried dumplings are absolutely the bee’s knees.
Which is Better Between Steamed and Fried Dumplings?
Ah, the age-old question. Steamed dumplings or fried dumplings? Which is better? Based on our analysis, we’d have to go with fried dumplings, just because comfort food holds a surprising amount of power and the thought of biting into a fried dumpling with some soy sauce is enough to make this writer’s mouth water. However, it also depends on your personal preference, how you’re serving the dumplings, and whether or not you’re trying to be conscious of your health.
Fried dumplings and steamed dumplings are both delicious in different and wonderful ways. We recommend trying both and deciding for yourself which cooking method you prefer. We love the idea of serving steamed dumplings for a sit-down formal dinner because you can easily put them in a soup or serve them with other Asian dishes that are more on the fancy side.
Fried dumplings, though, are like grandma’s cooking — you can never get enough of them! We think we can all agree that both fried dumplings and steamed dumplings are definitely worth trying. Make them yourself or order both the next time you go out to eat! You surely won’t regret it.