Heami Lee

Ready to tackle making your own dumplings at home? Good. Now get yourself a dumpling steamer.

Look, we’re not ones to suggest you start a cooking project by immediately clogging up your kitchen with more bulky tools, but take it from Helen You and Max Falkowitz, co-authors of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook: a $12 steamer is the single greatest investment toward making homemade dumplings as good as they can possibly be. That goes double for dumplings with delicate fillings like this recipe filled with crab, shrimp, and scallops that don’t pack on a lot of fat.

Why? Compared to methods like boiling or pan-frying, steaming is the sure-fire gentlest way to cook a dumpling, since it doesn’t get knocked around by boiling water or subjected to the blazing heat of a hot pan. That means a meat fillings that stay tender, not tough, and vegetables that retain their structural integrity. Steaming is also fast—get an inch of water boiling in a saucepan and you have dumplings within 10 minutes, even if you start from frozen.

Follow our tutorial above to see how to put that steamer to work, then get going with these dumpling recipes. And if you’re looking for a steamer to buy, here’s our favorite—and the liners to go with it.


Steamed Mixed Shellfish Dumplings

In China, this combination of shrimp, scallops, and crab is a special-occasion dumpling filling. The clean flavor and slippery texture of the shellfish are unobscured by any filler. Serve steamed dumplings directly from the bamboo steamers, since their delicate wrappers can break in transfer. Get the recipe for Steamed Mixed Shellfish Dumplings »