How to cook Pot Stickers

Picture of How to cook Pot Stickers
Pot stickers are a Chinese Dim Sum (appetizer, more or less) consisting of a noodle-like wrapper around a filling that normally has meat, cabbage, onions, and seasonings. I understand that in the eastern US, they're called "Chinese Ravioli", which is somewhat more descriptive of their nature, even though "pot sticker" is pretty descriptive of their behavior. There's a similar item in Japanese cuisine called "Gyoza", though those are usually smaller and have a thinner noodle.

They are one of my son's favorite foods. They can be boiled, steamed or deep fried, but the name comes from a combination cooking method where they are browned by pan-frying AFTER the noodle is cooked by steaming or boiling. Here's how I cook them.

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Step 1: Introduction

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You CAN make pot stickers from scratch. This is made easier if you have somewhere you can buy pre-made pot sticker wrappers (which are like wonton wrappers, only thicker), but it is STILL (imnsho) one of those things that isn't worth the effort. Counting asian markets, Trader Joes, Safeway, and CostCo, there are probably about a dozen different varieties of pre-made frozen pot stickers that I can buy. After some exploring, including a "pot sticker tasting", we decided that these Ling-ling brand "chicken and vegi" ones are our favorite. YMMV; do your own experiments.

Unfortunately, if you follow the instructions on the package, they don't come out the way we like them, so I've come up with my own method.

Step 2: Prepare the Pan!

Picture of Prepare the Pan!
Teflon coated pans are a really good idea for pot-stickers. I supposed that a properly seasoned non-coated pan would work too, but this method involves boiling water for some time, which is not such good treatment for a "seasoned" pan.

Heat your pan so it's nice and dry. If your Teflon is getting a bit old, like mine, it will help to pre-season it with a light coating of oil (and heat for a minute or so over high heat) before starting the main part of the cooking procedure.
Melrennae3 months ago

thank you!!!! i just failed miserably following the directions on such a package of pot stickers. so I came to look up a better way. I am so grateful for your approach!

diymentality5 months ago

I would certainly not make them in a teflon pan. Especially with the coating gouged as this pic shows...(i know, it's just for the pic, you didn't really use that pan) The method i use there is no sticking involved. I bring salted water in a large pot to boil and drop a few dumplings in at a time for 3 min. remove and blot dry before they go in a pre heated cast iron skillet. The cast iron i use is well seasoned so i need no extra fat at all.

I'm Chinese and I make home-made potstickers/dumplings with my family all the time, and they're SO much better than the pre-made kind, definitely good enough to justify the extra work. Granted, we use store bought wrappers; the ones we make don't hold up very well.
These are my favorite boiled, but i found these other ones from somewhere i don't remember atm, that were just SO good when fried. Attempting to fry these now however.
my sister used to make these with just cream cheese and diced jalapeños....*begins to drool*
inquisitive6 years ago
Instead of water, I add a couple generous splashes of chicken broth with oil then cover them and boil before removing the lid and letting them start to fry. The chicken broth contributes to the crunchy underside then I finish with a drizzle of sesame oil when almost finished-in my house I brown 2 sides-because that is what we like.
Udon6 years ago
Yeah, making them from scratch is better. I mean the taste. Me and my Chinese crew come over and make these together, then get tanked up with 5 kilos of the stuff. Yum. Making these and then eating them with friends makes the scratch route worth ones while. Really good instuctable westfw!
taka216 years ago
these arent chinese they are japanese in japan people call the gyoza but in chinese they are called dumplings but there is a difference in taste though...
Udon taka216 years ago
These are Chinese 锅贴, guotie. There's dumplings and then there's dumplings, like hundun, the stuff that goes in soup. But Koreans also do these - gun mandu. Does it matter though? They all taste the same [ga...dribble].
solo.card7 years ago
Everytime I make these, they have less of a pan-sticking effect, and more of a bottom-blackening one. They keep getting better, but they never look like ones I would get served in a restaurant.
shake around the pan every few seconds to keep them from sticking. I've found a vaguely stir-fry type approach works best with these. trick is to keep them active so they don't scorch but still cook only on the one side.
blodefood6 years ago
These look a lot like perogies. Similar structure, similar cooking methods.
cooblades7 years ago
I personally add less water and boil it off completely. I only add oil at the end. Results are similar though. Siracha, white vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil make a really good sauce. I shun the name pot stickers though no pot is ever involved during the entire process. I call em fried dumplings in my language (that is my native tongue english). :-P
westfw (author)  cooblades7 years ago
I suspect in the US, "pot stickers" distinguishes them from other sorts of fried dumplings that one might get. "dumpling" to most americans probably brings up an image of a thickish noodle-like thing (as in "chicken and dumplings") (which one wouldn't want fried.) Or maybe something Eastern European like Slavic Pierogi.
Never heard of that dish before. Makes sense I guess.... But i still don't have to like it.....hehe ;-)
Which one?
rambutan7 years ago
yep this is how we make em too but make them from scratch mainly- p.s. the pot stickers from Trader Joe;s are pretty good, but it's better when you make em and add ginger and mock duck, delicious!
westfw (author)  rambutan7 years ago
What is "mock duck" ? I've made them from scratch (even the wrappers), but I don't find it a good use of time (it's not ENOUGH better to justify a LOT more effort.) Still, I'd welcome an Instructable on the full scratch process!
maz917 years ago
Boiling them then switching pans works just as well or microwaving then frying them.
mm..those look really good